Summer 2011 Issue 34
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  ICT Development

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Global: The Recipe for a Citizen-Centric ICT Policy
Global: Digitally Connected Economies: Sweden, Singapore Top the List - UK Comes at 15th While US Is 5th
Asia-Pacific: 76% Governments Recognize Need for ICT Sustainability Strategy
West-Central Asia: Azerbaijan & Iran Discuss ICT Partnership
ARMENIA: IT Government Institution to Be Established
AUSTRALIA: Five-Year ICT Strategic Vision Released
AZERBAIJAN: Government Publishes ICT Sector Figures for 2010
BANGLADESH: Digital Bangladesh Aims to Give the Citizens a Modern Identity
China to Implement New Internet Regulation: MIIT
India Advances Towards M-Governance
Korea Promotes Its Superb E-Government Cases Around the World
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Develop Information and Database System
TONGA: To Set Up Network to Connect Govt
UK: Thousands Take Up the Red Tape Challenge
Top Local Government Website Award Given to Coronado, California
Strategy to Expand E-customs Procedures Aims for Efficiency
The Recipe for a Citizen-Centric ICT Policy
AFRICA: Nigeria - Looking for National Broadband Policy
RWANDA: New ICT Plan to Target Local Communities
ASIA-PACIFIC: 76% Governments Recognize Need for ICT Sustainability Strategy
Smart Grid Initiatives Offer Big Opportunities to APEC
EUROPE: Technical Rules Agreed for Using 4G Wireless Broadband Devices on GSM Frequencies
Net Neutrality: Europe Decides Against Legislation and Leaves Market & Competition to Enforce Net Neutrality
FRANCE: Net Giants Challenge French Data Law
France: The DGOS Unveils Five Priorities for eHealth Deployment in 2011
SWEDEN: Digitisation Council Discusses the Strategies of the National Digital Agenda
SCOTLAND: Strategy for National Infrastructure
Digital Economy Act: Government Is Within Its Right to Tackle Copyright Infringement Rules High Court
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - 40% of Public Sector Organisations Bringing Forward Shared Services Plan
A Congressional Spending Bill Would Cut Most of the Funding for Transparency Websites
CHINA: Internet Supervision a Tough Challenge
China Clarifies Rules on Internet Distribution of Publications
Justice Takes Steps onto Blogs
China Unveils Guidelines for Online Third-party Payment Service Providers
China to Boost IC Sector as 'State Strategy'
China to Implement New Internet Regulation: MIIT
China to Reduce Mobile Phone Test Charges: NDRC
China Regulator Defends Internet Role
JAPAN: TV Broadcasts and the Internet
Cabinet Approves Bill to Revise Info Disclosure Law
Bill to Delay Shift to Digital Broadcast in Quake-hit Areas Approved
S. Korea to Invest 54.3b Won in Smart TV Development
Parliament Approves Online Game Shutdown for School Kids
INDONESIA: Microsoft to Launch Cloud Computing Services, Targets SMEs
LAOS: Festival Highlights IT Development
THAILAND: Alliance to Strengthen Software Industry
Making Thailand an ICT Producer
New Group Backs Thai Software Developers
VIET NAM: To Attract Foreign Investment in ICT
Vietnam Struggling to Have 1 Million IT Workers by 2020
Attaching Special Importance to IT, Vietnam's Brainpower Will Shine
Strategy to Expand E-customs Procedures Aims for Efficiency
Small Firms Urged to Focus on IT
INDIA: Launching Sanchar Shakti to E-MPower Rural Women
Delhi Cabinet Approves Geospatial Data Bill
J&K Mulls ICT Initiatives to Save Forests
Law to Make Electronic Service Delivery Compulsory
India's m-Governance Policy Draft Tabled
Draft e-Services Bill Open for Citizen Feedback
Digital Maps to Be Introduced in Haryana
SRI LANKA: ICT Policy Urges Broadband Charge Cut
PAKISTAN: ICT Okays Rs 1.75 Billion for 37 Rural Uplift Schemes
Dialogue That Delivers for Pakistan ICT Sector
AFGHANISTAN: Roshan Plans for 3G Intro
ARMENIA: Orange Armenia Launches New TV Schedule Service
Azerbaijan & Iran Discuss ICT Partnership
AZERBAIJAN: Preparing Regulations to Increase Export in Information Sphere
IRAQ: Asiacell Disconnects Unlicensed Zain Lines
KYRGYZSTAN: Parliament Approves Draft Laws on Elections and Reforming Electoral System
KAZAKHSTAN: Aiming to Achieve 100% Broadband Coverage by 2013
AUSTRALIA: Five-Year ICT Strategic Vision Released
Australian Regulator Consults on Future Radio Spectrum Plans
NZ Launches Transport Smartcard
NEW ZEALAND: File-Sharing Bill Passed into Law
Labour Slams Changes to Telco Amendment Bill
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Boost Tax System Automation
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Develop Information and Database System
Strengthening Internet Governance and Policy in the Pacific
SPC and UN-APCICT/ESCAP Strengthen Partnership in ICT Development
AFRICA: Angola - Minister Stresses E-Government
GHANA: Govt Jettisons E-Voting for 2012 Polls
NAMIBIA: Information Ministry Budget Increased
ARAB STATES: UAE - Dubai Municipality's Website Revamped
UAE Upgrades E-participation in Revamped Federal Portal
JORDAN: New E-Government Portal Provides Information on 27 Services
KUWAIT: KTA Launches 2011 Reform Index on Public Sector Performance
SAUDI ARABIA: The 2nd Annual Kingdom E-government Summit - E-government Programs an Increasing Focus
EUROPE: Smarter and Tougher Economic Governance Dominate Key Committee Votes
AUSTRIA: City of Vienna Improves Access to Administrative Data
FRANCE: Paris Launches a Portal for Local Government Data
ITALY: New Version of the Public Authorities' eProcurement Platform Is Proving Popular
PORTUGAL: Lisbon Launches New Portal to Promote Citizen Participation
SWITZERLAND: Steering Committee Lays Down Strategic Areas to Stimulate eGovernment
UK: Government's Transparency Agenda Could Transform Local Public Sector Culture and Service Delivery Says Socitm
UK: Thousands Take Up the Red Tape Challenge
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Survey Shows Government Agencies Getting More Adept at Electronic Discovery
Cloud Computing Needs Leaders to Restore Optimism
Unified Communications Deployment in State and Local Governments Lags Behind
State CIOs Honor Federal IT Leaders for Technology and Government Excellence
CHINA: Traffic Police Post Gory Clip on Internet to Educate Public
Internet Facilitates Grassroots Participation in Governance
Micro Blogs Popular Among Officials
China Sets Up Office for Internet Information Management
Nation's Largest Patent Database Goes Online
China Launches Online Database to Showcase CPC Theoretical Research Achievements
S. KOREA: National Internet Addiction Therapy Center Opens
Korea Promotes Its Superb E-Government Cases Around the World
Korea to Provide Paperless Customs Service
MONGOLIA: To Roll Out New Smart I.D Card System
PHILIPPINES: Government Sets Up Official Text Alert Service
BANGLADESH: IGP Stresses on Cops' IT Skills
Govt Clears Teletalk 3G Project
INDIA: Bengal Gaining e-Governance Grounds
Haryana to Upgrade IT Facilities for Better e-Governance
Right to Information in India: On the Perilous Road to Transparency
India Advances Towards M-Governance
Maharashtra Signs Up ABM for e-Governance Project
From Electronic Governance to Green Governance
Paperless Administration, Not a Distant Dream
PAKISTAN: PTCL to Offer ICT Solutions to Sindh Government
Administrative Affairs: ICT to Be Run by Separate Division
ICT High Court Establishment
ARMENIA: IT Government Institution to Be Established
Armenian PM Moves from Blogosphere to "New Virtual Space"
AZERBAIJAN: Government Publishes ICT Sector Figures for 2010
Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration Opens Official Page on Twitter
Azerbaijan to Introduce Electronic Audits
Azerbaijan's Civil Service Opens Facebook Page
Kyrgyz Government Launches Anticorruption Website
Tajik Authorities to Recall Permits for Using Network Interconnections in Border Areas
AUSTRALIA: Australians to Be 'Smartrolled' for State Election
Half of AU Govt Agencies to Get DataCentre-as-a-Service
Australian Agencies Embrace Open Government
Mobile App Launched for Australia State Elections
Australia Uses Dedicated Solution to Consult Public
NEW ZEALAND: GCIO in Conversation
New Zealand Governor General Joins Facebook and Twitter
NEW ZEALAND: Councils to Reap Benefits from New Information Management System
NZ Govt Put Up Working Group to Steer Rural Broadband Rollout
TONGA: To Set Up Network to Connect Govt
Enhancing Government Services in the Pacific Region Using ICT
Worldwide WLAN Market Reaches Nearly $5 Billion in 2010, According to IDC
Worldwide IT Services Revenue Grows to USD 793 Bln in 2010
AFRICA: Kenya - Internet Fraud Costs Banks Sh3 Billion
ASIA-PACIFIC: Smartphone Sales to Top 100 Mn: Analyst
Group Buying Sites Boost E-commerce in Asia
Asia Pacific: Largest Smartphone Market
EUROPE: Denmark - 34% of Dutch Consumers Use a Smartphone
UK Consumers Waste £5 Billion a Year on Mobile Phones
UK: Gloucestershire Joins Local Enterprise Partnership Network
LATIN AMERICA: Argentina - SMS Represents 68% of Total VAS Revenues
CHINA: Online Video Sector Stuck in the Red
Online Music Industry Reports Increased Harvest
China's Video Websites Join to Screen Movies Online
Online Trade Mars China's Heritage
Internal Frictions Blocks Tri-networks Integration
Chinese Software Not a Threat
E-commerce Injects Vitality into Rural Development in China
Chinese Internet Firms Rush for a US Listing
China Telecom Aims for 1m WiFi Hotspots
Online Travel Service Booming
JAPAN: Supermarkets Going Online
Telecoms Networks Back
Mobile Networks Toughen Up
North Korea Opens an Internet Shopping Mall for the Rest of the World
S. Korean Online Game Limits Inch Forward, But Glacially
South Korea Cautions PC-Operators of Contamination Through the Internet
Korea to Bolster New System for Mobile Payment
Korea to Forge Mobile Commerce Network
Seoul to Launch Online Oil Market
Online Luxury Shops Challenge Retail Giants in Growing Market
Online Shopping Complaints on the Rise
Mobile Trading Soars amid Network Concerns
INDONESIA: Cloud Computing Enables Companies to Be Productive All Year Round
LAOS: Internet Provides Boost to Advertising Industry
MALAYSIA: Lewre Gets on EBay to Expand Global Reach
Plastics Makers Urged to Look at Cloud Computing
Making It Easier to Manage IT Assets
Skali Expands Its Cloud Computing Stable
PHILIPPINES: PLDT, Microsoft and Datacraft Team Up for Cloud-computing Solutions
THAILAND: Green Light for New E-Commerce Agency
Small-screens Drive Mobile Broadband Market to Revenues of $108 Billion
SET Pushes Mobile Stock Trading
VIET NAM: ADSL No Longer an Attractive Piece of Cake for Telecom Service Providers
E-commerce to Aid Competitiveness
Vietnamese Currency Offered for Sale on EBay
Vietnam's E-commerce Set to Boom by 2015
BANGLADESH: Online Banking
INDIA: Government to Invite Bids for Broadband in Rural Areas
Microsoft Office 365 Public Beta Available in India
MCD to Bring 71 Services Online by July 2011
AFGHANISTAN: Etisalat to Invest USD100 Million in Afghan Arm
ARMENIA: Google Nexus S Smartphone Available
VivaCell-MTS Presents New Bonus Program for Prepaid Subscribers
AZERBAIJAN: Digital Signature Will Be Platform for Development of E-Commerce
Azerbaijan to Create E-system of Real Estate Registration
Azerfon Selects NSN for LTE Rollout, Network Modernisation
ISRAEL: Internet Revenues Bolster Bezeq's Full Year Results
HOT's 2010 Net Income Up 34.7%
Cellcom Reveals Increase in Net Income, Revenues in 2010
Israel's MoC Launches Tender for Two New 3G Concessions
HOT Initiates Tie-up Talks with MIRS
IRAQ: Zain Hails Commercial Launch of Services in Kurdistan
AUSTRALIA: Online Service Delivery in the South Up by 14 Per Cent
Australia Funds Solar Energy for Public Schools
Australia Invests $12M on a Flood Alert Project
Australians Confused by Telephone Service Charges - Survey
Gigabit Wireless Project Scores $1.43m Funding Boost
Social Media Shares More Marketing Budget: Survey
Australia Invests on E-Mental Health Portal
FIJI: Vodafone Extends Mobile Payments to Housing Loans
NEW ZEALAND: Investigation Launched into Roaming Costs Between NZ and Australia
Mobile Termination Rates to Fall in New Zealand
Mobile Health IT Specialist Gets Govt Funding Boost
Statistics NZ Gets $58m to Update IT Systems in Budget
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: IT Provider Urges 50% Drop in Rates
NGO Tapped for Women's Global Digital Literacy Campaign
AFRICA: Nations Call for ICTs to Tackle Disease
GHANA: IT Skills to Boost Women's Participation in Crucial Sector
EUROPE: eHealth Poised for Advances in 2011
EU: eHealth Holds New Opportunities but Cooperation Is Needed
BELGIUM: eHealthBox Goes Live
BULGARIA: eHealth Reduces Expenditure in the Health Sector by 20%
CROATIA: ePrescriptions Introduced Ahead of Schedule
DENMARK: Health Summary and eHealth Self-Services Now Also Available to Citizens at Borger.dk
ESTONIA: Medical Prescription Centre Wins National eHealth Award
GREECE: Launch of Public Consultation on Tender for Integrated Electronic Prescription System
NORWAY: Northern Norway at the Forefront of Norwegian Regions in eHealth Solutions
China to Realize Online Train Ticket Booking This Year
Cable TV Networks to Go Digital
'Web Opens New Page for Readers'
E-reader Maker Looks for Tonic
Microblogging Becomes Mandatory Course
China's 477 Mln Netizens Boost Need for Healthy Internet Culture
Online Microresumes Are a Hit for China's Job Seekers
JAPAN: Internet Holds Up Despite Quake, Tsunami
Internet-based Social Media Useful amid Telecom Trouble After Quake
Billions of Yen in Relief Donations Come Through Internet Sites
Bloggers Join Hands to Create Japan 'Quakebook'
S. Korea's Smartphone Users Top 10 Million
SOUTH KOREA: Digital Era Dominates Lawsuit Filings
More Koreans Socialize with 'Invisible' Friends
E-book Craze Hits S.Korea
INDONESIA: Businesses Can Tap into Social Networks
Optimus 2X: A Smartphone with Many Entertainment Options
LAOS: Teachers to Use Software to Manage Exam
MALAYSIA: Adopt ICT to Attract Youths, Food Outlet Operators Told
E-file Assessments Early to Avoid Congestion
Virtualisation the Building Block for Cloud
High-tech System Helps Students Learn Better
E-tender System to Take Off Soon
THAILAND: New World of Virtual Recruitment
Online Marketing for Hotels and Tourism
VIET NAM: To Grant E-passports No Sooner Than 2013
Making Money on Facebook
BANGLADESH: Digital Bangladesh Aims to Give the Citizens a Modern Identity
IT Education in a Mess
An E-content Repository for Bangladesh
INDIA: Postal Services to Be Computerised by 2013
Indian Broadband at Grassroots for Social Inclusion: PM
E-Toilets: New Face of Sanitation in India
Bihar to Launch a Slew of Online Services Soon
SRI LANKA: E-Passport Soon
NEPAL: IT Sector Can Become Country's Best Job Provider
PAKISTAN: ICT Admin to Stop Smoking at Public Places
FDE to Be Placed Under ICT
ARMENIA: Android Market Available
AZERBAIJAN: Baku Social Trading Platform Gains Momentum
Azerbaijan Applies 'Single-window' Registration for Imported Vehicles
Azerbaijan Introduces E-digital Signature Platform
Iraq Eyes USD2bn for Fourth Wireless Licence
Kazakhstan Education Ministry to Launch E-learning System
AUSTRALIA: State to Drastically Advance Digital Education
AU Govt Completes Broandband for Seniors Programme
Australia Improves Mobile Emergency Services
Australian Defence Force Launches eHealth System
Austrade Develops New Learning Management System
New Zealand Govt Funding to Connect Low Income Families
NZ Allots Extra Funding for Taranaki Medicine Management System
Hiring Intentions Remain Strong - Employer Survey
Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals
Mobile Virus Threats Double Over 16 Month Period
AFRICA: Software Piracy in Africa Double Global Rate
NIGERIA: Value of PC Software Theft Reaches U.S. $255 Million, Says BSA
UGANDA: Communications Commission Orders 24-Hour Shutdown of Facebook over Protests
ASIA-PACIFIC: Tackling Cybercrime Laws and Protection in Workshops
EUROPE: Massive Cyber Attack Targets European Institutions Before EU Summit
Internet Privacy: Ed Vaizey Criticises EU Proposals on Online Privacy - Calls for "Practical and Proportionate" Measures
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Cybercrime Complaints Fell 10% in 2010
Social and Mobile Tech Vulnerable in 2010 as Cyber-Attacks Skyrocket
China Cleans Up Spam Problem
New Campaign Targets Illegal Online Maps
China Cracks Down on Online Copyright Infringements and Counterfeits
China Cracks Down on Illegal Sex Products Online
China Seizes More Pirated Online Goods
Japan Internet Providers Block Child Porn
SOUTH KOREA: 40 Websites Bombarded by Cyber Attacks
S. Korea's Major Web Sites Hit by DDoS Attacks
Gov't to Tighten Security of Computer Networks Against DDoS Attack
Electronic Banking Safety Under Scrutiny
Financial Firms Ordered to Report Cyber Security
Financial Industry to Tighten IT Security
Police Probing Online Commerce Fraud
Security Concerns Rise Over Wi-Fi Networks
MALAYSIA: Banding Together Against Cybercrime
THAILAND: Security Looms as Growing Mobile Problem
VIET NAM: Information Insecurity Danger
INDIA: In Need of a Dedicated Cyber Security Policy
PAKISTAN: Crime on the Rise in ICT
AZERBAIJAN: IT Ministry to Discuss Safety and Reliability of Postal Services
Information Security Systems Presented in Baku
Azerbaijan to Create Structure to Monitor E-news Portals
Cyber Terrorism-related Information Resources in Azerbaijani Found in Foreign Countries' Servers
KAZAKHSTAN: Websites Blocked Ahead of Elections
AUSTRALIA: Govt Reveals New Cyberspooks Unit
South Australia Police to Adopt e-Crime Distributed Review System
Responding to Cybercrime Threats in the Pacific
Mobile Infrastructure Market Rebounded to Highest Level Since 2008
Digitally Connected Economies: Sweden, Singapore Top the List - UK Comes at 15th While US Is 5th
IT Is Heading Toward Its Own Industrial Revolution: Analyst
AFRICA: Network Convergence in South Africa Presents New Revenue Opportunities
Africa: Pan-African Parliamentary Science Forum Launched
Africa: Region 'Must Embrace Geospatial Information'
RWANDA: Digital Multimedia Academy to Open Next Month
ZIMBABWE: Awards of Excellence for Outstanding Sectors
ARAB STATES: Saudi Arabia - Public Sector IT Spending in Saudi to Reach USD 2.4 Billion in 2013, Further Driving Demand for Advanced Enterprise IT Solutions
ASIA-PACIFIC: ASEAN Discusses ICT Application to Industry
Cloud Adoption Accelerating in Asia Pacific - IDC
Broadband World Forum Asia Asks What's Next for Broadband in Asia-Pacific?
Digital Drought in Asia
EUROPE: 2011 European Outsourcing Association Summit & Awards Announced in Spain
GREECE: Online Youth Entrepreneurship Platform Focuses on Community Building and Knowledge Sharing
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Digital Divide Still Present in Washington, D.C., Broadband Map Shows
Top Local Government Website Award Given to Coronado, California
CHINA: Quality of Users Will Decide Internet's Future
CHINA: 4G Network Is Another Step Closer to Reality
Digital Technology Rapidly Changing the Way China Reads
SOUTH KOREA: Smart, Green Tech to Dominate IFA Electronics Show
Korea's e-People Wins U.N. Public Service Awards
INDONESIA: Mobile Market to Grow by 12% in 2011
MALAYSIA: Alcatel-Lucent to Offer 40GbE Network Connectivity
PHILIPPINES: Cognizant Bags ICT Award for Year's 'Best New BPO Locator"
THAILAND: Twenty Million Thais Online Next Year
VIET NAM: Market Moves on to 4G
Cloud Computing Summit Attracts 300 IT Specialists
Outstanding ICT Businesses Honored in Hanoi
Key ICT Summit Comes to Hanoi
IT Sector Sets Bullish 60% Growth Target for Year
BANGLADESH: Digital Bangladesh and the Reality
New Market Study Published: Bangladesh Telecommunications Report Q2 2011
ICT Industry to Benefit from New Hi-Tech - Survey
DCCI Identifies IT, Telecom as Growth Drivers; Suggests Guidelines to Ensure Entry in Top 30-Economies of World
More Fiscal Support for ICT Sector Urged
Seminar on Digital Bangladesh Held in Joypurhat
INDIA: All States to Get E-stamping in Next Three Years
Kapil Sibal Launches eWorld Forum at Secure IT 2011
India Loses Ground in ICT Ranking
India's Poverty Census Turns Digital
SRI LANKA: Ending 2010 with 17.2 Mln Mobile Users
Sri Lanka to Develop Environmental Resource Database
PAKISTAN: Posts Tagged 'Pakistan's Supranational ICT Exhibition "Connect" 2011"
ARMENIA: Winner of Imagine Cup - Armenia 2011 Visits ArmenTel Company
Instance of i.root-servers.net Installed in ADC Data Center
Azerbaijani Mobile Operator Introduces Innovative Way
In the Frame of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue a Seminar on the Theme "Influence of Technology, Social Media and Journalism on Intercultural Relations" Held in Baku
Cisco Focused on Promoting New-generation Networking Technologies in Azerbaijan
3G Services May Be Licensed for Azercell and Bakcell
Azerbaijan IT Company Introduces Trial Version of Mini-computer with Voice Control
Kapital Bank Launches New Campaign 'Five in One'
ISRAEL: Consolidation of Broadband Infrastructure and Content Providers on the Way?
Mirs and Marathon Win 3G Race
IRAQ: Kalimat Eyes Nationwide Expansion; Plans IPO in 2012
Australia Integrates Business Solutions in E-Health Authentication Service
NEW ZEALAND: Implementing New B2B Technology

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Global: The Recipe for a Citizen-Centric ICT Policy

A citizen-centric ICT policy is one that ensures a balanced socio-economic development in the country by way of bridging the digital divide between communities. It is where the government advocates a more accessible, effective and accountable use of ICT in the effective delivery of services to the public, thus promoting more engagements and transparency in the interaction between the public and the government. According to Dr. Amir, an inclusive ICT policy involves a trisectoral representation which comprises of members from the public, private and community interest sectors. "Forging a trisectoral partnership is important as it enables the participation and inclusion of all sectors in policy planning and decision-making. In addition, it also builds consensus and wills to create a conducive environment for the growth of a knowledge-based economy," he said. "Trisectoral representations allow public sector organisations to engage with all relevant stakeholders, identify key areas of concern, and deliberate on all issues and propose policy interventions".

Through a process of consultations, Dr. Amir says that the government hopes to formulate policies that are citizen-centric, inclusive, and relevant. To cite an example, Dr. Amir says that the Malaysian Government took steps to engage the citizens, business communities, the Academe, and NGOs in various consultation platforms to gather opinions on issues that are of interest to everyone. "These consultations were led by the government through strategic workshops held throughout the nation beginning with the Government Transformation Program at the end of 2009 and Economic Transformation Program in the middle of 2010 and continuously until today and into the future to ensure the success of the projects identified," he said. At present, Malaysia is moving towards a citizen-centric Government from merely offering basic information online through static websites to providing interactive and transactional online services across Government agencies and through multi-delivery channels. "It has moved away from services based on how the Government is organized to services based on the needs of the citizens," Dr. Amir said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/09/2011

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Global: Digitally Connected Economies: Sweden, Singapore Top the List - UK Comes at 15th While US Is 5th

Sweden is the most prepared country to take advantage of ICT in driving economic growth for the second year in a row, according to the World Economic Forum's 10th Global Information Technology Report released earlier this week. Singapore missed out on the top spot once again and trails Sweden by 0.01 points. The WEF said: "ICT continues to drive innovation, productivity and efficiency gains across industries as well as to improve citizens' daily lives." The report examined 138 countries which accounts for over 98% of the global GDP. Finland, Switzerland and the United States make up the top five while the UK comes at 15. Europe dominates the top 20 list with 11 places as France takes the 20th spot while Germany is ranked 13th. There are 3 Nordic countries in the top 5, and 5 in the top 10 and Iceland is ranked 16th behind the UK.

Asia and the Middle East have done well too and there has been significant improvements recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean region. However, Africa especially sub Saharan African and North Africa demonstrated downward trends. The rankings were based on a set of 71 socio-economic indicators based around three main stakeholders - individuals, businesses as well as government, and include assessments of markets, regulatory environment and education. One of the key reasons for relatively lower ratings for the UK and the US was their failure to score high on quality of math and science education. UK came 55th in that ranking while the US did a little better at 52.

The ownership of PCs and broadband penetration also counted for a lot in the rankings which shows why European economies such as Spain and Portugal did worse. And it also shows why South Korea, Hong Kong and others have done better than the US and the UK, where many people still do not have access to superfast broadband unlike the Asia Pacific countries. Soumitra Dutta and Irene Mia, authors of the research's summary, said: "This presents an opportunity for economies - and cities - all over the globe to take decisive steps to gain the competitive advantage that can be derived from widespread use of broadband networks."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/15/2011

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Asia-Pacific: 76% Governments Recognize Need for ICT Sustainability Strategy

MANILA (PNA) - More than three quarters of Asia- Pacific government chief information officers (CIOs) and information technology (IT) managers have realized the need for a dedicated office to plan and execute an overall ICT sustainability strategy, according to a new poll released today by APC of Schneider Electric conducted at a FutureGov event. Interestingly for ICT vendors, 76 percent of the participants indicated that they include sustainability criteria in the evaluation and selection of ICT purchases. As an effort to explore Asia-Pacific's attitudes towards energy efficiency, the poll results underscore the importance of spreading awareness of energy management amid the high environmental and financial cost of energy throughout this region. Remarkably, of the 32 percent of respondents who said that cost and/or availability of electricity will have a significant impact on their data center's ability to support operations over the next three years, more than 70 percent were from developing countries - India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Representatives from the more developed Asia-Pacific countries polled - China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore - were less concerned with the supply of energy, noting that it may only affect a limited number of departments or have a minimal impact. In the Philippines, the government is taking action to augment the increasing power crisis that may affect the operational efficiency of the data center sector. These facilities, which are operated by multinational and local companies for in-house and outsourcing purposes, are critical in maintaining the country's economic stability and capability to compete in the global market. Efforts are also being initiated even by private organizations that aim to promote energy efficiency among the various industries in the private sector. "It's important that government decision makers understand that the cost of not solving this problem is significantly higher than the solution," added Philippe Reveilhac, president, Schneider Electric Philippines. "All government CIOs and ICT managers now realize that this cost burden is unsustainable for their country - it diminishes the funds available for investment in productivity, expansion of output, and ultimately affects their overall global competitively," he said.

A majority of governments recognize that the data center is a key focus area for reducing energy consumption, with only 20 percent of respondents not focused in this area. For building a new data center or expanding existing operations, energy efficiency was considered a high priority by 72 percent of respondents. The top initiatives included server virtualization and consolidation, policy implementation and cooling system re-design. "With the global rise of energy prices and the looming threat of an energy crisis, energy is becoming more than just expensive - it's a liability," added Reveilhac. "It's important for all Asia-Pacific government agencies to recognize the urgency of implementing energy efficient technology, and an intelligent energy management data center solution is one of the first steps to reducing risk and controlling costs." APC by Schneider Electric offers comprehensive energy management solutions in data centers that can cut energy use by up to 30 percent. APC by Schneider Electric's solutions help businesses and government organizations alike get more from their energy, be more productive and make their operations more sustainable. The independent survey of 118 government CIOs and IT managers was conducted by APC of Schneider Electric at a FutureGov event in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and sought to benchmark regional efforts around energy efficient ICT that has been implemented in government agencies and plans for the future.


From http://positivenewsmedia.net/ 05/02/2011

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West-Central Asia: Azerbaijan & Iran Discuss ICT Partnership

A delegation led by Deputy Minister for communication & IT of Azerbaijan Iltimas Mammadov paid an official visit to IRAN. Mammadov discussed bilateral relationships development with Deputy Minister for Communication of Iran Mehdi Akhavan, IRNA reported. Akhavan said that Iran was interested in internet traffic via Azerbaijan and Iran. Also Iran wants to increase partnership with Azerbaijan in this field. According to Akhavan, the initial agreement between two countries has been achieved, and the information transit will bring in good return, because of the two countries' advantageous geographical location. Azerbaijan delegation also met Post Company of Iran director. Postal partnership was discussed during the meeting. Iran offered electronic commerce, postal transit, stamp printing partnership development. Azerbaijan delegation also met "Post Bank" state company director Mohammad Hasan Mohebian. Funds transfer system between Azerbaijan & Iran, investments, joint bank establishment, Post Bank Baku branches opening, mobile banking & electronic commerce was discussed during the meeting.


From http://en.trend.az/ 03/07/2011

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ARMENIA: IT Government Institution to Be Established

Establishment of an IT government institution and a number of other problems in the filed were discussed during a working breakfast the Armenian President organized for the representatives of Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE). As Synopsys Armenia executive director Hovik Musaelyan told reporters after the meeting, the President requested to explain the necessity for the establishment of such a structure. "We obliged to provide detailed explanation, as information technology is one of the most important trends of the country's development to secure a double-digit growth," he said. For his part, UITE executive director Karen Vardanyan noted that the IT field needs a regulation through creation an institution that could effect a saving and prevent scattering of resources."


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 04/02/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Five-Year ICT Strategic Vision Released

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) outlined the government's future use of ICT, shifting the focus to productivity, in the recently released draft ICT Strategic Vision. The Strategic Vision for the Australian Government's use of ICT states that "ICT will increase public sector productivity by enabling the delivery of world leading government services for Australian people, communities and businesses, supporting open engagement to better inform decisions, and improving the operations of government." The Government will deliver the Vision and increase productivity through three strategic priorities - Deliver better services, Engage openly, and Improve government operations, two strategic actions to support the implementation of each strategic priority. In delivering better services, the government should build capability across all departments and enable better services using ICT to simplify and integrate government services to both people and business while maintaining necessary security and privacy. Collaborating effectively by building better partnerships to improve the effectiveness of government consultations and creating knowledge to share and manage information are the strategic steps to engage openly. And to improve operations, the government should invest optimally and encourage innovation in order to harness the full potential of the digital economy for better service delivery. AGIMO will work with agencies to develop detailed implementation approaches that deliver the strategic priorities and improve productivity.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/14/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Government Publishes ICT Sector Figures for 2010

Azerbaijani communications enterprises invested 110 million manat in the communications sector in 2010, the Cabinet of Ministers said today. Some 79 million manat were invested by ministry enterprises and associations. The volume of the services provided in the ICT sector in 2010 increased by 29.7 percent and reached 1161.3 million manat compared to the 2009 figures. Some 78.6 percent of the income earned in the field fell to communications services provided by the non-state sector. The amount of rendered services grew steadily from 2004 to 2010. The figure was 356.2 million manat in 2004, 488.9 million manat in 2005, 599.9 million manat in 2006, 735.4 million manat in 2007, 967.8 million manat in 2008, 1.081 billion manat in 2009 and 1.161 billion manat in 2010. A significant portion of the country's telecommunications network was transferred into the e-form. The country completed the laying of a fiber-optic cable line with a length of 240 kilometers, which made it possible to connect most of the country to the network.

The fitting capacity of the country's telephone network increased by more than 71.9 units to over 1.66 million units at the expense of the investment projects. If some 66.8 telephones accounted for 100 families in 2009, the figure reached 67.3 units in 2010. The indicator for Baku was 130 units and 47.3 units for the country's other territories. The number of computers was 14 units per 100 people, with 45 Internet users per 100 people, of whom 12 percent use broadband Internet access. The subscriber bases of Baku Telephone Communications and Aztelekom increased by 3,994 units to 27,294 units since early 2010. The CDMA network covered 70 percent of the country's settlements. Mobile penetration in the country reached 100 percent in 2010. The number of mobile subscribers increased by 1.2 million to 8.9 million. The amount of income received by the mobile sector increased by 30.2 percent to 782.6 million manat. Of this figure, 73.6 percent fell to the mobile communications sector. During the reporting period, ICT sector revenues increased by 77.6 percent to $91.8 million manat compared to 2009.


From http://en.trend.az/ 03/09/2011

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BANGLADESH: Digital Bangladesh Aims to Give the Citizens a Modern Identity

The Bangalee nation had a dream, which was conveyed by the greatest Bengali of all times - the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We achieved our independence through a war of liberation after a long stretch of movements and struggle in order to realize that dream. Half of that dream has now materialized, but our struggle for freedom or economic emancipation is yet to be crowned with success. The dream of a Golden Bangla is yet to be attained. Bangabandu's daughter and leader of the masses Sheikh Hasina had declared a pledge to build a Digital Bangladesh based on her "Vision-2021" in the election manifesto of 2008, keeping in mind her father's dream. The main idea of a Digital Bangladesh is to groom the nation as a knowledge-based middle-income country by the year 2021 through utilization of technologies. It aspires for a poverty and hunger-free Bangladesh through overall uplift of the living standard of Bangla's inhabitants. The present government has worked relentlessly during the past two years for achieving that objective. It is a matter of satisfaction that the use of technology, especially that of information technology, has increased substantially due to the involvement of the masses in the sincere endeavors of the government. People have realized that positive changes were taking place in their lives due to the application of technology. I consider it to be a huge success of the government. The government has succeeded in creating confidence among the citizenry.

The development vision of Sheikh Hasina has striven to bring backward segments of the country's population to the mainstream by offering them additional assistance. In order to realize that, our objective has been to build a Digital Bangladesh by involving all citizens of the country. Technology is considered a path for progress, and Digital Bangladesh will be for all our masses. We feel more encouraged when we hear from the IT technologists of the present generation that Digital Bangladesh is not a distant world. It is our own world. It is merely a guarantee for becoming more developed, speedier and acquiring more sensitive technology at affordable prices. Again, it also implies different worlds for different individuals. For a student, it is an assurance for obtaining high quality education. For a farmer, it is a guarantee for a market for the crops he produces. For a sick man, it is a guarantee for getting good treatment and freedom from standing in the queue day after day. For a government employee, it is the best medium for communication and evaluation of his work. For a pensioner, a freedom fighter and a widow, it is a guarantee for obtaining safety allowances and pensions with transparency. The main theme in the philosophy of Digital Bangladesh is to ensure the empowerment of people through optimum utilization of technology, establishment of good governance and above all to meet the needs of all citizens at their doorsteps. Digital Bangladesh will be implemented for the welfare of all citizens irrespective of their wealth or status.

The ICT Policy was adopted in April 2009 soon after the formation of the present government. A total of 306 action plans were taken up in its main program for implementation. The policy has fixed immediate steps, medium-term measures and long-term actions for all ministries. As a result, all bodies of the government are getting ready for e-governance. The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology is coordinating the whole endeavor. Many of you have witnessed the digital innovation fair held at Bangabandhu Novo-theater earlier this year. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had inaugurated the fair. Local and foreign policymakers, experts and officials from over 100 organizations were present at the inauguration. Explaining the significance of digital Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said then: "It implied paying bills through mobile phones, buying railway tickets from home, getting health care from Upazila level doctors while staying in the village." She further said "we had made a pledge before the election to build a Digital Bangladesh." We have chosen information technology as a tool to fulfill that commitment. We seek to ensure transparency, accountability and good governance at all layers of administration.

Those who are working and providing leadership to the administrative and service sectors of the government have to think anew. They will have to find out how services can be ensured for the country's 150 million people. We do not want the people to move from door to door of administration for services. Rather, we want services to reach the doorsteps of the citizens. We have for the first time succeeded in presenting our good intentions before the people. You have noticed that even the secretaries of ministries were now telling the people what they would do for the common man during the coming year. These are big changes. We also witnessed during the digital fair that a canopy of honest competition has been put in place among the concerned ministries in this area. Many things can be said about our successes in information technology over the past two years. These include getting exam results through SMS and registering for university admission from home. Mention can also be made about the delivery orders received by sugarcane growers through mobile SMS. I have a firm conviction that people's interest in technology, especially information technology, has increased because of these developments. As a consequence, the number of mobile phone users has increased by over 20 million during the past two years. And at governmental level, we were also inspired to establish 4,501 union information service centers throughout the country. Even unions without electricity supply have not been left out. Besides, information centers have also been set up in 125 Upazilas and information portals were launched for 64 districts. We are optimistic that by the grace of Almighty Allah, we shall succeed in building a Digital Bangladesh as desired by Bangabandhu's daughter before the year 2021.


From http://arabnews.com/ 03/26/2011

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China to Implement New Internet Regulation: MIIT

China will implement a new regulation to further control the online industry after a dispute between two Chinese Internet giants, Tencent and Qihoo 360, caused harm to their users, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday. Zhang Feng, director of the ministry's Department of Communications Development, made the announcement at a press conference concerning China's first-quarter industrial operations. "We have finishing soliciting opinions for the new regulation and will publish it soon," Zhang said. The move is part of a bid to strengthen the management of the country's online market and promote the healthy and orderly development of the industry, he said. Zhang said the ministry is also working on an online industry development plan to be implemented during the country's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). Tencent, China's largest Internet company, said on November 3, 2010 that it would remotely disable the QQ instant-messaging service on computers that had security software designed by Qihoo 360 installed on them. The announcement was the result of a previous dispute between the companies. Unfair competitive practices between the two companies, especially the move to unilaterally shut down the instant-messaging service, affected users and caused "bad social consequences," according to a MIIT statement. Tencent has 600 million registered QQ users, while Qihoo 360, China's largest free anti-virus software provider, has 300 million clients.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/20/2011

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India Advances Towards M-Governance

New Delhi: India's Department of Information Technology (DIT) has initiated the formulation of a new comprehensive policy framework on mobile governance. This policy framework aims to formulate set of guidelines for utilising the mobile devices in expanding the access to and reach of public services to all residents, especially in rural areas where Internet penetration is still very low. According to a draft policy published by the DIT seeking comments over it, the rapidly expanding subscriber base of mobile phone users in the country can help in accelerating the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) for improving governance and ushering in inclusive development. In order to provide multi channel and ubiquitous access to government services to the citizens the mobile governance policy aims to build an enabling mobile service delivery infrastructure consisting of a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG). It will be fully integrated with the existing infrastructure created under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the document posted on the DIT's website for public comments said. The DIT expects to develop the gateway by September this year and link projects that have already been digitised, such as filing of income taxes, by December. There are about 80 million Internet users in the country, while the number of mobile phone subscribers was around 771 million at the end of January The figure was likely to touch one billion marks by 2012.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 04/06/2011

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Korea Promotes Its Superb E-Government Cases Around the World

On May 11, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) held "The United Nations Conference on e-Government in Asia and the Pacific" at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul. About 300 attendees from 40 countries joined the conference. The conference, which will last until May 13, aims to rediscover the desirable role and function of government in the aspect of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and plans to discuss cooperative measures among Asia-Pacific nations through presentations on "current e-Government conditions" by nation. Kim Nam-seok, Deputy Minister of MOPAS, said, "This is a valuable opportunity to promote the Korean e-Government across the globe as well as to benchmark shining examples of overseas nations. As a leader in the e-Government sector, Korea will share its meaningful results achieved in a relatively short period of time with the international community and will contribute to the development of e-Government around the world as a partner of the global village."

With the Chief Information Officers' Forum being held on the opening day of May 11, the conference is going to have various presentations on e-Government cases based on the development and geopolitical differences by nation on the next day. The cooperative measures in the Asia-Pacific region will be mainly discussed on May 13. MOPAS anticipates that the conference will serve as an opportunity to make inroads into the Asia-Pacific market with the participation of major e-Government exporters, such as Samsung SDS (informatization village, On-Nara system, government integration center, e-customs system, e-procurement system), LG CNS (Minwon24, disaster management system, e-patent system, national tax system, e-passport), and SK C&C (mobile information security, public Sinmungo, mail)


From http://english.etnews.co.kr/ 05/13/2011

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SOLOMON ISLANDS: Develop Information and Database System

The Ministry of Rural Development and Indigenous Affairs is currently developing a new information and database system that seeks to improve the ministry's system of managing, sharing, and storing information. According to John Misite"e, Director of the Ministry's rural development division, the work for the new system is currently well underway and should be ready by the second half of this year. "Once the new system becomes fully operational, it would greatly enhance the capacity of the ministry to collect and store data and information and the dissemination of necessary data and information to the country's fifty constituencies," Misite's said in an official statement. "This will include up to date information on the status and nature of economic projects happening within the country's fifty constituencies," he said.

Meanwhile, Misite"e added that retirement of RCD funds for 2010 is progressing well and is nearing its closing stage. "One of our strengths in doing this is our constituency development officers with whom we work in partnership. They are our key frontline people in the constituencies and they have first-hand information and experience in the development process at the constituency levels". Misite"e added that he is very pleased with the current initiatives being undertaken by the Government Communications Unit to work closely with other ministries in the dissemination of information on key activities of the government so as to inform citizens on what the Government is doing.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/10/2011

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TONGA: To Set Up Network to Connect Govt

The government of Tonga is set to create a National Information Network to improve communication and coordination among different government departments, The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said in an official statement. Together with the Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecom, the government will build the network, which is exclusive for government departments, through a central electronic system. Other projects that are lined up will be facilitated community wide. The project aims to cut out inter-departmental communication that could have otherwise circulated the globe before reaching their destinations, given the departments' relative proximity, MIC stated. The shift to "paperless" communications is expected to cut administration costs and increase revenue through methods such as network sharing, e-tax and e-finance, it added. MIC Chief executive officer Paula Ma"u said the project can bring huge gains in terms of better service delivery and public access to government information. "Essentially we not only want to improve communication and coordination amongst government departments, but also be able to release timely, accurate, and complete information to the public," she added. Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean comprising 176 islands. The scope of the network includes all main islands - Tongatapu, Vava"u, Ha"apai, 'Eua and the Niua"s. Other applications proposed by Huawei include e-education, e-health, e-ID system and e-surveillance for police. An application for connecting schools and main hospitals to the government data system was also raised. Huawei first made the presentation for the e-government system to the Prime Minister Lord Tu"ivakano (pictured) late March before discussing the proposal with Cabinet. The project will be financed through donor funds.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/01/2011

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UK: Thousands Take Up the Red Tape Challenge

Thousands of businesses and members of the public have taken up the Red Tape Challenge, with over 6,000 ideas and suggestions in the first week of the new website, which is part of the Plan for Growth. Comments have called for changes to, and the end of, many of the rules and regulations that affect the retail sector, from Sunday Trading to bike safety. Retail sector champion, Dr Kevin Hawkins, welcomed this initial response but urged more retailers, suppliers, trade associations and consumers to get involved and suggest easier, less bureaucratic ways to tackle the issues raised. He said: "The response so far has been outstanding, but make no mistake this is an opportunity that is too good to miss. For the first time the Government wants to hear from those at the sharp end of the complex, sometimes overwhelming, amount of regulation. Tell us about those rules that really waste your time and money or better still suggest ways of tackling the issues that will make life better for you and your customers. "And with the burden of responsibility on Ministers to make a case to keep regulations, it's your voice that will shape the decisions on the way we do business in the UK." Over 6,000 comments have been made during the first week of the new website www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk including discussion around: simplifying the complex range of age restrictions on buying products, making it easier for businesses and consumers to understand; the use of metric and imperial measures and simplifying weights and measures regulation; amendment of the egg marketing regulations so that small scale producers can sell their eggs to local retailers without eggs having to be stamped, promoting growth and local produce; and repeal of Trading with Enemy Orders. The website also gives the opportunity to comment on a wide range of cross-cutting regulations that affect retailers and consumers, including employment law and health and safety. In future months the website will also deal with other issues that have an impact on the retail sector such as labelling and planning. The opportunity to comment on regulations affecting the retail sector runs until 4 May. The following day will see the launch of regulations for the hospitality, food and drink sector.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/18/2011

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Top Local Government Website Award Given to Coronado, California

Awarded for its e-government and communication initiatives, Coronado.ca.us has been recognized as a 2011 Top Local Government Website Award recipient by online encyclopedia and reference resource Juggle.com. This year's recipients applied innovative web technology in order to provide citizens with greater access to government information and services. Dedicated to the successes of the local community, Coronado.ca.us is one of several Local Government portals offering outstanding online resources for local businesses and e-government services.

According to Leslie Suelter, Director of Administrative Services, "The City of Coronado's website has been in place for many years but received a major redesign about two years ago. Like most municipalities, the City of Coronado tries to provide valuable information on its website for its citizenry, businesses, and visitors. For citizens, this includes access to the municipal code, budget and financial reporting information, department information, and community events." The awards editor at Juggle.com hand-selected this year's Top Local Government Award recipients by evaluating a variety of site features and functionality, including: usability, up-to-date content, access to e-government services, community resources and technological innovation. The features and functionality offered to users enabled them to surpass other websites in their class.

"The City's website includes information about City recreation facilities, links to visitor serving organization. The website is a work in progress and we constantly strive to keep it current and make improvements as needed," noted Suelter. Award recipients receive a feature page on Juggle.com that includes an interview with one of the individuals responsible for maintaining or managing each website. For Coronado's feature, visit http://www.juggle.com/coronado-california-top-city-government-website. Belleville, Illinois-based Juggle.com is an online encyclopedia and reference resource featuring facts, articles, images, biographies, and statistics covering thousands of popular topics. For more information on Juggle and other topics, visit http://www.juggle.com.


From http://www.prweb.com/ 04/14/2011

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Strategy to Expand E-customs Procedures Aims for Efficiency

The Customs General Department wants its e-customs service used by 80 per cent of enterprises and 90 per cent of import-export turnover by 2020. It also wants e-customs used by all provincial and district departments by the same year. This was part of the Customs Development Strategy approved on March 25 by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. "The strategy aims at establishing a modern customs service with sufficient and transparent mechanisms and policies," deputy general director Vu Ngoc Anh told a press conference on March 30. "It aims to keep it simple and in harmony with international standards based on centralised data-processing and risk management," Anh said. The strategy was achievable because it was based on the nation's growth strategy as well as the sector's development strategy, Anh said. E-customs procedures had already been applied in 76 out of 84 branches of 13 out of 33 provincial customs departments of the sector. Nearly 60 per cent of 17,000 enterprises nationwide and more than 50 per cent of the country's tax collection used e-customs procedures. Seven other provincial customs departments would apply e-customs procedures next year.

The strategy targeted to reduce manual checking of goods from the current rate of 15-20 per cent to under 10 per cent by 2015 and under 7 per cent by 2020. A pilot one-stop-shop customs mechanism was currently operating for implementation in 2012. This allowed all procedures to be handled at one point, including clearances, paperwork, taxes and duties. The rate of export-imports licenced through the one-stop-shop customs mechanism would reach 50 per cent by 2015 and 90 per cent by 2020. The customs sector had faced difficulties in implementing the e-customs system due to lack of human resources, IT infrastructure and legal policies in some areas, Anh said. He added that the customs sector strived to speed up clearance times to those of advanced countries in the ASEAN region by 2020. At present, customs clearance times were up to three times that of advanced countries in the region. All data would be processed centrally from 2015. The general department said the cost of the strategy would be met from the state budget, private sector and international support.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/04/2011

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The Recipe for a Citizen-Centric ICT Policy

A citizen-centric ICT policy is one that ensures a balanced socio-economic development in the country by way of bridging the digital divide between communities. It is where the government advocates a more accessible, effective and accountable use of ICT in the effective delivery of services to the public, thus promoting more engagements and transparency in the interaction between the public and the government. According to Dr. Amir, an inclusive ICT policy involves a trisectoral representation which comprises of members from the public, private and community interest sectors. "Forging a trisectoral partnership is important as it enables the participation and inclusion of all sectors in policy planning and decision-making. In addition, it also builds consensus and wills to create a conducive environment for the growth of a knowledge-based economy," he said. "Trisectoral representations allow public sector organisations to engage with all relevant stakeholders, identify key areas of concern, and deliberate on all issues and propose policy interventions".

Through a process of consultations, Dr. Amir says that the government hopes to formulate policies that are citizen-centric, inclusive, and relevant. To cite an example, Dr. Amir says that the Malaysian Government took steps to engage the citizens, business communities, the Academe, and NGOs in various consultation platforms to gather opinions on issues that are of interest to everyone. "These consultations were led by the government through strategic workshops held throughout the nation beginning with the Government Transformation Program at the end of 2009 and Economic Transformation Program in the middle of 2010 and continuously until today and into the future to ensure the success of the projects identified," he said. At present, Malaysia is moving towards a citizen-centric Government from merely offering basic information online through static websites to providing interactive and transactional online services across Government agencies and through multi-delivery channels. "It has moved away from services based on how the Government is organized to services based on the needs of the citizens," Dr. Amir said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/09/2011

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AFRICA: Nigeria - Looking for National Broadband Policy

MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd has called for a National Broadband Policy to serve as a roadmap for broadband penetration and service delivery in the country. Akinwale Goodluck, MTN Corporate Service Executive, made the call at a capacity-building session for journalists in Abuja. Goodluck said that lack of a broadband policy posed greater challenge to ICT services in the country. "Government also needs to articulate policies and strategies for driving broadband usage through e-Governance, e-Commerce and e-Economy services. Broadband penetration is meaningless without appropriate regulatory environment which will enhance the delivery of converged services," he said. Speaking on the Importance of Broadband Access in Nigeria, Akinwale noted the unavailability of backbone infrastructure, Local Content Development and Rollout Support also hindered the penetration of broadband across the country. He said that in order to encourage aggressive rollout of long-distance and metropolitan fibre infrastructure, MTN in December 2010, added 693.8 km of backbone and 44.64 km of metro fiber to expand its capacity. Akinwade said that widespread penetration of broadband infrastructure and services were critical for actualising the country's socio-economic potentials. He noted that with Broadband penetration, there could be access in rural communities to health information technologies (HIT).


From http://egovonline.net/ 05/04/2011

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RWANDA: New ICT Plan to Target Local Communities

Kigali - The National ICT Plan (NICI 3), to run from 2011-2015, will focus more on using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for community service delivery, David Kanamugire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry in the Office of the President in charge of ICT, has disclosed. The plan will mainly put emphasis on facilitating the shift from an agricultural based economy to a knowledge based one. Speaking during a stakeholders' meeting yesterday, Kanamugire said that 'NICI 3' would accelerate service delivery and advance the country's development. "Our aim is to empower and transform communities through improved access to information and services using ICT," he added. He stated that after consolidating the enabling environment during the previous NICI plans, the aim is now to maximise returns on important government investments with focus on the delivery of efficient ICT supported services. The NICI 3 builds on the work and lessons learned from the previous NICI 1 (formulating policies) and NICI 2 (Setting up the infrastructure) The ICT plan cuts across five clusters identified to fuel continued growth; skills development, private sector development, community development, e-Government and cyber security. The forum that brought together national ICT stakeholders was aimed at presenting and validating NICI 3 cluster projects following a wide range of consultations between stakeholders of all the five clusters.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/29/2011

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ASIA-PACIFIC: 76% Governments Recognize Need for ICT Sustainability Strategy

MANILA (PNA) - More than three quarters of Asia- Pacific government chief information officers (CIOs) and information technology (IT) managers have realized the need for a dedicated office to plan and execute an overall ICT sustainability strategy, according to a new poll released today by APC of Schneider Electric conducted at a FutureGov event. Interestingly for ICT vendors, 76 percent of the participants indicated that they include sustainability criteria in the evaluation and selection of ICT purchases. As an effort to explore Asia-Pacific's attitudes towards energy efficiency, the poll results underscore the importance of spreading awareness of energy management amid the high environmental and financial cost of energy throughout this region. Remarkably, of the 32 percent of respondents who said that cost and/or availability of electricity will have a significant impact on their data center's ability to support operations over the next three years, more than 70 percent were from developing countries - India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.

Representatives from the more developed Asia-Pacific countries polled - China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore - were less concerned with the supply of energy, noting that it may only affect a limited number of departments or have a minimal impact. In the Philippines, the government is taking action to augment the increasing power crisis that may affect the operational efficiency of the data center sector. These facilities, which are operated by multinational and local companies for in-house and outsourcing purposes, are critical in maintaining the country's economic stability and capability to compete in the global market. Efforts are also being initiated even by private organizations that aim to promote energy efficiency among the various industries in the private sector. "It's important that government decision makers understand that the cost of not solving this problem is significantly higher than the solution," added Philippe Reveilhac, president, Schneider Electric Philippines. "All government CIOs and ICT managers now realize that this cost burden is unsustainable for their country - it diminishes the funds available for investment in productivity, expansion of output, and ultimately affects their overall global competitively," he said.

A majority of governments recognize that the data center is a key focus area for reducing energy consumption, with only 20 percent of respondents not focused in this area. For building a new data center or expanding existing operations, energy efficiency was considered a high priority by 72 percent of respondents. The top initiatives included server virtualization and consolidation, policy implementation and cooling system re-design. "With the global rise of energy prices and the looming threat of an energy crisis, energy is becoming more than just expensive - it's a liability," added Reveilhac. "It's important for all Asia-Pacific government agencies to recognize the urgency of implementing energy efficient technology, and an intelligent energy management data center solution is one of the first steps to reducing risk and controlling costs." APC by Schneider Electric offers comprehensive energy management solutions in data centers that can cut energy use by up to 30 percent. APC by Schneider Electric's solutions help businesses and government organizations alike get more from their energy, be more productive and make their operations more sustainable. The independent survey of 118 government CIOs and IT managers was conducted by APC of Schneider Electric at a FutureGov event in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and sought to benchmark regional efforts around energy efficient ICT that has been implemented in government agencies and plans for the future.


From http://positivenewsmedia.net/ 05/02/2011

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Smart Grid Initiatives Offer Big Opportunities to APEC

Trade officials, regulators and industry experts from APEC economies gathered for a two-day dialogue to discuss the challenges and opportunities of domestic smart grid initiatives and how to facilitate trade and investment related to this emerging technology. The aim of the dialogue was to broaden the understanding of the relationship between smart grid interoperability standards and trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC recognizes smart grid development as a way to address climate change and improve energy efficiency. It also promotes green growth, which is a key priority for APEC during the 2011 U.S. host year.

Dr. Wilbert Charlton Adams, Jr., past president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association, told participants at the dialogue that smart grid not only has "revolutionary benefits" for the environment, but also has "a potential USD 30 trillion dollar global business opportunity over the next two decades." Another study predicted that the potential market for smart grid products would be more than USD 170 billion in 2014. APEC economies are already investing billions in the development of smart grid infrastructure and technologies. At the dialogue, participants agreed that early cooperation on interoperability standards will help prevent technical barriers to trade from emerging. Interoperability - or the ability of a system or a product to work seamlessly with other systems or products - is a major technical challenge facing smart grid deployment, and greater standardization is the key to addressing this.

"The widespread benefit [of smart grid] can only be realized through interoperability, achieved through successful standards cooperation," said Dr. Adams. "Attaining global smart grid interoperability will be a cornerstone of future global economic development." Smart grid interoperability standards will have a direct impact on trade, affecting many APEC economies. Addressing unnecessary technical barriers to trade and investment related to smart grid technologies is therefore the goal of the APEC Regulatory Cooperation Advancement Mechanism - an initiative of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment to advance regulatory cooperation on emerging regulatory issues.

"Standards are the glue that will hold the smart grid together - ensuring all the components are interoperable," said Mr. Ken Kozlik, Chief Operating Officer of Ontario, Canada's Independent Electricity System Operator, who also spoke at the dialogue. "The adoption and application of standards can promote trade opportunities, or create barriers if they are ignored," he added. The APEC Committee on Trade and Investment and other APEC working groups have been meeting in Big Sky, Montana to advance their work to strengthen regional economic integration and promote trade. APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade and Small and Medium-size Enterprises are also meeting in Big Sky to discuss the progress on the year's priorities.


From http://www.apec.org/ 05/14/2011

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EUROPE: Technical Rules Agreed for Using 4G Wireless Broadband Devices on GSM Frequencies

Technical rules on how the 900 and 1800 MHz radio frequency bands should be opened up to advanced 4th generation (4G) communication devices have just been adopted by the European Commission. The rules, which are important to avoid interference problems with existing GSM and 3G devices, are an important step to bringing wireless broadband access to more EU citizens and businesses. The Commission Decision, which must be implemented by Member States by the end of 2011, will therefore help to achieve the targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe to give every European access to basic broadband by 2013 and fast and ultra fast broadband by 2020 (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, said: "This Decision opens the way for the latest 4G mobile devices to gain access to the radio spectrum they need to operate, and so further stimulate high-speed broadband services and foster more competition."

The new Decision forms part of the Commission's efforts to ensure that wireless communications gain access to the radio spectrum they require to develop their full potential. In particular, the Commission's Decision sets out technical parameters allowing for the co-existence on the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands of GSM (2G mobile phones), 3G systems that add mobile internet to regular phone services (using the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System - UMTS) and 4G mobile technology delivering high speed broadband (using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) systems, enabling larger amounts of information to be processed and transmitted). Such coexistence is foreseen in the revised GSM Directive on the use of radio spectrum for mobile services (IP/09/1192).

The Decision sets up a mechanism for the adoption of technical harmonisation rules based on input received from national radio frequency experts. National administrations have until 31 December 2011 to implement the Decision into their national rules so that GSM bands are effectively made available for LTE and WiMAX systems. Based on the Commission's first steps to open the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands in 2009 (IP/09/1545), Member States have already had to examine competition between mobile operators and address any distortions of competition, in accordance with the EU's telecoms rules. In 2009, technical studies were undertaken to demonstrate that LTE and WiMAX could safely coexist with the other systems already using the same bandwidth. These studies also clarified the technical conditions under which the systems using the 900 and 1800 MHz bands will be able to protect systems in neighbouring frequency bands, such as GSM for railways and aeronautical services, from interference. Member States are obliged to give appropriate protection to systems in adjacent frequency bands.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/18/2011

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Net Neutrality: Europe Decides Against Legislation and Leaves Market & Competition to Enforce Net Neutrality

There is no need for legislation to protect "net neutrality" the European Commission has said in its long awaited report published today. Instead, the European executive believes that the market and competition would ensure the neutrality of the internet. In essence, the European Commission endorsed the views expressed by Internet Service Providers and Telecom companies that they need to manage their traffic to "ensure the smooth flow of internet traffic, particularly at times when networks become congested". While this decision would be welcome by the corporate world, activists are disappointed. Digital rights activists have been warning that ISPs and telecom providers are blocking some services such as Skype - a fact which has been acknowledged by the European Commission. However, the Commission report points out that those blockages were resolved "voluntarily" and "often through intervention" by member state regulators as well as adverse reports from the media. EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, however, pledged to monitor the situation and has asked BEREC, the European electronic Communications regulatory body to investigate the "blocakge" issue.

"Over the next few months, in close cooperation with Member States' regulatory authorities, I will be closely monitoring respect for new EU rules to make sure that they ensure an open internet. At the end of 2011, I will publish the results, including any instances of blocking or throttling certain types of traffic," she said. "If I am not satisfied, I will not hesitate to come up with more stringent measures, which may take the form of guidance or even general legislative measures to achieve the competition and choice consumers deserve. If this proves to be insufficient, I am ready to prohibit the blocking of lawful services or applications." But the Commission does not think that there is a need for a law to regulate the internet. The European Executive believes by empowering consumers and ensuring transparency in traffic management, competition and markets would ensure "net neutrality" is preserved. Under new rules coming into effect next month service providers would have to transparent and provide information bout possible restrictions on access to particular services, actual connection speeds and possible limits on internet speeds. There will be an obligation for telecoms providers under the new EU telecoms rules applicable from 25 May 2011 that consumers are informed - before signing a contract - about the precise nature of the service to which they are subscribing, including traffic management techniques and their impact on service quality, as well as any other limitations (such as bandwidth caps or available connection speed).

The decision by the Commission has disappointed internet freedom activists. La Quadrature du Net, an online civil liberties pressure group, accused the Commissioner of succumbing to the lobbying pressures of the telecoms lobby. Hiding behind false free-market arguments, Mrs Kroes gives way to anti-competitive practices harmful to freedom of communication and innovation in the digital environment... "Mrs Kroes hides behind false free-market arguments to do nothing at all, pretending that competition and consumer law can successfully address the issue. In most Member States, mobile phone operators agree on engaging in the very same discriminations in their so-called 'mobile Internet" offers. These operators simply do not offer access to the universal platform of communications we call 'the Internet". By turning a blind eye on these practices, the Commission covers anti-competitive behaviours that hinder innovation and violate users' freedom of communication." However, telecom providers and cable operators have welcomed the Commission's decision.

"In order to support the growth of the digital market and a sustainable Internet model, industry and policy makers should adopt an open and supportive approach to new business models that sustain investments in higher capacity networks," Luigi Gambardella, Executive Board Chairman of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association said welcoming Commissioner Kroes announcement. In highly competitive markets for fixed and mobile broadband, any further regulation that would restrict traffic management and service differentiation would undermine Europe's digital economy and hamper innovation," he added. "We have moved forward in as much as we now have a confirmed position from the Commission, and that is that we should leave things and see how they develop," said Matthew Howett, telecoms analyst at Ovum. "It is a very strong message. The worst thing the commission could have done is to jump ahead and come up with some ill-proscribed rules and obligations."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/19/2011

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FRANCE: Net Giants Challenge French Data Law

Google and Facebook are among a group of net heavyweights taking the French government to court this week. The legal challenge has been brought by The French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC) and relates to government plans to keep web users' personal data for a year. The case will be heard by the State Council, France's highest judicial body. More than 20 firms are involved, including eBay and Dailymotion. The law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. Police, the fraud office, customs, tax and social security bodies will all have the right of access.

ASIC head Benoit Tabaka believes that the data law is unnecessarily draconian. "Several elements are problematic," he said. "For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission. Our companies are based in several European countries. "Our activities target many national markets, so it is clear that we need a common approach," said Mr Tabaka. ASIC also thinks that passwords should not be collected and warned that retaining them could have security implications. "This is a shocking measure," added Mr Tabaka. The main aim of the legal challenge, which will be launched later this week, is to see the law cancelled.

Privacy record
Both Facebook and Google have run into privacy-related problems in the past. Facebook was forced to overhaul its privacy settings following criticism that they were too complex. Google was criticised for lack of privacy in its Buzz social network, which it linked to Gmail accounts without seeking prior permission from users. The search giant eventually agreed to submit to annual privacy audits as part of a settlement reached over the controversy. France took tough action against Google when it accidentally collected personal data during the setting up of its Street View service. The French privacy watchdog, CNIL, was one of the only bodies to fine the company. The £87,000 fine was the largest ever handed out by CNIL.


From http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 04/06/2011

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France: The DGOS Unveils Five Priorities for eHealth Deployment in 2011

On 31 March 2011, Annie Podeur, Director General of Care Provision (Directrice G谷n谷rale de l'Offre de Soins - DGOS, in French), Ministry of Health, presented five priority areas for the deployment of eHealth in 2011. While the national deployment of eHealth is still in preparation, the DGOS has chosen to identify five priority areas for 2011. These themes "have been subject to a number of criteria, the impact on a population level - do we have an effect on a large number of patients? -, the ethical impact (...) in terms of equal access and conditions of access, free consent, adequate patient information," said Ms Podeur in a recorded speech which was broadcast on the opening day of the 11th Annual CATEL (Network of actors in the eHealth field) Telehealth Day, held at the Ministry of Health.

The first three objectives focus "on relatively mature fields, that is, the pilots were implemented in several regions." In these domains, the objective is "to shape eHealth applications so as to make them fully widespread." The first priority area is medical imaging, "not solely as a technology but as a response to a concern for the continuity of healhcare (...). The transmission of images can be a means to serve the emergency services which have to be treated immediately, without necessarily needing a radiologist on duty all night." Tele-imaging is also a way of providing support for cerebrovascular accidents (CVA). "Communication with specialists, with a neurovascular unit in particular, can be paramount in terms of the quality of care and in limiting side effects. This area is mature enough for us to deploy rapidly, as long as we have a public health plan for CVA that is in need of this support."

Moreover, "the health of inmates is a concern shared by all of government and Parliament as a whole," she said. "If we are able to provide consultations, tele-expertise to professionals who are in penal institutions (...) we will have gained access." The other two priorities "also highlight accessibility and the course of healthcare, but they are much less mature." The first concerns support for chronic diseases, especially renal failure, heart failure and diabetes. "We propose for each region to choose a chronic disease among these three and to focus its efforts on it," she said. Lastly, remote monitoring and teleconsultation will be encouraged in the medical and social facilities and in home care (HC) to "provide healthcare, including complex healthcare, without relocating people who, by definition, are vulnerable." The DGOS intends "to capitalise on these areas to bring to the surface organisational models, but also business models" that are still characterised by their "lack of clarity."


From http://www.epractice.eu/ 04/19/2011

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SWEDEN: Digitisation Council Discusses the Strategies of the National Digital Agenda

Sweden's IT and Regional Affairs Minister Anna-Karin Hatt met the newly created Digitisation Council (Digitaliseringsrådet, in Swedish) for the first time on 14 March 2011, in order to discuss the strategies to be adopted concerning the Digital Agenda for Sweden (digital agenda för Sverige, in Swedish). The Digital Agenda for Sweden aims to be a coherent strategy to better utilise its existing resources, and to benefit from and contribute to the Digital Agenda for Europe. The meeting of the Digitisation Council discussed the objectives of the Digital Agenda and the key areas that the agenda should include. During the meeting, several participants stressed that it was important that the objectives of the Digital Agenda were practical as well as ambitious and measurable, in order to avoid it becoming a paper tiger. It could for example be focused on finding solutions to how public sector actors can best utilise and make available the enormous public datasets which are accumulated. It was also highlighted that the employment of a democratic perspective was crucial for future progress. Ms Hatt said: "I'm really glad Digitisation Council is now in place and running. Thus the process of designing the Digital Agenda has moved to a new phase, following the successful thematic roundtable talks." She added: "It is also about further anchoring the process so that we can realise the vision of Sweden as the world's most successful digital society." The Digitisation Council consists of 27 members and serves to advise Ms Hatt on matters including the design and realisation of the national IT strategy, A Digital Agenda for Sweden. The Council will meet about four times a year.


From http://www.epractice.eu/ 03/25/2011

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SCOTLAND: Strategy for National Infrastructure

A strategy to improve the security and resilience around critical infrastructure in Scotland has been published today. Scotland's first ever Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) Strategy addresses resilience issues from risks such as flooding, pandemic influenza, extreme weather and terrorism. It will establish a co-ordinated approach to security across the nine sectors, both devolved and reserved, that deliver essential services. These are energy, transport, finance, communications, water, food, health, emergency services and Government services. The Strategy will see the Scottish Government work with the UK Government, emergency services and infrastructure operators.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The Strategy draws together a wide range of bodies engaged in CNI activity to enhance the security and resilience of infrastructure sites in Scotland in the event of unforeseen or emergency circumstances. "The Scottish Government has a key role to ensure Scotland's resilience is as strong as it can be. The Strategy is leading policy development - it is the first of its kind in the UK and has been developed in collaboration with the UK Government. "Addressing a wide range of risks in a holistic way will deepen understanding of the interdependencies between different sectors. We will do this by assessing risks, prioritising the key security and resilience issues and working in partnership across the spectrum of UK and Scottish Government, industry and local responders."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/22/2011

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Digital Economy Act: Government Is Within Its Right to Tackle Copyright Infringement Rules High Court

This would be a big boost to the media industry which claims it loses an estimated £400 Million in revenues per year. Under the Digital Economy act, the internet service providers would be required to identify users who illegally download material and violate copyright. The offenders would be sent a warning letter but if they continue with their copyright violations, they could have their internet services disconnected. But the ISPs got a little victory of their own as well when Justice Kenneth Parker ruled that they would not have to bear the costs of policing the offenders. So now the ISPs would no longer have to pay 25% of the cost to establish an appeals body but they would still have to pay 25% of the cost of letters sent to offenders who subscribe to their services and the copyright holders would bear the remaining costs. But the ISPs have indicated that they would appeal the ruling.

"We're disappointed that we were unsuccessful on most of the judicial review. On the question of the proportionality of the act, we're pleased the judge identified issues but disappointed that he felt that the evidence of the futility of the measures imposed by the act, and the cost and harm they will cause, is not sufficiently definitive enough at this stage to uphold our claim," a spokesperson for TalkTalk said. "We are reviewing this long and complex judgment and considering our options, which may include an appeal to the court of appeal, or a request that the court of appeal make a reference to European court of justice. Though we may have lost this particular battle, we will continue fighting to defend our customers' rights against this ill-judged legislation," he added. "Protecting our customers is our number one priority and we will consider our options once we have fully understood the implications for our customers and businesses," BT said in a statement. "This was always about seeking clarity on certain points of law and we have to consider whether this judgment achieves these aims."

However, the other stakeholders including the creative industries and unions have welcomed the ruling. TUC's general Secretary Brendan Barber welcomed the ruling and said this would protect the livelihoods of those working in the creative industries. The DEA offers a fair, proportionate and entirely reasonable way to help promote a change in behaviour and point people to the legal sources of video entertainment through the notice sending process," said the British Video Association's chief Lavinia Carey. "Several other countries are adopting this measure and it would be bad for Britain's creative industries to be left behind more forward thinking nations who are supporting their creative economies at this difficult time of transition towards increased digital consumption during this period of recession."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/21/2011

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - 40% of Public Sector Organisations Bringing Forward Shared Services Plan

The findings in this study are based on a survey run in January 2011 of 106 senior managers and directors in the public sector. Of these 45% were in local government, 19% in education, 16% in the NHS, with the rest from Third Sector, Central Government and Blue Light organisations. Just over half of public sector bodies already have some type of Shared Service functions in place. However, in 2011, 40% of organisations are bringing forward plans to use Shared Services and a further 9% say that the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) has led them to opt for a Shared Service strategy where they did not have one before.

As a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review, expectations of cost-savings from Shared Service Centres are rising up to around 20%, in line, or a little below, required budgetary reductions. Despite this expectation we can discern no rush to private sector suppliers for outsourcing contracts or Joint Ventures. The most popular types of Shared Service Centre structure involve public sector bodies taking charge and doing it for themselves. Be that via a dominant Lead Department model, a Joint Initiative Model or by a Strategic Partnership model. The preferred prospective partnership is between adjacent local authorities where the political party in power is not an issue, closely followed by partnerships with educational establishments and Third Sector organisations. K2 Advisory strongly believes there are enough good, strategically-focused CIOs with involvement in forward-thinking Shared Service projects to provide services, guidance and partnership opportunities to those that are not as far down this path. In other words, the CIO community within the UK public sector is seizing the opportunity to successfully create Shared Services without requiring external leadership.

In 2011/12 the highest priority area for migration to Shared Service delivery is ICT. But our research suggests that the CIO is only likely to be considered as Head of the Shared Services function, where he or she has management experience outside of the IT Department, ie: the more strategically-focused CIOs. This holds true even where IT is the sole Shared Service and/or IT is the largest employer in the Shared Service function. Rightly or wrongly most public sector bodies appear to be planning a tower by tower approach to Shared Services rather than looking to develop multi-process Shared Service Centres. The perception is that the multi-process approach may be too grandiose in ambition, and too costly to attempt in one (very large) project. K2 Advisory findings are that frontline customer services are the least popular area for using Shared Services delivery despite the Total Place initiative. This may be a missed opportunity for joining up back office processes with frontline delivery in order to properly execute Total Place.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 03/08/2011

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A Congressional Spending Bill Would Cut Most of the Funding for Transparency Websites

A U.S. government budget for 2011 being considered in Congress would make huge cuts to the budget for President Barack Obama's transparency programs, including websites where residents can track government spending and examine data from federal agencies. The budget for the Electronic Government Fund would be cut from US$34 million to $2 million in the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which passed through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in February. The Senate has yet to pass the legislation. In recent years, Congress and the president have taken steps to increase government transparency, said the Sunlight Foundation, a transparency advocacy group. The proposed cuts "would put the American people back in the dark," the group said in a letter to congressional leaders sent Monday. The Electronic Government Fund pays for services such as USASpending.gov, Data.gov and the IT Dashboard, a website that tracks federal IT projects.

Daniel Schuman, policy counsel at the Sunlight Foundation, defended the services in a letter, saying they help government run more efficiently, save taxpayer money and aid oversight. An open government is important for democracy, the Sunlight Foundation letter added. The open government initiatives "increase citizen knowledge of and involvement in the democratic process," the letter said. "Fully realized transparency would allow us to track every expense and truly understand how money like that in the electronic government fund flows to federal programs. Government spending and performance data must be available online, in real time, and in machine-readable formats." A spokeswoman for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner didn't immediately respond to a request for a comment on the Sunlight Foundation concerns.

Obama has made government transparency programs a top priority in his administration, although he's gotten mixed reviews on the efforts. Obama issued a memo on open government and transparency in January 2009, during his first days in office. "Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing," the Obama memo said. "Information maintained by the federal government is a national asset. My administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use." Several Republican members of Congress have also pledged to increase government transparency efforts and examine the policies of the Obama administration.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 03/31/2011

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CHINA: Internet Supervision a Tough Challenge

Regulating the Internet has become a tough job for public opinion management in China. The Internet mirrors not only the complexity of Chinese society, but also the interactions between China and the world. It is a hodgepodge of ideas and opinions. Stemming from Western society, the Internet has a Western cultural pattern that China has copied thoroughly. Friction and maladjustment inevitably take place as China syncs up with the Internet. This is bound to be a process of mutual change and compromise. Recently, the West has slammed China for its "stern" Internet regulations. They hope China could keep the original Internet background of a Western social environment. They have aimed similar criticisms against other nonWestern countries. Some small countries have given up their efforts to localize the Internet, which actually demonstrates their acceptance of reform to the beat of a Western drum. A rising China and the emergence of the Internet need to interact with each other. Between the two, neither confrontation nor one overwhelming the other is imaginable. The two have to integrate whatever the hurdles may be. The Internet has brought so many benefits for China. Its rapid growth here proves that Chinese and Western societies share much more in common than previously imagined. However, the Internet often calls for instant change in China, to narrow the gap between Chinese and Western societies.

This is impractical, and the revision of some Internet rules inevitably take place. This is a natural and nearly instinctive need based on China's social reality. However, this need has often become politicized. Each country needs to adjust some Internet rules based on its reality. The biggest problem facing China is that many complaints and appeals abruptly converge on the Internet, since the nation previously lacked a smooth channel for public expression. The Internet has broken China's previous social calm, and forced society to proceed hurriedly in respect of issues like democracy. At the same time, the Internet provides a convenient way to spread rumors and magnify quibbles, which directly impacts upon China's social stability. The adaptability and flexibility of Chinese society has proven strong over the past years. Some decisive regulation measures over the Internet were largely adopted during special periods or in places that witnessed social unrest. No one saw these temporary measures as ideal they are more like costs that China has to take on in order to properly connect to the Internet. In respect of China's social governance, it is an urgent task to seek better regulation measures and replace the existing crude ones. China needs both the Internet and social stability. The two do not necessarily conflict with each other. They actually see much more fusion than friction, and China must try its best to press home this advantage.


From Global Times 03/25/2011

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China Clarifies Rules on Internet Distribution of Publications

Agencies or individuals in China are required to have a license to distribute publications through information networks including the Internet, according to a latest regulation issued by China's press and publication watchdog. Also, publication distributors who already have a permit for publishing, should report to publication authorities within 15 days if they have a newly started Internet-based publications business, said the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). According to the regulation posted Thursday on GAPP's official website, agencies or individuals must not distribute publications that infringe upon others' copyrights.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/01/2011

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Justice Takes Steps onto Blogs

The justice authority in an East China city has begun to publish documents and notices on a micro blog, the country's first government organization to take such a step. The justice bureau of Haining city, Zhejiang province, said on the city government website last Saturday it would launch a micro blog on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, to post the bureau's documents and notices. On the same day, the bureau posted its first online notice that it sent to the city's judiciary offices on their workers' duties. "The launch of our official micro blog aims to let the public know how the government works," said Jin Zhongyi, chief of Haining justice bureau, who opened his personal micro blog one and a half years ago. "As there is a word limit on a micro blog, we will release clear and simplified documents on it, which has the same administrative effects as paper documents," said Jin. All of the bureau's 14 judicial offices, one legal aid center as well as one notary office have launched micro blogs with 18 bureau officials owning personal micro blogs. "We'd like to take advantage of the Internet to make our work more transparent and efficient by inviting experts and netizens to take part in online interaction," said Jin. Weibo service was first launched by sina.com.cn, one of China's biggest web portals, in August 2009. More than 5,000 companies and 2,700 media organizations in China are using Sina Weibo, according to Jin Taotao, a public relations officer of Sina Corporation. "We're delighted that the government department tried to use Weibo as a new platform to communicate with the public, and we hope that more netizens and organizations will utilize the new media tool," he said. The use of micro blogs among government organizations started with police using them to collect information on cases. Since police in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province, launched the first police micro blog in February last year, more than 1,200 police micro blogs have been opened. For most netizens, micro-blogging has turned into an essential tool for news updates, gossip from friends and celebrities as well as information from the government. "I've spent most of my leisure time writing and forwarding micro blogs, which are interesting news or updates from friends and celebrities," said Han Li, a Shanghai netizen. Han added that the release of official documents on micro blogs will hopefully enable the public to access government documents and communicate more closely with officials.


From China Daily 04/07/2011

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China Unveils Guidelines for Online Third-party Payment Service Providers

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Tuesday published its long-awaited guidelines for e-commerce third-party payment service providers in a bid to regulate a rapidly developing business-to-consumer (B2C) industry that processes about six times as many transactions as world retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The 16-page publication aims to create a "fair, honest and safe" transaction platform for the country's online retailers and shoppers, Jiang Zengwei, vice minister of commerce, told a forum on China's e-commerce industry that opened on Tuesday in Beijing. The MOC's guidelines echoed an ongoing campaign by the Chinese government to crack down on activities related to copyright infringement and the production and sale of fake and counterfeit products nationwide. The guidelines spelled out the roles and principles of online business participants, consumers and third-party payment service providers. The guidelines ordered third-party payment service providers whose daily transactions exceed 100 million yuan (15.3 million U.S. dollars) to establish a backup system in multiple locations in case of a disaster. The guidelines also stipulate that an e-commerce third-party payment service provider should not sell its own business over the platform through which it serves other B2C participants. Under the guidelines, online third-party payment service providers must store their online transaction data for at least two years, and must not disclose this online transaction data to a third party except as otherwise stipulated by law. China has the world's highest number of Internet users, with about 457 million netizens, among whom 148 million were active online shoppers as of the end of last year. China's B2C transactions topped 4 trillion yuan (611 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, compared to Wal-Mart's total revenue of 116.3 billion U.S. dollars, according to the MOC.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/12/2011

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China to Boost IC Sector as 'State Strategy'

China will boost the integrated circuit (IC) sector at a "state strategy" level over the next five years through 2015, Yang Xueshan, vice minister of industry and information technology has said. China's IC sales will likely top 330 billion yuan (50.54 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015 and meet 27.5 percent of domestic demand, Yang told Xinhua Friday. Also, the sector will produce a series of chips with independent intellectual property rights. Under the plan, development of about 30 percent of the IC products used by China's major whole-set enterprises would occur domestically, Yang said. IC production demands intensive capital and technology. For example, designing a 45-nanometer IC requires 40 million U.S. dollars and building a 12-inch production line costs 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, said Xiao Hua, director of the information department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Yang said that a nation must support the development of the IC sector, and China lags far behind the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other countries in providing state support to the sector.

China's IC producers are mostly medium-sized or small enterprises with limited funds and technology. Yang said that China's relevant departments would support and coordinate IC production with linkages including research, manufacturing and marketing during the 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) period. China's IC sales reached 144.02 billion yuan in 2010, making up about 8.6 percent of the global market, according to the MIIT. As the world's largest IC market, China can only meet 20 percent of its domestic demand with independently designed IC products. China has faced challenges in boosting the IC sector because of outdated equipment, said Xu Xiaotian, executive deputy director general of the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA). The MIIT expects China's IC market to top 1.2 trillion yuan in 2015. IC products add significant value to products. A 3G mobile phone chip, for example, is responsible for about half of the phone's total cost. China's chips rely heavily on imports. The country's imports of IC products topped 156.99 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, according to the MIIT. An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as IC, chip, and microchip) is an electronic circuit manufactured by diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. Computers, cellular phones and other digital appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the low cost of production of integrated circuits.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/16/2011

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China to Implement New Internet Regulation: MIIT

China will implement a new regulation to further control the online industry after a dispute between two Chinese Internet giants, Tencent and Qihoo 360, caused harm to their users, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday. Zhang Feng, director of the ministry's Department of Communications Development, made the announcement at a press conference concerning China's first-quarter industrial operations. "We have finishing soliciting opinions for the new regulation and will publish it soon," Zhang said. The move is part of a bid to strengthen the management of the country's online market and promote the healthy and orderly development of the industry, he said. Zhang said the ministry is also working on an online industry development plan to be implemented during the country's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015). Tencent, China's largest Internet company, said on November 3, 2010 that it would remotely disable the QQ instant-messaging service on computers that had security software designed by Qihoo 360 installed on them. The announcement was the result of a previous dispute between the companies. Unfair competitive practices between the two companies, especially the move to unilaterally shut down the instant-messaging service, affected users and caused "bad social consequences," according to a MIIT statement. Tencent has 600 million registered QQ users, while Qihoo 360, China's largest free anti-virus software provider, has 300 million clients.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/20/2011

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China to Reduce Mobile Phone Test Charges: NDRC

China will slash test charges for its mobile phone makers by 25 percent on average starting June 1, the country's top economic planner said Friday. The move aims to regulate charging activities imposed on Chinese businesses and relieve their financial burdens, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a notice concerning regulating and lowering fees charged on mobile phone tests. Those tests include approvals of mobile phone models, Internet access and China Compulsory Certification (3C certification), according to the notice. Also, testing organizations failing to submit test reports in five days will have to cut test fees by half. Tests will be free of charge if they submit reports in more than five days or reexamine defective phones, said the notice. The move is expected to save 150 million yuan (about 23.08 million U.S. dollars) for the country's mobile phone makers annually, said the NDRC.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/29/2011

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China Regulator Defends Internet Role

An official from China's new Internet regulator defended the nation's Internet controls from critics, saying they are in line with efforts elsewhere to protect privacy and block obscenity, gambling and other activities. The unnamed official was quoted Thursday in a report from China's state-run Xinhua news agency that clarified the role of the new agency amid China's already crowded Internet regulatory landscape, saying the new State Internet Information Office will coordinate and streamline oversight and enforcement and will be run by officials from agencies already involved with Internet regulation. In this file photo, people use computers at an Internet cafe in Fuyang, in central China's Anhui province. China has the world's biggest population of Internet users, with more than 450 million people online. The official said "untenable" remarks made by critics are intended to "tarnish the image of China," according to Xinhua, adding that China's policies are meant to safeguard information security and the development of the Chinese Internet amid an industry boom. "A small group of people have made irresponsible remarks about China's Internet regulations, disregarding basic fact," the official said.

The office aims to deal with the "current bad environment of the Internet in China," which the person said included fake information, obscene and vulgar material and gambling. Many other nations have legislation in place to restrict similar activity, the official said. China's censorship policies have become a growing source of tension in U.S.-China relations. The Obama administration has brought the issue of Internet freedom to the forefront, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledging to promote it and naming China as part of a global threat to the free flow of information. Chinese officials have pushed back, accusing the U.S. of using Internet freedom as pretext to interfere in China's internal affairs. On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D, Ill.) wrote a letter to Robin Li, chief executive of Chinese Internet search giant Baidu Inc. expressing concerns that the company wasn't taking measures to safeguard human rights, including "freedom of expression and privacy," in light of speculation that it is planning to enter a partnership with Facebook Inc. to provide a social-networking service in China. Mr. Durbin said he is working on legislation that would require companies to "take steps to protect human rights or face liability," and that Baidu would be subject to such legislation because its shares are traded in the U.S.

Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo declined to comment on Thursday, saying the company had just seen the senator's remarks and questions. Baidu is the most popular website in China, with more than three quarters share of the Web search market by revenue. Chinese authorities, who use Web filtering technology to block overseas websites and require locally operated companies such as Baidu to keep prohibited content off their websites, have stepped up these efforts this year following unrest in the Middle East and in the wake of online calls to hold similar protests in China. Regulations are currently ordered and enforced by a number of government agencies, but Xinhua said China's new State Internet Information Office will play a supervisory role regarding managing content including Internet news, online games, and others, though the extent of how much it will streamline matters is unclear. The office will also investigate and punish what it considers illegal websites and supervise domain name and website registration. The office will be based within the State Council Information Office, the propaganda arm of the central government. It will be headed by representatives from the SCIO; from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates the technology and telecommunications sectors; and the Ministry of Public Security, the law-enforcement body. An SCIO spokeswoman declined to give further details, referring questions to the Xinhua report.

Analysts say the move underscores a strong interest by the government to more closely regulate information flow and the Internet, which has become a booming business shaped by non-government owned companies despite the strict controls. "In theory, effective centralized control should simplify the regulatory environment given the current situation of various agencies with overlapping and unclear mandates involved in managing the Internet," said James Zimmerman, a Beijing-based lawyer with Squire Sanders & Dempsey and former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce-China. "However, I don't believe that the State Council's intent is to make the system more user-friendly or to divest all of the other agencies with jurisdiction over the Internet," he said. "This is really about consolidating certain key functions in an effort to better manage the government's public message and public image. Significant challenges remain for Internet companies."


From http://online.wsj.com/ 05/05/2011

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JAPAN: TV Broadcasts and the Internet

Two Supreme Court rulings in January on services that allow TV programs to be viewed by people overseas via the Internet highlight copyright problems related to TV broadcasts in the Internet age. In the first case, NHK and five private TV networks based in Tokyo sued a Tokyo-based company that markets a service that allows a person living overseas to view TV programs in real time through a personal computer. The system consists of a TV antenna linked to transmitters that feed broadcasts via the Internet directly to a customer's PC. The lower courts ruled that there were no copyright infringements because the service does not transmit TV programs to an unspecified number of people. They noted that the TV program transfer is done by an individual and that the program is available to that particular person. But the Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 18 that the company violated the broadcasters' copyrights since it enables the transmission of programs by connecting the antenna to transmitters and the Internet. In the second case, NHK and nine private TV broadcasters in Tokyo and Shizuoka Prefecture sued a company in Hamamatsu in the prefecture that leases digital recording devices to overseas customers. The customer sends a command via computer to the device, which is kept in Japan, to record a TV program. After the recording, the program is sent to the customer through the Internet. The lower court took the stance that subscribers are exercising their right to record TV programs for private use as allowed by the Copyright Law. In its Jan. 20 ruling, the Supreme Court did not clearly say that the company violated copyrights but decided that since the company manages the recording machines, it should be regarded as copying TV programs. It ordered the Intellectual Property High Court to reexamine the case. People have a strong desire to watch TV programs when they want, since technology enabling it is available. The government should create a legal environment in which a clash between people's desires and broadcasters' rights will not cause confusion.


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 02/22/2011

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Cabinet Approves Bill to Revise Info Disclosure Law

The cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan approved a bill Friday to revise the freedom of information law, aiming to allow the premier to instruct government institutions to disclose administrative documents in cases where they have decided not to do so. If approved by the Diet, the bill will lead to the first total revision of the law since it came into force in 2001. Referring to the people's right to information, the revision bill would also introduce a new system to enable judges to examine classified documents before delivering verdicts on lawsuits in which such disclosure has been sought. While information disclosure suits currently can be filed at only eight district courts, located in major cities that also accommodate high courts, under the new law, cases would be able to be presented nationwide.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 04/22/2011

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Bill to Delay Shift to Digital Broadcast in Quake-hit Areas Approved

The cabinet approved a bill Tuesday to postpone the scheduled shift from analog to digital television broadcasting in the three prefectures hardest hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami for up to one year. The government will waive radiowave usage fees when TV stations in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures continue their analog broadcasting beyond the July 24 deadline, by which time all broadcasters in Japan are supposed to start airing terrestrial digital TV programming.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 05/10/2011

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S. Korea to Invest 54.3b Won in Smart TV Development

The government said Wednesday that it plans to inject 54.3 billion won ($49.8 million) this year to help local companies maintain their lead in the global smart TV market. The joint plan announced by the ministries of knowledge economy and culture, and the Korea and Communications Commission calls for concerted efforts to build up smart TV-related contents and the establishment of a viable Internet infrastructure. "Support is needed because companies such as Apple and Google who enjoy an edge in so-called platform knowhow have started to take active interest in the smart TV industry that is dominated by Samsung and LG," the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said at the weekly economic coordination meeting. Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. each held 22.3 percent and 13.5 percent of the global market for smart TVs last year but could face stiff challenges in the future. The global market that stood at 208 million smart TV sets last year is expected to grow to 286 million units in 2014. The ministry said 16.5 billion won will be allocated on developing smart TV platform knowhow and network technologies, with 29.2 billion won set aside for training experts and next generation contents creation. The remaining 8.6 billion won will be used to build a "giga-level" Internet foundation vital for providing smart TV services such as video-on-demand, online games, video communications and use of various operating applications. "There is a need to acquire basic technology in key areas like user interface to enhance the convenience for TV viewers and intellectual property rights protection," the ministry, which is in charge of industrial policy, said. The ministry said that Seoul wants to set up a 100 mega bit per second broadband network system that is 10 times faster than the current broadband convergence network by 2012. The ministry, meanwhile, said Seoul plans to set aside more money next year to support the smart TV industry.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/06/2011

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Parliament Approves Online Game Shutdown for School Kids

The National Assembly on Friday passed a revision bill that will ban those under the age of 16 from playing online games from midnight through 6 a.m. During the parliamentary plenary session, 117 of the 210 lawmakers who participated in the vote endorsed the bill to revise the Youth Protection Act while 63 voted against it with 30 abstaining. The so-called shutdown system will go into effect six months after being promulgated, government officials said. A similar bill that would prohibit those under age 19 from playing online games late at night was voted down. Supporters of the system, who are mostly parents, said that a measure should be instituted to help heal students addicted to online games. However, opponents of the bill said that the shutdown system was not the best solution to address game addictions, stressing that it is an "anachronistic" idea and would stifle the games industry. They also argue that the ban would not be effective as students would find loopholes in the system.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/29/2011

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INDONESIA: Microsoft to Launch Cloud Computing Services, Targets SMEs

Microsoft Corporation has sets its sights on Indonesia, particularly local SMEs, as a potentially huge market for its cloud computing services product Microsoft Office 365, set to be released worldwide within this calendar year. "Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world with just 6 percent of PC penetration, so there is a huge amount of headroom to grow," Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Office Product Management Takeshi Numoto told The Jakarta Post on Friday. He said the main target would be local SMEs because this was a largely untapped market with huge potentials. "There are more than 52 million SMEs in Indonesia, so it is a very strategic business. We believe that they can increase their productivities and chances of market penetration by using Microsoft Office 365," said Microsoft Indonesia's National Technology Officer Tony Seno Hartono.

Hartono added that while some people might see Internet speed as a concern in this country, it was not an issue at all for Office 365. "People don't need broadband Internet access to use Office 365. As long as they can open Facebook, they basically have the adequate bandwidth to use Office 365," he said. Microsoft Office 365 is available in beta version right now, consisting of Microsoft Exchange Online server, Microsoft SharePoint collaboration and file sharing software, Microsoft Lync instant messaging client, and the latest version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop suite.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/25/2011

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LAOS: Festival Highlights IT Development

A two day Information Technology festival entitled IT Festa was hosted on Friday and Saturday by the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos (NUOL), to demonstrate IT advances in Laos. The festival was organised by the Human Resource Development in IT Service Industry project of the NUOL with help from the Faculty of Engineering and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Speaking at the event, project coordinator Mr Keovisouk Dalasane said "The festival will cover three main areas, a seminar, workshop and an exhibition which will be attended by people mainly from NUOL and associated colleges." The objective is to provide the opportunity for young people to learn about the development of IT in Laos and to become aware of its necessity for daily life; it also creates a chance for them to learn and experience new technologies through the activities displayed at the festival. Mr Keovisouk said the festival was held to inspire secondary school and university students and people who run IT enterprises in response to the rising labour demands of the IT industry. He said the event was called a festival to encourage young people to come and have fun and benefit, unlike other workshops or expos which only aim to sell computer equipment. Seminar and workshop participants learned from Lao experts in the field and others from Japan and ASEAN countries. They demonstrated new technologies including cloud computing which is the result of research carried out in ASEAN, as well as Internet security and the Internet gateways of Laos. The exhibition also demonstrated the use of Lao IT applications including localisation, accounting, robots and a website and magazine on IT.


From http://laovoices.com/ 03/14/2011

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THAILAND: Alliance to Strengthen Software Industry

Software Park Thailand has initiated a collaborative project to bring local software parks throughout the country together as the Thailand Software Park Alliance, in an effort to strengthen the software industry. The alliance aims to facilitate the flow of software-development resources and work among software parks located both in Bangkok and in regional areas. It will also encourage a flow of software development and jobs to the Asia-Pacific region through Software Park Thailand's regional network, the Asia Oceania Software Park Alliance. Software Park Thailand's director Thanachart Numnonda said the objective was to pool local resources and build up the core competency of local software development to serve both local and regional demands. The concept of the collaboration is focused on four main pillars: virtual office via technology, technology transfer, business matching and co-branding activities. In part, the alliance will follow Software Park Thailand's mission, which includes facility management services (office rental, training- and meeting-room rental and park clustering); technology-enabling services (providing technology platforms, collaborating with stakeholders to provide the latest technology to alliance members); IT advisory (improving the standard of local software companies to international level); technology transfer (promoting the transfer of relevant technologies for the software industry on both professional and management levels); and software-business enabling (business matching, promoting the use of IT to all sectors, collaboration within the industry and creating an environment conducive to software business). The local software parks to be included in the alliance are E-Saan Software Park, Korat Software Park (Thailand), Chiang Mai Technology and Outsourcing Centre and Software Park Phuket. Thailand's software market is expected to grow by 16.3 per cent this year to reach a value of about Bt84.23 billion. Within the overall software market, embedded software and mobile applications are expected to see high growth this year, of 96.1 per cent and 54.8 per cent respectively. However, enterprise software will remain the largest contributor, representing 63.5 per cent of the software market. It is also expected that total spending on software-as-a-service in Thailand this year will be around Bt2.56 billion, representing growth of 22.9 per cent.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/12/2011

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Making Thailand an ICT Producer

On the streets these days, most of the youngsters you see will be carrying around at least one mobile or smart phone. They are at the forefront of new communication technologies, sending text messages, downloading music, uploading pictures and always staying connected to their friends via social networks. It seems to be unacknowledged, that their use of these tools of convenience has been enabled by a huge investment in telecommunication infrastructure, and that behind the innovative applications lies the work of many creative minds. Thailand has always been a consumer of new telecommunications technologies. Last year, the telecommunications market was valued at Bt383 billion, representing 3.7 per cent of our gross domestic product (GDP). Of this, the market for telecom equipment was valued at around Bt134 billion, and is expected to grow by 11.7 per cent this year. Almost all of these products are imported, and although Thailand is a major manufacturing base for electrical and electronic products, telecommunications equipment is a category that poses a major trade deficit. As Thailand is expanding its basic telecom infrastructure for universal broadband access, this will put an even greater burden on the Thai economy. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) established the Telecommunications Research and Industrial Development Institute (Tridi - pronounced Tri-D) in 2007, with the aim of promoting research and development, industry development and human-resources development in telecommunications.

Tridi's role is to create collaboration between researchers in universities and private companies, operators and service providers. To achieve the objective of building a manufacturing industry in telecommunications, Tridi has initiated a comprehensive range of support measures, including: Product research grants, or funding for research and development with the goal of creating new product prototypes; Advanced research grants for research involving advanced technical knowledge with the goal of applying for patents; Establishment of the NTC Telecommunications Research Laboratory, and funding for telecommunications research laboratories and excellence groups in 11 leading universities; The Telecommunication Innovation Awards and Exhibition - a competition to recognise innovative products that have been created by outstanding local companies or researchers, aimed at creating awareness of local manufacturing capabilities; IP protection and management, including support for filing patent applications and close collaboration with researchers in commercialising or licensing the outcomes of research. In the field of human-resources development, Tridi has granted scholarships for studying master's and doctoral degrees in local universities with research topics in telecommunications.

Over the past three years, Tridi has granted funding to 26 research and development projects with a clear focus on results and commercial orientation. Backed by Tridi funding, several products will be launched this year. Currently on sale are 3G repeaters made by a Thai manufacturer that extend the coverage of mobile services at lower cost than normal base stations. Another product now available from a Thai developer is software for measuring the quality of services in 2G and 3G mobile networks. Five more products will be launched later this year, in RFID technology, optical communications and mobile applications. On the academic side, Mahidol University's research centre in biomedical engineering has created a brain-computer interface system that can help people with physical disabilities to control electrical appliances and to communicate with other people. Tridi has helped to file a number of patent applications and to find partners to further develop and commercialise the initial prototype. These cases provide proof that Thai researchers and entrepreneurs are capable of creating innovative high-technology ICT products. The only thing now is for Thai people and the government to become aware of our potential and to constantly support home-grown products. In June, Tridi will take Thai companies to showcase their ICT products at CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore. Hopefully, you will soon see people on our streets boasting new Thai-made ICT products. And Thailand will become well known around the world as an ICT producer, and not just as an ICT consumer.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/12/2011

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New Group Backs Thai Software Developers

In an effort to put Thailand 's mobileapplication software industry on the world map, nine government, private and educational organisations have joined hands to form a group called Mobile Technology for Thailand (MT2, or MT Squared). MT2 will become the centre for all stakeholders in Thailand's mobileapplication development ecosystem, pooling the resources and contributions of all founding organisations. It will provide technological knowhow, development facilities, training, and assistance to commercial software developers. The nine founding organisations are the Telecommunications Research and Industrial Development Institute (Tridi), Software Park Thailand, the National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec), Kasetsart University, King Mongkut 's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang, Microsoft (Thailand), Intel Microelectronics (Thailand), Samart Corporation and Spring Telecom. The group aims to recruit more corporate members and individual software developers, with a plan to raise the number of mobileapplication developers in Thailand to between 30,000 and 40,000 within four years.

Tridi director Supot Tiarawut said the value of Thailand 's mobileapplication market was expected to reach about Bt9.8 billion this year, rising from Bt6.3 billion last year. He said MT2 would develop a database of Thai mobileapplication developers and provide them with facilities such as technology tools, training and workshops, a mobileapplication testing centre, business matching and marketing assistance in both local and global markets. "This collaboration aims to lead the country's mobileapplication development and give it direction and a plan. We will monitor trends in new technologies to guide them towards developing applications that are in demand, " Supot said. He added that Tridi had contributed Bt5 million as a startup budget for a mobileapplication testing centre located at Software Park Thailand. The centre, which is expected to be launched next month, will enable developers to test the latest mobilephone devices and technologies. Software Park Thailand director Thanachart Numnonda said the mobileapplication software market was "very huge", and represented a big opportunity for Thai developers as it went beyond the domestic market. Opportunities in global markets are believed to amount to about US$7 billion (Bt209.93 billion). Thanachart said that "mobile devices" did not mean only mobile phones. It also means tablets and future mobile devices in new form factors, covering the entire worldwide market. Private sector members of MT2, including Intel Microelectronics (Thailand) and Microsoft (Thailand), plan to provide technologies and training for Thai developers.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/28/2011

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VIET NAM: To Attract Foreign Investment in ICT

Vietnam targets to raise the proportion of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)'s value to GDP from 8-10 percent. Vietnam will create the best condition for businesses to invest in the ICT, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan at an international conference in Hanoi on March 31. The conference was held to develop Vietnam into becoming a strong ICT country. Mr Nhan said that the Party, State and Government have paid great attention to developing ICT. In recent years, the industry has made significant contributions to the national development, reaching a total of US$7.4 billion in 2010. The project made a turning point in the sector with an aim to develop ICT into a key economic sector. The project set out specific targets that Vietnam will become a top ten country in supplying software and digital manufacturing services as well as joining the top 40 countries in the world to train ICT students to international standards. To obtain the target, Vietnam needs cooperation from international partners in infrastructure development, technological transfer and human resource training. Mr Nhan emphasised that many foreign investors consider Vietnam a safe destination because of its political stability and cheap, abundant and industrious labour force. To improve the prestige, the Government will pay more attention to administration reform to create the best conditions for businesses to invest in ICT. Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam, Frank Donovan said Vietnam is one of ten countries with ICT development prospects which will help the country to develop its economy in the future.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/04/2011

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Vietnam Struggling to Have 1 Million IT Workers by 2020

Vietnam is striving to have one million information technology (IT) workers by 2020, three times higher than the current level, 80 percent of whom must meet international standards. The task is burdening the education and training sector. Huynh Quyet Thang, Head of the Information Technology Institute under the Hanoi University of Technology, believes that one million IT workers by 2020 is a goal within reach. "The number of schools that provide regular training in IT has increased year after year. In 1995, there were only seven IT training faculties, while the number of universities jumped to 133 in 2010. Besides, there are also 153 junior colleges and 351 vocational schools that also provide IT training. In 2010, Vietnam planned to enroll 60,000 IT students. Meanwhile, the enrolment quota increases by 6-8 percent year after year.
 
Less students want to follow IT study
However, Le Truong Tung, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Informatics Association, President of FPT University, said that 60,000 is the quota granted by the Ministry of Education and Training to schools, while it is not the actual number of students. "We do not have accurate figures on IT workers trained every year," Tung said. He went on to say that Vietnam once attracted many students to IT studies in 2007-2008. Since then, the number of students registering to study IT decreased by 15 percent in 2009 and 22 percent in 2010. Especially, in 2010, some schools had to stop training IT workers because they did not have enough students. A recent survey conducted by FPT University shows that fewer students want to study IT. "Only 6.25 percent of 11,000 polled high school students said they want to study IT, while the figure was 8.76 percent in 2009," Tung said. Another survey conducted by the Hanoi University of Technology several months ago also showed that 80-90 percent of 12th graders who are good at mathematics, physics and chemistry of nearly 20 schools in Hanoi choose studies relating to economics, while only a low percentage of students decides to follow technique studies.

IT is no longer an attractive major for students partially because of the low quality of graduates of many IT schools. As graduates cannot meet the requirements set by employers, they cannot find good jobs and they are not interested in studying IT any more. Meanwhile, many majors have emerged as more attractive to students, including finance and banking, which can bring high incomes. Experts have agreed that the quality of students registering to study IT has downgraded. Quach Tuan Ngoc, Head of the Information Technology Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, said that the enrollment quota university students has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Five years ago, the quota was 100,000 only, while the number has increased to 500,000. As for IT major, the quota has increased two fold since 2000. Since the quota has increased, the required marks set by schools from university entrance exams has been decreasing. "The low required marks will certainly affect the training quality, because schools will not be able to select good candidates," Ngoc warned.
 
The suggested solutions
Experts say that in order to fulfill the plan to have one million IT workers by 2020, it is necessary to apply measures to make IT more attractive in the eyes of high school students. Thang said that students should be required to take mathematics, physics and foreign language exams instead of mathematics, physics and chemistry as is currently required. Thang said that foreign languages are very important and necessary for IT students. Nguyen long, Secretary General of the Vietnam Information Technology Association said that at many international competitions, most of the Vietnamese students could answer half of the total questions. He said that this is because of the poor training in Vietnam. Schools are still teaching Pascal programming language, while foreign countries are teaching C++. "It is necessary to change the viewpoints for training, upgrade the quality of training," Thang said, adding that cooperating with foreign investors and educators would be a good solution to attract financial resources and utilize modern training technologies.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/08/2011

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Attaching Special Importance to IT, Vietnam's Brainpower Will Shine

Information technology and communication (IT) is considered a key economic sector. Attaching special attention to IT, Vietnam's brainpower will be shining, said Minister of Information and Communication Le Doan Hop at the conference held in Hanoi on March 10 discussing the measures to implement the project on turning Vietnam into an IT power.

Quickening steps to keep pace with the world
Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Ngoc Duong, Director of the IT Department under the Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC), said that enterprises in the IT sectors are still leading enterprises in terms of growth rate. "IT is a sector that Vietnam has great potentials to develop and keep up with regional countries and other countries in the world," Duong said.

Nguyen Manh Hung, Deputy General Director of Viettel, said: "If we set up the goal of popularizing broadband Internet after 10 years, we will come back to a middle country in the world. I think that we should still set up the goal of popularizing broadband Internet, we need to run faster by five years". Addressing the current big problem that Vietnam is lacking a qualified labor force for the IT sector, Nguyen Duc Chinh, General Director of Global CyberSoft, suggested that Vietnam should use foreign IT experts and build up training centers. He said that it is necessary to have an organization that can help Vietnamese IT companies approach international IT companies. Many enterprises also made suggestions to perfect the current legal framework on IT development. Especially, they call for the special support from the government and MOIC for the IT sector to develop. For example, the State should establish a special committee in charge of implementing the project on building up IT power; establish a consultancy council to work as an independent and voluntary organization.

The State should also take the responsibility of protecting the online assets of enterprises. Participants cited cases where some online newspapers were hacked recently, which caused worries to foreign investors. "MOIC should state that it will protect assets that enterprises have built up on the internet," said Nguyen Thanh Nam, former Deputy General Director of the Corporation for Financing Technologies FPT. Enterprises have voiced the same proposals on land tax and personal income tax remission for IT enterprises for 10 years. Nguyen Ngoc Duong, Director of the IT Department, said that enterprises should go ahead with merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in order to form big enterprises that are capable enough of reaching out to the world market. According to Nguyen Manh Hung from Viettel, the telecom company will rely on outward investments as the main driving force for development. Hung said that Viettel needs to build up a methodical investment strategy on making outward investments and suggested that the government needs to spend more money on IT. One of the first important works for now is to successfully develop an e-government.

Bringing into play five big advantages
Minister of MOIC Le Doan Hop emphasized that building Vietnam into an IT power is the task of all agencies, enterprises and people. Hop believes that Vietnam has five advantages that make the plan realistic. Most IT enterprises have high growth rates which should be seen as a good driving force to develop. They quickly renovate and adapt to changes in the world thanks to their deep global integration. The specific characteristics of the IT sector allows its enterprises to more easily acquire new and advanced things. Especially, the leaders in the IT sectors are young and have a high level of intelligence and responsibility. The most important advantage, according to Hop, is that the IT sector is developing in a context in which the legal framework has been perfected with clear development orientations. In 2010, the total turnover of telecom and Internet service providers was 162,120 billion dong, an increase of 21 percent over 2009. Meanwhile, the IT industrial turnover reached over 16 billion. A software industry has taken shape in Vietnam with a very high growth rate of 33 percent per annum.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/14/2011

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Strategy to Expand E-customs Procedures Aims for Efficiency

The Customs General Department wants its e-customs service used by 80 per cent of enterprises and 90 per cent of import-export turnover by 2020. It also wants e-customs used by all provincial and district departments by the same year. This was part of the Customs Development Strategy approved on March 25 by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. "The strategy aims at establishing a modern customs service with sufficient and transparent mechanisms and policies," deputy general director Vu Ngoc Anh told a press conference on March 30. "It aims to keep it simple and in harmony with international standards based on centralised data-processing and risk management," Anh said. The strategy was achievable because it was based on the nation's growth strategy as well as the sector's development strategy, Anh said. E-customs procedures had already been applied in 76 out of 84 branches of 13 out of 33 provincial customs departments of the sector. Nearly 60 per cent of 17,000 enterprises nationwide and more than 50 per cent of the country's tax collection used e-customs procedures. Seven other provincial customs departments would apply e-customs procedures next year.

The strategy targeted to reduce manual checking of goods from the current rate of 15-20 per cent to under 10 per cent by 2015 and under 7 per cent by 2020. A pilot one-stop-shop customs mechanism was currently operating for implementation in 2012. This allowed all procedures to be handled at one point, including clearances, paperwork, taxes and duties. The rate of export-imports licenced through the one-stop-shop customs mechanism would reach 50 per cent by 2015 and 90 per cent by 2020. The customs sector had faced difficulties in implementing the e-customs system due to lack of human resources, IT infrastructure and legal policies in some areas, Anh said. He added that the customs sector strived to speed up clearance times to those of advanced countries in the ASEAN region by 2020. At present, customs clearance times were up to three times that of advanced countries in the region. All data would be processed centrally from 2015. The general department said the cost of the strategy would be met from the state budget, private sector and international support.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/04/2011

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Small Firms Urged to Focus on IT

Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not yet tapped into information technology (IT) to improve their business performance, despite their huge numbers and contribution to their respective country's GDP, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said. VCCI's recent report showed that IT usage among Vietnamese SMEs remains limited to using emails and standard office applications. There was also a misconception that IT was mainly for large enterprises. Many SMEs believed that the scale and scope of their business was simple enough to be effectively managed manually. Managing director of SAP Viet Nam Srinivas Adimulam told Viet Nam News that countries in the Southeast Asian region had huge communities of SMEs, many of which were employing thousands of workers and making a major contribution to GDP. "ASEAN puts the number of SMEs at 96 per cent of all enterprises, with them employing up to 85 per cent of the overall workforce. SMEs also accounted for up to 30 per cent of exports and contribute around half of the national GDP" Srinivas said. He said with more than 460,000 enterprises, Vietnamese SMEs employed roughly half of the total workforce and contributed 40 per cent of the country's annual GDP. "Viet Nam has integrated into the global economy which requires enterprises to have exact forecasts and well-prepared business plans," he said, adding that it was not only foreign companies that had stored an extremely large volume of data.

Sharing this view, a representative from military-run telecom provider Viettel said a telecommunications enterprise would need statistics of the success rate of inter-provincial mobile calls, mobile calls and messages or whether they had a sufficient amount of Base Transceiver Stations. "According to statistics, we have over 100 million mobile phone subscribers. If we do a simple calculation, there would be a huge volume of data including messages and phone calls every second which need to be analysed by the industry." she said. Nguyen Tien Dung, director of Co.opmart Sai Gon in Ha Noi, said a retail business managing dozens of supermarkets across the country would need to analyse 50 to 60 rows of data on all transactions at every moment of every supermarket. "That's over 10 hours a day, so when you multiply that figure, it's huge. In addition, businesses also needed to analyse sold items."

Srinivas added that with huge volumes of data, businesses could find it difficult to capture and analyse their business data without information technology support. "This flood of data could only be processed when businesses have advanced information analysis tools, combined with breakthrough hardware and software." he said. He said IT-based solutions for collecting, analysing and forecasting company performance tools such as business intelligence (BI) could collect all raw data and come up with effective and strategic planning and decision making.
"SMEs could tap into BI to become better decision makers for their business." He said some businesses could think that they should reduce spending for such fees in the context of global economic downturn. However, it was time for them to invest in best practices which prepare for future growth as the world economy recovers. "It is not the size of business that matters when implementing BI but rather how to be smart in utilising the data. All they need to do is ask and they will be on the way to become better-run companies."


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/18/2011

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INDIA: Launching Sanchar Shakti to E-MPower Rural Women

In an attempt to bridge the digital divide, the Sanchar Shakti scheme envisages creating ICT skills among rural women by providing useful information to women about health, social issues and government schemes over their mobile phones. The scheme seeks involvement of women Self Help Groups for its successful implementation. President launched Sanchar Shakti scheme for women/ Photo credit: DD News President Pratibha Patil on Monday launched DoT-USOFs' pilot project Sanchar Shakti, which aims to provide useful information to women, about health, social issues and government schemes over their mobile phones. The scheme, which is funded by Department of Telecom's (DoT) Universal Service Obligation Funds (USOFs), is for mobile value-added services and information and communication technologies (ICT) related livelihood skills for Women's Self Help Groups. "The scheme is initiated as a gender budget scheme, it adopts an innovative approach to connect rural women with the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector, by involving women Self Help Groups (SHGs)," Patil told reporters. It will also serve the purpose of increasing the tele density, as well as broad band connectivity in rural areas, enabling them to join the cyber community and in this way, bridge the digital divide, states the details of the scheme.

With the creation of ICT skills sets in rural areas, over a period of time, these areas can become centres for the consumption and production of various ICT goods and services, including hubs for processing outsourced work, it added. Patil added, "Real development cannot take root if it bypasses women, who represent the very pivot around which social change takes shape." The scheme is funded by the USO fund. The USO fund is accumulated from a charge levied upon on private telecom operators for providing telecom services in rural areas. It envisaged that the implementation of USO Obligation for rural/remote areas would be undertaken by all fixed service providers who shall be reimbursed from the USO Fund. The function was attended by other dignitaries, including IT & Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for IT & Telecom Sachin Pilot and Department of Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar and other officials from the department. Meanwhile, private service provider Uninor today launched 'Soochna Shakti', a revolutionary value-added service (VAS) to empower rural women, the company said in a statement. This innovative VAS by Uninor 'Soochna Shakti' will deliver information, expert advice and news alerts on health, education, self employment and finance on an IVR portal which can be accessed by dialling a short code from anywhere at any time, it added.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 03/08/2011

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Delhi Cabinet Approves Geospatial Data Bill

The Delhi cabinet has approved the draft Delhi Geospatial Data Infrastructure Bill, 2011 - a flagship project of the city government launched to frame and implement policies for issues relating to geospatial data. The Bill will serve as the base for planning and executing various development projects and utility services. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the Delhi State Spatial Data Infrastructure (DSSDI) project was launched to frame and implement policies for issues related to geospatial data. Dikshit said the data could be utilised through the GIS system established at two centres in the city, reported IANS. "Besides, 63 cameras are being installed at strategic positions in Delhi for transmitting relevant information to the monitoring centres. The data could also be utilised for better disaster management in case of any natural calamity or man-made disaster," she said.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/17/2011

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J&K Mulls ICT Initiatives to Save Forests

The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is gearing up to employ ICT tools to monitor and manage its forests more effectively. The initiative is expected to accelerate the pace of implementation of the forest policy adopted recently by the forest department. Jammu and Kashmir has prepared the blueprint for taking up Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives for saving the dwindling forest wealth of the state. The project has been prepared in line with "m-Governance Mantra for Forest Management" of Madhya Pradesh by which the central state is successfully managing its forest wealth with the help of ICT. Some of the features of new ICT initiative will be Forest Protection Management System (FPMS) - which would monitor protection status of forests and wild-life, Forest Offence Management System (FOMS) - which registers forest offences electronically, Fire Alert Messaging System (FAMS) - which uses processed remote sensing data of active fire locations obtained from MODIS satellite and sends alerts to concerned field staff, Protection Information Management System (FIMS) and Protected Area Network Management System (PANMS). According to sources the JK Forest Department has finalised the blue-print of the project and work on it would start soon. The ICT initiative is expected to accelerate the pace of implementation of the Forest Policy adopted recently by the department. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R D Tiwari confirmed that the blue-print of the project has been prepared. "With the help of ICT tools, there will be fast communication linkage and transfer of information system from bottom to top. For this purpose all the data in the department will be digitised. "The ICT tools will prevent land encroachments and will help in overall management of natural resources," he added.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 03/28/2011

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Law to Make Electronic Service Delivery Compulsory

All central government organisations and departments in the country will soon switch to e-governance. The Centre is contemplating to bring in legislation to make it mandatory for every central government organisation and department to deliver public services using information and communication technology (ICT). High-level delegates from all ministries will be meeting next month to decide on a cut off date to switch to total e-governance. Draft of the Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) Act is ready and has been submitted to the higher authorities, Department of Information Technology informed. A high-level inter-ministerial team would discuss the bill next month in New Delhi. Once the bill is ready, it will be sent it to all the state governments. It will be the prerogative of the state government whether to implement the act or not, the department added. The benefits of the bill would include efficient, transparent and reliable delivery of web enabled public services in a definite and time-bound manner to citizens, thereby transforming governance.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/30/2011

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India's m-Governance Policy Draft Tabled

The Department of Information Technology, Government of India, is in the process of formulating a policy framework for mobile governance. The framework looks largely at ways in which the mobile can be used to provide government services. The draft has been tabled and available forcomments from anyone till the 15th of April, 2011. With over 791 million mobile phone subscribers in India, the framework affects one of the largest mobile societies in the world. The proposed framework aims to formulate guidelines around the use of mobile devices and enable government departments to provide services from mobile phones like paying utility bills or filing tax returns. It also aims to formulate standards for applications for easy interoperability of services across multiple service providers and multiple Government departments and other agencies. The draft proposes the development of suitable mechanisms to enable users to pay for public services through mobile phones, and develop and deploy innovative public private partnership and multi stakeholder partnership models for the design and delivery of mobile governance services. It also encourages the development of cloud-based implementation models. It also proposes to set a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) platform which will be fully integrated with existing infrastructure created under the National e-Governance Plan. All ministries and departments will be able to start offering their services on this platform. The Department of Information Technology expects to develop the gateway by September 2011 and link some projects under the National e-Governance Plan, such as income-tax filing, by December 2011. Comments and suggestions on the draft can be sent to DIT through email at mgov@negp.gov.in


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/11/2011

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Draft e-Services Bill Open for Citizen Feedback

The Union ministry of information technology recently released a draft of the Electronic Service Delivery Bill, 2011 on its website, inviting public opinion on it by May 4. The draft bill says delivery of all public services, like issuing of forms and applications, licences, permits, certificates, sanctions or approval and receipt or payment of money, must be made available online. It requires the public authorities to disclose the services which will be delivered online within six months of the bill being passed by Parliament. The proposed law envisages setting up of an electronic service delivery commissions both at the Centre and in all states to monitor the effective implementation of the system. The commissions can take up complaints from the public against the authorities who give any false or misleading information and fail to comply with the provisions of the bill. The commissions can impose a penalty of up to Rs 5,000 on the department head or any subordinate concerned for non-compliance of the law. The bill also wants the state and the central commissions to submit reports to the legislature every year on the working of the system. The report should, among other things, include the total number of online service requests made available and complaints received under the grievance redressal mechanisms. As per the draft bill, all public services should be delivered through electronic mode within five years from the date of the new law coming into force. The information technology department has announced that people can mail their views to abhishek@gov.in with Draft ESD Bill mentioned in the subject line.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/26/2011

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Digital Maps to Be Introduced in Haryana

In a bid to keep a tab on the encroachments, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has decided to make digital maps of original plans of each town, village, sector and sub-sector of the state. It will reduce the rush at HUDA office and provide all information to Haryana residents at their doorsteps. These digital maps will be provided to the district police, administration officials, to all Residents Welfare Association (RWAs) and market associations. These digital maps will be also uploaded on the HUDA's official website and they will be also kept in compact CDs. "Besides police and the district administration officials, RWAs can also identify the areas where encroachment is rampant and subsequently take remedial actions," HUDA Administrator Rajinder Kataria said. Apart from checking encroachments, daily routine issues like width of road, area of park, area of parking area, width of back lane, for which residents visit HUDA office daily, will be easily accessible on the digital maps." According to HUDA officials, with the help of these maps property owners can get exact details of their property like area, location. Apart from this, these digital maps will have information about parks, hospitals, markets and schools and colleges.


From http://egovonline.net/ 05/17/2011

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SRI LANKA: ICT Policy Urges Broadband Charge Cut

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's new information and communication technology plan for 2011-1016 advocates further cuts in high-speed broadband communication costs with the aim of increasing ICT business and creating more jobs. Present broadband charges which are higher than competitor countries are deterring foreign ICT and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms from setting up in the island and are partly responsible for poor internet penetration, a report said. "The cost of commercial broadband and internet links such as IPLC ((international private leased circuit) and leased lines is higher in Sri Lanka when compared to the region," said the ICT draft plan by the ministry of telecommunications and information technology. "This makes Sri Lanka less attractive for companies setting up, especially in the early days when heavy cash outflows exist." The availability of such quality services need to be expanded so that companies can locate regionally where pockets of talent exist, said the paper which was discussed at a meeting of government and industry officials Tuesday. A fibre optic network that is being laid must have capacity to give 8 Mbps (1 megabytes per second or MBps or about 800 KiloBytes per second) connectivity to 70 percent of all households in covered areas within five years, it said.

The 'National Backbone Network' project should accelerate establishment of a government-owned high-speed optical fibre based national backbone network covering all electorates. "The NBN operator has to offer affordable prices for backbone and connectivity services," the paper said. "Broadband and connectivity services of each category will be 30 percent less than the lowest market prices prevailing at the time of issuance of license." Physical infrastructure needs must also be addressed with either the government setting up or giving the private sector incentives to set up IT parks on ready-to-occupy basis. The government should also offer concessions to IT-BPO industry to reduce operating cost for companies which will make Sri Lanka more attractive like in other countries measures, the paper said. High cost and low quality of service figured among the causes of very low broadband penetration in the island. There was no connectivity coverage in very rural areas with access being limited to semi-rural and metropolitan areas. The government should give incentives to telecom operators to provide very low cost, subsidised broadband connectivity like WiFi, WiMAX and ADSL to rural areas, the draft policy said. Introduce a national broadband policy with quality of service and standards There was also a lack of awareness of benefits of broadband. The country is lagging behind in producing an adequate number of ICT professionals according to industry demand, the paper said. One reason was high cost of connectivity which prevents people from using ICT. In the metropolitan areas of Sri Lanka broadband has become much more affordable even though the prices are quite high compared to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 03/09/2011

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PAKISTAN: ICT Okays Rs 1.75 Billion for 37 Rural Uplift Schemes

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has approved the PC-1 of 37 development schemes worth of Rs 1.75 billion for uplift of rural area of capital. So in next fiscal year residents of the rural areas will be enjoying the same facilities provided to residents of the urban areas. It is also learned that out of those 37 schemes 14 were new and 23 were revised. According to sources, due to security reasons and terrorists attacks on law enforcement agencies it has been decided to ensure foolproof security for the police and their family members. All this development took place in a meeting of Islamabad Development Working Party on Tuesday chaired by the Islamabad Chief Commissioner Tariq Mahmood Pirzada. Participants of the meeting considered PC-1 of 47 development schemes and approved 37 development schemes. The meeting approved three schemes subject to lifting of ban and clearance by the Planning and Development Division related to the ICT Police including security measures for police barracks in Sector F-7/2 at a cost of Rs 3.846 million. Besides providing drainage and sewerage system and construction of a road within the premises of Police Line Headquarters, Sector H-11 at a cost of Rs 59.058 million. Erection of boundary wall around the premises of 96 flats and their renovation in Sector G-9/1 at a cost of Rs 43.078 million was also approved.

They said construction of residential accommodation for the officials of Sessions Division category IV flats phase -111 revised PC-1 of the scheme was also approved. The Planning and Development Division also approved two revised development schemes subject to the vetting, further examination and clearance. These included uplifting, rehabilitating and renovation for rural areas of ICT District Health Department. Under which two rural health centres will be constructed at Tarlai and Sihala at a cost of Rs 25.013 million and 14 basic health units at a cost of Rs 57. 893 million. Under the Public Sector Development Programme, the IDWP approved seven new development schemes and 11 revised schemes with a total estimated cost of Rs 889.900 million for the uplift of rural areas of Kot Hathial, Sohan and adjoining dhokes, construction of roads at Kot Hathial, streets pavements at villages Shahdra / Mohra Noor, Tarlai, Sohan, street pavements in nine villages of Tarlai, widening of Jandala road, Athal Mera Begal road, construction of six kilometer roads in Koral Union Councils and nine kilometer roads in Rawat and Sihala, rehabilitation of Herno Darkala and Dhoke Banaras road, Pagh Panwal road, Bukhari road, three culverts at Kot Hathial, revamping of Shadra Road, rehabilitation of Simly Dam road, construction of Nullah at Athal Chowk Bhara Kahu, improvement of Nilore Area, Bangial, Dhok Maskeen, Agla Mohra roads.

Under the Islamabad Development Package Programme, the meeting approved three revised and six new development schemes at total cost of Rs 410.588 million for the uplift of rural area of Islamabad including provision of drinking water supply facilities, construction/ rehabilitation of street at Malpur Bhara Kau, construction of rural roads in Tumair, solid waste management in six union councils of Islamabad, cost of feasibility study of construction of bridges in the rural area will be determined by the planning and development division, street pavements in Jhang Bangial, Mohallah Suban Sayedian Dhok Bajrion, Mohallah Ch, Dakhli Shadra Kalan, village Chuckal, Sihala and construction of protection wall and street pavements in Noorpur Shahan and Rumly Dhoks. The meeting also approved six new schemes in the education sector subject to further examination and vetting by the Planning and Development Division under the Islamabad Development Package Programme including construction of 31 additional class rooms in the existing educational institutions in Nilore area at cost Rs 52.719 million.

Besides constructing 29 additional classrooms in the existing FG educational institutions in Tarnol at a cost of Rs 49. 317 million. Transport facilities for the students and teachers of existing FG Higher Secondary Schools in the rural area at a cost of Rs 59.755 million, construction of 30 additional class rooms in existing FG educational institutions in the rural area, 31 additional class room construction in the existing FG educational institutions in Sihala Rs 52.890 million. Period of two schemes, relating to improvement of milk and meat production by artificial insemination services and up-gradation of veterinary hospitals, was also extended. Schemes relating to water conservation through high efficiently and irrigation system was also approved. The meeting of IDWP also approved a scheme relating to civil defense for improvement and development at a cost of Rs 18.691 million. Chiefs of (Water), (Agriculture), (PP and H), (DAD), (Health Sector) of Planning and Development Division Islamabad, Director Development / Finance Rana Akbar Hayat, Chief Engineer Pak. PWD Deputy Financial Advisor (ID) Ministry of Interior, SSP Headquarters, officials of various departments of ICT administration, CDA and Federal Directorate of Education attended the meeting.


From http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/ 05/11/2011

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Dialogue That Delivers for Pakistan ICT Sector

Last week, a young parliamentarian named Ms. Marvi Memon submitted a bill to amend the Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002. It would not have been possible without extensive dialogue and engagement between the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and IT Services (P@SHA), the Federal Investigation Agency, and Ms Memon. The bill recommends inclusion of clause 36 of the ordinance in the legislation, which was removed in the last amendment depriving the citizens of Pakistan of any protection or remedy against cyber crimes, such as hacking. This lacuna in the law is technically encouraging cyber-crime by making legal an activity that was previously an offense under the laws of Pakistan. P@SHA hopes that if this bill is passed, a number of cyber-crime cases that are in the courts will be decided on merit and those affected by any cyber-crime will also be able to file complaints with the Federal Investigation Agency. In the meantime, CIPE's support of P@SHA's dialogue and engagement with legislators will continue to strengthen channels for feedback between policymakers and Pakistan's growing ICT sector.


From http://www.cipe.org/ 05/13/2011

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AFGHANISTAN: Roshan Plans for 3G Intro

Afghani telecoms group Telecom Development Company Afghanistan, more commonly known as Roshan, plans to invest up to USD100 million in its home market this year and expects subscriber numbers to grow to 5.75 million as it expands into new areas. Speaking to Reuters, CEO Karim Khoja also said the company is planning to launch 3G services with rollout expected to start in the next six to twelve months. 'We invest between USD50 to USD100 million annually and we will invest from retained earnings," Khoja said. Roshan is 51% owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, 36.75% by Cable & Wireless Communications and 12.25% by Swedish group TeliaSonera. Roshan's subscriber base at the end of March 2011 stood at five million, making it the largest wireless network operator in the country ahead of MTN, Etisalat and AWCC. 'Our subscribers are growing by an average 150,000 a month and our net active subscriber [base] is expected to grow to 5.50 to 5.75 million by the end of this year," said Khoja.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/27/2011

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ARMENIA: Orange Armenia Launches New TV Schedule Service

To facilitate the use of Orange TV by its subscribers, Orange Armenia launched a new service, which will allow to get information about the weekly TV schedule right on the Orange TV page of Orange World WAP portal. According to the company's press office, from now on, the users will be able to see what is currently broadcast and what comes next. Customers can also see the daily or weekly schedule of the TV programs in the WAP portal. Orange Armenia, 100% subsidiary of France Telecom, launched its mobile voice and internet services on November 5, 2009 throughout the Republic of Armenia. During 2009, euro 140 million was invested in Armenia and around US$50 million during 2010. Orange covers 95% of the country's territory.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 03/30/2011

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Azerbaijan & Iran Discuss ICT Partnership

A delegation led by Deputy Minister for communication & IT of Azerbaijan Iltimas Mammadov paid an official visit to IRAN. Mammadov discussed bilateral relationships development with Deputy Minister for Communication of Iran Mehdi Akhavan, IRNA reported. Akhavan said that Iran was interested in internet traffic via Azerbaijan and Iran. Also Iran wants to increase partnership with Azerbaijan in this field. According to Akhavan, the initial agreement between two countries has been achieved, and the information transit will bring in good return, because of the two countries' advantageous geographical location. Azerbaijan delegation also met Post Company of Iran director. Postal partnership was discussed during the meeting. Iran offered electronic commerce, postal transit, stamp printing partnership development. Azerbaijan delegation also met "Post Bank" state company director Mohammad Hasan Mohebian. Funds transfer system between Azerbaijan & Iran, investments, joint bank establishment, Post Bank Baku branches opening, mobile banking & electronic commerce was discussed during the meeting.


From http://en.trend.az/ 03/07/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Preparing Regulations to Increase Export in Information Sphere

Regulations are being prepared in Azerbaijan to increase export potential of products and services in the information sphere, Azerbaijani Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov said. He believes that after adopting the regulations the country's export potential on information technology will increase. "Today foundations of industrial parks are laid. There is an industrial park in Sumgait. But the ongoing work mainly aimed at applying special discounts on the products produced in these parks, that is, so that tax and customs facilities envisaged for these products increased export opportunities," Abbasov said. Work on fixed telephone network's transfer to digital format has been completed in Azerbaijan for the first time in the CIS space. "Today, telecommunication systems are brought to up-to-date level in Azerbaijan. But this process continues in several regional centers. All work will be completed by late 2011," Abbasov said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/07/2011

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IRAQ: Asiacell Disconnects Unlicensed Zain Lines

Iraqi wireless operator Asiacell has announced that it has disconnected 'several million" unlicensed mobile lines belonging to its rival Zain Iraq, in compliance with a directive issued by the Iraq Communications and Media Commission (CMC). CommsUpdate reported last month that the CMC fined Zain a total of USD262 million in January 2011 - to be paid by 11 April - for placing five million SIM cards on the market without obtaining prior legal approval. The CMC's letter No. 969 dated 17 February 2011, which is addressed to all of Iraq's mobile operators, states that no telecoms company has the right to activate or market any new line without the commission's prior consent. The CMC requested that all telecom companies immediately discontinue interconnection with unlicensed lines to avoid litigation. Based on the CMC's directives, Asiacell said it has disconnected unlicensed Zain lines to avoid legal ramifications. The operator said it retains its legal right to demand compensation from Zain for distributing millions of unlicensed SIM cards. Asiacell also stated that Zain's actions have limited the amount of lines available to Asiacell, which has damaged its market position by hindering its ability to launch offers and supply the Iraqi market with the necessary amount of SIM cards. ITP.net states that Zain responded to Asiacell's announcement by saying that it 'regretted" its rival's decision to stop interconnection with the disputed SIM cards. Zain added that its legal team was preparing 'formal challenges' to the CMC ruling and the USD262 million fine.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/08/2011

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KYRGYZSTAN: Parliament Approves Draft Laws on Elections and Reforming Electoral System

Kyrgyzstan's Parliament has approved draft laws on elections and reforming the electoral system in the first reading. The decision is said to e adopted today at the meeting. According to the document, the electoral system will be transferred from four-level on three-level, which would save budgetary funds. Besides, political parties and local government administrations will be also engaged in formation of the precinct election commissions. "The Central Election Commission bears full responsibility for the lists of voters. The CEC has the responsibility to train reserves and precinct commissions members," the leader of the 'Ata Meken" Omurbek Tekebayev stated. He also said that gender balance will be preserved during recruitment of precinct election commissions.


From http://eng.24.kg/ 04/21/2011

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KAZAKHSTAN: Aiming to Achieve 100% Broadband Coverage by 2013

Kazakhstan's Ministry of Communication and Information has announced that it intends to achieve 100% broadband population coverage by 2013, as part of its ongoing 'Program on Information and Communication Technologies Development in Kazakhstan for 2010-2014". Askar Zhumagaliyev, Minister of Communication and Information, commented: 'All towns and cities of the country will be provided with broadband internet access by means of 3G, WiMAX and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH). Due to the implementation of the programme we plan to achieve 100% coverage of the country's territory with broadband internet access by 2013. [We will also see an] improvement of service quality and an increase in speed". However, Prime Minister Karim Massimov quashed rumours that the country was poised to implement a countrywide standard of 100Mbps, admitting: 'The provision of 100Mbps transmission speeds is an ambitious task". To this end the prime minister urged Zhumagaliyev to increase average broadband speeds across Kazakhstan to 16Mbps by 2015, bringing the country in line with the likes of South Korea. Massimov added: 'The broadband internet speed issue is an issue of our competitiveness. It is no less important than other social issues". President Nursultan Nazarbayev confirmed: 'The advanced telecommunications infrastructure should become a competitive advantage in the process of investors' attraction. We should accelerate the process of 4G introduction and make the prices for telecommunications services and the internet speed competitive and affordable". According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, two cellcos have trialled Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Kazakhstan thus far. On 1 December 2009 KaR-Tel launched a pilot LTE network in the capital city of Astana; the network operated within the 700MHz spectrum band for a period of around two months. In July 2010 rival operator K"cell unveiled its first 4G base station in Astana, and demonstrated a 'real-time" link. Despite the successful tests, no formal 4G licences have yet been issued.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/03/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Five-Year ICT Strategic Vision Released

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) outlined the government's future use of ICT, shifting the focus to productivity, in the recently released draft ICT Strategic Vision. The Strategic Vision for the Australian Government's use of ICT states that "ICT will increase public sector productivity by enabling the delivery of world leading government services for Australian people, communities and businesses, supporting open engagement to better inform decisions, and improving the operations of government." The Government will deliver the Vision and increase productivity through three strategic priorities - Deliver better services, Engage openly, and Improve government operations, two strategic actions to support the implementation of each strategic priority. In delivering better services, the government should build capability across all departments and enable better services using ICT to simplify and integrate government services to both people and business while maintaining necessary security and privacy. Collaborating effectively by building better partnerships to improve the effectiveness of government consultations and creating knowledge to share and manage information are the strategic steps to engage openly. And to improve operations, the government should invest optimally and encourage innovation in order to harness the full potential of the digital economy for better service delivery. AGIMO will work with agencies to develop detailed implementation approaches that deliver the strategic priorities and improve productivity.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/14/2011

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Australian Regulator Consults on Future Radio Spectrum Plans

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released two papers signalling its intention to develop a future radio spectrum strategy. Towards 2020-Future spectrum requirements for mobile broadband, considers a broad range of issues intended to meet the longer term spectrum needs of the Australian mobile broadband industry while the 900 MHz Band-Exploring new opportunities paper looks at options to replan that particular band to improve its utility. "The Acma is keen to hear from stakeholders on a number of relevant issues, including whether greater spectral efficiency could be achieved by network operators in their existing spectrum holdings," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. "The review of the 900 MHz band is an exciting ACMA spectrum reform initiative, which will continue over what is likely to be a number of years," Mr Chapman said. "The aim of this review is to consider the current regulatory arrangements in the 900 MHz band to ensure they best embrace technological developments." The two papers have been released in the lead up to ACMA's spectrum management conference, RadComms2011.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 05/04/2011

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NZ Launches Transport Smartcard

Auckland Transport recently launched the rollout of the "Hop-on and Hop-off" (HoP) smart card as part of one of the initiatives to fully introduce the region's first fully integrated ticketing system next year. "HOP will enable Auckland public transport users to access all public transport services with just one smartcard" Transport Minister Steven Joyce said in an official statement. Joyce says the launch of the HOP system being used in Auckland forms the base for a core public transport ticketing system which will ultimately be able to be used in the country. "Integrated ticketing is an important part of establishing a more efficient, effective and user-friendly public transport system." He added that the government is making a record investment in Auckland's rail commuter network and in public transport services, and at the same time a record investment in the city's motorway network. "Integrated ticketing is about ensuring we get the very best results from our very large investment in public transport. Deployment of equipment on NZ Bus services is just the first step, with the expansion of integrated ticketing on rail and ferry services next on the agenda for Auckland. Work is on track for delivering the first phase of Auckland's integrated ticketing on rail in the middle of this year" Joyce said. The HoP smartcard replaces Go Rider cards and will be rolled out over coming months.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/11/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: File-Sharing Bill Passed into Law

A bill that puts in place a three-notice regime to deter illegal file sharing has just been passed in Parliament. The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill repeals Section 92A of the Copyright Act and replaces it with a new process to deal with online copyright infringements, said Commerce Minister Simon Power in an official statement. The bill includes a power for a district court to suspend an internet account for up to six months, in appropriate circumstances. However, this element of the legislation will not be brought into force unless the notice process and the remedies by the Copyright Tribunal are ineffective. The three-notice regime involves ISPs sending warning notices to their customers informing them they may have infringed copyright. The legislation also extends the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal so it provides an efficient, low-cost process to hear illegal file-sharing claims. The tribunal will be able to make awards of up to $15,000 based on damage sustained by the copyright owner. "Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright" he said. Power added that the regime will be effective starting on the 1st of September 2011.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/25/2011

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Labour Slams Changes to Telco Amendment Bill

Labour has hit out at the changes to the Telecommunication Amendment Bill that will see the regulatory forbearance period dumped in favour of "contractual mechanisms". Under the change announced by ICT Minister Steven Joyce, the Commerce Commission will now have full oversight of the Ultra Fast Broadband network. But, if the Commission believes prices should go lower at some point over the build period, government wears the risk not consumers. Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran describes the change as bad policy that sets a dangerous precedent for the Commerce Commission to regulate. "It essentially insulates the winning contractor from risk and puts it on the Crown," she says. "The Bill was referred back to the House on Monday, just two days before a major component has been replaced with something that look like it's been very cobbled together. "This is a last-minute change that appears to have been forced on the Government by the Maori Party, who have realised that consumers won't be better off." She describes the change as a serious embarrassment for Minister Steven Joyce and for the Government.

Green Party reaction
Green Party spokesman Gareth Hughes says he welcomes the back down but still wants to look at the changes in detail before the party considers changing its vote. "We"ve got some questions about how the compensation will work," he says. "In fact, it raises a whole bunch of questions."


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/18/2011

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SOLOMON ISLANDS: Boost Tax System Automation

The revenue department of Solomon Islands has rolled out early this month a computerised revenue management system to enhance tax collection, transparency and taxpayer compliance. "This year IRD will start to use this computer system to manage all aspects of a tax payer's account including payments, arrears and penalty imposition," said George Tapo, acting Deputy Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) of the Finance Ministry of Solomon Islands. The new revenue management system (RMS) will automate the administrative and tax management processes of the IRD. These processes include taxpayer registrations, payments and returns processing, assessments, case management, and calculation and notification of arrears and penalties. The updates on RMS improved upon Solomon Islands' first computerised system created in 2006, which was established to manage only taxpayer registration, and returns processing and assessment. Significant changes have been made under the new RMS. The system now allows the computer-generation of Government Treasury receipts issued by the IRD, and the automated calculation of penalties and arrears for late payment by taxpayers.

The new RMS also includes a simplified registration system for tax payments involving withholding tax and stamp duty, as well as a new and updated statement for accounts for taxpayers. Solomon Islands is a state in Oceania, which in the past was wracked with ethnic tensions, resulting to economic decline and small revenue collections. The establishment of a computerised revenue management system in 2006 caused overall government revenue to increase from SBD 258 million (US$33 million) in 2002 to over SBD 1 billion (US$ 130 million) in 2007, posing an increase of up to 40 per cent. The new RMS aims to further the Solomon Islands government's drive to strengthen its financial program through the automation of its administrative processes. The New Zealand government has provided NZD $13.5 million (US$ 9.7 million) to facilitate the Solomon Islands government in achieving this goal.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/17/2011

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SOLOMON ISLANDS: Develop Information and Database System

The Ministry of Rural Development and Indigenous Affairs is currently developing a new information and database system that seeks to improve the ministry's system of managing, sharing, and storing information. According to John Misite"e, Director of the Ministry's rural development division, the work for the new system is currently well underway and should be ready by the second half of this year. "Once the new system becomes fully operational, it would greatly enhance the capacity of the ministry to collect and store data and information and the dissemination of necessary data and information to the country's fifty constituencies," Misite's said in an official statement. "This will include up to date information on the status and nature of economic projects happening within the country's fifty constituencies," he said.

Meanwhile, Misite"e added that retirement of RCD funds for 2010 is progressing well and is nearing its closing stage. "One of our strengths in doing this is our constituency development officers with whom we work in partnership. They are our key frontline people in the constituencies and they have first-hand information and experience in the development process at the constituency levels". Misite"e added that he is very pleased with the current initiatives being undertaken by the Government Communications Unit to work closely with other ministries in the dissemination of information on key activities of the government so as to inform citizens on what the Government is doing.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/10/2011

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Strengthening Internet Governance and Policy in the Pacific

Over 70 delegates gathered in Noumea, New Caledonia to participate in the inaugural meeting of Pacific Internet Governance Forum (Pacific IGF) held in, Noumea, New Caledonia from 9 - 10 April 2011. The Pacific IGF is a part of the global IGF process, which started in 2006, and aims to strengthen and enhance the engagement of all stakeholders in Internet governance and the policy framework for the Internet. The meeting aims to explore how the Internet can be used for the benefit of Pacific communities and how the associated risks and challenges can be best addressed by the stakeholders involved. The overall theme of the meeting is "Developing the Future Together", reflecting the open and inclusive nature endorsed within the global IGF, with its multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic, transparent, and equal participatory approach to discussions on Internet related public policy issues. In his opening address to delegates, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Dr Jimmie Rodgers said one of the challenges of Internet use in the Pacific is the issue of content.

'While Internet is a useful development tool, it can be detrimental to communities, especially in terms of negatively influencing the mindsets our children. These are issues for forums such as this to consider. Engaging in policy dialogues is important as it helps to develop appropriate mechanisms for content security and the meeting had brought together a group of committed individuals and organisations to enhance the value of this tool," he said. He also emphasised the need for the Pacific voice to be heard globally in the Internet arena and said this body could provide a medium for facilitating this. In his keynote address, Chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Peter Dengate-Thrush spoke on the critical and current issues in Internet infrastructure and why they were important to the Pacific. He outlined the five current challenges in this area as enhancing the security of the Internet; internationalising the names; switching from direct oversight by the United States Department of Commerce (US DoC) to community accountability; introducing possibly thousands of new generic top-level domains (gTLDS) under the new procedure; and the completion of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) allocation in 2011/2012 and the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

Don Hollander from I2, a New Zealand based consultancy focused on ICT for development in the Asia Pacific region, shared the vision of what an ICT enabled Pacific village would look like. He highlighted the many uses of ICT that have become available to rural communities, especially for small businesses, healthcare, education, agriculture, churches and communication with relatives living far away. The two-day meeting will focus on internet access, public policy, the Digital Divide in the Pacific, critical internet infrastructure and emerging issues. SPC is hosting the meeting at its headquarters in Noumea.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 04/10/2011

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SPC and UN-APCICT/ESCAP Strengthen Partnership in ICT Development

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for ICT for Development/Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-APCICT/ESCAP), signed an Implementation Arrangement last week to strengthen their collaborative efforts to coordinate strategy and resources for the development of ICT in the Pacific Islands region. The signing took place on Wednesday 6 April 2010 during the Inaugural Regional Meeting of Ministers for Energy, Information and Communication Technology and Transport, which was organised by SPC in Noumea, New Caledonia last week. Delivering her keynote address to Pacific ICT Ministers, Director for UN-APCICT/ESCAP Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee said, 'UN-APCICT/ESCAP will work to support SPC as it continues to deliver Academy training to government officials during national workshops in a number of Pacific Island countries (PICs) as part of the "ICT Access for the Poor" project, which is funded by the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat."

UN-APCICT/ESCAP will also work to support SPC in its broader work to implement the Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific (FAIDP), in collaboration with the other regional stakeholders including the University of the South Pacific (USP), particularly in building the ICT capacity of students and youth, who are the future leaders of the society. For this purpose, UN-APCICT/ESCAP will launch the "Young ICTD Leaders" module in October 2011. To further commemorate the occasion, Dr Rhee presented a plaque of appreciation to the Director-General of SPC, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, in recognition of the outstanding efforts to further the awareness and use of ICT for development in the Pacific and in honour of the partnership demonstrated. Accepting the plaque, Dr Rodgers acknowledged the work UN-APCICT/ESCAP has been undertaking over the years with the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), and the continuation of this collaboration with SPC of which SOPAC is now a division.

UN-APCICT/ESCAP is located in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Centre's mission is to strengthen the efforts of the member countries of ESCAP to use ICT in their socio-economic development through human and institutional capacity building. SPC is a Pacific-based international intergovernmental organisation that assists the Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) by delivering a wide range of technical, research, educational and planning services. It has 26 members comprising 22 PICTs and four metropolitan members, Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 04/15/2011

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AFRICA: Angola - Minister Stresses E-Government

Luanda - Angolan minister of Telecommunication and Information Technologies, Jos谷 Carvalho da Rocha, Monday here said the electronic Government allows citizens to participate in social life and lessen poverty. Jos谷 Carvalho da Rocha expressed this view while speaking at the opening of Conference on e-Governance and Private Network of State in Angola (e-Gov). The official said that the meeting aims to assess, among other matters, the works developed by the coordinating team of the project of Electronic Government approved in 2010.The project is intended to give response to the need of setting up new models of relationship between the rulers and ruled. He stressed that by doing so it will be possible to grant another plenitude to the participation of citizens in social, educative, economic and political lives of the country. The e-Gov was held simultaneously through the video-conference with Ministries of Planning, Telecommunications and Information Technologies, National Centre of Technologies of Information (CNTI) and Hotel of Talatona Conventions (HTCA), the venue of the event.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/25/2011

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GHANA: Govt Jettisons E-Voting for 2012 Polls

Accra - Ahead of 2012 general election, the Electoral Commission of Ghana has confirmed that it has jettisoned the idea of introducing electronic voting (e-voting) for the conduct of the polls. The commission said its decision was informed by the high technology involved in electronic voting and the fact that the people were unaccustomed to the system; hence its application could be cumbersome and tricky. The Deputy Chairman (Finance) of the Commission, Mr. David Adenze Kanga gave the indication in Accra yesterday at the end of a parley with the leadership of the four political parties with representation at the parliament. Kanga cautioned Ghanaians not to be in a rush to apply e-voting system, because it could result in problems. "Our own view is that we should encourage corporate bodies and institutions to begin to use e-voting for their own internal election so that people can get used to e-voting such that by the time the Commission is ready and we go national, people would have appreciated the difficulties of e-voting, if there are any," he explained.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/22/2011

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NAMIBIA: Information Ministry Budget Increased

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has requested a budget of N$316 483 000 for the new financial year, up from N$251 487 000 the previous year. Of this, N$200 748 000 will go towards operational expenses, and N$115 735 000 for capital projects. In the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), N$134 416 000 is allocated for media liaison work by the ministry. This includes capital projects on education and audio-visual network consolidation for support to multi-purpose community centres. It further includes subsidisation of the news agency Nampa and the New Era newspaper. The newspaper intends to increase its presence in regions with new offices to open in Keetmanshoop, Rundu and Katima Mulilo. An amount of N$21 091 000 is allocated for the Government Information Bulletin and the Namibia Review, as well as the dissemination of information through other vehicles, and activities around intellectual property rights. For the Nationhood Pride Campaign, the ministry requested N$13 375 000.

Minister of Information Joel Kaapanda said this campaign was introduced to address social evils like vandalism, sanitation, crime and violence. It will be launched by President Hifikepunye Pohamba on April 27. The film industry will receive N$134 662 000. From this, the Namibia Film Commission will receive funds for the production of five short films and for training in different areas of filmmaking. Kaapanda said these films will be distributed and marketed at international film festivals, while the country will try to attract international filmmakers here. The Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) is in the process of switching over to digital broadcasting, which will be implemented in two phases until 2015.

The estimated cost of the digitisation process is about N$340 million. Nearly N$13 million is allotted for the improvement of the country's information communication technology (ICT) development. Kaapanda said ICT institutions such as the Universal Service Fund and a Domain Name Association (.na) will be established and made operational, and the e-health and e-education centres of the Pan-African e-Network Project will be completed during the first quarter of this financial year. Similarly, the Namibia Communication Commission, or the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) will upgrade its automatic frequency management software systems and set up remote sites at Mariental and Windhoek to improve the triangular configuration for High Frequency (HF) management sites. The other HF sites are at Keetmanshoop, Oshivelo, and Walvis Bay.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/19/2011

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ARAB STATES: UAE - Dubai Municipality's Website Revamped

Dubai Municipality has re-launched its web portal with a new design, the fourth since 1998, which was the first launch to create an e-audience for Dubai Municipality on the Internet. Now, the change is based on the new trends in the field of technology, especially Internet-related and consistent with the requirements of the public who deal with the Municipality on a daily basis. Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality said Dubai Municipality has worked to develop the site in terms of form, content and sections so as to ensure ease of use. It has also taken care to provide more information and to add new channels to achieve the goal of customer satisfaction and support their requirements. He said it was in line with the call given by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for e-transformation. He said all the criteria of the Government of Dubai in developing e-government portals have been applied to support the "Zero Visit" initiative, and to integrate and unify all the portals of the departments of the Municipality in the main portal.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/15/2011

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UAE Upgrades E-participation in Revamped Federal Portal

The UAE Government has launched its new federal portal, redesigned to offer many eParticipation channels, include advanced practices such as Open Data, and be a better unified gateway to access many online services provided by the UAE Government. The highlights of the revamped portal are Open Data and eParticipation, through which the government aims to build new bridges to reach to the people. The UAE Government has engaged multiple platforms like forums, blogs, chats, surveys, polls and social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to reach to the general public and engage them in active communication with the government with regard to their opinions and experiences on government services, policies etc. H. E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Emirates eGovernment Director General, said at the launch of the revamped portal, "The aim of the advanced portal is to provide more and better online services to the people of the UAE and also involve them in the government's policies, laws, and public interest initiatives with the ultimate goal of achieving transparency."

Under Open Data, information is made available to the public for further re-use by them under no copyright restrictions; people can now have access to economic data, population statistics, traffic reports etc. Citing the reasons for the changes to the portal, Al Suwaidi explained, "We have improved the portal as per the directions of our leaders who always stress on the importance of delivering quality government services to all segments of consumers." The UAE federal portal also has an improved section for eServices for individuals, businesses, and visitors. It also contains a section on the offline channels for accessing government services. The portal also provides adequate information on the various services that are available through mobile devices and how to avail them with the help of specially developed short codes and mobile applications. "We did a lot of research to identify the users' needs; we conducted polls and surveys, held discussions, and considered user feedback and comments. Possible improvements were analysed against the international standards and best practices of web content. The result of all these efforts is the revamped government.ae portal," Al Suwaidi added.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/17/2011

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JORDAN: New E-Government Portal Provides Information on 27 Services

AMMAN - Mobile users in the Kingdom can now use their phones to inquire about traffic tickets, water bills, fatwas (religious edicts) and even check on flight schedules at Queen Alia International Airport using the e-government Mobile Portal launched on Sunday. To use the service, which was launched in cooperation with Zain, Orange Jordan and Umniah, users should download the JAVA application through their mobile operators or www.jordan.gov.jo. Mobile users in the country, where penetration stands at about 106 per cent, can also send an SMS through the application to ask about 27 government services, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Loading... said in an e-mail sent to the Jordan Times yesterday.

These include Customs Department services, annual real estate fees, complaints to the Greater Amman Municipality, tenders, employment applications at the Civil Service Bureau, outstanding individual or corporate taxes, the weather forecast and Royal Cultural Centre activities. Cellphone users can also inquire about progress in transactions at the Land and Survey Department, and services at the interior ministry. Those whose mobiles are not JAVA-enabled can send an SMS to 94444 to check on any of the e-services provided by the portal, the ministry said, adding that the cost of each SMS is JD0.07 excluding taxes. Minister of Information and Communications Technology Atef Tal said the portal seeks to enhance e-government services provided to citizens. Noting that the portal will enhance government services and their speed and accuracy, he highlighted the partnership with telecom companies in the launch of the portal.


From http://zawya.com/ 04/18/2011

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KUWAIT: KTA Launches 2011 Reform Index on Public Sector Performance

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Transparency Association (KTA) held a press conference to announce the results of their reform index for 2011. Salah Al-Ghazali, the chairman of the association, said that this year marks KTA's fourth reform index. He explained that reform is not a luxury and that it is needed so that people can reach the standards emphasized by the state. The reform index was first implemented in 2005 after Kuwait's huge retreat on the international corruption index. "The reform index is a serious attempt to save the public sector from a culture of corruption," he said. Al-Ghazali said that reform can be encouraged by introducing methods to monitor parts of the state and locate where the public sector falls short.

On the other hand, KTA's Secretary General, Salma Al-Eissa said that the goal of publishing the index is to spread awareness about the importance of reform and fighting against managerial corruption in the public sector. She added that the performance of the public sector in Kuwait needs to be evaluated according to transparency standards. Accountability and enforcing the law and following up on the performance of companies through the correct channels is one of the index's main goals," said Al-Eissa. She added that choosing the correct leaders plays an important role in reducing the rate of corruption. Al-Eissa asserted that the index helps to enhance the performance of public institutions by encouraging positive competition between parts of the public sector and their employees.

Al-Eissa further explained that the reform index depends on two important measurements; following up on the progress of services to individuals and conducting field visits and inspections. As for the obstacles facing the association, Al-Eissa pointed out that some high ranking officials in the public sector refused to cooperate with the association and refused to participate in interviews. The results of the reform index for 2011 for the public sector showed that Beit Al-Zakkat was ranked first, followed by the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and the Public Authority for Housing Welfare. In terms of accountability, the ranking listed the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Central Bank of Kuwait, Beit Al-Zakkat, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate and the top five public sector institutions.


From http://kuwaittimes.net/ 04/25/2011

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SAUDI ARABIA: The 2nd Annual Kingdom E-government Summit - E-government Programs an Increasing Focus

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered to have one of the largest Information Technology (IT) markets in the Middle East region with a forecasted IT market value of US$ 4.9 billion by 2014 according to companiesandmarkets.com. A growing population and increasing demand for e-services from both the private and public sectors plays a major role for the Saudi government to enhance its e-government programs. According to media and government reports, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have increased their spending on infrastructure and education which in turn is creating demand for advanced technology and security.

The 2nd Annual Kingdom e-government Summit, a strategic business initiative held each year in the Kingdom, will showcase the latest technologies and solutions for the growing e-government market. The two day Summit organised by naseba, a leading business information company, will take place on June 6th - 7th at Radisson Blu (SAS) in Riyadh. This summit's key topics include: Where is the Kingdom and what is next?; Effective use of information technology for better governance; Identifying and overcoming change management challenges; Implementing i-government in order to increase the efficiency in intra-governmental communication.

The summit has attracted major technology providers from all over the globe, whom will participate and have access to Saudi Arabia government officials by using naseba's exclusive pre-scheduling deal flow platform. Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company have confirmed as one of the Gold sponsors at the summit. Other key sponsors include: EMC, MATCO, InfoFort, Interactive Saudi Arabia, JAVA Gulf, Advantecs and YAFA International Establishment.

Commenting on the summit, Nic Watson, Managing Director Sales and Marketing at naseba said, "The summit offers a platform for service providers to meet with key representatives from various Saudi Arabian governmental bodies, the first annual received a very positive response from both the leading service companies and Saudi Government buyers. This year, due to the demand we have accepted more categories of solution provider to help facilitate an increase in deal flow opportunities through our proprietary business networking tools." The event website is www.kingdomegovsummit.com.


From http://www.prweb.com/ 04/24/2011

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EUROPE: Smarter and Tougher Economic Governance Dominate Key Committee Votes

The "six-pack" set of laws revamping economic governance in the EU was backed by Parliament's Economics committee on Tuesday. A stronger policing role for the Commission, more transparent decision-making transparency, new sanctions, and restricting EU Member States' political wiggle room without choking off economically-beneficial spending are the key issues which MEPs will put on the Hungarian Presidency table. Majority margins for some texts were slimmer than usual in Tuesday's emotionally-charged and tough-to-predict voting. Political groups differed as to how much emphasis to place on fiscal austerity and on the need to devise a set of rules which also gave Member States breathing space to continue their spending on growth-promoting investments. After the vote, the S&D group said that more would need to be achieved on growth-enhancing investment.

The main difficulty faced by lead MEPs was to strike a balance between stepping up the "automaticity" with which Member States reluctant to reform would have actions and sanctions imposed upon them, and allowing them to continue making investments that would be beneficial to their long-term health. The approved texts are tougher than what the Commission had proposed on "irresponsible" spending but, at the same time, they require the Commission to take more account of "good" spending when judging a country's reform efforts. The texts step up recourse to "reversed qualified majority" voting, most notably on multilateral surveillance issues to do with evaluating Member States' stability programmes, recommending improvements to them, or deciding that they have done too little to fix fiscal policy (adjustment path). This will make it harder for Member States collectively to sweep problems under the carpet, since to do so, they would have to take a formal decision ignoring the Commission's decisions, a politically difficult move.

On the other hand, the texts introduce various details requiring that assessments take account of public investment that stimulates growth, job creation and other socio-economic benefits. Also, national reform programmes would need to provide specific details of plans for reform but also for investment which would support growth and jobs, clearly turning these programmes into plans not centred solely on austerity. Finally, the scoreboard indicators for highlighting macroeconomic imbalances such as low competitiveness or an overheating economy must take more account of socio-economic factors than had been proposed by the Commission, and their use cannot prejudice the rights of social partners and collective bargaining. MEPs also emphasise that the indicators must not be interpreted mechanically.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 04/20/2011

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AUSTRIA: City of Vienna Improves Access to Administrative Data

The city of Vienna is working on a strategy to improve access to administrative data for citizens and businesses. Johann Mittheisz, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the city of Vienna, has been leading the development of this open government strategy. Currently, the city of Vienna already has comprehensive eGovernment resources with nearly 600 pages for the exchange of information between authorities and a number of electronic services. There are, for example, more than 180 online ways to submit an application and a city map with more than 120 layers. Layers are subject-specific contents, such as the identification of pharmacies, kindergartens and one-way streets. The open government resources are being constantly expanded and they are available at http://www.wien.gv.at/. International and national experiences are also taken into consideration. The city of Vienna, with its comprehensive eGovernment initiatives has contributed to the nomination of Austria as the 2010 European leader in eGovernment for the umpteenth time.


From http://www.ePractice.eu/ 04/21/2011

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FRANCE: Paris Launches a Portal for Local Government Data

At the end of January 2011, the City of Paris launched a portal, opendata.paris.fr, to provide citizens with access to local government data. The data will be available under an adapted version of the ODbl license, which entails those commercial re-users can either share their resulting work under the same conditions or buy a non-exclusive license. Like any large entity, the City of Paris accumulates and manages a considerable amount of electronic data (databases, mapping information systems, electronic records, etc.). These data are fully exploited by the municipal services as part of their work, but they also constitute a legacy that can be of use for the whole community:
Researchers can find material to support their work and experiments;
Developers can create innovative services using these data;
Citizens and journalists can find raw information;
Companies can profitably utilise these data, and thus create jobs and wealth for the community.

The open data movement aims to persuade organisations, including all levels of government around the world, to make electronic data available to everyone free of charge. In this spirit of transparency and openness, the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë and his deputy Jean-Louis Missika (in charge of Innovation, Research and Universities), proposed to the Council of Paris, in June and December 2010, that they deliberate on the release of the public data of the City of Paris. The launch of the opendata.paris.fr site marks the end of a first step in the release of the City's data, but it is also the start of an initiative: many datasets will be added to the catalogue over the coming months, as and when the contributions of the various municipal services are made. This release of public data fits into an overall policy of openness followed by the City of Paris since 2008, by which the whole city becomes a testing ground, and where people become 'co-designers' in the developments of their city.


From http://www.ePractice.eu/ 03/11/2011

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ITALY: New Version of the Public Authorities' eProcurement Platform Is Proving Popular

In the six weeks of its operation, the new version of www.acquistinretepa.it, the national Italian eProcurement platform for the purchasing of public goods and services, handled over 12 000 orders (deriving from framework contracts and eMarketplace) and posted 2 500 calls for tenders on the MEPA through Requests for Quotation (RfQ), it was announced on 1 April 2011. In addition, 6 500 new users have registered, to complement the nearly 50 000 from the old version of the platform. The new version of the platform was launched in February 2011. It is run by Consip, the central purchasing body of the Italian public administrations, on behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The usage figures emerged during the official presentation of the new platform in Rome. The event also highlighted some of the main features of the new system: the high level of customisation of services to respond better to the different needs of users; the extreme flexibility of the platform and thus the ability to modify and develop it according to the specific needs of different tools and services; full compliance with new procurement rules, with the ability to immediately use the new tools of purchase for which the platform is already set up (the framework agreement already in use and the dynamic purchasing system being tested); improvements in the infrastructure which make it possible to increase the potential of existing tools, such as the eMarketplace.

Danilo Broggi, the Chief Executive Officer of Consip, added that "this innovative and powerful platform for online purchases of public administrations lays the foundations for further dissemination of new technologies in the procurement cycle. It is a tool that offers great potential and will allow governments and businesses to obtain all the benefits deriving from the use of information technologies in public procurement: savings (in 2010, the process savings achieved by using the platform totalled approximately €300 million), transparency, ease of use, improved market access for deliveries, dematerialisation and environmental sustainability." Giuseppina Baffi, the Head of the Department of General Affairs of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, pointed out how "the innovation of the purchasing processes of government, through the strategic use of information technology and telecommunications, is a challenge that the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Consip have been undertaking for a long time. It is a major challenge because of its impact on the volumes of public expenditure to which it refers and because of the positive outcome it brings to public administrations, since buying in an innovative and efficient way also means supporting the modernisation of the system, through the supply of new services, thus providing benefits to the entire country."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/20/2011

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PORTUGAL: Lisbon Launches New Portal to Promote Citizen Participation

Lisbon City Council has launched the portal 'Lisbon Participates' ('Lisboa Participa', in Portuguese), which promotes the civic participation of its residents in targeted projects. The portal seeks to establish a close link, communication and interaction between citizens and local authorities. According to a communiqu谷 released by the municipality, the portal was created with the aim to encourage civic participation on issues deemed important to the city, thus empowering stakeholders to play a full part in new ideas and projects. Some of the initiatives that are voted on or in public consultation on the portal include the Participatory Budget for the period 2011-2012, the Local Agenda 21 or the SmartLX programme that contributes to a better quality of life in the city. In addition, the site contains the discussion page 'Lisbon in Debate' (Lisboa em Debate, in Portuguese), which serves as an opinion sharing platform for the following projects that impact the city's future: a new administrative map of the parishes, the New Lisbon Municipal Master Plan and urbanisation plans, etc.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/26/2011

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SWITZERLAND: Steering Committee Lays Down Strategic Areas to Stimulate eGovernment

The Steering Committee eGovernment Switzerland has identified strategic areas intended to give fresh impetus to eGovernment at a meeting on 7 March 2011 in Bern. It calls on all levels of government to further strengthen management, to focus on selected projects and to achieve a better collaboration. These strategic areas will constitute the basis for the renewal of the 'Framework Agreement on eGovernment Cooperation in Switzerland'.

The Confederation and the cantons concluded the framework agreement in 2007, which will remain in force until the end of 2011. To ensure the continuance and implementation of the Swiss eGovernment strategy, the steering committee at a meeting on 4 November 2010 commissioned the eGovernment Switzerland Programme Office to prepare the renewal of the framework agreement with the support of key Swiss eGovernment stakeholders. What the steering committee seeks to accomplish is to accelerate the deployment of eGovernment and to strengthen the Confederation's leading role, without relieving the cantons of their responsibility regarding its implementation.

In order to prepare for the new framework agreement, the Programme Office set up various workshops with eGovernment stakeholders in early 2011. These workshops have identified the following key action areas: reinforce the role of the steering committee; focus on selected projects; collaborate more closely at federal level; and increase standardisation and a joint funding basis. Based on these, the steering committee has laid down the following strategic areas: An action plan that focuses on five to eight priority projects; A geographical map provides an overview of eGovernment projects in Switzerland; The steering committee exercises greater influence on the adoption and implementation of standards; Defining binding framework conditions in the implementation of prioritised projects; The Steering Committee provides recommendations on general topics; The municipalities will be further involved through the cantons; A common financial base will be created for eGovernment in Switzerland.

As a second step, the Programme Office will carry out these strategic areas in a proposed new framework agreement, in collaboration with the secretariat of the Conference of the Cantonal Governments. Federal bodies, cantons and other organisations such as the Association of Municipalities, will then have the opportunity to express their views by means of a project consultation. In autumn, the revised framework agreement will be submitted for approval to the Conference of the Cantonal Governments and the Federal Council.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/01/2011

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UK: Government's Transparency Agenda Could Transform Local Public Sector Culture and Service Delivery Says Socitm

The coalition government's aim to increase transparency by requiring local authorities to publish expenditure over £500 would transform culture within local public sector organisations and improve public service delivery, according to latest report from Socitm Insight. Initially, this transparency move would force public sector employees to look at information differently as external people especially citizens would have access to it. They become concerned about what the public will think, rather than just considering the information from an organisational viewpoint, the briefing argues. Highlighting the example of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the briefing points out how publishing data on energy consumption by the council led to internal proactivity among staff members that led to reducing costs for the taxpayer. The briefing argues that councils and other public sector organisations should refrain from publishing "raw" data but instead focus on providing data within the right context. Socitm believes presenting information this way would not only lead to better evaluation and policy making by the executive and elected members in the council, it would also encourage democratic engagement with the citizens.

In addition, the transparency initiatives would be a boost for the CCoalition Government's 'Community Right to Challenge" - a commitment to give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services, which is the subject of a current consultation. This links to other coalition policies - the 'Right to Provide" which would give public sector workers a right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they currently deliver; powers for communities to save local facilities threatened with closure (the Community Right to Buy); provision for homes for local people (Community Right to Build); and the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises, enabling these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services. The local authority IT managers professional association does not think this move would cost councils significant amounts of money especially for those who already have good information systems. "Many authorities are using financial and other systems that make it hard to extract information. With makeshift integration between them and other applications, transparency may be costly to achieve in the short term, even if the longer-term efficiency benefits of addressing these issues - leaving aside the wider benefits of transparency covered in the briefing - may be considerable," Chris Head from Socitm Insight said.


From hhttp://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/08/2011

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UK: Thousands Take Up the Red Tape Challenge

Thousands of businesses and members of the public have taken up the Red Tape Challenge, with over 6,000 ideas and suggestions in the first week of the new website, which is part of the Plan for Growth. Comments have called for changes to, and the end of, many of the rules and regulations that affect the retail sector, from Sunday Trading to bike safety. Retail sector champion, Dr Kevin Hawkins, welcomed this initial response but urged more retailers, suppliers, trade associations and consumers to get involved and suggest easier, less bureaucratic ways to tackle the issues raised. He said: "The response so far has been outstanding, but make no mistake this is an opportunity that is too good to miss. For the first time the Government wants to hear from those at the sharp end of the complex, sometimes overwhelming, amount of regulation. Tell us about those rules that really waste your time and money or better still suggest ways of tackling the issues that will make life better for you and your customers. "And with the burden of responsibility on Ministers to make a case to keep regulations, it's your voice that will shape the decisions on the way we do business in the UK." Over 6,000 comments have been made during the first week of the new website www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk including discussion around: simplifying the complex range of age restrictions on buying products, making it easier for businesses and consumers to understand; the use of metric and imperial measures and simplifying weights and measures regulation; amendment of the egg marketing regulations so that small scale producers can sell their eggs to local retailers without eggs having to be stamped, promoting growth and local produce; and repeal of Trading with Enemy Orders. The website also gives the opportunity to comment on a wide range of cross-cutting regulations that affect retailers and consumers, including employment law and health and safety. In future months the website will also deal with other issues that have an impact on the retail sector such as labelling and planning. The opportunity to comment on regulations affecting the retail sector runs until 4 May. The following day will see the launch of regulations for the hospitality, food and drink sector.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/18/2011

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Survey Shows Government Agencies Getting More Adept at Electronic Discovery

Government agencies are handling more complex electronic litigation discovery requests and are gaining in their ability to manage them, according to a study released this week. Commissioned by IE Discovery Inc., the 2010 Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies Survey revealed that while budget constraints are rising for agencies, 61 percent of government employees claim to be "more confident" in their ability to manage e-discovery. Forty-six government attorneys, paralegals and information technology personnel from 24 government agencies took part in the survey. Conducted annually, the survey also revealed a reduced reliance on paper, more work being done in-house and an overall higher volume of data to manage.

Other points uncovered in the study include:
Government agencies have no standard approach to impose and manage litigation holds.
Almost one-half of agencies are now collecting "structured data" in repositories, databases and similar systems. The form of production varies greatly. Almost 40 percent of respondents reported producing discovery requests in image and text formats, 37 percent in native file formats and only 41 percent on paper. Bill Detamore, IE Discovery's chief legal officer, said that government agencies should look at improving their early data assessment strategies, which in the long run, could save money by reducing the sheer size of data sets they handle. "Gaining competence in this area may be one way for government discovery professionals to better leverage their limited resources and fulfill the expectation to do more with less," he said in a statement.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 03/16/2011

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Cloud Computing Needs Leaders to Restore Optimism

I'm returning to the US this week after spending the past 14 months in Asia, observing Cloud Computing and the nations of the world from this vantage point. I'm pessimistic, and this view comes after a long life of (potentially deluded) optimism.

A History of Optimism
When Unix showed the way out of choosing between Orwellian mainframe environments and the horrible, clunky little toy called DOS/Windows, I was optimistic. When CD-ROM brought high-density storage to our little PCs for the first time, I was optimistic. The rise of personal email, followed shortly thereafter by the Worldwide Freaking Web made me more optimistic than ever. Then, a brief pause while those much smarter than I figured out how to corral Web Services, decoupling and loose recoupling, virtualization, SOA, Ajax, and all of the front-end and back-end scripting and languages languages that come with them into Cloud Computing-and I was optimistic again!

Mood Swing
But today I see a United States that may have finally wounded itself fatally as the world's economic and political leader through a combination of self-indulge, a sense of entitlement, and a media- and entertainment-driven Idiocracy that is winning the tug-of-war against knowledge and intelligence. I see a developed world that has long resented US power but may now be panicking in the absence of it. I've also seen a China up close that is nowhere near ready to assume global leadership in any capacity-as if anyone in the US would really want it to. And I've the hundreds of millions in Southeast Asia who wonder what the heck is going on. "I thought Obama was going to fix everything," is a common lament in the region. "I thought Americans were smart."

Is This the Titanic For Real?
So I would like to think we're not arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Maybe the continuing waves of immigration will continue to keep the country strong and vibrant. The US has a population growth rate that's almost twice that of China (albeit with a much smaller population), with most of that coming from immigration. But Cloud is not going to resuscitate the US economy and continue to breathe life into the rest of the world unless there is enough national and corporate leadership to make it happen. Leadership is the most prized commodity among, well, leaders. Without it, organizations and countries fail.

Hellbent for Leather
The word's roots are simple and humble enough, coming from the Old English and German "leder," or "leather." You lead the horses with the leather straps, the leder. And that's it. Nothing profound or transcendent. We expect our leaders to do much more than hang onto the straps. We expect them to transcend the day-to-day humdrum, to set a tone and create a vision, and Lead with a capital L. As no less an expert than John Seely Brown, former Xerox Parc director, has said, "A company's top executives should educate themselves about the potential for cloud computing...to prepare for disruption & transformation." American technology companies have done a fantastic job in assuming leadership in all aspects of Cloud Computing. But who amongst us believes that the US currently has the political leadership-I'm talking about those in power through the federal and state governments, not just one person-to bring the US out of its worst economy in three decades? I didn't think so. And do you believe in your company's leadership? Or are you one of those leaders, and do you believe in yourself? I hope so.


From http://www.globalpost.com/ 04/04/2011

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Unified Communications Deployment in State and Local Governments Lags Behind

One would assume state and local governments are on the forefront of unified communications because they deliver a range of field-based services, from trash collection to child welfare. The productivity of caseworkers and other remote employees is thought to improve when they can access a variety of message types - voice, e-mail, text, fax, etc. - on the device of their choice, such as the desktop, smartphone or tablet. But the reality is that state and local governments, as a group, are lagging behind on unified communications (UC). According to new research by CDW-G and O"Keeffe & Co., only 11 percent of state and local governments have fully deployed UC. CDW-G's third annual survey on the topic, which was released this week, found that for medium- to large-size businesses, that number is 20 percent. Next was K-12 education (19 percent), higher education (17 percent), health care (16 percent) and federal government (14 percent).

Why is state and local government bringing up the rear? Budget constraints is one big factor, said Andy Dignan, senior manager of unified communications solutions at CDW. Another is that many state and local governments still need to upgrade their network infrastructure. "A lot of state and local governments don't have the correct bandwidth or the data centers to be able to adequately deploy [unified communications]," Dignan said. Across all sectors, UC adoption actually has doubled since last year. Of 900 IT managers interviewed in February, 16 percent said their organization had fully deployed UC. Last year the number was 8 percent, and 6 percent in 2009. Dignan said he believes cloud computing will become a critical driver for the growth of UC adoption. This will be particularly true in state and local governments, he said, because they won't have the funding to upgrade every point on their network so that UC is possible. Cloud computing can fill in the gaps, he said.

Like the statistics on deployments, state and local governments are taking longer to move toward the cloud. Fifty-five percent of state and local governments are evaluating, have deployed or have fully deployed UC "using a cloud model." The other sectors are much higher. The federal government is at 75 percent, in line with all the other sectors. Most of CDW-G's state and local customers are opting for a private cloud for UC deployments, Dignan said. In order to catch up, Dignan said state and local IT managers need to make the business case for UC and calculate the ROI. Respondents ranked increased employee productivity (53 percent) and reduced operating costs (48 percent) as the two leading benefits of UC. But getting money for these projects remains a tough task. Forty-one percent of IT professionals said they had difficulty getting funding for UC implementations, and 29 percent said they had trouble securing reliable cost projections.

As service delivery evolves, government workers will need better mobile solutions. And they don't necessarily have to be complicated, Dignan said. Some of his local government customers are implementing "single number reach," which allows an employee to control at what time and on what device he or she is e-mailed, texted, instant messaged, faxed and phoned. This simple improvement could allow workers to use their personal smartphones.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 04/06/2011

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State CIOs Honor Federal IT Leaders for Technology and Government Excellence

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra were honored for their efforts to promote government performance excellence through technology at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Midyear Conference on Friday, May 6, in Washington, D.C. The organization recognized the two technology leaders with its annual NASCIO Technology Champion award. Kundra and Chopra were spotlighted for their work in using technology to further transparency and efficiency at the federal level and for reaching out to state and local government partners.

Kyle Schafer, NASCIO president and chief technology officer of West Virginia, remarked that the duo stands as a model for how their roles can work together at the federal level and still maintain an understanding of state issues. "Aneesh Chopra has made a special effort to reach out to the nation's state CIOs to participate in innovative solutions for making government run more efficiently, seeking a multistate approach for common state problems," Schafer said in a statement. "Vivek Kundra's ... introduction of the federal dashboard, Data.gov and his 25-point plan are innovative, promote transparency and create a new era of cooperation among the federal government and the states."

Kundra and Chopra have championed ways to streamline government technology implementations and embrace open data and cloud computing since they were appointed to their posts in March and April 2009, respectively. In addition to his 25 Point Implementation Plan to address technology issues in government, Kundra has been leading the charge to migrate data to the cloud. In addition, he revealed that 137 of the nation's 2,000-plus data centers would be consolidated by the end of 2011. The NASCIO Technology Champion award is given to acknowledge those who promote excellence in both technology and good government. Nominees may be elected or appointed officials in federal, state or local government, academics, authors, journalists, or individuals from nonprofit organizations or private businesses. Current state CIOs and people employed by corporate members of NASCIO are not eligible.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 05/06/2011

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CHINA: Traffic Police Post Gory Clip on Internet to Educate Public

It looks like an R-rated gruesome thriller -- pedestrians being knocked over by racing vehicles, cars ramming into each other and crushing passengers inside. The 12-minute video, however, is no fiction but a compilation of surveillance camera footage. Traffic police in an eastern Chinese city posted it on line to alert the public about the dangers of careless and reckless driving. By Friday morning, the clip had received more than 4 million hits on the country's popular video-sharing site Youku.com since it was posted on March 29, triggering a flood of reactions ranging from alarm to ire. China's roads remain the world's deadliest with about 60,000 road accident deaths each year. According to the latest available statistics released by the Ministry of Public Security, 27,000 people were killed in 99,000 road accidents in the first half of 2010. Tang Jiachun, a police official in the city of Heze, Shandong Province, said the city's traffic police compiled the footage of accidents on Heze's roads, most of which happened in the second half of last year. Tang said the video was to educate the public by alarming them. Part of the video had also been aired by the city's television channel. "In the past, the public were unmoved if we just played the education CD issued by the provincial or national police authorities," Tang said. "So we decided to be a bit more innovative by making a video of real scenes." The police added subtitles to each of the accident scenes, identifying the time and place of each accident and explaining the causes.

The preface of the video clip goes: 99 percent of these accidents were caused by people violating traffic rules. Please cherish life and drive safely. "It's absolutely brutal! But only because it is so does it alert the public," said an Internet user named Zisefengling. "The police should have done this earlier to raise public awareness of traffic violations," said another one named Daliangtaoshao. Road accidents have surged in China over the past few years as more and more Chinese get behind the wheel. Fatal accidents caused by speeding and drunk driving as well as hit-and-runs have particularly enraged the public. Last year, a drunk 23-year-old hit-and-run driver gained nationwide notoriety by reportedly shouting "Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang." To clamp down on the rising traffic violations, China's top legislature in February passed revisions to the Criminal Law, making actions that severely harm public interests, including drunk driving and speeding, a criminal offense. Li Qiming, the 23-year-old at the center of "my father is Li Gang" case, was sentenced to six years in prison for the hit-and-run that left one woman dead and another injured. But Heze police's latest initiative also drew criticism for publicizing explicit gory scenes without considering the victims' privacy. "The police should get consent from the victims' families first," said an Internet user named Sinian. "They must feel sad revisiting the death scenes of their loved ones."


From Xinhua News Agency 04/01/2011

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Internet Facilitates Grassroots Participation in Governance

Online networking is no longer merely about news updates and gossip. It is evolving into a tool that facilitates the public's participation in government work. Authorities in Haining city in east China's Zhejiang Province have decided to upload government documents to a microblog to strengthen public supervision by improving communication with Internet users. Haining city government's justice department is planning to launch a microblog on Sina.com to post the department's documents and notices, said Jin Yizhong, director of the department. As a newly thriving platform for interaction between grassroots groups and the political elites, microblogs and online forums are gaining favor among Chinese Internet users who want a larger say in the decision-making process. When Ou Yang, a government work advisor in Wenzhou City, also in Zhejiang, tried to rent a bus from the local government for his colleagues to go on a recreational activity, government officials turned him down. They told him that if someone took a picture of the bus and put it on the Internet, people might criticize the officials for using government transport for private purposes. Ou Yang said that the minor incident demonstrates the power of public supervision in cyberspace.

In China's financial hub of Shanghai, the municipal government puts all of its proposals online for public comments, said Xu Shiping, manager of Eastday.com. In Leshan City in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the provincial development and reform commission has published information online about the provincial government's social development plans over the next five years. The provincial government department received more than 2,000 comments from Internet users after publishing the information. Chen Dequan, an official with the Leshan City Government's development and reform commission, believed said, "It can help us make fewer mistakes by inviting the public to participate in the decision-making process through the Internet." At the beginning of 2010, Leshan city government had to halt a plan to build a hydropower station after the project was made known on the Internet, triggering a flurry of online objection arguing that local water resources had already been overexploited. Shu Bin, chief editor of Rednet.cn, said, "There are many supervisory institutions established across the country, but online supervision is the most efficient of all." The use of microblogs among government organizations started with Chinese police, who used them to collect information on cases. Many government officials have also opened microblogs to enhance communication with the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/09/2011

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Micro Blogs Popular Among Officials

At least 2,428 Chinese governmental agencies and officials have been posting short messages online using domestic micro-blogging services that are similar to Twitter, according to a research report published by the Fudan University on Friday. By March 20, government and Party departments had opened 1,708 mico-blog accounts and officials had opened 720 accounts under their own names, according to a report titled The Research Report on Micro-blogs for Chinese Political Affairs. The research tracked and analyzed official micro-blog accounts held with prominent Internet services such as Sina, Tencent and People.com.cn, a subsidiary of People's Daily. Official micro blogs posted on regional Internet portals such as the Shanghai-based Eastday.com and Xinmin.cn were also noted in the research, part of which considered the status of official micro blogs in Shanghai. "Of all the official micro blog accounts, police authorities write the biggest portion and their micro blogs are the most helpful," said Zhang Zhi'an, the report's main author. Chinese police authorities have opened 1,228 micro-blog accounts, which constitute about half the total number of official micro blogs in China. And 139 police officers have written micro blogs online, said the report. For the police, micro-blogging has become a convenient means of publishing information and a way to ask Internet users to help them in investigations, said Zhang.

The report also concluded that authorities in southern China spent the most time writing micro blogs. Among Chinese provinces, East China's Jiangsu province contained the largest number of official micro-bloggers. By March 20, 279 government agencies in the province had set up micro-blog accounts. East China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces and South China's Guangdong province were also the places of origin for more than 100 official micro-blog accounts. By taking into account the number of messages posted on the micro blogs and the number of followers each drew, the report listed the 10 most influential blogs maintained by authorities and by officials. Among the top 10 were the public security bureaus of Guangdong and Hebei provinces and Beijing municipality. And Wu Hao, a senior publicity official in Southwest China's Yunnan province, and Zhang Chunxian, Party secretary of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, were among the officials who wrote the most influential micro blogs. The report also found that 19 officials at the provincial level, such as provincial governors, wrote micro blogs online. The report called on officials to try to improve their writing. "(The blogs) should unite an individual's style with authority and authenticity," Zhang said.


From China Daily 04/25/2011

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China Sets Up Office for Internet Information Management

The Chinese government announced Wednesday the setting up of an office to manage Internet information in a statement of the State Council General Office. The department, known as the State Internet Information Office, will direct, coordinate and supervise online content management and handle administrative approval of businesses related to online news reporting, it said. The office will work to implement the policies of Internet communication and promote legal system construction in this field, it said. It will direct the development of online gaming, online video and audio businesses and online publication industries, it said. The office will be engaged in promoting construction of major news websites and managing government online publicity work. It is assigned the duties to investigate and punish websites violating laws and regulations. It will oversee telecom service providers in their efforts to improve the management of registration of domain names, distribution of IP addresses, registration of websites and Internet access. It will also guide the work of Internet information offices at the local levels. The State Council will not set up another team for the office but have the staff from the State Council Information Office work for the new office as well, the statement said. The State Council has approved the appointment of four senior officials for the office. Director of the State Council's Information Office Wang Chen was appointed director of the State Internet Information Office. Vice director of the State Council's Information Office Qian Xiaoqian was appointed vice director of the office. Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xi Guohua, and Vice Minister of Public Security Zhang Xinfeng were concurrently appointed vice directors of the office.


From China.org.cn 05/04/2011

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Nation's Largest Patent Database Goes Online

A search system with the nation's largest patent database went online at the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) as part of its April 26 open house to mark World Intellectual Property Day. The result of two years of effort by SIPO software engineers, the system provides comprehensive information for patent examiners and the public. The system has more than 80 million abstracts of patent-related documents, and more than 70 million full-text documents and charts, collected from nearly 100 countries, regions and organizations. More than 100 visitors - including patent owners, inventors, intellectual property (IP) scholars and interested citizens who signed up online - attended the event. Like previous years, the sixth annual SIPO open house was designed to "let a wider public approach SIPO and get more acquainted with IP knowledge", Vice-Commissioner Bao Hong said in a speech to open the event. Over the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the central government aims to increase invention patent ownership from 1.7 per 10,000 people to 3.3, which means "intellectual property and patents have become important indicators in the evaluation of the nation's economy and social development", Bao said. Three exhibit halls were open to visitors to display recent achievements in IP protection, the history of SIPO and the newly unveiled patent search system.

The office's registration hall and scientific examination lab were also open to visitors. One of the participants, Sui Yang from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said she was "inspired" by the exhibitions because she "learned about the development of IP protection in the nation and saw so many talented people". Sui was before a member of a law society and had a clear view about IP protection. "If you work for a company, you may meet IP issues such as trademark registration or copycat products," she said. "We need to enhance our IP understanding." SIPO officials also unveiled a series of training materials on how to search, apply for and protect patents. Zeng Zhihua, director of SIPO's documentation and automation department, said it is of strategic importance to develop patent information as a resource and improve its use. The training series includes four hours of video material and two books. The multimedia course provides an introduction to a range of patent-related issues including registration, importing and exporting products, and how to handle disputes. A third book in the series is on the way, Zeng said. It will give deeper insight into the patent application process and include many case studies. SIPO organized a number of training programs for patent agencies and companies across China last year. Lessons were given to more than 1,000 trainees.


From China.org.cn 05/11/2011

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China Launches Online Database to Showcase CPC Theoretical Research Achievements

China has launched a free online database of a collection of theoretical works by leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and documents issued by the country's central authorities. According to a statement Xinhua received on Tuesday from the People's Publishing House, which operates the database, the database's website, www.ccpph.com.cn, aims to showcase the theoretical research achievements that the CPC has made since its founding 90 years ago. Boasting more than 10,000 books saved as virtual files, the database highlights works by China's leaders of different periods including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, as well as works on Marxism and Leninism, the statement said. The building of the database, a government-funded project, began in 2008.


From English.news.cn 05/17/2011

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S. KOREA: National Internet Addiction Therapy Center Opens

With Internet addiction emerging as a serious social issue, the Gongju National Hospital in South Chungcheong Province has opened a clinic dedicated to the treatment of those caught in the Web. This is the first time a national medical facility has launched anti-Internet addiction program here. The five-week session helps Internet addicts as with other patients using diverse medical aspects. Visitors to the "Save Brain Clinic" will take a written test, then a brainwave test to learn the stage of diagnosis. Therapies mostly designed for teenagers vulnerable to online games include group therapy, high-tech treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and conventional academic curriculum sessions involving Korean language or mathematics, the hospital said. "The recipients will not be medicated," hospital official Lee Jae-won said. "Instead, they will learn how to overcome addictive computer use," he added. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 1.9 million people are estimated to be addicted to the Internet. It amounts to 8.5 percent of the population of Internet users in Korea. Out of them, 938,000 are teenagers. The authorities noted that excessive use of the Internet is not only a personal issue but also a social problem: The Korean Association for Policy Sciences projects that the socioeconomic loss from Internet addiction totals 10.1 trillion won ($9.3 billion). Also, crimes committed by Internet addicts including assault, fraud and murder have brought the use of the Internet to national attention. "Currently, the government focuses on the prevention of addiction, but will expand measures for treatment, too," a ministry official said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/10/2011

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Korea Promotes Its Superb E-Government Cases Around the World

On May 11, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) held "The United Nations Conference on e-Government in Asia and the Pacific" at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul. About 300 attendees from 40 countries joined the conference. The conference, which will last until May 13, aims to rediscover the desirable role and function of government in the aspect of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and plans to discuss cooperative measures among Asia-Pacific nations through presentations on "current e-Government conditions" by nation. Kim Nam-seok, Deputy Minister of MOPAS, said, "This is a valuable opportunity to promote the Korean e-Government across the globe as well as to benchmark shining examples of overseas nations. As a leader in the e-Government sector, Korea will share its meaningful results achieved in a relatively short period of time with the international community and will contribute to the development of e-Government around the world as a partner of the global village."

With the Chief Information Officers' Forum being held on the opening day of May 11, the conference is going to have various presentations on e-Government cases based on the development and geopolitical differences by nation on the next day. The cooperative measures in the Asia-Pacific region will be mainly discussed on May 13. MOPAS anticipates that the conference will serve as an opportunity to make inroads into the Asia-Pacific market with the participation of major e-Government exporters, such as Samsung SDS (informatization village, On-Nara system, government integration center, e-customs system, e-procurement system), LG CNS (Minwon24, disaster management system, e-patent system, national tax system, e-passport), and SK C&C (mobile information security, public Sinmungo, mail).


From http://english.etnews.co.kr/ 05/13/2011

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Korea to Provide Paperless Customs Service

The Korea Customs Service will add an electronic tracking system on goods to tighten supervision on transshipment while enhancing custom procedures for an economy increasingly opening up to free trade agreements, the state agency said Tuesday. In a proposal outlining the agency's medium-term goals, the KCS said it will adopt the new inspection system that applies minimal customs procedure for honest traders and a tougher one for trans-exporters and new traders. "With more free trade agreements coming, it is necessary to adopt a more efficient paperless system but one that filters out illegal transshipments," a KCS official said. "A growing number of overseas traders have been repackaging foreign products as Made-in-Korea to sell them at higher price in Europe and the U.S. We hope the e-tracking system prevents such cases." Dubbed e-Seal, the tracking system will be put on all items entering the country that need to be shipped to another port or airport.

The agency will be notified as soon as the sealed items are opened for repackaging. Things will be made easier for frequent, honest traders, the official said. The agency introduced Authorized Economic Operator certificates in April 2009, which acts like a passport to pass through customs checkpoints with fewer or possibly no inspections anytime they arrive. "We expect more than 10 percent of all exporters and importers to be certified with AEO this year and we see this increasing to 30 percent by 2013 as FTAs with EU and the U.S. go into effect," the KCS said. The total amount of imports and exports for Asia's fourth-biggest economy is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year. "Korea is one of the first to have adopted a paperless customs system and we exported it to six countries and earned $62.1 million. A lot of them are coming back to build a secondary unit or to learn more," the KCS said. The KCS has the top rating in airport customs service from Airports Council International in 2009 for the fifth consecutive year.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/17/2011

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MONGOLIA: To Roll Out New Smart I.D Card System

At its regular meeting on March 9, the Cabinet decides to renew current ID system with the electronic ID system. The new ID card with embedded microchip will contain all personal data on the security chip and numbers and the database will be linked to agencies such as the Election Commission, Tax Department, Military Recruitment body etc. The new card with biometric facial and fingerprint systems will allow Mongolian authorities to identify people with speed and accuracy, the First Deputy Premier Altankhuyag said. These authorities include the police, customs and tax authorities and of course the local registration and passport granting authorities. Besides, the introduction of new ID system will enable the authorities develop e-government. With the help of smart ID card system, the Government intends to facilitate public services to population, including social allowance, social security, health, various insurances and education. Mongolian citizens can receive the mandatory new ID cards from October 2011. Already, over 2.2 billion people, or 33% of the world's population, have been issued with 'smart" ID cards. Of those, over 900 million have biometric facial and fingerprint systems. On present plans, over 85% of the world's population will have smart ID cards by 2012.


From http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/ 03/11/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Government Sets Up Official Text Alert Service

The Philippines government has launched an Official Text Message system to provide accurate updates to the public in times of disasters and other emergencies, which it said will help cut down on "bogus alarmist messages that cause unnecessary panic". The government has linked up with major telecommunications firms, namely PLDT/Smart, Globe, and Digitel/Sun, for the establishment of the free public safety advisory system via text messaging. In a public-private partnership in public safety and disaster communication, the telecom firms have volunteered for the timely broadcast of accurate messages to their subscribers during typhoons, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies. The "Official Text Message," that will come from concerned government agencies, will come from the mobile number 1456. Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said the new public safety advisory program seeks to avoid panic and provide guidance to citizens to safeguard lives and properties during typhoons, floods, earthquakes and even security emergencies. "In times of crisis, accurate information breeds confidence and silence breeds fear. It is vital for the government to give the correct advisories to the public to avoid panic over unverified statements and hoax messages," Coloma said. The National Telecommunications Commission has already issued a memorandum on the guidelines for public safety broadcast of text messages during calamities and other emergencies.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/17/2011

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BANGLADESH: IGP Stresses on Cops' IT Skills

Dhaka (bdnews24.com) - Police chief Hassan Mahmood Khandker has stressed that all officials in the law enforcement agency need to be skilled on computer and ICT. "Police officials need to be efficient in computer operations and should have knowledge on information and communication technology [ICT] as Bangladesh police is becoming digitised day by day," Hassan Mahmood Khandker said on Sunday. Addressing the 'Basic ICT Training Programme' for field-level police officials, the inspector general of police said such trainings would help the participants in both professional and personal life. The programme was organised at 'Chhayanaut Sangskriti Bhaban' in the city under the Police Reform Programme (PRP), a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). CID Chief and PRP project director Mokhlesur Rahman and UNDP assistant country director Young Hong were also present, among others, at the event. Commencing on Sunday, the training programme will run concurrently in all six divisions - Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet - until the next month. Under the programme, 700 police officials, 70 of them female, from the six divisions will be imparted training on basic ICT awareness in Bangla.


From http://bdnews24.com/ 03/20/2011

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Govt Clears Teletalk 3G Project

Dhaka (bdnews24.com) - The government has approved first-ever project for 3G technology launch by state-owned Teletalk. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved the project to launch the technology and extend the existing 2.5G network, planning minister A K Khandker told reporters. The meeting held at the National Economic Council at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka was presided by prime minister Sheikh Hasina. Planning secretary Manzur Hossain told bdnews24.com that Teletalk would be able to serve the technology to 1.72 million subscribers and 2.5G to over 4.7 million. Currently Teletalk has some 1.2 million connections, telecommunications minister had told in parliament on Feb 27. The government will invest Tk 4.24 billion in the Tk 19billion project, while the remaining will be managed from China on a two percent loan. Manzur said the estimated project period is January 2011-December 2012. ECNEC also cleared three other projects - establishing Faridpur Medical College and Hospital at an estimated cost of Tk 3.15 billion, developing 16 roads of Gopalganj at Tk 3.88 billion and developing the Gopalganj-Barni-Singipara road at Tk 410million cost.


From http://www.bdnews24.com/ 05/03/2011

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INDIA: Bengal Gaining e-Governance Grounds

In a bid to straighten up some e-Governance facilities Bengal has buckled up. EMC, a provider of data storage facilities has joined hands with the Bengal government to set up a state data centre (SDC). All data necessary to provide state government services to businesses and consumers will be kept in the data centre to be accessed by all the state departments, significantly boosting the Bengal government's e-governance initiative. Besides, SDC is part of the Centre's e-governance plan that seeks to connect villages through a nationwide broadband network. SDC will help individual government departments to focus on service delivery, besides reducing data management cost. The Department of Information Technology at the Centre has laid down guidelines to provide financial assistance to the states to set these up. For Bengal, Webel and the state IT department will be the implementation authority of SDC, which will be in the Webel campus. In another move, Trinamool Congress roped in Hotmail founder, Sabeer Bhatia to enable it to use the internet platform in its assembly election. Sabeer Bhatia will help the party build an interactive platform where the citizens can interact directly with the party's leaders. The platform will also be used to reach out to citizens and gain attention of the young generation for the upcoming elections. Is it yet another move towards interactive governance or maybe just interactive vote-gaining? Time will tell.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/14/2011

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Haryana to Upgrade IT Facilities for Better e-Governance

The Haryana government has decided to create an information technology (IT) cadre for implementation of the state's e-Governance initiatives in various departments. An official spokesman said that the state government has already prepared the basic structure for the IT cadre and it would be finalising the same shortly, reported IANS. The state government has also decided to set up Information and Communication Technology (ICT) labs in more than 2,600 government schools and all the government colleges. This facility would be in addition to the IT education facilities in various technical institutions in the state. "Special programmes have been designed for the training of government employees so as to enable them to increasingly use ICT in their day to day work," he said.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/14/2011

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Right to Information in India: On the Perilous Road to Transparency

Seeking information from government officials in India may prove fatal as increasing instances of attacks on information seekers in the past three years prove. Social workers from a small town in Uttar Pradesh have been harassed by goons for questioning the massive discrepancies taking place in the government MGNREGA scheme in the region. Mr Pandey says he was attacked for asking questions about a social welfare scheme/ Photo credit: BBC Asking questions can cost your life in India - even if the right to solicit information is protected by law. Amar Nath Deo Pandey is luckier - in less than a week, he appears to have escaped two attempts on his life in a nondescript town in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. More than five years after the introduction of a landmark law that allows Indians to access information held by the government, the questioners themselves are under attack. In the last three years alone, nearly a dozen people who dared to ask uncomfortable questions under the country's Right to Information law have been killed, and scores of such information seekers have been attacked across the country.

Awkward questions
The backlash is not surprising considering that the law is forcing a seismic change in India's post-colonial officialdom, which swears by a stifling "official secrets act" while denying information to citizens. Mr Pandey, an energetic 55-year-old homeopath and social worker, discovered the perils of asking awkward questions the hard way. Last year a group of people in his native town of Robertsgunj in Sonbhadra district filed freedom of information applications seeking answers about suspected corruption in India's massive jobs-for-work programmer. India's jobs-for-work programmer has been plagued by corruption. Some of the answers he and his co-workers received showed large-scale government corruption. Lists of eligible workers for the programmer had been forged, inflated payments had been made - bricks had been bought at 12 times the market price - and village council finances had not been audited for four years in a row. Old roads had been shown in records as newly constructed ones, public money had been spent to make roads which did not exist and more than 150 promised homes for the poor had failed to materialize. Still, money was being pumped into the programmer which guarantees 100 days of work a year for every household. Even the village council officer, the information revealed, had forged his high school and college transcripts to make himself eligible for the job. The revelations shook up the government and led to the suspension of the village council officer nearly three months ago.

'Vile threats'
A government investigation also found that district officials had stolen money from the jobs-for-work programmer, and amassed considerable fortunes well beyond their means. That was when, Mr Pandey says, "vile threats" on his telephone began - and then came the suspected attempts on his life. On 26 January, the anniversary of India's republic, he was returning from the main market in Robertsgunj when a "man, possibly in his thirties" came from behind, pressed a gun sideways to his head, fired a single shot and ran away. Mr Pandey says he felt a scorching sensation on his scalp for a moment, before he began dragging himself to his home screaming for help. "I have been shot! I have been shot! Help!" At home his family bandaged his bleeding head, and took him to the derelict local clinic which administered some first aid before sending him off to a better-equipped hospital in the holy town of Varanasi, some 70km (45 miles) away. There, doctors opened his skull and cleaned the wound. They sent him back home two days later with emergency stocks of antibiotics and injections. The hospital report said Mr Pandey had suffered from a "gunshot injury in the left side of the head [and felt] pain in the scalp", pointing to the fact that the bullet had grazed his skull. He had barely escaped becoming India's 12th "right to information martyr", as senior police officer Amitabh Thakur, who is writing a book on people who have been murdered for seeking information, describes them. "I was nearly given a medal of death on a day when India gives medals to the brave. Only because I stood up against corruption," says Mr Pandey, breaking down. Six days before the failed gun attack - no arrests have been made yet - Mr Pandey had his first near-assignation with death.

Accident?
He was driving his pale blue scooter in the town, when a rashly-driven SUV rammed into him from behind. Mr Pandey says he was sent flying and landed on his haunches on the pavement, escaping any serious injuries. The vehicle sped away without stopping. "I thought it was an accident. My lawyers tell me it was a clear attempt to murder. They say the vehicle belonged to the suspended village council officer," says Mr Pandey. Nearly a month after returning home, Mr Pandey has not stepped out yet. An armed police guard has been deployed to protect him and his family - the policeman usually sits outside on a rope-bed keeping an eye on visitors. "I will continue to ask questions. But I don't way to pay for it with my life," says a visibly shaken Mr Pandey. Information commissioners say they are concerned over the rising attacks on people who are seeking government information. "We are very concerned. This is a worrisome trend. State governments should protect people who ask sensitive questions," says central information commissioner Satyananda Mishra. He believes that governments should be more forthcoming with putting more information in the public domain anyway, so people don't have to file an application to get it. "More transparency will mean that the information seekers will be less harassed and become targets."


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 03/21/2011

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India Advances Towards M-Governance

New Delhi: India's Department of Information Technology (DIT) has initiated the formulation of a new comprehensive policy framework on mobile governance. This policy framework aims to formulate set of guidelines for utilising the mobile devices in expanding the access to and reach of public services to all residents, especially in rural areas where Internet penetration is still very low. According to a draft policy published by the DIT seeking comments over it, the rapidly expanding subscriber base of mobile phone users in the country can help in accelerating the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) for improving governance and ushering in inclusive development. In order to provide multi channel and ubiquitous access to government services to the citizens the mobile governance policy aims to build an enabling mobile service delivery infrastructure consisting of a Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG). It will be fully integrated with the existing infrastructure created under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the document posted on the DIT's website for public comments said. The DIT expects to develop the gateway by September this year and link projects that have already been digitised, such as filing of income taxes, by December. There are about 80 million Internet users in the country, while the number of mobile phone subscribers was around 771 million at the end of January The figure was likely to touch one billion marks by 2012.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 04/06/2011

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Maharashtra Signs Up ABM for e-Governance Project

IT company ABM Knowledgeware has recently announced that it has bagged a Rs 63.62 crore e-Governance contract from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The scope of work would include supply and implementation of SAP licences along with post implementation support. The contract has to be executed in financial year 2011-12 and involves a lot of projects under the Municipal Corporation.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/09/2011

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From Electronic Governance to Green Governance

MCA has launched "Green initiative for Corporate Governance", to facilitate paperless communication in order to promote green governance. The government has allowed companies to send notices and documents to their shareholders and members electronically in order to facilitate paperless communication. The "Green Initiative for Corporate Governance" announcement by the Corporate Affairs Ministry comes after the Department of Posts discontinued the postal facility under the 'Certificate of Posting'. It is also in line with the Information Technology Act, 2000, which "permits service of documents, etc, in electronic mode", the ministry said in a circular. "Keeping in view the above, it is hereby clarified that a company would have complied with Section 53 of the Companies Act if the service of document has been made through electronic mode, provided that the company has obtained e-mail addresses of its members for sending the notice/documents through e-mail...," it said. Section 53 of the Companies Act, 1956, allows companies to provide service documents to its members and shareholders under the 'Certificate of Posting' as one of the accepted modes of service. While companies have been asked to maintain a data bank of email-addresses of its members and shareholders, the ministry has also made it clear that companies will have to give them enough time to get their email-ids registered.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/26/2011

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Paperless Administration, Not a Distant Dream

In the third phase of e-Governance in South Goa district, the administration plans to link the 72 talathi offices with digital network, thereby enabling a paperless office. As per the district administration, all the talathis of the 72 revenue villages of the South Goa district administration have been provided with notebook computers and "village suite" software will be launched shortly. National Informatics Centre (NIC) is the agency developing the software. Reportedly, the South Goa district administration has already networked the deputy collectors` offices in all talukas with the citizens` facilitation centre (CFC) at the Margao collectorate.


From http://egovonline.net/ 05/10/2011

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PAKISTAN: PTCL to Offer ICT Solutions to Sindh Government

PTCL has signed a contract with Sindh Government to provide it a system which will ease of the tax collection procedure, reported Daily Times. Under this agreement, PTCL will provide data connectivity solutions to Excise and Taxation offices throughout the province of Sindh for integrating the tax collection process. This will not only facilitate taxpayers in submission of taxes but will also result in transparent and efficient tax collection processes in the province. Excise & Taxation Department is the main tax-collecting agency of the provincial government. The department is responsible for levy and tax collection. These services offer secure, reliable and integrated end-to-end domestic connectivity solutions to cater data connectivity demand of tax collecting department. PTCL will equip the government of Sindh with its state of the art data center services, satellite communication links, videoconference and wireless broadband services. The agreement signing ceremony was held at the office of Secretary Excise and Taxation Manzoor. A. Memon on March 14, 2011.


From http://pakistannewsblog.com/ 03/15/2011

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Administrative Affairs: ICT to Be Run by Separate Division

The government has decided to constitute a separate administrative division for the capital city after the devolution of ministries to the provinces under the 18th Constitutional Amendment Act. Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Senator Mian Raza Rabbani Tuesday told the Upper House of the parliament that a separate division would be constituted under the Cabinet Division to run the affairs of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). "Parliament would legislate for ICT in this connection," he said. Replying to a question in the Senate, he said, "To smoothly run the affairs of various ministries devolved after the abolishment of the concurrent list, a division would be constituted for ICT and all the matters would be run under it." Responding to another query, Rabbani said that five ministries including Local Government and Rural Development, Special Initiatives, Youth Affairs, Zakat and Ushr and Population have already been transferred to the provinces in the first phase of devolution. He said in the second phase, ministries of Education, Culture, Tourism, Social Welfare and Special Education and Live Stock and Dairy Development would be devolved. The minister said some functions of ministries of Finance, Revenue division; Ports and Shipping, Interior, Law and Justice would also be devolved to the provinces. He said few other ministries would be transferred to the provinces in the third phase which would be completed by May, adding that the whole process of the devolution would be completed by June 30. Recently, Law Minister Babar Awan told The Express Tribune that he intended to divide the capital city into two districts. A ten member elected provincial assembly would legislate for the city. Awan was of the view that it was a constitutional requirement under the 18th amendment. He made this announcement publicly; however, the experts opposed the idea, saying that there were various complexities in this regard. They suggested a local government system or a citizen assembly for the capital city.


From http://pakistannewsblog.com/ 03/30/2011

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ICT High Court Establishment

Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari, on the advice of Prime Minister has approved the Islamabad High Court Establishment (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules 2011.These Rules shall apply to all persons borne on the establishment of Islamabad High Court. According to details, Article 208 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan authorizes the High Court for Islamabad Capital Territory to make rules providing for the appointment of officers and servants of the Islamabad High Court and for determining their terms and conditions of employment , with the approval of the President.


From http://www.onepakistan.com/ 05/10/2011

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ARMENIA: IT Government Institution to Be Established

Establishment of an IT government institution and a number of other problems in the filed were discussed during a working breakfast the Armenian President organized for the representatives of Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE). As Synopsys Armenia executive director Hovik Musaelyan told reporters after the meeting, the President requested to explain the necessity for the establishment of such a structure. "We obliged to provide detailed explanation, as information technology is one of the most important trends of the country's development to secure a double-digit growth," he said. For his part, UITE executive director Karen Vardanyan noted that the IT field needs a regulation through creation an institution that could effect a saving and prevent scattering of resources."


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 04/02/2011

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Armenian PM Moves from Blogosphere to "New Virtual Space"

On May 3, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan wrote in his Livejournal blog that he opened his own website: www.tigransargsyan.am. "Starting from today I will continue communicating with you also through my personal new website www.tigransargsyan.am. The desire to study a "new virtual space" served as a basis for my decision. I also would like to inform you that all my entries will be automatically posted in Livejournal blog as well. I want to thank you again for reading my blog," Sargsyan wrote in his Livejournal blog. Prime minister's new website is trilingual and consists of the following sections: gallery, biography, interests, chronicle, videos and blog.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 05/03/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Government Publishes ICT Sector Figures for 2010

Azerbaijani communications enterprises invested 110 million manat in the communications sector in 2010, the Cabinet of Ministers said today. Some 79 million manat were invested by ministry enterprises and associations. The volume of the services provided in the ICT sector in 2010 increased by 29.7 percent and reached 1161.3 million manat compared to the 2009 figures. Some 78.6 percent of the income earned in the field fell to communications services provided by the non-state sector. The amount of rendered services grew steadily from 2004 to 2010. The figure was 356.2 million manat in 2004, 488.9 million manat in 2005, 599.9 million manat in 2006, 735.4 million manat in 2007, 967.8 million manat in 2008, 1.081 billion manat in 2009 and 1.161 billion manat in 2010. A significant portion of the country's telecommunications network was transferred into the e-form. The country completed the laying of a fiber-optic cable line with a length of 240 kilometers, which made it possible to connect most of the country to the network.

The fitting capacity of the country's telephone network increased by more than 71.9 units to over 1.66 million units at the expense of the investment projects. If some 66.8 telephones accounted for 100 families in 2009, the figure reached 67.3 units in 2010. The indicator for Baku was 130 units and 47.3 units for the country's other territories. The number of computers was 14 units per 100 people, with 45 Internet users per 100 people, of whom 12 percent use broadband Internet access. The subscriber bases of Baku Telephone Communications and Aztelekom increased by 3,994 units to 27,294 units since early 2010. The CDMA network covered 70 percent of the country's settlements. Mobile penetration in the country reached 100 percent in 2010. The number of mobile subscribers increased by 1.2 million to 8.9 million. The amount of income received by the mobile sector increased by 30.2 percent to 782.6 million manat. Of this figure, 73.6 percent fell to the mobile communications sector. During the reporting period, ICT sector revenues increased by 77.6 percent to $91.8 million manat compared to 2009.


From http://en.trend.az/ 03/09/2011

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Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration Opens Official Page on Twitter

Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration has started to actively use social networking sites. In present-day world, social networks gain in popularity and become not only a space of communication of Internet users, but also one of the major sources of information and mechanisms to disseminate it. In recent years, along with individuals, large multinational corporations and large government agencies around the world have get registered in social networks. The Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan has also begun to actively use the social networks. The Administration opened an official Twitter page at www.twitter.com/AzerbaijanPA on 12 April. The Presidential Administration is the first government body in Azerbaijan to open its own page on Twitter. The official page will include information about the daily work schedule of the President of Azerbaijan, work of the Presidential Administration, all statements and comments of heads and deputy heads of departments of the Administration. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has two official pages on Twitter in English and Azeri languages (www.twitter.com/azpresident, www.twitter.com/presidentaz). Some of the department chiefs are also active social network users.


From http://www.news.az/ 04/12/2011

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Azerbaijan to Introduce Electronic Audits

Azerbaijan's Tax Ministry is introducing an electronic audit system, which is expected to help ensure transparency. The European Union is backing the project as part of its twinning programme. Tax Minister Fazil Mammadov said at the launch of training for the e-audit system today that a major objective was to eliminate direct contact between tax officials and taxpayers. "This is one of the most important components of the twinning project and of the policy of the Tax Ministry," he told journalists. "The Tax Ministry has launched a major training project today. This project is the first step in the introduction of an e-audit system in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will be the first CIS country to introduce a modern system for e-audits and this project will be another example of successful cooperation with the EU," Fazil Mammadov said.

The minister said that Azerbaijan was working on improving tax administration. Taxpayers submit 90% of their tax returns electronically. "The Tax Ministry plans to carry on work in this sphere. We studied EU experience in e-auditing for a while before starting the training project," the minister said. The head of the EU office in Azerbaijan, Roland Kobia, said Azerbaijan was one of the main countries seeking to improve the business environment. He said training projects were an important tool in deepening and expanding Azerbaijan's cooperation with the EU. "Training projects envisage a mutual exchange of experience. We aim to work together and are interested in introducing modern principles of a market economy in Azerbaijan," Kobia said. He reported that three training projects had been completed recently while 17 were under way. "This shows Azerbaijan's interest in applying EU standards. We hope this project will be productive and promote modern EU practice in the e-audit sphere in Azerbaijan," he said.

The Dutch ambassador to Azerbaijan, Arjen Uijterlinde, said that the Dutch tax and customs administration had won a tender to implement the training project. He said it would help diminish tax fraud, improve the business climate and raise competitiveness. The introduction of the project will take two years and is divided into six components: creating a legislative base for the introduction of electronic audits; selection of a computer system; creation of an electronic audit database; preparation of methodology for audits and training; developing the practice of electronic reporting in major and medium-sized businesses; and introduction of an e-audit system in Azerbaijan. No tax rate changes planned Tax Minister Fazil Mammadov told journalists that there was no need to change tax rates. "The tax rates in our country are better than in other European countries. There are not many taxes and they have been simplified."


From http://www.news.az/ 04/14/2011

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Azerbaijan's Civil Service Opens Facebook Page

The State Civil Service Commission has opened a Facebook page, 'given the role of social networks in the life of Azerbaijani society'. The page, at www.facebook.com/civilserviceofazerbaijan, will provide information about the work of the commission, job opportunities and the recruitment process, conferences and seminars. The public will also be able to give feedback on the work of the civil service. The State Civil Service Commission is answerable to the president of Azerbaijan.


From http://www.news.az/ 05/23/2011

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Kyrgyz Government Launches Anticorruption Website

The Kyrgyz government has launched a special website to enable citizens to report instances of corruption, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov told journalists that the government, the Prosecutor-General's office, and police will check every case reported on the anticorr.gov.kg site. If a report proves true, the appropriate measures will be taken. "Corruption is afraid of transparency. Since our current government started its work, 22 million soms ($463,000) have been added to the state treasury, money that used to be hidden before," Babanov said. Kyrgyzstan ranked near the bottom, at number 164, in the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index published in October by the campaign group Transparency International.


From http://www.speroforum.com/ 03/18/2011

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Tajik Authorities to Recall Permits for Using Network Interconnections in Border Areas

Tajik authorities plan to recall permits given to mobile phone operators for using radio-electronic means and network interconnections in border areas. In an official order released on April 27, chairman of the Communications Service Beg Zuhurov notes that permits that had previously been given to mobile phone for using radio-electronic means and network interconnection in border areas will be recalled. Under this order, all external sources of communications used by commercial companies operating in Tajikistan must be disconnected beginning on May 1. The order also prohibits them from using international network interconnections, except interconnections through the national operator. Mobile phone operators functioning in Tajikistan plan to apply the Communications Service for interpretation of the order. According to them, they do not yet know precisely what this order is about specifically. The Tcell director general Bahriddin Najmiddinov supposes that it means that they will not be able to work through direct interconnections with Uzbekistan or Afghanistan, for example. "Most likely, this order applies to satellite communications," said Najmiddinov, "In case of serious breakdown in fiber-optic cable, mobile phone operators use satellite communications. Under this order we will probably work only through the national operator." According to him, they lease fabric-optic channels from Tajiktelecom (Tajikistan's fixed-line telecommunications network) up to Khorog and they are experiencing many difficulties as "mudslides are frequently carrying away poles and so forth." "Therefore, if the order applies to the satellite communications it will seriously affect cellular communications services in Gorno Badakhshan," the Tcell director general noted. Ghaffour Irkayev, head of the Association of Tajik Mobile Communication Companies, says the Communications Service chairman has justified his order as aimed at providing national security and regulation of radio frequencies and radio-electronic means. He considers that the order contradicts all laws of the country, including the Constitution. "Important moves of this kind must be discussed with all participants in the country's cellular communications services market," Irkayev said, noting that the Association is studying the document. He is sure that the order will cause serious problems in the communications sector.


From http://news.tj/ 04/30/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Australians to Be 'Smartrolled' for State Election

The NSW Electoral Commission will be automatically enrolling citizens in the upcoming elections as part of a plan to increase voter turnout. In response to the continuous decline of voter enrolment over the years, NSWEC, through its SmartRoll initiative will automatically enrol qualified citizens before polling day on March 26. Paul Beeren, Head of SmartRoll and NSWEC's Enrolment Director told FutureGov Asia Pacific: "Australian electoral commissions have realised that for a number of years the level of enrolment amongst Australians who are over 18 years of age has been declining." Despite enrolment being compulsory in Australia [citizens are fined if they fail to vote], some still neglect the responsibility, especially those in the younger age bracket. "The commissions, particularly New South Wales, analysed data and found out that about 10 per cent of the eligible population was not enrolled or have never been enrolled. The research led down to the solution of directly enrolling eligible people," Beeren explained.

NSWEC uses information from other government agencies, matches people to that information, and confirms the eligibility criteria. When a match is successful, the individual is approved to be "smartrolled". When the department receives information that a certain person is 18 years old, Australian, and lives in New South Wales, the commission notifies the person via SMS, email, or post of the eligibility for enrolment in a specific location. If unresponsive after 14 days, NSWEC then enrols the candidate automatically. "The principles of SmartRoll were established for people who are considered to be in a disadvantage for enrolment," Beeren said. "We"ve been doing SmartRoll for about three months. It's too early to see the actual increase in the voting pattern in the coming election, as we are just in the early stages of the project. But the process continues even after the election period." When asked how the success of SmartRoll will be measured, Beeren said: "For the past three months we have improved the enrolment of the younger age bracket (18-19 years old) to about 20 per cent. "Equally, if we can improve the enrolment of the disadvantaged or the indigenous in their particular bandings, then that is a success. What we are trying to do is encourage our electors to change their behaviour; this is equivalent to changing the behaviour of the population, and this kind of change does not happen overnight. We believe that a four-year full cycle will be able to improve the level of engagement in elections."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/21/2011

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Half of AU Govt Agencies to Get DataCentre-as-a-Service

The Australian government has called for responses from the industry on its discussion paper regarding the government's strategy for agencies that spend less than US$2 million per annum on ICT. This is under one of the elements of the Australian Government's Data Centre 2010-2015 Strategy, by which the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) plans to o offer DataCentre-as-a-Service (DCaaS) to 50 per cent of government agencies. Based on the official statement released on the DCaaS discussion paper, one of the objectives of the project is to identify a method by which the government can efficiently and effectively manage ICT in shared data centre facilities that would enable small to medium agencies to cost-effectively leverage data centre optimisation practices and opportunities. The Data Centre 2010-2015 strategy aims to develop an ICT investment approach to avoid AU$ 1 billion (USD 1 billion) of data centre costs for over a span of 10-15 years. In the case of the DCaaS, while ICT infrastructures such as data centres play a huge role to an agency's operations, they are posing significant challenges to smaller government agencies that spend less than AU$2 million (USD 2 million) per annum.

Challenges facing smaller agencies include rising expectations on ICT, scarce ICT resources, and rising ICT costs which could potentially distract agencies from achieving their core mission. The Discussion paper seeks the active participation of various stakeholders from the industry by way of submitting feedbacks and responses on the goals, and possible solutions for the DCaaS. In addition, it will also look into what the current DCaaS marketplace looks like, the technology being used, security measures used, available resources, and identification of constraints or issues which could affect the success of the project. The consolidated responses will then be part of the development of the DCaaS and would substantially help the agency in formulating procurement recommendations. According to an official announcement by AGIMO, the DataCentre-as-a-Services procurement is set to be planned for the second half of 2011.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/08/2011

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Australian Agencies Embrace Open Government

Australian Government agencies have embraced the notion that government information is a national resource that can reap economic benefits for the country, says the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Professor John McMillan, the Australian Information Commissioner told FutureGov Asia Pacific that he is delighted and impressed by how Australian government agencies are increasingly adopting a pre-disclosure culture. According to McMillan, one of their preliminary challenges since their set-up in the previous year has been to integrate Freedom of Information (FOI), privacy and government information policy into a single office and define a philosophy that reflects their integration. "The core privacy message is focused on protecting personal information, whereas the FOI message is focused on promoting open government. The challenge for the OAIC is to foster a culture of openness that also protects the privacy of individuals" he said. The OAIC has also released an Information Publication Scheme which will require agencies to publish a range of relevant information about their respective agencies.

"Starting May 1 2011, Australian Government agencies are required to publish a broad range of information on their websites as part of a whole-of-government Information Publication Scheme (IPS) which will also include information about the agency's structure, functions and operational information, and a plan of how the agency proposes to meet the IPS requirements". The IPS will underpin a pro-disclosure culture across the government and transform the freedom of information framework from one that is reactive to individual requests for documents, to one that requires agencies to take a proactive approach to publishing information. "My Office has published a draft Agency Plan for public comment. The draft agency plan explains how the OAIC will implement and administer its IPS compliance, including how we will identify documents that need to be published, and my office is very much welcome for public comments about the plan" McMillan said. McMillan added that from May 1, 2011 the Australian Government agencies and ministers would be required to publish a register of information that has been publicly released in response to access requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act).

"This register is known as a disclosure log and will facilitate ready access to information that has already been publicly released by an agency or minister. The requirements reinforce the objective of the FOI Act to promote open government and contribute to an increasing recognition that information held by government is a national resource". "My Office is working on guidelines to be issued to government agencies and ministers about the IPS and Disclosure Log requirements before May 1, 2011 and all Government Agencies are to review their compliance with the IPS, together with my Office, by May 2016" McMillan said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/21/2011

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Mobile App Launched for Australia State Elections

The NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) released an iPhone application to serve as a mobile guide to the New South Wales State Election 2011. The NSWEC has revealed improved IT systems to aid voters, from enrolment to tallying, in the March 26 state election. Among the initiatives is an iPhone application with the following features:
♂ District Finder- to find your district and access district information such as outline maps and polling places
♂ Districts- to view district information for all 93 New South Wales districts
♂ My Location- to find the nearest polling place to your current position displayed on a street map with a list of directions
♂ and LIVE RESULTS- as counting progresses throughout election night you will get real-time updates of the tally counts.

Another IT development is the Virtual Tally Room. The 2011 election will be the first in the state without a physical voting tally room for politicians and the media. The commission has also automatically enrolled eligible voters for the state elections through its SmartROLL project. Lastly, NSWEC has implemented an electronic voting system (iVote) that enables registered voters to cast their vote anytime and anywhere as soon as they receive their voting number. iVote is designed for disabled and overseas citizens, with the application running until 23 March 2011.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/21/2011

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Australia Uses Dedicated Solution to Consult Public

Western Australia's Department of State Development is using Objective Corporation's uEngage technology to enable and encourage public consideration of and comment on a major government economic development initiative. The department is the proponent for a 2500 hectare, multi user precinct and a port in the State's far northern Kimberley region to provide for liquefied natural gas processing and export, using gas resources in the offshore Browse Basin. Before such a project can proceed, both State and national government environmental agencies will assess whether the potential environmental, heritage and social impacts of the project have been properly assessed and that appropriate management plans are in place. As part of this process, detailed scientific investigations, impact assessment studies and management plans have been developed and published for public comment, as a draft Strategic Assessment Report. Gail McGowan, Department of State Development Deputy Director General told FutureGov, "The uEngage system enables members of the public to focus specifically on those aspects of the report in which they are interested and to comment on them - even at the level of individual paragraphs. Alternatively, they can use the technology to comment on the proposal as a whole." When the Department has considered, and prepared responses to, public comment, the final report will be submitted to State and national approvals agencies for consideration and recommendations. "uEngage was identified as the preferred system, because it provided a convenient way for members of the public to navigate easily through the large report and to lodge comments online," McGowan added. "Importantly, it also enhances the department's capacity to sort, analyse and respond to the issues raised."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/31/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: GCIO in Conversation

Ten years ago, Brendan Boyle was appointed to lead the New Zealand e-government programme, in response to growing support among agency Chief Executives for a coordinated approach across government. In 2003 he moved to the position of Chief Executive at Land Information NZ, and was appointed Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs in 2008. I worked on putting NZ government on-line in the 1990s, launching an early government portal, before leaving to work in Asia for five years. When I returned to NZ at the end of 2003, I was selected to take over from Brendan, and over the next five years led the NZ e-government effort, resigning from the position of GCIO in 2009. So when I learned that Brendan had been chosen as New Zealand's second GCIO, the opportunity for a conversation was too good to pass up. Here are the results:

What has led to the current arrangements?
The genesis of it was discussions at the Ministerial Committee on Government ICT, which is led by the Deputy Prime Minister and attended by several Chief Executives, including myself. The Prime Minister said he wanted a briefing, and the first question he asked when I went to meet him was "Why have we not got a government CIO?" Since your departure, there had been discussion on the role, and we looked at three options - disestablish the role, keep it as a policy role at the centre of government, or move it into operational agency. Ministers chose the third option, and wanted the role to be vested in the Chief Executive, to make sure it is at the right level.

So what are your responsibilities as Secretary of Internal Affairs?
I must say it has taken some time for me to get up to speed on all of them - the Department has a wide range of responsibilities, which will be further extended with the addition of National Library and Archives New Zealand, subject to legislation that is currently under debate.

How will you find the time for the GCIO role?
There is always a tension between providing leadership at the right level of seniority and the time that senior people have to give to the role; the secret is to get the right balance and we are developing robust plans to achieve this. I am setting up the Office of the GCIO, which will provide me with the support in my role. I will also be relying on the Deputy Chief Executives who will be appointed early next year. The DCE, Knowledge, Information, Research and Technology will drive the integration of the National Library, Archives NZ, Government Technology Services and the Office of the GCIO. There is a good fit between the groups - we can see synergies by bringing together operations and policy for information management across government. The combined teams have a good depth and breadth of capabilities in the information domain.

What are the targets that you are aiming for?
There will be some hard measures of the level of use of online services and there will be some softer measures around culture and working together. The short to medium term targets for the uptake of i.govt and one.govt (the shared services for identity management and secure network) are clear, and we are getting to critical mass on the shared services that were started while you were in the role. The Prime Minister, in a speech to CIOs earlier in the year, opened by saying: "My vision is a modern public service, dominated by e-government". As you know, his background in the financial sector means that he is very au fait with what technology can do, and he wants us to lift our game - not just providing information but a major shift in the way we transact with the public. In NZ we have some good examples in the G2B space - the Companies Office, Land Online and Customs, all of which are at 100% uptake. So the effort now is going into G2C - students and the social sector - which is where a lot of investment is happening. The public are much more used to the online channel in their private lives and are asking why can't government do this too? The ServiceLink programme will provide an integrated online service platform, which will cover the majority of government business with citizens. My other major emphasis as GCIO will be to lead the Chief Executive (CE) community to a more collective approach. This will be harder to measure, and harder to achieve, and we are looking at project and program indicators for the required culture shift. The current fiscal pressure has driven a much higher level of recognition among CEs of the need to work together so that we can afford all the things we want to do. CEs are becoming a lot more aware of the potential for channel shift, as are Ministers. We can't just open up new channels and add costs, we need to get substitution, even moving from call centres to the net. For agencies the default will be to make services available online, and to do so using common shared services. I think that this is where a CE holding the role of GCIO makes a real difference - I am able to have effective discussions with my CE colleagues, and with Ministers, to achieve the progress across government as a whole.

What about the current trends in products and technologies?
Cloud? We have done a bit on cloud. The cloud ticks all the boxes on efficiency - but the security and sovereignty issues are important to us, and they are reasonably complex. The products will get there, but it will take some time. [DIA will issue a tender for infrastructure as a service shortly]. While there are some early adopters in the NZ public sector, we are taking a pretty conservative approach - while there has been a lot of noise, some say it is a re-branding of previous industry offerings.
Open data? Our approach has been to push as much information out there as possible. We got data.govt up last year, which had strong support early on from the Hon. Bill English - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance - and is now growing steadily, in both content and usage.
Open source? - The official position continues to be that choice of technology should be based on factors such as fit for purpose, and total cost of ownership, rather than on fixed positions. In my experience with the OGC [Open Geospatial Consortium] and other bodies, Open Source has proven to be a viable option.
Social Media? - Most government agencies, including DIA, have some experience, but our understanding still needs to develop. CEs have commissioned communications professionals across government to develop options about how government might use and understand social media more effectively. You can't place boundaries and controls in the way that you can with other services, and so we need to experiment. It is important to be authentic - you have to write the blog yourself and regularly, you have to be the person that tweets. To be honest, I am not a power user, and with the time pressures as Secretary of Internal Affairs, I think it unlikely I will be taking a personal leadership role.

There are some tight connections between IT, Library and Archives professionals, especially in the areas of government information management, metadata and Records Management. Do you think other governments should be looking at this?
Interestingly in the feedback for the change [to merge the organisations], a number of the comments have been "don't you know that no one else in the world is doing this" - as if that's a reason why we shouldn't do it. I'm confident that the configuration that we have got is going to work because it brings the capability together. There is the technical capability - in metadata and interoperability; the National Library has taken social media further than any other NZ government organisation - for example the leadership provided by Digital New Zealand; the Aotearoa People's Network, providing free Internet access in libraries around New Zealand fits well with the Servicelink future for online service delivery; for Records Management there is value in the archivists working closely with the technology people. If we can harness those capabilities, services and resources with the shared services already provided by GTS, it can become scalable - a centre of expertise for information management in government. Over time, as the public sector changes in New Zealand, there could be other information centric services and functions that could land there. The idea of bringing the departments together is not just for the synergies in their current work, but also about creating a more scalable capability.

How do you see the UN rankings, and where NZ sits in them?
I am pretty cynical about rankings - I remember some years ago, when I was in the e-government director role, a survey placed NZ government down the list, because we did not have on-line tax returns. I phoned the consulting company who did the survey and said "did you know we had re-engineered the tax collection process, and there is no need for most New Zealanders to file a tax return - surely that is transformation, and it is better than automation", but they had not done the research. Having said that, the ratings are a guide on where to look for improvements. I am interested in Singapore, they are always a bit of a litmus test - although in any comparison you need to take into account the different government context and country "culture". I do not have a specific strategy for climbing the rankings. We will focus on putting transactions online and taking the end-to-end view from the customer's perspective, and I know that will come through in those rankings. If you can do e-government well for business, that obviously has a wider economic impact - anything you can do to keep down the cost of interactions has got to be good for citizens and government. The important ranking, the only one that really counts, is what the public think.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/23/2011

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New Zealand Governor General Joins Facebook and Twitter

The Government House has established an Official Facebook Page and a Twitter account, on behalf of New Zealand Governor General Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, to communicate with the thousands of citizens using social media. The Official Facebook Page and Twitter feed, in recognition of the growing importance and influence of social media and information and communication technology, will promote content on its website (www.gg.govt.nz), including the activities of the incumbent Governor-General and spouse. The move to social media follows on from the British Monarchy launching a Facebook and Twitter feed in late 2010, and allows organisations with Governor-General patronage, community groups and individuals to connect with the Office of the Governor-General in a new way. About a third of New Zealanders are estimated to have a Facebook account. Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand said that given the significant number of individuals, organisations and community groups using Facebook and Twitter as key communication tools, it made sense to establish a social media presence in order to enhance public awareness of his role and make information more accessible. In an official statement, Anand said, "As a 21st century Governor-General, and one that has seen the increasing influence and importance of the internet in New Zealand, the move to integrate social media into our suite of communications was an inevitable and important progression." The Official Facebook page and Twitter feed will be managed by the Government House Public Affairs team.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/04/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Councils to Reap Benefits from New Information Management System

South Taranaki District Council (STDC) and Christchurch Company Information Leadership has just forged a partnership that would enable STDC to share its award-winning information management system aptly called 'Council in a Box", to other local councils in New Zealand. This initiative would mean that councils in New Zealand would be able to benefit from the tailored information management solution without incurring the full cost of developing their own system. "Because information can be accessed much more easily, the council staff would spend less time searching for documents and are able to work together in a more integrated way, which ultimately results in better service for ratepayers. We're very pleased to now be giving other councils the opportunity to realise these productivity gains," says Pete Sayers, IT Manager, South Taranaki District Council. In 2009, the STDC won the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) award for Records Project of the Year for its implementation of the new system. 'Council in a Box" is now in use at over 30 New Zealand organisations which includes government agencies, science organisations, health boards, education, utilities and commercial organisations.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/19/2011

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NZ Govt Put Up Working Group to Steer Rural Broadband Rollout

The government of New Zealand will establish a working group to help steer the roll-out of rural broadband initiative (RBI) by providing advice to government and telcos on maximising connectivity and developing opportunities for M芋ori through the RBI. The group, called Nga Pu Waea will work on ensuring that Maori health and social service and providers, educational institutions and communal places benefit from the roll-out of broadband to rural areas. The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. The working group, which will engage with the government and partner telcos, is consist of a range of Maori working in the ICT sector and economic leaders. Communications Minister Steven Joyce (pictured) said vendor representatives will be required to meet every two months with the working group and report every six months to him and to Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples. "The working group will be represented on the National Advisory Committee overseeing the RBI and, if it proves successful, we could consider extending its mandate to other ICT projects," he further said. The seven members of Nga Pu Waea are Jeremy Gardner, Daphne Luke, Mavis Mullins, Haami Piripi, Antony Royal, Tuwhakairiora Williams and Richard Orzecki. The working group, funded by the Maori Economic Taskforce, will operate for the duration of the RBI contract, anticipated to be six years. Members have been appointed for a three-year term and will be eligible for reappointment for a further term. "Benefits (of RBI) could include training and employment for Maori as the network is built, business opportunities to leverage the RBI infrastructure and extend faster broadband services to other uses and communities," said Sharples. On 20 April, Joyce announced that contract negotiations have been completed with Telecom and Vodafone for the RBI aimed at delivering faster, better and more affordable broadband services for rural New Zealanders. The initiative aims to provide broadband access with peak speeds of at least 5 Mbps to 86 per cent of rural houses and businesses.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/16/2011

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TONGA: To Set Up Network to Connect Govt

The government of Tonga is set to create a National Information Network to improve communication and coordination among different government departments, The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said in an official statement. Together with the Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecom, the government will build the network, which is exclusive for government departments, through a central electronic system. Other projects that are lined up will be facilitated community wide. The project aims to cut out inter-departmental communication that could have otherwise circulated the globe before reaching their destinations, given the departments' relative proximity, MIC stated. The shift to "paperless" communications is expected to cut administration costs and increase revenue through methods such as network sharing, e-tax and e-finance, it added. MIC Chief executive officer Paula Ma"u said the project can bring huge gains in terms of better service delivery and public access to government information. "Essentially we not only want to improve communication and coordination amongst government departments, but also be able to release timely, accurate, and complete information to the public," she added. Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean comprising 176 islands. The scope of the network includes all main islands - Tongatapu, Vava"u, Ha"apai, 'Eua and the Niua"s. Other applications proposed by Huawei include e-education, e-health, e-ID system and e-surveillance for police. An application for connecting schools and main hospitals to the government data system was also raised. Huawei first made the presentation for the e-government system to the Prime Minister Lord Tu"ivakano (pictured) late March before discussing the proposal with Cabinet. The project will be financed through donor funds.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/01/2011

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Enhancing Government Services in the Pacific Region Using ICT

In response to the challenges and opportunities of this digital age, many public sector organisations are embracing the concept of e-government - government using information and communication technology (ICT) to improve their service delivery, strengthen accountability, and increase transparency. To enhance e-government services in the Pacific region, the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), in collaboration with SPC, conducted a regional workshop on developing e-government and e-business strategies. The workshop ran from 10每14 May and was held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa. With new technologies and the explosive growth of the Internet, governments can provide public services and information in a much more consistent, streamlined and personalised way. Rather than trekking across town to visit an office with inconvenient opening hours, people can quickly and simply conduct their business over the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But more than that, e-government is about restructuring the way a government conducts its operations and how it interacts with citizens and businesses. Rather than simply automating existing processes, e-government provides the opportunity for government agencies to make radical changes in the way that they conduct business. Furthermore, organisational structures can reflect a government's citizen-centric online presence, rather than government websites mirroring the bureaucracy. The shift to the digital age forces a fundamental rethink of a government's role and structure in the same way that the industrial revolution did.

The workshop covered a range of issues critical to developing successful e-government and e-business service strategies, including an e-government framework, e-government business cases, business process re-engineering, policy and legislation to support e-government, and change management. Public sector organisations need to consider these issues in order to plan and transform their organisation strategically. It is anticipated that the Samoa workshop will enable delegates to have a better understanding of these issues and will assist them in developing an e-government action plan for implementation when they return to their home country. In his opening address, Samoa's Associate Minister for Information, Communication and Technology, Afioga Papaliitele Niko Lee Hang, said, 'ICT is recognised as an increasingly influential tool for improving basic service delivery and promoting accountability and transparency. This is why ICT for development (ICT4D) has been given priority by the Samoan government through the establishment of a National ICT Committee, chaired by our Prime Minister, the Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. It is my understanding that this workshop's main goal is to equip senior government officials from around the region with a range of emerging practices and examples of how e-government can be used to plan and transform their organisations. In addition, this forum can be used to share our experiences, our successes as well as our failures, so that we can learn from them. This is essential for us here in the Pacific as we have scarce resources but, on the plus side, we are all very similar economically, culturally and environmentally," he added.

In his address to the delegates, ComSec ICT Adviser Mr Tony Ming said, 'E-government is not about technology; it is about government transformation. It places citizens first by providing government services 7/24/365, it increases transparency and good governance, and it significantly improves government efficiency. The journey towards e-government is not easy but the rewards are worth it." Mr Siaosi Sovaleni, Manager of SPC's Pacific ICT Outreach Programme, outlined the challenges the Pacific region faces and added, 'To address these challenges and other emerging gaps, and to exploit the opportunities provided by ICT, a new ICT roadmap for the region was developed. This is the Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific, in which e-government is a key objective. This framework was endorsed by Pacific ICT ministers in their meeting in Tonga last year as part of the Tonga Declaration." Mr Sovaleni also acknowledged the key role and support of ComSec in supporting e-government in the region, especially the e-government workshop in Samoa, which was attended by 36 executive and senior officers from key government ministries in twelve Pacific Island countries and territories.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 05/14/2011

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Worldwide WLAN Market Reaches Nearly $5 Billion in 2010, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA - The combined retail and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments experienced year-over-year market growth of 12.4% for the full year 2010 and quarter-over-quarter growth of 11.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010 (4Q10). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, the enterprise segment paved the way in 4Q10 with impressive 34.9% year-over-year growth and 12.3% quarter-over-quarter.

"The tremendous momentum behind smart mobile devices and the continued proliferation of higher performance 802.11n networks are driving enterprises to move forward with upgrades, extensions, and replacements of their wireless infrastructures," said Rohit Mehra, director, Enterprise Communications Infrastructure. "We expect these trends will continue over the next several quarters as 802.11n dominates and becomes the de facto standard in the enterprise." Additionally, the retail-class WLAN market continues to stabilize from previous quarterly declines. Despite tight consumer spending and concerns about the economy, this segment of the market grew 11.1% quarter-over-quarter and 11.2% year-over-year in 4Q10. Dropping prices and increased consumer interest in networked home entertainment applications will continue to support this segment going forward.

Key Vendor Updates
-- Cisco's enterprise WLAN revenue capped a good year with strong growth in
4Q10, growing 43.4% year-over-year and 16.3% quarter-over-quarter. For
the full year 2010, Cisco grew revenues 30.7%. Cisco's Linksys consumer
division, after a decline in 3Q10, grew 14.1% quarter-over-quarter in
4Q10.
-- Aruba had an exceptional 4Q10 with branded revenue increasing 13.5%
quarter-over-quarter and 72.2% year-over-year.
-- HP recorded 22.4% year-over-year growth in 4Q10, whereas Motorola had a
weaker quarter for WLAN declining 11.6% year-over-year


From http://www.idg.com/ 03/03/2011

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Worldwide IT Services Revenue Grows to USD 793 Bln in 2010

Worldwide end-user spending on IT services totalled USD 793 billion in 2010, a 3.1 percent increase from 2009 revenue of USD 769 billion, according to a study by Gartner. IBM retained its number one market share position in IT services in 2010, with a revenue increase of 2.6 percent returning USD 56.4 billion in revenue and accounting for 7.1 percent of the market. With the weakest revenue performance in the top five, HP grew its IT services revenue less than USD 100 million, or 0.3 percent, in 2010. Fujitsu, at 3.5 percent annual growth in IT services and revenue of USD 24.1 billion, had a solid year in 2010 in US dollar terms. Accenture returned within the top ten in 2010, growing revenue USD 1.3 billion to USD 22.2 billion, a growth rate of 6.1 percent. CSC's growth in the past year was positive, but it was below market growth levels, at 0.6 percent, due in part, to an abnormally high level of delays in contract signings in both the federal and commercial sectors, as well as the impact of a US federal government business, where CSC generated 39 percent of its revenue. In a market that grew 3.1 percent in 2010, India-based vendors collectively grew 18.9 percent, increasing their market share from 4.8 percent in 2009 to 5.5 percent in 2010. Software support showed the highest growth in 2010 at 6.6 percent. Weak performances came from process management and hardware support, both of which grew approximately 1 percent less than expected growth.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 05/04/2011

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AFRICA: Kenya - Internet Fraud Costs Banks Sh3 Billion

Nairobi - Improved technology, a growing number of technology-savvy employees and increased access to the internet have opened up the country to fraudsters. According to financial services consulting firm, Deloitte, Kenyan financial institutions are reeling from nearly Sh3 billion lost in fraud cases. The firm estimates that last year alone, banks lost Sh2.96 billion in 2010, out of which Sh1.7 billion was recovered.

In the first-quarter of 2010, about Sh371 million was lost, with the second-quarter recording a higher figure of Sh390 million. In the third-quarter, Sh1.7 billion was siphoned with Sh500 million disappearing in December alone. Mr Robert Nyamu, forensic and litigation services director at Deloitte East Africa in a presentation to financial institutions at Serena Hotel on Tuesday, said actual fraud statistics are difficult to determine due to numerous unreported cases. "Many institutions prefer internal resolution of fraud cases than referral to law enforcement agencies, due to reputational risk," he said, "It is alarming that the rate of convictions for bank fraud is very low." In the second-quarter of 2010, 108 suspects involved in 102 reported bank fraud cases were arrested and charged in court, but only eight cases were finalised, with five convictions and two cases withdrawn."

"Systems expected to improve competitiveness have instead created loopholes for fraud," Ms Faith Basiye-Omolo, group head Forensic Services KCB said, "Fraudsters are deploying hi-tech tools and every small loophole in the system is being exploited." Ms Omolo, who is also the chair Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) fraud and security committee, said a number of controls in banks are weak and need to carry out proper audit trails on systems and authorisations, fraud risk assessments. "There is need for proactive monitoring and logging of activity, adherence to best practice in information security, training and adequately equipping investigators," she said. The Deloitte study cites identity theft, electronic funds transfer, bad cheques, credit card fraud, loan fraud, forgery of documents and investment scandals as some of the ways used to defraud banks in Kenya and the region.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/04/2011

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Smartphone Sales to Top 100 Mn: Analyst

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Sales of smartphones such as Apple's iPhone4 are set to top 100 million units for the first time this year in the Asia Pacific market -- excluding Japan, an industry analyst said Thursday. Smartphone sales are projected to hit 137 million units in 2011, up from nearly 84 million last year, the technology industry research company IDC said in a statement. "Smartphones were a hot item in 2010, with more than double the shipments of 2009," said IDC analyst Melissa Chau, adding that the growth came from the region's more developed markets such as South Korea." In 2011, IDC expects this fire to keep burning as mobile phone vendors race to get consumers on higher-margin devices, operators look to pull up revenues on mobile data, and mobile platform stakeholders battle to woo app developers," Chau said. 'Apps' refers to 'applications' that allow smartphone users to do a range of activities through their mobile phones including sharing pictures, playing games or checking their bank accounts. In addition to operating as a telephone, smartphones allow users to send and receive emails, access Facebook and Twitter accounts, download movies, music and books and perform multiple other functions while on the go. By 2015, three in five phones sold in the region will be smartphones, up from one in five in 2010, IDC said. In the face of the smartphones onslaught, feature phones -- or devices that perform the basic functions -- still held their ground. Sales of feature phones grew 17 percent in 2010, driven by low-end brands priced below $100 from China, India and other countries, IDC said.


From http://au.news.yahoo.com/ 03/10/2011

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Group Buying Sites Boost E-commerce in Asia

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Innovative "group buying" sites offering bargains on everything from meals to travel packages are catching on in Asia as companies harness the power of social media to influence consumer behaviour. International brands and local merchants alike are exploiting the business model, which offers attractive deals with a catch -- they have to be purchased by a minimum number of consumers within a deadline. The discount sites take out advertisements on Facebook and portals, send out Twitter messages and blast emails to their target market to promote particular deals. Consumers in turn ask family members and friends to take up an offer -- so that they can eat in a group or relax in a spa together -- and at the end of a successful promotion, discount sites get a cut from the vendors.

"It is basically about creating experience for the user," said Patrick Linden, chief executive of Singapore site deal.com.sg, who said his sales hit Sg$2 million ($1.6 million) in February from just Sg$20,000 in May 2010, its first month of operation. "Basically, social media powers our business," said the 30-year-old German entrepreneur who claims to have more than 300,000 email subscribers notified regularly about offers. "The whole viral marketing is enabled through social media." Financial services giant J.P. Morgan forecasts the Asia retail e-commerce market, excluding travel, to more than double from $156 billion in 2010 to $323 billion in 2013. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, there are nearly 20 million group-buying customers in China among the country's 160 million e-commerce consumers. "There is definitely an upward trend for social shopping," said Elias Ghanem, Singapore-based general manager for Southeast Asia and India at payment solutions company PayPal. "When you combine the notion of social shopping with group buying, you get a very powerful experience that has the potential to appeal to millions of consumers," he added. "Many Asians are already connected with friends, family and colleagues on social networks, so it's only natural that merchants of all sizes would follow them."

On a recent weekday, three different sites in Singapore offered deals such as Sg$1 (80 cents) for a chicken burger, Sg$5 for a nail service and Sg$48 for a traditional Chinese medicine package -- all just a fraction of normal costs. Global discount coupon giant Groupon is expanding its presence in Asia, acquiring sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan and has initiated a joint venture in China. Groupon Singapore, formerly known as Beeconomic, says it has overtaken eBay and Amazon to become Singapore's 17th most visited website with 150,000 hits per day. "I think this is a very sustainable business," said Groupon Singapore's chief executive Karl Chong, a 29-year-old Australian. The company offers exclusive deals from international merchants such as fast-food chain Subway, ice-cream company Ben & Jerry's and fashion retailer G2000. A study by consumer research firm Nielsen, commissioned by PayPal, reported that Singapore's online shopping market was worth Sg$1.1 billion ($889 million) in 2010 and expected to reach Sg$4.4 billion by 2015. In a city-state with only five million people, Nielsen says there were 1.2 million shoppers aged 18 and above with an average online spending per head of Sg$1,492 ($1,206) in 2010. Another local coupon site, bigdeal.sg, features deals from local small and medium enterprises which founder Daphne Teo, 25, said are not getting as much attention as multinational companies despite their quality services.

About 20 online discount sites now operate in Singapore, one of the world's most connected societies with virtually full web and mobile penetration. "I was really hooked when it started because some of the deals were at least 50 percent less than what I used to pay," said online shopper Peggy Lim, a 34-year-old office administrative employee. "It also gave me an excuse to try out some new things, like eyelash extension, bag spa and fitness class," she said. To stay ahead of the game, several coupon sites are extending their online services to mobile phones, providing customers with another way of clinching deals wherever they are, with location-based services linked to shops in the immediate vicinity. "Online offers a lot of benefits such as convenience, speed, time, a 24-hour opening, tremendous information on products and reviews," said Hooi Den Huan, 56, director of Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, which helps Singapore businessmen exploit technology to boost sales. "In the Asia-Pacific region, more and more people are coming online, in places like Vietnam, China and India, so I think this trend will grow in the future," he told AFP.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 05/01/2011

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Asia Pacific: Largest Smartphone Market

Canalys has released its worldwide country-level smartphone market data for Q1 2011, revealing that Android led the market for the second quarter running, and with 35.7 million units shipped, increased its share to 35 percent. Canalys also confirmed that Asia Pacific (APAC) became the largest smartphone market region, with year-on-year growth of 98 percent to 37.3 million units, putting it ahead of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for the first time since Q3 2007. On a country basis, mainland China, South Korea, and India delivered strong volumes and registered triple-digit growth.

Overall, worldwide smartphone shipments grew 83 percent to 101.0 million units. Though its market share shrank from 39 percent a year ago to 24 percent in Q1 2011, Nokia held onto its worldwide leadership position with 24.2 million units shipped - a 13 percent year-on-year rise - despite the current realignment of its platform strategy, staying ahead of RIM in EMEA and Apple in APAC. APAC became the largest region for Nokia, accounting for 53 percent of its overall shipments, overtaking EMEA by more than 3 million units. "Nokia is under considerable strain in the smartphone market as it transitions strategy, platforms, and people," says Pete Cunningham, principal analyst at Canalys. "Its worldwide reach, however, should never be underestimated. Canalys' country-level data shows that the vendor remains number one in 28 countries, including mainland China, where it grew 79 percent to 8.9 million units, thanks in part to Chinese New Year shipments."

At the platform level, Android's continued dominance was boosted by good performances by a number of key vendors. "HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson drove Android shipments in the first quarter, with each vendor shipping well over 3 million devices," says Cunningham. "Samsung also shipped nearly 3.5 million bada operating system-based smartphones, outperforming total shipments of Windows Phone devices by more than a million units." "Samsung's own operating system development, combined with the branding and investment in its Wave smartphones at mid-tier prices, has led to good uptake in developed markets, such as France, the UK, and Germany,' continues Cunningham. 'This achievement shows that there is still room for multiple operating systems, and that vendors can benefit from maintaining control of device development to hit the right markets and price points.'

Nokia, Apple, RIM, Samsung and HTC were the top five global smartphone vendors, as in Q4 2010. Apple continued to make market share gains, reaching 19 percent. RIM's share, however, dropped in Q1, as its portfolio awaited a refresh and the vendor focused on the PlayBook launch. Overtaking Motorola, LG moved into sixth place, with its Optimus series of Android smartphones doing well in all regions.


From http://www.eetasia.com/ 05/09/2011

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EUROPE: Denmark - 34% of Dutch Consumers Use a Smartphone

Houten, The Netherlands, 28 March 2011 - In the fourth quarter of 2010 about one third (34%) of Dutch consumers were using a smartphone, a considerable increase from the beginning of 2010 when just under a quarter were using smartphones (22%). Nokia and Samsung are the most used brands among smartphone users, followed by BlackBerry, Apple and HTC. Nokia is the largest in the postpaid smartphone market, Samsung in the prepaid smartphone market. Android is the operating system that is growing the fastest in 2010, Windows Mobile shows the biggest decline, according to Telecompaper's first report about Dutch Smartphone Users. The report is based on an online market survey of 7,300 Dutch consumers during Q4 2010. In the report data from the first three quarters of 2010 are also shown where relevant.

"Our research shows that smartphones are becoming an important part of the mobile experience in the Netherlands with Samsung and Nokia as main suppliers, but other suppliers are catching up", says Tine Niezink, researcher at Telecompaper. "It also shows that Android is gaining ground quickly, where Windows Mobile is losing ground. Hi, together with T-Mobile, has the highest penetration of smartphone clients among their customer base. Most providers are counting more and more smartphone users among their customers, especially Hi, Vodafone and T-Mobile show an increase in customers using a smartphone. Telfort and Tele2 have a larger market share among normal phone users than among smartphone users. T-Mobile has the largest market share in the postpaid smartphone market (30%) and Vodafone in the prepaid smartphone market (29%).

Smartphones are used more by the younger consumers as more than half of the 15-29 yrs olds makes use of a smartphone. Among the younger consumers the penetration of smartphones is also growing faster than among the older consumers. Smartphone users spend more per month on their mobile phone than normal phone users. The average spend per month of smartphone users is slightly decreasing, mainly because fewer people spend more than EUR 80 per month.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 03/28/2011

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UK Consumers Waste £5 Billion a Year on Mobile Phones

According to a UK price comparession website, UK consumers are wasting just under £5 billion (US$8.2 billion) a year by being on the wrong mobile phone tariff. That's the equivalent of 44% of mobile retail revenue (excl. VAT) left on the table each year by over 25 million mobile post-pay customers. The company, billmonitor says that it analyzed 28,417 anonymised phone bills to come up with the figure of £4.9 billion across the entire customer base. Just over three-quarters (76%) of UK post-pay customers are on the wrong contract, wasting on average £194.71 each per year. According to the study, 52% of customers wasting money are on a tariff that's too large for them, using on average just one quarter of their monthly calling allowance - leading to a total waste of £2.62 billion per year. In addition, 29% of customers wasting money are on too small a tariff, wasting money on out of allowance calls, texts, data usage as well as other costs that could be reduced with a larger tariff. Total waste: £1.53 billion.

Finally, the remaining 19% have the right level of inclusive minutes but are wasting money by not optimising free benefits, data & text allowances as well as other costs, or taking advantage of lower costs from 24 month contracts. Total waste: £0.74 billion. Billmonitor's definition of "waste" is the difference between how much a customer could be paying on the right contract in the current market compared with what they are currently actually paying. The "right contract" is simply a contract (including bundles) that best matches how a customer uses their phone and whichever contract preferences they have (eg. handset, operator, contract length etc.). In other words, the right contract is one where a customer pays no more than they should.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/11/2011

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UK: Gloucestershire Joins Local Enterprise Partnership Network

Businesses in Gloucestershire will be supported by a new local enterprise partnership approved today by Business Minister Mark Prisk and Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark. The Gloucestershire local enterprise partnership covers a population of around 600,000 and represents over 25,000 businesses. It has the support from all seven councils in Gloucestershire. It joins the 33 partnerships announced since the Government's Local Growth White Paper was published in October last year. The priority of the private sector-led partnership is to promote growth and create jobs in the area. To achieve this, the Gloucestershire partnership plans to build strong relationships with its neighbouring local enterprise partnership to help address strategic issues. Some of the businesses supporting the Gloucestershire partnership include Silverwood UK, Forge First Ltd, Supergroup PLC, MOOG Controls Ltd and L-3 TRL Technology.

Mark Prisk said: "I'm delighted that we are able to approve a proposal for a Gloucestershire partnership that had the best interests of the area at its heart. "With the Regional Growth Fund and the Enterprise Zones both open for bids, now is the time for local enterprise partnerships to seize the opportunities to bring significant investment to their areas. I want all local communities to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the private sector and the opportunities that growth brings. "We are edging closer to having 100% coverage of local enterprise partnerships in England and we are continuing to assess proposals for further partnerships in areas which are currently not represented."

Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said: "This new local enterprise partnership is testament to the strength of the local ambition, ideas and leadership in Gloucestershire. Councils, businesses and civic leaders are taking the reins of their local economy today with a common goal: to promote jobs, growth and prosperity in Gloucestershire. "We now have 34 local enterprise partnerships covering over 90 per cent of the country, moving us closer to creating a fairer and more balanced economy driven by private sector strength."

Last week Mark Prisk announced a range of measures to help local enterprise partnerships get up and running, and to support them in their ambitions for growth. The measures include a one off £5 million Start Up Fund to help partnerships get on a sustainable financial footing. This funding could cover costs for such things such as training. An online toolbox will provide partnerships with information on government economic development policies and how national and local initiatives can dovetail to help local businesses and entrepreneurs. Partnerships now also have relationship managers in BIS Local offices who will act as a single point of contact for information and guidance. Local enterprise partnerships bring together local business and civic leaders, working to support their local economy. They operate within a geography that reflects natural economic areas and provide the vision, knowledge and strategic leadership needed to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation in their area.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/19/2011

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LATIN AMERICA: Argentina - SMS Represents 68% of Total VAS Revenues

Value Added Services (VAS) currently represents a major portion of Argentinean operators' revenues (37%), and demonstrated that these services are increasing ARPU at a time when voice service usage is dropping worldwide. Today Argentina already has approximately 52 million mobile service subscribers, generating around US$7 billion in revenue annually. Acision Mobile VAS Monitor (MAVAM) indicates that SMS is one of the most widely used services contributing to this revenue, with Argentineans sending an average of 270 SMS a month. 97% said they had used SMS in the last three months, with its use being stimulated by the adoption of Smartphones. Around 16% of mobile subscribers used their phone to send and receive picture messages, during the last three months, a service that is growing as users use images to visualize communication. Another major finding in Argentina is that mobile marketing is received by 89% of users, with 33% of these users stating they receive marketing messages up to two or three times a week. "In line with our MAVAM research for Brazil and Mexico, the findings from Argentina signify the growing importance of VAS in the region. MAVAM enables us to monitor and highlight which services are delivering high value revenue to the mobile operators and has demonstrated that messaging is still a killer app," said Rafael Steinhauser, Acision's president for Latin America. "Argentina is a growing economy, with a maturing mobile data market. The increasing adoption of VAS in the region represents a significant opportunity for operators to explore new ways to differentiate their services, increase ARPU and drive up profitability."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/08/2011

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CHINA: Online Video Sector Stuck in the Red

Both US-listed online video portals, the Beijing-based Youku.com and Ku6 Media Co, have reported a net loss in their 2010 fourth quarter financial reports released Tuesday. Analysts attributed the problem to the industry's high investment requirements in the initial stage of business development. Youku reported net revenue of 152.5 million yuan ($23.21 million) in the fourth quarter, up 183 percent year on year. But expenses exceeded earnings - Youku reported 37.7 million yuan ($5.74 million) in net losses in the financial report. And total losses in 2010 could reach as much as 200 million yuan ($30.44 million). As for Ku6, the company posted net revenue of $6.8 million in the fourth quarter, up 58.4 percent year on year, but its losses expanded to $15.4 million in the same period. And total losses in 2010 came to $51.5 million. Liu Dele, chief financial officer of Youku.com, said Tuesday to the media that the IPO-related costs partly attributed to the company's losses in 2010. But Zhao Xufeng, an industry analyst with Shanghai-based iResearch Consulting Group, further pointed that the online video industry could entail huge investments before profits can be reaped, which mainly accounts for the losses reported by the two online video portals in 2010.

"Prices for TV play copyrights have doubled in 2010, compared with 2009," said Feng Lin, an analyst with the China e-Business Research Center. Currently, advertisements make up a major part of online video companies' income. And Youku's Liu said that ad revenue accounted for nearly 93 percent of the company's total income, reported sina.com Tuesday. But according to iResearch's Zhao, advertisements on video websites are under-priced in most cases due to the fact that the industry is still highly fragmented. "Prices for advertisements posted on online video portals will be gradually raised after further integration of the industry," noted Zhao. And analysts agree that there is still a long way to go before the fee-based model rakes in big bucks for online video companies, due to the fact that the country is still rampant with pirated products. "People are not willing to pay if free substitutes are available," said e-Business Research Center's Feng. However, with the number of Internet users growing in China, analysts hold firm that the online video industry still has big potential in the future - while not every industry player will survive.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 03/02/2011

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Online Music Industry Reports Increased Harvest

Online music content and service providers in China earned about 2.3 billion yuan (349.8 million U.S. dollars) last year, up 14.4 percent from 2009, said a report released by China's Culture Ministry on Wednesday. According to the report, 2.02 billion yuan, or 90 percent of the total revenue, came from wireless music services via mobile phones, including polyphonic ringtones and download music. The figures saw a year-on-year rise of 9.8 percent. The revenue from online music services on personal computers remained a small portion at 280 million yuan, but increased year on year with a hike of 64 percent, said the report. In addition, telecom companies gained revenues of 27.9 billion yuan through network charges for online music services. More than 600 million people, or 70 percent of mobile phone subscribers, used music services in China, the report said. However, the report noted that the country's online music market was plagued by rampant piracy and lack of originality. Last year, the ministry shut down more than 300 websites without legal certificates to operate online music services. The ministry will step up efforts to regulate the market, battle illegal music websites and encourage the creation and distribution of original music, the report said.


From Xinhua News Agency 03/10/2011

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China's Video Websites Join to Screen Movies Online

Seven Chinese video-streaming websites announced plans on Thursday to group together to offer fee-based online movies as an alternative channel for watching film on the Internet. Jia Yuemin, vice president of letv.com which initiated the alliance, said that the Internet-based cinema would ensure netizens authorized copies of films and provide high definition viewing at a reasonable price. According to Jia, the members of the alliance, including letv.com, qq.com, joy.cn, xunlei.com, baofeng.com, pptv.com and pps.tv, could share authorized films and show them simultaneously while charging the same fees. Distributing films via Chinese cinemas no longer satisfies the development of film industry. The total number of cinema screens in China reached 6,200 last year, while only 260 of 526 Chinese films made it to those screens. Screening videos online could provide opportunities for lesser-known film producers to show their products, said Jia, noting that the convenience of online films would also help relieve the pressure faced by crowded Chinese cinemas. "Cherish Our Love Forever" will be the first online film shown through the alliance's website, with an exclusive internet copyright owned by letv.com. In January this year, tudou.com, a local video website, put the blockbuster "Let the Bullets Fly" online as a test, charging 5 yuan to see the film for 48 hours. This test received positive responses from netizens.


From Xinhua News Agency 03/17/2011

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Online Trade Mars China's Heritage

Valuable Chinese relics are finding their way abroad through a growing online business that the authorities are finding hard to stop. According to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, more than 200 online e-commerce websites are now offering platforms for the trading of Chinese cultural relics. Many of the websites are illegal and operating without a license. Although the administration has worked with police to crack down on the illegal trade and several sellers have been arrested after trying to get antiques and relics through customs, the business is still thriving. The administration's data shows that last year more than a million cultural relics and antiques were exported via the Internet, with a total transaction value of up to a billion yuan (US$152 million). Due to a lack of supervision of online shopping and auction websites, many relics under the protection of Chinese law have been sold to other countries, according to Xinhua news website News.cn. A Shanghai Daily investigation has found that Chinese cultural relics and antiques are hot items on the international e-commerce platform eBay.com, where around 49,000 Chinese antiques can be found for sale by both Chinese and foreign sellers.

These range from old Chinese coins with a price as low as under a dollar to rare paintings from the Ming Dynasty on offer at prices up to US$20 million. Various kinds of vases, Buddha statues, masks and even ancient shrines can be found on sale at the shopping website. Some sellers claim their items are genuine by offering certificates from Chinese appraisers, while others say they acquired them at auction. According to a Hong Kong-based Chinese antiques seller on eBay, Chinese ink-wash paintings by ancient masters can be delivered to the buyer three to five days after payment. The seller said the antiques would be delivered under the guise of "handicrafts" so the buyers didn't have to worry about being caught by Chinese cultural heritage administrations and, moreover, they could avoid taxes at customs. "The Internet has become the important trading channel for Chinese cultural relics as it has all the advantages in trading such as high speed, low cost and wide coverage," Shan jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage told News.cn. "If the chaotic online relics trading is left unattended, it will severely damage the safety of China's cultural heritage."


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 03/21/2011

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Internal Frictions Blocks Tri-networks Integration

China's efforts to combine telephone, cable television and Internet networks into a single line seem to have reached a dead end. An official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, one of the government regulators overseeing the project, recently lamented to Guangzhou-based newspaper Xinkuai Bao the lack of meetings he has attended, which to him signaled the end of the project. Indeed, few people are confident that the integration is going according to plan. The integration, which has been discussed as far back as 1998 and incorporated into the ninth through 11th five-year plans, will reduce the costs of installing and maintaining a large amount of infrastructures, as well as user fees. It would be a win-win good deal for both the government and the public. But competing government departments - namely, the MIIT and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television - that are currently in charge of overseeing the three industries are loathe to give up power by cooperating with each other and coordinating the integration plans. I don't have specific examples where each department does its own thing, but just trust me when I say that there was friction at times in the early period of efforts. Our neighbors in Japan and South Korea have already been enjoying the benefits of network integration, while here at home, the framework has just been established. Endless conflicts sacrifice precious opportunities and time. Time and tide wait for no man. It is up to the central government to find a solution to competing interests and to manage its various departments. China's relatively closed department system and their policy hierarchy have become outdated and are not compatible with development. Internal governmental frictions will end and network integration begin only when legislation is reformed and new administrators are brought in.


From China.org.cn 04/08/2011

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Chinese Software Not a Threat

The rise of China's software and services industry does not pose a threat to India, as India focuses on exporting to developed markets, while China focuses on serving its domestic market, said a top Indian software executive at the weekend. "The Indian software and services industry largely serves the foreign market mainly in the US and Europe, and Chinese companies have smaller exports and mainly serve the domestic market," Girjia Pande, chairman of Indian IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Asia Pacific, told the Global Times Saturday at the Boao Forum for Asia, held in Hainan Province. With the fast growth of China's software and services industry, which was worth 1.33 trillion yuan ($203.62 billion) in 2010 and is expected to reach 3 trillion yuan ($459.30 billion) by 2015, there are increasing suspicions that China is challenging India in the sector. TCS was the first Indian software company to set up operations in China (in 2002), and the company now has five delivery centers in Beijing, Shanghai and several coastal cities, serving multinationals such as Motorola Corp and domestic financial institutions such as Bank of China.

Since then, other Indian software companies such as Wipro Technologies and Infosys Technologies have also come to China seeking business opportunities. "We compete with them in every market including China," said Pande. "The trend is that more Chinese companies will start exporting, and more Indian companies will come to China." He said TCS's business is still small in China compared with domestic software companies. "Our business growth rate in China is okay, but I want it to grow faster," he said. "We want to approach more large Chinese enterprises and financial institutions that need next generation solutions as they go global or face competition from global counterparts." The services industry will be the next growth engine for China, said S Ramadorai, vice chairman of TCS. Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said at the Boao Forum that the authorities are considering opening some service sectors, but hope that developed economies will treat China the same way by opening related sectors to Chinese companies. "It's good news for us," said Pande. "With our global customers such as banks, transportation and logistics companies coming to China, as well as Chinese companies starting outsourcing in a bigger way, our business will get a boost.


From Global Times 04/18/2011

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E-commerce Injects Vitality into Rural Development in China

Yiwu in eastern China's Zhejiang Province has not only won world fame as an international distribution hub for small commodities, but has also brought business opportunities to local farmers through development of e-commerce. Yiwu's Qingyanliu Village, which is praised as China's No. 1 "e-commerce village", is home to over 1,000 permanent residents and nearly 2,000 online shops. It recorded more than 800 million yuan (121.2 million U.S. dollars) in online sales in 2009. The online shops, which are engaged in selling such daily-used merchandise as scarves, toys and lamps, have also attracted some 20 express delivery companies and more than 7,000 workers and business people from other parts of the country. "Starting up a business on the Internet has helped change livelihoods and lifestyles of local farmers. They have gotten used to computer keyboard and mouse," Liu Wengao, deputy head of the e-commerce association of Jiangdong community in Yiwu, told Xinhua. In order to ensure that small online businesses can find sources for commodities inside the village, a special supermarket tailored to the online shops was established at Qingyanliu. Online business people are able to shop for thousands of real items at the market, instead of going outside the village. They may log in descriptions and pictures of the commodities they are going to sell onto the Internet and go to the supermarket to pick up the products after having received clients' orders. Business people from other areas of Zhejiang, and even from Chongqing Municipality in southwest China, Anhui in the eastern part of the country and Liaoning in the northeast, have flocked to Qingyanliu. Any of them may rent a house in the village and start an online business with a computer. All parts of the business process, from online shop registration to goods purchases and delivery, can be done inside the village.

Two years ago, Zhang Haiyang from Anhui moved to Qingyanliu to run an online shop selling daily necessities. He told Xinhua that the village boasted the nation's lowest cost for express services and professional homepage designers for online startups. Qingyanliu is a showcase of e-commerce development in China's rural areas. Official statistics show that in 2009 rural Internet users numbered more than 100 million throughout the country, an increase of 26.25 percent year on year. Between 2007 and 2009, the annual growth rate for rural Internet users averaged 71.6 percent, much higher than the 34.6 percent rate for urban Internet users. Apart from population growth, rural online shop operators have expanded their business scope from farm produce to industrial products, which they committed local workshops to process. In the northern county of Qinghe, China's largest cashmere spinning base, local villagers began to launch online shops to sell cashmere yarn beginning at the end of 2007. At Donggaozhuang village of Qinghe, there are 400 households running 400 registered online brands, with over 20 online shops each reporting at least 1 million yuan in annual sales income. In Suining, an impoverished county of Xuzhou City, eastern China's Jiangsu Province, several young villagers from Shaji town succeeded in selling simple furniture in online shops in 2006. More local residents have since followed suit and expanded businesses to include sale of computers and small hardware pieces, as well as repairing PCs.

There are now 600 online business people running approximately 1,000 online shops in Shaji town. Among them are college graduates and owners of groceries and small supermarkets. Their suppliers include over 180 furniture producers, ranging from traditional household workshops to modern factories. In 2010, online shops in Shaji recorded 300 million yuan in sales income. Wang Weike, Party chief at Dongfeng village of Shaji, told Xinhua that between 1,000 and 2,000 out of the 4,000 local residents used to migrate elsewhere to find jobs. However, 90 percent of the migrants have returned home to run online shops. They employ people from nearby county seats and even from the provincial capital of Nanjing. "We farmers have begun to make city dwellers work for us," Wang commented. According to Wang Xiangdong, head of the information technology research center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, farmers used to be vulnerable to markets, as information was controlled by big companies. Now farmers have received direct access to information through e-commerce based on the Internet. Other experts suggest that local governments should take measures to encourage sustainable development of e-commerce in rural areas and build more infrastructure to support the businesses. Further, it is necessary to provide training courses on e-commerce for farmers, and efforts should be made to improve farmers' awareness of intellectual property rights in the e-commerce environment.


From English.news.cn 05/06/2011

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Chinese Internet Firms Rush for a US Listing

More domestic Internet companies are mulling a US listing after Renren.com and NetQin Mobile Inc. landed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) last week. Renren.com saw its shares surging 28.6 percent in Wednesday's debut, while shares of NetQin tumbled more than 13%, marking the worst first-day performance of any initial public offering (IPO) so far this year in the U.S. Despite the mixed performances, more Chinese Internet companies are lining up for an IPO on the US stock market. Cloudary Corporation, a wholly-owned online literature business unit of Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd., and Hexun.com, China's largest business news website, are in the process of a listing in the United States. Several other companies are also planning to go public on the NYSE this month, including Shanghai-based TaoMee Inc., which runs a social-networking website for Chinese children, and Shenzhen Xunlei Network Technology Ltd, a video and music file-sharing company partly owned by Google Inc. Analysts believe that the listing boom by domestic Internet companies may be partly because of the successful debuts of Youku.com and Dangdang.com by the end of last year. The year of 2011 marks the fourth round of the dot-com IPO boom, said some industry insiders. The first round happened in 1999 to 2000 when portal websites such as Sina, Sohu and Netease went public. The second round came in 2003 and 2004 as Ctrip.com, Tencent Holdings, Shanda, Jrj.com and 51job.com got listed. The year 2007 saw a third IPO rush, with Alibaba.com and ZTgame.com listing. While some cheer for the IPO boom, others showed concerns over a potential Internet market bubble in China. The latter believe that investors are overlooking the potential risks for Chinese Internet companies and are doing nothing but help inflate the market bubble.


From China.org.cn 05/09/2011

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China Telecom Aims for 1m WiFi Hotspots

China Telecom Corp Ltd said on Tuesday that it will raise the number of WiFi hotspots to 1 million by the end of 2012 to meet rising demand for mobile Internet. The plan is part of China Telecom's February campaign to promote broadband in the domestic market for the next three years. The campaign aims to provide subscribers with Web access to third-generation (3G) networks and WiFi wireless networks. Sun Minkang, deputy general manager of China Telecom Corp, said the company wants to expand WiFi coverage to public areas that have a high population density such as office buildings, airports and coffee bars. "In addition, we have negotiated with Air China and Hainan Airlines, as we hope to launch the first in-flight Internet surfing service in China this year," said He Zhiqiang, marketing director of China Telecom Corp. The current number of China Telecom WiFi hotspots is 300,000, and most of them are located in South China, He said. The company plans to roll out an additional 400,000 WiFi hotspots this year and these are expected to reach a target of 1 million next year. China's three telecom carriers have adopted an aggressive attitude towards WiFi network deployment this year.

Analysts said surging data traffic in smartphones forces telecom companies to look for ways to relieve pressure on their 3G networks. Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile Communications Corp, the parent company of Hong Kong-listed China Mobile Ltd, said the company planned to increase its WiFi hotspots to 1 million by 2013. China Unicom Ltd launched large-scale procurement of WiFi equipment last October. "The rapid development of mobile Internet needs collective support from 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi networks," said Kan Kaili, a professor at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications. He pointed out that the WiFi broadband network has many advantages, such as a fast speed and low costs. WiFi network construction in China will introduce business opportunities worth 25 billion yuan ($3.85 billion) to 30 billion yuan, a Ping An Securities report showed. "The year 2011 could be the year for Chinese telecom operators to race for WiFi hotspots construction," Li Zhongzhi, an analyst with Ping An Securities, said. By the end of March, the number of 3G users in China reached 61.9 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China Telecom had 16.37 million 3G users, trailing behind China Mobile's 26.99 million and China Unicom's 18.54 million.


From China Daily 05/11/2011

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Online Travel Service Booming

Booking flights or hotels online maybe common in western countries, but it's not a popular way of doing things in China. But, as our reporter finds out, the situation is changing. The summer travel season is not here yet, but Zhao Yun's team are already busy designing travel products. They are in charge of beach travel in southern China. Zhao Yun, Travel Products Department of Ctrip.com said "We make lists of hotels and restaurants of choices in our travel packages, and put them online. People can see the whole trip clearly and they can compare the prices." This is the biggest Chinese online travel agency. It represents half of the market share of online booking in the country. Even though, the online portion of travel booking in China is only 10%, while in western countries is over 60%. Ding Xiaoliang, Vice President of Ctrip.com said "Currently, the majority of business trip is booked through Internet. But most of the leisure travel or individual travel reservation are still made offline. So how to develop leisure market and individual travel market is the common issue for all the OTAs in China." They are working on it by discounts and maximum of choices of product. And it seemed welcomed by travellers. "I travelled with my colleagues some time with reservation in normal travel agencies, we were used to it. But recently I'm more willing to book my trip online, for it's very convenient." "I started to check regularly online booking websites to see if there are any good deals." China's online travel market volume has rapidly grown by 30% last year. International players are also willing to grab this opportunity: one of the world's biggest online booking services has just launched for its hotel booking brand and application for smart phones, with Chinese version. Johan Svanstorm, Managing Director of Hotels.com said "We know this journey of customers moving towards online to make the travel bookings all over the world. And we see it's happening very fast in China, but it's still a low penetration, there's a lot of opportunity to grow. So having lot of players in the market is good, that means we all helped to educate the customers, and we there are place for many players being in this market as well." With the global resources from international companies and experience of local ones, the online travel market is one step closer to its maturity. Both local and international online reservation services believe that China's travel market has great potential. With the rapid development of Internet and 3G network, this kind of services are hoping to become future trend for Chinese travellers.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 05/20/2011

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JAPAN: Supermarkets Going Online

An employee boxes items at a distribution center for Summit Netsuper Corp. in Nerima Ward, Tokyo. As more and more customers use the Internet to order goods from supermarkets, the companies that operate the stores are devising different ways to deliver those orders efficiently. Most supermarkets that accept online orders collect the desired products from the sales floor and then ship them to customers. Aeon Co. is considering the introduction of a new online shopping system utilizing a distribution center, but this would be a costly endeavor with no guarantee of success. Aeon started Internet supermarket services in April 2008, now available at 129 of its stores. From the beginning, Aeon's service has been popular among housewives, who appreciate not having to lug heavy bags. According to the company, the number of online shopping members has been increasing by about 5 percent a month. The minimum delivery time is three hours after an Internet order is placed. Participating Aeon stores deliver within a five-kilometer radius of their location. However, when such factors as snow or special bargains lead to a sharp jump in orders, deliveries are sometimes delayed until the following day. The firm is now considering establishing a distribution center in the Tokyo metropolitan area, where Aeon stores are sparsely distributed. "Widening the delivery areas [serviced by individual stores] would cost a great deal of money. And there's a limit to how much more we can handle at the stores," said Toyofumi Kashi, chief of Aeon Retail Co.'s Internet promotion division. Summit Netsuper Corp. of the Sumitomo Corp. group established the first distribution center in the metropolitan area.

According to a senior official of that company, it is difficult to find enough space to sort online orders at stores, as well as places to park delivery vehicles. In the conventional system, store employees collect items while checking an order slip. Summit Netsuper's highly mechanized distribution center is far more efficient. Summit Netsuper delivers goods within a radius of dozens of kilometers from the distribution center. Even if there is a surge in orders, items are delivered without delay. However, the company had to make an initial investment of several billion yen. As a result, Sumitomo has set fiscal 2015 as its target year to move the online supermarket into the black. Hankyu Kitchen Yell Inc., which operates mainly in the Kansai area, also plans to launch an online supermarket, establishing distribution centers in the Tokyo metropolitan area in autumn. The leader in the online supermarket industry is Ito-Yokado Co., with about 850,000 members. It has increased its number of daily delivery times from six to 10 at its Omori store in Tokyo and at Ario Sapporo in Hokkaido. Ito-Yokado plans to position its online sales as a "service that utilizes our network of stores," and has said it will handle the growing number of orders by further increasing the number of delivery times. Supermarket chain Daiei Inc., which currently offers online shopping at 12 of its stores, aims to increase the number to 70 by the end of 2012. Yano Research Institute Ltd. expects the online supermarket sales to increase by 60 percent from fiscal 2009, to 46.8 billion yen in fiscal 2013. A Daiei official said online service "is indispensible to securing customers."


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 03/07/2011

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Telecoms Networks Back

More than 90 percent of cell phone base stations and land lines have been restored in disaster-hit areas, thanks to the restoration of electricity and the delivery of sufficient gasoline and other fuels. However, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused enormous damage to coastal areas in the Tohoku region, and some areas are still off limits due to a series of accidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It is not yet clear when communications infrastructure, which is indispensable for rehabilitation, will be completely restored. About 13,000 base stations of three major companies--NTT Docomo, Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Mobile Corp.--had stopped transmitting as of the evening of March 12, the day after the earthquake. The majority have since been restored; only about 1,100 stations were still down as of Saturday afternoon. About 1.88 million land lines were down as of the morning of March 13, but that figure had fallen to about 95,000 as of Saturday afternoon. Communication networks were shut down not only by the earthquake and tsunami, but also by a lack of fuel that stopped emergency power generators at cell phone base stations and at communications buildings for land lines. NTT Docomo has strengthened the output power of its base stations to cover wider areas. It also has taken the emergency measure of borrowing lines from NTT East Corp.

A number of KDDI communication cables for land lines and cell phones, which connect the Tohoku-Hokkaido and Kanto regions, were severed in the disaster. However, the company has restored its communications by mending parts of the damaged lines and utilizing others. SoftBank Mobile has prepared simple base stations that four people can use at once. They had been set up at 88 locations, mainly in evacuation centers, as of Saturday. The NTT group has mobilized more than 10,000 employees for its recovery efforts, and plans to complete its emergency measures for both land lines and cell phones by the end of April. The group also plans to restore 59 base stations for cell phones, located in mountains and inside tunnels, by the end of May. However, about 65,000 telephone poles and about 6,300 kilometers of telephone lines were damaged or swept away by the earthquake and tsunami. Also, communications buildings at nine locations and cell phone base stations at 68 locations remain untouched because they are located within areas affected by the nuclear power plant accidents in Fukushima Prefecture. After the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, NTT spent about 80 billion yen over five years for restoration. As the March 11 quake inflicted damage over a much wider area, the disaster is highly likely to have a significant effect on communication companies' management.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 04/05/2011

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Mobile Networks Toughen Up

Mobile phone carriers are shoring up their networks to better deal with disruptions caused by natural disasters. The moves reflect the lessons learned from the March 11 earthquake, which left mobile phone users unable to place calls while network services were suspended for an extended period. Services were returned to normal in the quake-hit Tohoku region by the end of April. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed base stations and cut lines in many places. In addition, power--including backup batteries--at some base stations failed during extended blackouts. KDDI Corp. President Takashi Tanaka said the troubles caused by the disaster were "beyond the scope of what could be predicted." By strengthening infrastructure, NTT Docomo Inc. aims to be able to supply mobile phone services in affected areas and emergency operation centers for at least 24 hours after a disaster occurs. The company will increase the number of base stations equipped with 24 hours worth of battery power to 1,100--more than seven times the current number. It will also double the number of base stations with independent backup power generators to 800. As a backup for use in emergency situations, Docomo plans to expand the coverage area of certain base stations to include the areas normally served by several smaller stations. This plan will require the construction of 100 new base stations. It will also have 3,000 satellite mobile phones for use in disaster situations. "We should have a communication network that's secure, no matter what," said Docomo President Ryuji Yamada.

Docomo and KDDI will both expand their fleet of mobile base-station vehicles. KDDI will strengthen its national network, connecting the section that serves the Tohoku region to four other major network centers. Currently Tohoku is connected to only three other network centers, and the links to all three were disabled by the March 11 disaster, effectively isolating the region from the rest of Japan. SoftBank Mobile Corp.'s network was not as severely affected by the disaster, but the company is also considering reinforcing its network in a similar way. SoftBank will also increase the capacity of its battery-driven backup power systems. Meanwhile, each company is struggling to find a way to cope with the massive volume of calls expected during a time of disaster. When the March 11 disaster hit, call volume surged to between 50 and 60 times the normal level. Each company's network has limited capacity, and increasing it can only be done at enormous expense, which would likely have to be passed on to customers in the form of rate hikes. Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank advise customers needing to use their mobile phones during times of mass emergency to send e-mails, which use less network capacity than making voice calls. With the problem of network jamming in mind, Docomo is working on a service that will enable users to record voice messages on their mobile phones that can then be sent via e-mail.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 05/11/2011

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North Korea Opens an Internet Shopping Mall for the Rest of the World

North Korea has recently opened its first online shopping mall where around 100 products including agricultural products and building materials are sold. Chunrima, the country's official economy news website (http://www.dprk-economy.com/en/Shop/index.php), added an 'e-shop' page to display and sell, in Korean, English, and Chinese, a wide range of products from food and pharmaceuticals to health food, agricultural produce, building material, cars, industrial equipment, stamps, artworks, movies, and computer software. North Korea's latest automobile 'Junma' and Yeonggwang Furniture, in particular, are on the popular products list recommended by the website, which also explains that credit card payment is allowed. The Internet shopping mall website was built by the North Korean government and in collaboration with the Chinese corporation in Shenyang city of Liaoning. On Chunrima, customers make an order by entering their contact information such as an email address and then the administrator in China reaches them and asks for their credit card number to finalize the transaction. The North Korean government provided design-related technologies for the website while the Chinese company is lending the Internet server. This is the first time that North Korea is running an Internet shopping mall for the rest of the world. Apart from the online shopping mall, the website gives relatively detailed explanation in Korean, English, and Chinese on the country's economy, trade policies, and domestic news for foreign customers and investors.

The movies are categorized into general, children, and science technology films including 'Chunhyangjeon,' priced at US$ 5, and the animation film 'Smart Raccoon,' at US$ 0.8, and users can read about the plot, screenwriter, director, actors and actresses before purchasing the products. Furthermore, songs of praise for Kim Ilseong, the former head of state, and North Korean marching songs are available on the website, which also offers preview of the albums. In a bid to attract global investors in the country by cooperating with different countries and international organizations, Chunrima shopping mall was first launched as 'the Economy Homepage of Democratic People´s Republic of Korea' in late 2010 to provide electronic commerce service in Korean, English, and Chinese with information on the country's politics and economy as well as product promotions. In addition to Chunrima, other websites like My Country lately opened an online shopping page that is serviced in many languages such as Korean, Chinese, Russian, English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Arabic. Notwithstanding their limited Internet system, the North Korean government has been enthusiastic in supporting computer technologies and program development. So far, along with Laos, North Korea was the only country in which the Internet is not connected to the rest of the world, as the web could pose a serious threat to controlling the public within such an exclusive society.

It was inevitably seen by the government as a menace to the maintenance of the system. For that reason, North Korea chose to set up the websites outside the country to send out their information, using the Internet as a means of propaganda. The Chosun Jungang Correspondence and Association of Pan-Pacific Chosun People's Economic Development have run a website in Japan since 1996 whereas the site for Chosun Info Bank was built in China in 1999. Moreover, the websites for organizations such as Kumgangsan International Group, Chosun News, Hyeonhaetan News, and Eunbyul Computer are all located in Japan. The intranet website establishment agency, on the other hand, hosts the websites for organizations like Invention Center, Chosun Computer Center, Pyeongyang Information Center, Kim Ilseong University and Kimchek University. Although North Korea's official country code top-level domain is kp, there is no website registered with that domain code yet. The intranet within North Korea is mainly used for military or public institutions. Ironically, however, North Korea is the country that most frequently browses the websites related to the US Department of Defense, which shows the government's fear for the Internet spreading among the public.

The country's tendency to hold back their information, while persistently collecting many sorts of data from others, resulted in poor Internet infrastructure in comparison to their software industry. It does not mean that the North Korean government does not make any effort for investment in information communication technology, however, or that the computer experts in the country are not aware of the importance of the Internet. At the moment, North Korea is reportedly working on modernizing the telephone network, which forms the basis of the information and communication system.


From http://www.koreaittimes.com/ 05/03/2011

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S. Korean Online Game Limits Inch Forward, But Glacially

Korean efforts to battle online game addiction among teenagers, a move set off by the death of a baby whose game-playing parents neglected to feed her, are advancing - but at a glacial pace. Proposed steps to block teenagers from playing games between midnight and 6:00 a.m. have prompted questions of whether such action is reasonable in a democratic society, while government ministries remain at odds about new legislation up for review this week. The threat of the "night time shutdown," proposed late last year, has so far had little impact in a country with so many gaming devotees that they have given rise to hordes of Internet cafes called "PC bangs" that dot the streets of Seoul and are used by young teenagers to play online games. "This is not a logical law that will stop me from playing games when I want to," said 14-year-old Kim Young-ho, who often visits such cafes, which offer spaces to rest as well as drinks and light meals for online game lovers.

The new regulations would mean that underage gamers - whose age is known since they have to log in to use the games - would be automatically disconnected after midnight. The "curfew" was proposed as part of a Youth Protection Law after the notorious incident of a 3-month-old baby starving to death while her parents played online games, but it took eight months of wrangling before it was decided to apply it to teenagers under 15. But now the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family are locked in another fight over whether the bill, which will be discussed later this week, should include games played on mobile phones. The Family Ministry says the regulation should include all online games regardless of whether they use computers, mobile phones or other types of platforms, but the Culture Ministry says it should apply only to online games using computers. In addition, the government has yet to agree on a start date for the measure. As a result, few in one of the world's most wired countries appear to be worried as yet. "Few students I know have even heard about this law. I don't think they would care if they knew because it would be easy to get around," said Park Yong-chan, 13.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 03/08/2011

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South Korea Cautions PC-Operators of Contamination Through the Internet

According to a recent warning by the Korean Communications Commission on its Internet site, computer operators must boot their systems while taking them to safe mode for defense from malware contamination, which can damage their PCs' stored data as well as block anti-malware software from getting loaded. Bloomberg published this on March 6, 2011. Actually, on March 7, 2011, when 15m South Korean netizens went online, they got a warning message that the Internet Security Agency of the country seemingly issued. The message directed that users must take down a vaccine application for foiling an Internet assault from another country targeting websites belonging to important financial institutions and government agencies. Said Deputy Director Lee Sang Kug at the Commission, the recent attack, which attempted at disturbing the online computers in South Korea, aimed at separate PC-users, quite different from the assaults that targeted government websites over just 2 days back. Additionally he said that specialists managed to detect and eliminate the malware from 4 websites, while according to the alert, the malicious software was capable of disseminating through P2P networks. Bloomberg reported this.

Meanwhile, investigators probing the dissemination are still to figure out the place from where it originated although they're sure its source is from outside SK. Also, there's no report to the Commission about any severe destruction from the new malicious software. Reportedly on March 4, 2011, the SK government cautioned of DDoS attacks, which hit some 40 websites, with the National Intelligence Service and the Presidential Office websites included. Significantly, the same day, SK was encountering online assaults against websites belonging to the Foreign Ministry, the Presidential Blue House, 2 biggest search engines and the largest bank of the country, a leading Internet trading house as well as a few Korean and American military websites. Said military officers, on March 5, 2011, North Korean hackers attempted at deactivating the GPS indications within South Korea's capital via utilizing blocking devices. Yonhap News published this on March 8, 2011. Nonetheless, reacting to the recent online assaults, the SK military initiated caution for the preparation of cyber-warfare a phenomenon named "Infocon."


From http://www.spamfighter.com/ 03/17/2011

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Korea to Bolster New System for Mobile Payment

The government, telecom operators, handset makers and credit card companies are teaming up to expedite the development of a new mobile payment technology. The Korea Communications Commission announced Tuesday the launch of a coalition to foster near-field communication technology, which allows shoppers to apply their mobile devices to an electronic reader at the check-out to pay for goods and services directly from their bank account. Members of the group, called Grand NFC Korea Alliance, include mobile carriers such as SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus, phone manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Pantech, and credit card issuers like Hana SK Card, BC Card and Shinhan Card. State-run research institutes will also give support in setting up policies. This type of contactless payment system already exists here but companies around the world have been trying to broaden its use to ticket purchase, coupon issuance, personal identification, traveling information and others. Multinational electronics and telecom giants including Google, Apple, AT&T, Verizon of the U.S. and Orange of France have also dived into the competition.

But Korean developers were caught up in a snag for more than 10 years due to a lack of handsets and discord of interests between industries. Under the joint project, the participants plan to standardize the technology, develop and test-run business models and establish infrastructure, the KCC said. They aim to increase supply of mobile payment readers and beef up the slice of NFC-embedded gadgets to 60 percent in the mobile phone and tablet market by 2015. NFC-based services would generate 1.34 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in production, 347.5 billion won in value-added effects, and more than 5,700 jobs here over the five years, according to the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute. "The NFC technology will provide various business models and enable mobile services to evolve to smart life services that stick closely to everyday life, by putting functions such as traffic, credit card and retail into a mobile phone," the KCC said in a statement. "Given that the market is on the verge right now, Korean firms will be able to stand out on the global stage by improving technology competitiveness." IE Market Research values the global NFC-related market at $1.13 trillion in 2014, accounting for a third of the total mobile transactions. By 2015, about 85 percent of the mobile phones worldwide will be equipped with NFC chips, H.I. Business Partners also predicted.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 03/29/2011

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Korea to Forge Mobile Commerce Network

South Korea will forge a mobile radio-frequency identification network in metropolitan regions by the end of the year to promote mobile commerce, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Tuesday. The technology allows users to pay for items by flashing RFID-imbedded mobile phones in front of wireless readers. The RFID system has already been used in the country for transportation cards and wireless expressway electronic cards, widely known as "hi-pass." Yet its use has been expanding over the years as smart devices such as smartphones and tablet personal computers have become popular among Koreans. The government's latest move comes as the local mobile commerce market is expected to grow further in the near future, due to planned launch of multiple mobile phones that are equipped with RFID reader chips. The network, the first of its kind in the country, will be established at major cinemas nationwide, the ministry said. It would enable users to reserve and purchase movie tickets, as well as to pay at nearby restaurants and stores conveniently with mobile phones equipped with such chips. The mobile RFID network is to be created by the ministry in collaboration with mobile carriers SK Telecom and KT, plus credit card firms including Shinhan Card and Samsung Card, the ministry said. The system would function as a test-bed for setting the country's mobile transaction standards, according to the ministry.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/05/2011

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Seoul to Launch Online Oil Market

The government on Wednesday said it will launch an online market for oil products and boost competition among suppliers in a package of measures to lower fuel prices. The proposal submitted by a pan-governmental task force also said that the government will consider cutting fuel taxes in the long-term if price hikes continue to weigh on the economy and consumers. Trade of fuel products may start in the online marketplace at the year-end and on a futures market next year to ensure price transparency, officials said. "Competition is not working in this sector because there is no market reflecting the demand and supply situation swiftly for oil products," Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun said during a weekly policy meeting. Seoul will continue to put pressure on refiners to show "social responsibility," the statement said. A taskforce of government officials and civilian experts found that oil refiners have engaged in asymmetric price setting which contributed in part to price increases. The probe confirmed earlier in the morning that refiners moved quickly to raise gasoline and other fuel prices as soon as international prices went up while they were slow to reflect international price movements when crude prices fell abroad.

The announcements reflected Seoul's decision to focus on price transparency and competition rather than on oil tax cuts. Authorities have been arguing that price cuts at oil refiners are essential to tame inflation in the Asia's fourth-largest economy. Yoon in February downplayed the idea of an oil tax cut although it accounts for nearly half of the consumer price as it still remains low compared to the country's peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The government raised 1 trillion won ($922 million) of incremental tax in the past three months, compared with the same time last year. The Korea Customs Service confirmed Wednesday that the country imported a total of 25.6 trillion won of crude oil in the first quarter, up almost 40 percent in value from a year ago. Economy Minister Choi Joong-Kyung especially remained vocal about price cuts at refiners, saying that they have been providing inadequate information on the import cost.

Three major oil refiners said they will lower prices this week, an act of surrendering to government pressure. SK Energy, the country's largest refiner, on Sunday cut prices of gasoline and diesel by 100 won per liter for the next three months to join Seoul's inflation fight. The industry's No. 3 S-Oil and its smaller rival Hyundai Oilbank announced the same, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. The country's Consumer Price Index hit a 29-month high in March, rising to 4.7 percent from a year earlier. It exceeded the Lee Myung-bak administration's target band of 2 to 4 percent for the seventh consecutive month. Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, later in the afternoon hinted of a possible oil tax cut. "We will consider cutting oil taxes after a comprehensive study on the reduction's impact to tax revenues and energy strategies," Kim said during a government interpellation session at the National Assembly. International crude prices are around two-and-a-half year highs. Korea's average prices of gasoline remained relatively high compared with those of other nations, at around 1,971 won and 1,800 won, respectively, as of this week.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/06/2011

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Online Luxury Shops Challenge Retail Giants in Growing Market

The introduction of new online retail channels is expected to expand the size of the local luxury retail industry appealing to an increasing number of younger shoppers with affordable price and convenience, industry watchers said. Yet they face fierce competition from the market-dominant retail giants and are to overcome credibility concerns typically associated with e-commerce in the country. With 4 percent of global sales, Korea has become a major consumer of luxury fashion in the international industry over the years. The size of the domestic market stands at $4 billion as of 2009, which account for more than 15 percent of total fashion spending in the country, according to a report by McKinsey Global Institute. Rebounding from the global slump, the Korean retail industry posted a 10.4 percent on-year growth in the first half of 2010, according to Statistics Korea. Experts put its full-year growth at 7-8 percent. The popularity of luxury goods was a key driver of retailers' growth, they said. Luxury sales weathered the economic downturn posting a 16.7 percent rise between 2008 and 2009, making the country the second fastest growing market after China, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. The sales of luxury goods here have been growing at average 12 percent a year. The launch of online malls such as Tryst, We Make Price, Private Lounge and Glam Life would be particularly appealing for younger consumers who have rapidly-changing tastes and eagerly seek bargains.

They offer past-season luxury goods at lower prices. "I was thrilled when I heard the news that the 'Korean Gilt" was being launched here as I have enjoyed shopping at Gilt before," Kim Hee-sook, a 26-year-old banker, said. Whereas wealthy women in their 40s to 60s were the majority consumers of high-end fashion products in the country in the past, the younger generation has emerged as major consumers. "With fewer financial responsibilities, increased openness to new ideas and an eagerness to define themselves through how they dress, Koreans in their 20s and 30s have emerged as an exciting new demographic for retailers," the McKinsey report said. Also, the trend in the global luxury market now changes frequently, thus giving birth to several "it items" each season, with multiple new, emerging designers and brands. Though a majority of Koreans go to department stores operated by retail giants including Shinsegae and Lotte to shop high-end fashion products, retail channels have become diversified to duty free stores, direct and indirect purchases at overseas online malls, and premium outlets. Yet there has been a continuous demand for a more innovative one which would provide them with quality products at affordable prices. Korea is widely known for its higher-than-global average luxury goods prices. Despite considerable potential, however, new online retailers also face risks as well, including credibility issues and competition with retail giants. Many Koreans resist making big purchases online because of concerns about authenticity, sizes, after-sales services and the need to see and touch the product before buying, according to McKinsey. "Though I am excited about the site, it will take some time for me to fully trust it and make expensive purchases there.

More people would start buying from the site when the trust has been created and the price and quality is ensured," Kim said. Tryst also faces a strong competition with retail conglomerates who have been trying to drive growth by boosting off-season luxury goods sales. Shinsegae, the nation's third-largest department store operator with 5.4 trillion won in revenue last year, opened a Chelsea outlet in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on March 18. The firm has launched one Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, in 2007. Following its competitor's move, No. 1 retailer Lotte will open a large-scale premium outlet in Paju, Gyeonggi Province in November to compete with Shinsegae's mega-outlet to be launched in March. Lotte also plans to open a mega shopping complex in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province in 2013. It will feature an extensive lineup of luxury and premium imported brands for middle- and upper-class customers in the new residential center, the firm said. Alongside premium outlets, Lotte also runs high-end fashion products outlet at a number of their branches.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/13/2011

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Online Shopping Complaints on the Rise

The number of consumer complaints about online transactions increased by 2.6 times over the last four years, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Sunday. According to a study of the number of complaints received, the figure rose from 7,236 in 2006 to 18,914 in 2010. The city's customer service center dealt with a total of 67,895 cases involving transactions worth W13.8 billion (US$1=W1,086). The largest number of complaints were about clothes shopping with 20,094 cases or 29.6 percent, followed by fashion accessories such as bags and shoes (29.3 percent) and home appliances including cameras and mobile phones (8.3 percent). Most of the cases were related to the seller's refusal of a refund or exchange, which accounted for 22,522 cases or 33.2 percent, and closure of the website with 12,921 or 19 percent, followed by delivery delays (13.7 percent) and defective goods (7.2 percent). More than half of the complaints involved goods under W100,000, with under W50,000 accounting for 36.6 percent and from W50,000 to W100,000 25.7 percent. The average amount in disputes, however, went down by 45 percent from W283,000 in 2006 to W154,000 in 2010. "We have uploaded a list of companies that are frequently subject to complaints at our website at ecc.seoul.go.kr," a city government official said. "Online retailers deemed to be defrauding customers are investigated by the city in cooperation with the National Police Agency."


From http://english.chosun.com/ 05/09/2011

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Mobile Trading Soars amid Network Concerns

Stock trading through smartphones, tablet computers and other wireless devices is expected to exceed 150 trillion won ($138 billion) this year amid growing concerns about network security, market watchers said on Wednesday. The Korea Exchange said the amount of stock trading done using wireless mobile devices topped 74.3 trillion as of Monday for this year alone, exceeding 80 percent of total from entire last year, 92.8 trillion won. The new medium for financial transactions is more vulnerable to system failures and security attacks, mobile technicians said. "We haven't had a major accident that created losses in the wake of system failures and most professional traders still trade through home trading systems. It is a common understanding that wireless devices are at times unstable to trade money," a KRX official said. The bourse operator said it will tighten supervision of mobile trading platforms to prevent IT failures causing losses at investor's end like the case of NH Investment & Securities from last year. The home trading platform created by NH Investment & Securities was responsible for 70 percent of all complaints about system failures in 2010. Security concerns are just as big. Home trading systems is losing popularity although it still trades about 80 percent of stocks by transaction amount as of April. Trading amount through home trading systems totaled about 2.25 quadrillion won or $2.07 trillion in 2009 and declined to 1.97 quadrillion won the year after. "The shrinking share of HTS transactions shows a slowdown in participation by individual investors," the KRX official said. Some security experts still say they cannot foresee mobile devices overtaking computer-based trading. "Mobile devices still cannot display charts and other tolls due to the size of the screen and there are technical drawbacks due to unstable WiFi networks depending on where the user is," a worker at the IT center of securities company said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/18/2011

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INDONESIA: Cloud Computing Enables Companies to Be Productive All Year Round

"Microsoft Office is used by three quarters of a billion people around the world," said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office Product Management, in an exclusive interview with The Jakarta Post. That makes sense. Most of us have been using the application suite for many years. Of course, many computer users also hate Microsoft and have chosen to use Open Source-based software like the Open Office instead. But most users still prefer the familiar Microsoft Office, especially when the work they use it for is related to business. Most choose it because of the seamless integration between the applications in the suite. I first used Microsoft Word in late 1980s when it was still a text-based application. Its competition was WordPerfect. I also used Harvard Graphics to create presentation and Lotus 1-2-3 or Borland Quattro to do calculations. It was later that Microsoft combined Word, Excel and PowerPoint into a Microsoft Office Suite. Soon it brought death knell to Harvard Graphics, 1-2-3 and Quattro. Nowadays, Microsoft Office is more than just a tool to write articles, create a spreadsheet and prepare presentation slides. It has evolved into a tool for collaboration. A group of people located in different cities can work on the same project using Microsoft Office applications.

Of course, we can buy the programs separately and install each of them on our computers. This will give us the freedom to buy only the software that we need. However, our needs are not static. The nature of work we must perform may change from time to time. Some of the pre-packaged Office applications come with multiple licenses, which means we can install them on many computers without infringing the copyright. However, it will cost a fair bit. The cheapest retail package, the Student and Home version for three computers, can be purchased at Bhinneka.com for Rp 770,000 (US$90.1) after discount. The Office Home and Business 2010 costs Rp 1,699,000 after a discount of Rp 300,000. The package can only be installed on a desktop PC and a notebook. The Professional version commands a steep price of Rp 4,399,000. The version consisting of only Outlook costs almost one million rupiah a piece. As the number of PCs in the organization increases, the number of required licenses will also increase. Most small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) find the prices tough to swallow. To provide SMEs with access to the Office tools, Microsoft uses cloud computing to make them more affordable, in a set of applications called Microsoft Office 365. This set resides in the cloud and is maintained by Microsoft Cloud partners. Security is guaranteed.
Like the desktop version, Office 365 comes in different flavors. You can opt for Office 365 for small businesses, for enterprises, for students and for K-12 institutions. "We don't pretend we know exactly what each of this customer groups need," admitted Numoto, "We just combine the functions based on our years of experience serving our customers."

While all of the plans include the web version of Microsoft Office, they differ in the toppings and garnishes added to them. So, for example, Office 365 for the enterprises includes Single Sign-on with Active Directory. Office 365 for small businesses does not include Active Directory. Yet, Office 365 for Small Business allows user to take advantage of the cloud-based Exchange server, SharePoint server and Lync server. Lync used to be known as Office Communications Server. "Our R&D makes sure that the components are tightly integrated," said Numoto. The fee charged for each of the plans varies. Office 365 for small businesses costs $6 per user per month. Enterprise subscribers are charged up to $25.00 per user per month, depending on the tools used. As Office 365 is delivered from the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere using any device - PCs, smartphones, tablets and of course notebooks. However, it is not available yet. "It will be rolled out within 12 months here in Indonesia," promised Numoto. Still, today you can download it from Microsoft Website and use it for free for 30 days.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 05/16/2011

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LAOS: Internet Provides Boost to Advertising Industry

The number of Internet users in Laos has increased dramatically and has created a new market, according to one well known web designer. BlueGrass Design Group Co. Ltd Group Director, Mr Praseuth Banchongphakdy, made the comment yesterday after the government reported that the number of registered Internet users increased by 200 to 26,000 in the first six months of the current fiscal year. The total number of Internet users around the country is expected to reach about 500,000 this year according to a report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Mr Praseuth said the increase in Internet users across the country will bring new business opportunities for webmasters. An increasing number of Lao people are beginning to use smart phones which allow users to access websites from anywhere they have reception. The total number of home and mobile phone users in Laos is about 5.4 million - about 83 percent of the country's total population. Mr Praseuth noted that webmasters can create online trading and retail pages that allow people to purchase goods online. The Internet is one of the cheapest advertising tools compared to traditional forms of media as it is not expensive to establish and maintain websites. Mr Praseuth said that online advertising has become a global trend. He cited Facebook and Google as examples of popular websites that provide a free service but charge for ad space. Mr Praseuth said one possible business could be a news website. Web developers can provide free information to users while collecting advertising fees from companies that want to sell their products online.


From http://laovoices.com/ 05/10/2011

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MALAYSIA: Lewre Gets on EBay to Expand Global Reach

Lewre, Malaysia's high-fashion shoe brand, is using the eBay online sales channel to further expand its international sales and presence. The company launched its inaugural online store on eBay, the world's largest online marketplace for clothing, shoes and accessories. "Demand for Lewre's unique, detailed and durable designs has grown so much over the years that today 60% of our annual revenue comes from overseas," said the chief executive officer of Lewre International, Datuk Lewre Lew Fong Voon. He said that by participating in the eBay for Business programme, the company gets free consultation and selling support. With all these benefits it makes sense for the company to sell on eBay instead of setting up its own online store, he added. In Malaysia, the export of apparel and clothing accessories amounted to RM3.86bil in 2009, with the United States, Mexico and Turkey being among the top export destinations.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/19/2011

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Plastics Makers Urged to Look at Cloud Computing

The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) does not doubt that technology will transform the local industry into a world-class player within the next decade. It believes that ICT (information and communications technology) plays a vital role as a catalyst for sustainable economic development and growth. ICT is also an integral part of increasing the operational and management efficiencies of the plastics manufacturers, according to the MPMA. "The plastics industry registered a total turnover of RM15.8bil in 2010, representing an increase of 8% compared to RM14.6bil recorded in 2009," Lim Kok Boon, president of the MPMA, said. "But the (current) global economic recovery is expected to remain uneven across the different regions while the regional economies are confronted with the challenges of rising inflationary pressures, particularly from high commodity and fuel prices, as well as large and volatile capital flows. "The growth pace of the Malaysian economy will be affected by the environment of moderating external demand," he said.

According to him, many industries are facing two major concerns - human capital with the right expertise and the ability to penetrate new markets globally with innovative products. That is why MPMA thinks it is important for its members to stay abreast of emerging trends in technology, and has urged its 1,000-plus members to consider employing cloud computing in their operations. "Cloud computing is a way to increase capacity - or add capabilities - without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel or licensing new software," Lim said. He was speaking at a seminar, jointly organised by the MPMA and software vendor Microsoft Malaysia, in the capital. The theme of the seminar was "Protect your business and safeguard yourself from competition." Microsoft Malaysia told the seminar participants that cloud computing reduces a lot of the challenges that small and medium businesses (SMBs) face. "It obviates the need for a high capital outlay and it is agile and flexible, allowing SMBs to grow their ICT capacity as and when needed," said Ng Meng Keat, SMB director at Microsoft Malaysia. Microsoft Malaysia expects cloud adoption to be gradual, with SMBs here continuing to operate in a hybrid model with an increasing blend between off-premises and traditional on-premises infrastructure, for the foreseeable future. "We have a strong heritage in on-premise software but now almost all Microsoft products and services have evolved to take advantage of the cloud. We have hybrid solutions," Ng said.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/21/2011

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Making It Easier to Manage IT Assets

After a year of R&D, Malaysian IT products manufacturer ISA Innovation has launched its cloud-based IT management solution, called justSAMit. Banking on its 10 years of experience in the IT asset management business, ISA Innovation chief executive officer Lim Fun Jin, said the company invested RM1.5mil into developing the solution. "The solution enables organisations to apply IT asset management best-practices, as well as software asset management methods to gain control of their inventories. It also enhances their tracking and management of purchases, from procurement to retirement of the machines," he said at the JustSAMit launch here. He said the company will continue to develop and improve on the product, and has pledged a yearly sum of RM1mil for this purpose. JustSAMit is made for organisations that manage more than 50 computers. The software keeps track of software used in the organisation.

It monitors and tracks details of the software, such as lease and support expiry and licence-compliance levels, as well as whether any unauthorised software is present. The company said the solution will help businesses to better manage their operations and gain significant cost savings through better visibility of their IT assets. According to Lim, businesses can look forward to a 5%-30% optimisation in software allocations, which can translate to RM5,000 and RM 30,000 in direct savings. The companies will also be spared the hassle of conducting manual software audits. "Indirect savings can differ from one company to another but the obvious ones would be the elimination of manual audits and the improvement of employee productivity because the solution scouts for malware, as well as other unauthorised software," Lim explained. He said the company hopes to raise interest in the product among small and medium businesses (SMBs) through its "Get Started For Free" promotion drive, which offers RM1mil worth of free JustSAMit licences to customers that sign up for the service this year.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/27/2011

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Skali Expands Its Cloud Computing Stable

Skali.com has partnered with Microsoft Malaysia to give small and medium enterprises (SMEs) more choices when they want to hop into cloud computing. It inked an agreement with the software giant that enables Skali to host Windows-based cloud computing software and services for its clients. These start from as low as RM50 per month. Skali's clients can pick and choose from a broad portfolio of solutions, said Aimi Aizal Nasharuddin, the Skali Group chairman and co-founder. The deal offers Skali clients access to the latest software and services from Microsoft, without the upgrading and maintenance headaches that are associated with purchasing the software or solutions themselves, he said. "It is a very attractive offering for our clients, from both a business and technical perspective," Aimi added. Also, the clients can seamlessly expand or contract their cloud-computing hosting subscription to meet their business needs. "Even if you need to enable it for just two months, we allow it," Aimi said, adding that this gives the clients the opportunity to try the services before they commit. According to him, Skali's subscription-based business model also appeals to enterprises that require short-term access to Windows-based hosting to test their IT products and solutions, or to demonstrate proof-of-concepts.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/29/2011

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PHILIPPINES: PLDT, Microsoft and Datacraft Team Up for Cloud-computing Solutions

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Microsoft and Asia's leading IT solutions company Datacraft have joined forces to provide local businesses the benefits of more powerful software applications for the emerging trend in business cloud-computing. "This partnership allows us to really serve our customers better as this provides best-of-class and high quality services and solutions that are available today," said PLDT senior vice president Eric R. Alberto. Cloud-computing is network-based computing, where software, data storage and other resources are provided over a shared network. It allows users to access their company's business applications securely through the cloud. PLDT and Microsoft recently signed a Service Provider Licensing Agreement, allowing PLDT to distribute cloud-based Microsoft Software Services in the country whereas Datacraft will provide the necessary infrastructure and support for the project. Through PLDT, Microsoft business applications are made even more accessible for local business use. Companies will be given the option to implement the cloud-based versions of the Microsoft applications within their businesses in a full or partially-private managed scheme, or via a fully-hosted cloud-delivered model.

Datacraft will ensure a best-of-breed cloud infrastructure and provide expert support to the clients. The applications will be made available through a monthly subscription arrangement instead of the traditional licensing model which entails significant upfront investments. With such a setup, local businesses are provided with a cost-efficient solution without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure and maintaining costly operations support. "Our collaboration with these two companies is the next big step into really building up the application portfolio of our existing cloud computing brand, PLDT AppFarm," said PLDT vice president and head of Corporate Business Group Jovy Hernandez. "With cloud computing emerging as the operating platform in corporate business," Hernandez said, "investments on bulky and costly physical infrastructure to support and access massive amounts of data and applications are now a thing of the past." Through this tie-up, PLDT is set to strengthen its hold in providing leading technological advances in the country with its new ICT partners.

Microsoft Asia Pacific president Tracey Fellows said, "The two organizations can really help build the market, and even create a new market and great value for our customers." Microsoft's renowned software portfolio expands PLDT AppFarm's already well-established cloud computing services. It is seen as a huge step in accelerating local cloud- computing adoption, beginning a symbiotic endeavor to meet the growing demand from an evolving market. "We are happy for this newest development in our ongoing strategic partnership with PLDT. We're confident that Microsoft's dynamic cloud solutions will help bolster PLDT's existing AppFarm platform," said John Bessey, Microsoft Philippines managing director. "We're also very optimistic that it will solidify PLDT's position as the telecommunications leader in this part of the region."


From http://balita.ph/ 04/09/2011

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THAILAND: Green Light for New E-Commerce Agency

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry has been given a green light by the Cabinet to set up an Electronic Transactions Development Agency. The agency will be a public organisation with responsibility for developing, promoting, supporting and driving the adoption and growth of e-commerce in Thailand. ICT ministry inspector-general Methini Thepmani said the new Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) would also study and develop information infrastructure, including security, to support government, business, community and state enterprise e-transactions. "I think that the new agency will create confidence among customers who want to purchase products and services via online transactions or e-commerce. Businesses will also be more confident about online transactions. Meanwhile, the ETDA will take responsibility for driving e-commerce as a whole," she said. Importantly, the ETDA's role will include enabling Thailand to participate in the Asean Economic Community in 2015 and become a hub for the single Asean market.

Meanwhile, the National Statistics Office has reported that the total e-commerce market in Thailand in 2008 was worth about Bt527.5 billion. Of this, about Bt190.7 billion or 36 per cent came from business-to-business (B2B) transactions, Bt45.9 billion or 9 per cent came from business-to-customer (B2C) transactions and the remaining Bt290.8 billion or about 55 per cent came from business-to-government (B2G) transactions. The managing director of leading Thai online market place Tarad.com, Pawoot Pongvitayatanu, said the new agency would help business confidence in providing products via e-commerce. Customers will also feel more confident about purchasing products and services via the Internet, and this will help to drive e-commerce and online transactions. It will also generate cooperation between government and private-sector organisations to drive growth in Thailand's e-commerce market, he said. Pawoot said that e-commerce or online business in Thailand was continuing to grow because customer behaviour was changing and they were starting to purchase products and services online and also to pay for those products and services by credit card.

Moreover, social commerce is becoming popular for businesses that want to do business via online transactions, such as online games and online payments. He said Tarad.com achieved revenue growth of about 900 per cent last year after providing a new business model for enterprises wishing to do business online. The managing director of online-shopping firm OfficeMate, Worawoot Ounjai, said Thailand's e-commerce market was growing at a pace of 20 to 30 per cent per year and would continue to do so for the next three to five years. This is because "new generation" customers, who have high spending power, prefer to buy products online and pay for products and services via the Internet. Moreover, major organisations and corporate business such as The Mall and Central online are starting to provide their products online, and this will be a factor encouraging growth in the e-commerce market. Worawoot said online business-to-customer transactions presently amounted to between Bt30 billion and Bt60 billion per year.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 03/10/2011

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Small-screens Drive Mobile Broadband Market to Revenues of $108 Billion

The Asia-Pacific (AP) mobile broadband market will hit revenues of $108 billion in 2015, driven by continued strong demand for Internet access on small-screen devices such as smartphones, predicts Ovum. The independent telecoms analyst finds that revenue growth is not keeping pace with connections, highlighting the need for service providers to develop improved monetisation strategies. In a new forecast*, Ovum states that revenues from the AP mobile broadband market will more than double from $43 billion in 2010 to $108 billion in 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 per cent. Meanwhile, AP mobile broadband connections will grow at a CAGR of 35 per cent, reaching 1.5 billion in 2015 from 333 million in 2010. Of those 1.5 billion connections, 80 per cent will use small-screen devices such as smartphones and feature phones. Big-screen mobile broadband connections (laptops, netbooks and tablets) will grow at a CAGR of 41 per cent from 2010 to 2015. However, this segment will only have 310 million connections by 2015. In terms of revenues, small-screen devices will also lead the way, reaching $57 billion in 2015. However, there will be a smaller gap between big-screen mobile broadband revenues, which will reach $51 billion. This reflects the premium that operators can charge for dedicated big-screen mobile broadband services as opposed to the bundles of minutes, messages and data seen in the small-screen segment.

Steven Hartley, Ovum principal analyst, commented: "The market for mobile broadband on small-screen devices is eating away at the opportunity for growth in the big-screen market. Consumers now expect to be able to access services such as Facebook on their mobile phone, which is why we will see handset connections far outstripping big-screen connections by 2015". "The picture in emerging markets is also a key factor. Devices such as laptops are less affordable in these markets. However, low-end feature phones or smartphones are much more attainable, and many consumers will use these as their only form of Internet access, driving connections growth. With Asia-Pacific mobile broadband connections growth forecast to outstrip mobile broadband revenue over the forecast period, Hartley says that service providers will need to develop strategies that meet the demand for mobile Internet access while managing costs and securing customer loyalty.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/20/2011

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SET Pushes Mobile Stock Trading

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) aims to more than triple the value of stock traded via mobile devices, from only 1.08 per cent of total-trading value last year to 4 per cent, by the end of this year. The vice president of the SET's Equities Product Manager Department, Kirati Kosicharoen, said the bourse would join with brokers in co-marketing campaigns to promote stock trading on mobile devices. The aim was to increase the percentage of trading conducted on mobile devices as well as attracting an estimated 12,000 new investors using mobile trading. "Stock trading on mobile plays a complementary role to online trading via www.settrade.com. It allows investors to easily keep in touch with their portfolio management or easily access essential information while they are on the move," Kirati said. Currently, more than one third of the SET's 600,000 investors, or 200,000 to 250,000 people, exercise their portfolios via online channels, using both the Internet and mobile devices. This accounts for about 24 per cent of the exchange's total trading value, or about Bt31.25 billion per day. By the end of this year, the SET expects the value of online trading, via the Internet and mobile devices, to reach 30 per cent of total-trading value. It accounted for 22 per cent of total-trading value last year.

Trading via mobile devices is the major driving factor in raising the online-trading value. This is partly because investors are able to freely download an application called "Settrade Streaming" into iPhones or iPads. It connects with mobile trading and enables them to manage their portfolios efficiently and seamlessly between online and mobile devices, Kirati said. The app was developed specifically for the Stock Exchange of Thailand. "The app is a free download, but investors are charged 2.5 per cent as usual as a commission fee to the broker. Now, we are working with 32 brokers out of a total of 36 to encourage investors to trade online and on mobile. Our app supports multi-market trading - both the stock exchange and the futures exchange - on both iPhone and iPad," he said. The beauty of online and mobile trading is that it gives power and efficiency to investors to trade their stocks anywhere and anytime, with full access to essential information for making immediate decisions. "The average age of investors is between 25 and 45, and these people are familiar with the technology and have given us good feedback on online trading. It is our job to encourage investors to increase their investments with more trading by giving them easier ways to trade. Eventually, we hope to increase the total value of trading," Kirati said. Currently, the SET's website, www.settrade.com, has about 90,000 unique visitors. It is the bourse's main online-trading channel, and has been operating since 2002. The SET first ventured into mobile trading in 2005, but that was restricted to Java-based mobile phones. In 2008, the bourse launched mobile trading on iPhones and in March this year extended the system to iPads.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 05/03/2011

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VIET NAM: ADSL No Longer an Attractive Piece of Cake for Telecom Service Providers

Vietnam once witnessed the boom of Internet ADSL services. The number of ADSL subscribers once grew so sharply that the service quality upgrading could not catch up with the increase. However, things are different now. Until 2010, the ADSL service in Vietnam had been witnessing impressive growth rates. The number of subscribers doubled year on year. The market was held by three biggest telecom service providers VNPT/VDC, Viettel and FPT Telecom. In 2009, VNPT made a breakthrough when obtaining 2.5 million of ADSL subscribers by the end of that year. Meanwhile, Viettel announced it had had 530,000 subscribers by the same time and FPT Telecom 440,000. However, the upward trend is over. The increase in the number of subscribers has slowed down. FPT Telecom had only 60,000 new subscribers by the end of 2010, raising the total number of subscribers to 500,000. Meanwhile, Viettel's subscribers had dropped to 300,000. VNPT had had over 2.6 million subscribers by the end of last year. The problem lies in the fact that the total number of ADSL in Vietnam has not increased. Clients just leave one service provider for another one. They terminate contracts with one network after a short period of using services and enjoying preferences and shift to use services of another network. And this has been blamed on the unreasonable sales promotions offered by service providers.

In order to attract new clients and scramble for users from other networks, service providers have been regularly launching promotions. They offer free modems, exemption from coverage charges, exemption from monthly subscription fees for a certain period, and even offer free services for several months. Therefore, after enjoying all the preferences, clients will "say goodbye" to one service provider and leave to seek preferences from another network. Telecom companies have admitted that they can attract new subscribers very rapidly, but they also see a big number of leaving subscribers. For FPT Telecom, for example, the percentage of leaving subscribers is now 40 percent. As a result, network operators cannot make profit from new subscribers and they cannot take back the investment capital because subscribers leave directly after the offered preferences finish. ADSL service providers have admitted that they need to reconsider their sales policies. For example, they will not launch promotion campaigns on a massive scale any more, but will focus on some key markets. Analysts also say that though Vietnam's market is still far from becoming saturated, it is the right time for service providers to think about measures to retain existing subscribers instead of focusing on attracting new subscribers.

A representative from an enterprise said that in 2011, together with the development of new subscribers, preserving the current number of subscribers would be the top priority. The enterprise, for example, will give preferences to "awake" "sleeping" subscribers. For example, it may offer reductions in charges for one month after every three months of using services, or it may give presents to subscribers once the subscribers use certain volumes of capacity. "Sleeping" subscribers are understood as the subscribers who remain on the network following the introductory offers, but the volume of used capacity is very low, and they may terminate subscription contracts at any time. Service providers also understand that they need to "renovate themselves" by upgrading service quality. Clients have too many choices today, while they have become choosier about selecting services.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/22/2011

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E-commerce to Aid Competitiveness

The application of e-commerce can help local businesses enhance their competitiveness and boost the country's industrialisation and modernisation, said a ministry official at a seminar held in HCM City yesterday. Phan The Hao, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's representative office in HCM City, said in the context of globalisation the country should increase the use of e-commerce to exploit new business opportunities in the international market. Lai Viet Anh, manager of the Department of E-Commerce and Information Technology's Legal Department, said that with the development of the information technology and internet boom, the Ministry of Industry and Trade had created a plan to 2015 to apply e-commerce in many fields. Under the plan, online transactions would be conducted by 80 per cent of public services related to exports, imports, customs, tax declarations and payment procedures. Business and investment certificate applications would also be done online. By 2015, 50 per cent of public services related to commerce and production activities would be offered online.

Under the plan, all large companies are expected to apply e-commerce by 2015. It is estimated that 70 per cent of large companies will use emails; 80 per cent will have websites; 70 per cent will sell products and services through websites; 5 per cent will have B2B and B2C transactions; and 20 per cent will use software in business administration. Viet Nam is also expected to establish a goods-transaction online department and develop reputable companies that will provide e-commerce services for the country and region. As for small companies, 100 per cent are expected to use email; 45 per cent would have websites; and 30 per cent would buy and sell products and services online. Under the ministry's plan, 70 per cent of supermarkets, shopping centres and modern distributors would allow customers to pay by credit card instead of cash. Fifty per cent of electricity, water and telecommunication service providers and 30 per cent of transport, culture and tourism service providers are expected to accept online payments. Le Duc Anh, deputy manager of the Department of E-Commerce and Information Technology's Online Public Service Department, highlighted the importance of applying electronic signatures and securing data and information of organisations and businesses that use e-commerce. Anh recommended that businesses use electronic signatures for transactions so that they can prevent fake signatures used in emails and other transactions.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country needs to complete legal systems about e-commerce, develop human resources for e-commerce, enhance public services online, apply e-commerce technologies, and boost the state's effectiveness and management capacity of e-commerce. The ministry has also developed a plan to promote e-commerce at localities in order to help businesses become familiar with e-commerce. It also plans to offer training for e-commerce workers. As of last month, all 63 provinces and cities across the country have developed plans to apply e-commerce in the 2011 - 15 period. Plans of 34 localities have been approved; 17 plans have been completed; and 12 are waiting for approval.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/23/2011

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Vietnamese Currency Offered for Sale on EBay

On the online auction and shopping website "eBay", a complete set of Vietnam polymer currency banknotes are offered for sale at the price of 95 dollars, or nearly two million Vietnam dong. The currency set includes the bank notes with the value of 500,000 dong, 200,000 dong, 100,000 dong, 50,000 dong, 20,000 dong and 10,000 dong. The set has a real value of 880,000 dong. The advertisement piece was posted by a member who registers himself on eBay under the nickname "sportsgear28". The seller has assured that the bank notes are real money and that the polymer bank notes have been issued to replace old cotton bank notes. Nothing special in the serial numbers of the bank notes can be found. The seller has advertised that the bank notes would be the great gift to those, who like collecting different currencies of different countries in the world. The advertisement piece will expire in some more days. The buyer will get the bank notes without having to pay the freight, This is not the only member who offers to sell Vietnam polymer banknote sets on eBay. At the online market, buyers can easily find a lot of other advertisement pieces about the sale of Vietnamese currency sets, priced at between 89 dollars and 99 dollars.

Polymer banknotes prove to be not the only Vietnamese currency appeared on eBay market. Buyers can easily find at least 400 different ad pieces about the sale of Vietnamese currency which have been posted over the last month. There are different kinds of bank notes put on sales, from paper currency to coins, from the money in current circulation, to old money. For example, someone is offering to sell 100 bank notes, which have the face value of 1000 dong (the total value of the bank notes is 100,000 dong) at the price of 30 dollars (625,000 Vietnam dong). Besides, a set of five coins issued in 2003 which have the face values of between 200 dong and 5000 dong is being offered at 5.80 dollars (buyer would have to pay 4.5 dollar in freight). A five dong bank note with the image of President Ho Chi Minh and the words "Viet Nam Dan Chu Cong Hoa", which was advertised as rare bank note, is priced at 0.99 dollar. A collection of 18 bank notes which were in circulation in the south of Vietnam under the Saigon regime was also put into auction with the starting price at 2.25 dollars.

The sellers of Vietnamese currency come from all over the world, but they are mostly in the US and Vietnam. Some people come from China. Most of them are considered "top rated seller" and they receive positive feedbacks from clients. This is one of the most important factors to rank sellers on eBay. If sellers receive just one negative feedback, they will nearly have no opportunity to sell the products they want, because buyers always try to contact those who have positive feedbacks. This explains why among the ad pieces on selling Vietnamese currency on eBay, the goods offered by the people who have many positive feedbacks are always the best sellers. The member with the nickname "giftdotnet", who got 5354 positive feedbacks, from New York, successfully sold 38 sets of Vietnamese polymer banknotes, though he set higher prices than others, at 99 dollar for each set. Thanks to 21,500 positive feedbacks, a person from Shanghai also successfully sold eight sets of coins at 5.80 dollars for each. Vietnamese currency remains inconvertible currency which can only be used to make payment in Vietnam, not in other countries.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/27/2011

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Vietnam's E-commerce Set to Boom by 2015

Vietnam's e-commerce is set to be booming in the next four years thanks to the surging number of Internet users. "The e-commerce popularity of Vietnam will reach the advance level compared to other ASEAN countries" in 2015 in accordance with the country's e-commerce development plan," said Lai Viet Anh, head of the Legislature Division of the E-commerce and Information Technology Department. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show 60 percent of large companies approached e-commerce in the period of 2006 and 2010, of which 70 percent of them have website, 95 percent receive online orders and 96 percent use email regularly for their business activities. Up to 85 percent of small and medium enterprises allow their customers to place order online and 80 percent of them consider email as equipment for business activities. In 2010, the number of large businesses using email to contact to their partners increased to 95 percent.

E-commerce is also getting popular with consumers, with 49 percent of households being Internet subscribers and 18 percent accessing Internet to make online purchases. Many online public services were set up last year, with 38 provinces offering 748 third-level online services. Up to 15,000 people voted for 50 e-commerce websites in online exchanges between businesses and consumers. Analysts said Vietnam's e-commerce was growing strongly, attracting some large commercial groups around the world. US-based online retailer eBay has cooperated with software developer Peacesoft since it bought 20 percent stake in the Vietnamese firm. News website VnExpress cited Peacesoft General Director Nguyen Hoa Binh as saying that the investment will help his company develop Vietnam's e-commerce industry. The value of the stake was not disclosed. According to Peacesoft, the e-commerce trade value of Vietnam in a year is now equal to just one day in China. Nearly 27 million Internet users in Vietnam encouraged eBay to expect that the Southeast country's e-commerce will grow five folds in the next four years.

A blog entry on Forbes said how eBay fares with its new venture in Vietnam could foretell the future of Vietnam's potential as "the next frontier in Asia for tech investment." However, Vietnam's e-commerce is still grappling with many challenges including local knowledge about the service. "Locals remain unfamiliar with online shopping and payment. Many companies, meanwhile, designed their websites as a place for product showcase only," said Nguyen Hoa Binh, general director of software developer Hoa Binh. Despite difficulties, the Ministry of Industry and Trade remains confident that e-commerce will become widespread in Vietnam, with all businesses using email for business purposes, 80 percent offering e-commerce website and 70 percent providing online purchase. Anh from the E-commerce and Information Technology Department said the government should set up regulations and detailed plans on training human resource for e-commerce. "Local businesses should cooperate with the government to develop the e-commerce. The Ministry of Industry and Trade should set up e-commerce training courses in every province nationwide," said Tran Vinh Nhung, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/07/2011

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BANGLADESH: Online Banking

Banks in Bangladesh have begun their first ever online operations, allowing their clients cash deposit and withdrawal facilities, foreign exchange remittances and fund transfer services. Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) launched the service in collaboration with mobile phone operators Banglalink and CityCell, as reported by IANS. Initially the online service will provide cash deposit, cash withdrawal, utility payment, salary disbursement, foreign remittance, and fund transfer services. Bangladesh has a fast-growing telecom network with a dozen operators, including India's Airtel Bharti, reaching millions of subscribers. Primarily mobile banking will provide the clients with cash deposit, cash withdrawal, utility payment, salary disbursement, foreign remittance, and fund transfer services. Nine other banks have also been licensed by the Bangladesh Bank to introduce mobile banking. Though the services would be faster than other forms of banking services and would include the people even of the remote areas covered by the CityCell and Banglalink networks, it would also be a little more expensive for the users.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/04/2011

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INDIA: Government to Invite Bids for Broadband in Rural Areas

The government will soon invite bids from telecom firms to provide broadband services in rural areas of the country. For this service the providers will get subsidy from the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund. The Department of Telecommunications will soon come out with a tender for rural wireless broadband through the USO fund by the end of the month. This particular project is aiming to cover 60,000 villages.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/14/2011

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Microsoft Office 365 Public Beta Available in India

Microsoft has announced the public beta of Microsoft Office 365, the company's cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes, in India. Office 365 was introduced in limited beta last year, bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public beta available online allows millions of people in India and across the world to try Office 365 for the first time. Globally, more than 70 percent of the organizations that signed up for the limited beta were small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. "The Early adoption trends show how well Office 365 resonates with small businesses that want full-featured professional technology, delivered in a way that makes sense for their company by offering them streamlined communication with high availability, comprehensive security and simplified IT management.", said Sanjay Manchanda, Director, Microsoft Business Division. Since the introduction of Office 365, more than 1,50,000 organisations worldwide, from independent professionals to large enterprises, have signed up to test it.


From http://egovonline.net/ 05/03/2011

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MCD to Bring 71 Services Online by July 2011

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will post its parking details online under the e-governance scheme, so people can view parking lots at the places they are visiting. Under the scheme, the MCD plans to bring 71 services of its 40 departments online by July. According to a senior official, maps of parking lots will be placed on the website to mark their exact locations. Once the e-governance plan is implemented, getting trade licences, birth and death certificates or securing sanctions for building plans can be done online. For implementing the e-governance project, costing Rs 180 crore, the MCD signed a pact with Tech Mahindra in March last year. "Through a joint effort, we have integrated all existing software applications and hardware in the MCD for seamless information flow, and providing services online," said an official.


From http://egovonline.net/ 05/16/2011

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AFGHANISTAN: Etisalat to Invest USD100 Million in Afghan Arm

Etisalat plans to invest USD100 million in Afghanistan between 2011 and 2012 and is planning to launch a 3G network later this year, writes Reuters citing a top executive at the company. Etisalat Afghanistan's Chief Executive Saeed al Hamli said the company expects subscribers to more than double within two to three years, pushing its market share to between 30% and 35%. 'Our budget is USD100 million dollars for 2011 to 2012," al Hamli told reporters. 'We expect our subscribers to reach six to 6.6 million in two to three years." Al Hamli said the company, which has invested USD300 million in Afghanistan since 2007, also plans to acquire an existing internet service provider within the next two months. 'For us, it is a strategic deal on the enterprise side," he said. He added the company plans to launch 3G services this year as soon as it receives a licence. 'We are waiting for the 3G licence which we are hopeful to get soon...We are ready. We have the technology."


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/14/2011

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ARMENIA: Google Nexus S Smartphone Available

VivaCell-MTS announced availability of Google Nexus S smartphone in Armenia. Google Nexus S, jointly produced by Samsung and Google, is the first smartphone in the world that comes pre-installed with the new and superfast Android 2.3 Gingerbread operation system (with possibility to update to 2.3.4). With this OS, 1 GHz processor and 16 GB internal memory, Google Nexus S is one of the fastest phones on the market. Nexus S is the first smartphone launched with a Contour Display. The curved glass screen fits comfortably in the palm of the hand and along the side of the face. And with the innovative Near Field Communication (NFC), Nexus S can read information from "smart" tags, or everyday objects that have NFC chips in them. This smartphone comes pre-installed with the best of Google apps, including Google Search, Google Maps, Mobile Instant, Google Earth, and much more. With Nexus S users will be the first to receive upgrades, features and new apps as they become available, and they will also have full access to all free and chargeable apps, games, and widgets on Android Market. To remind, Google has already made Android Market fully available in Armenia. Applications on Android Market can be bought using VISA, MasterCard. The price of Google Nexus S is AMD 295000. In case of buying the phone from VivaCell-MTS service centers the customer can participate in the "Smart Bonus" program and get AMD 147500 bonus. In the framework of cooperation between VivaCell-MTS and Unibank, this model can be obtained on credit.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 05/19/2011

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VivaCell-MTS Presents New Bonus Program for Prepaid Subscribers

VivaCell-MTS announced a new bonus program for prepaid subscribers to be valid till June 1. The subscribers need to dial *210# free of charge and every time the total duration of calls received during a day from RA other GSM, fixed, as well as 374 97 and 374 47 networks is 7 minutes or more, the subscriber will get a bonus - an opportunity to call on-net free of charge till the end of the day, the company said in a press release. The duration of calls the subscriber still needs to receive during the day to accumulate the 7 minutes necessary for getting the bonus can be checked by dialing *210*1#.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 05/20/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Digital Signature Will Be Platform for Development of E-Commerce

A digital signature will be a platform for the development of e-commerce in Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry's Scientific Capacity and Strategic Planning Deparment Head, Isbyandiyar Aliyev, told Trend. He said the main advantage of digital signatures is a full transition of business relationships and bonds to an e- format. Issuance of the digital signature in Azerbaijan, Aliyev said, depends on the willingness of the e-government portal, work on which id underway today. Regarding the infrastructure to issue digital signatures, it is completely ready for exploitation. Based on the preliminary data, the center could begin to operate in late first half of 2011, Aliyev said. Today, the ministry also studies experience of the issuance of e-signatures that will be provided on a fee basis. The project is implemented according to law "Electronic signature and electronic document" by a consortium of companies Ultra, Azerin and Microsoft's local office.

Establishment of the center centers for issuing digital signatures, including the test works is estimated at $3 million. Azerbaijan plans to use three centers for issuing digital signatures, two of which will serve the public and private entities, and one will be the head office. An electronic signature is a sequence of symbols received through the transformation of the source document through special software. When an original document is sent, a digital signature is added to it. As a result, the authorship and the immutability of the information contained in the document are confirmed. While making any changes to the original document, the electronic signature becomes invalid. Getting a digital signature ensures the authorship and contents of documents exchanged by the organization through the Internet. It is impossible to forge an e-signature. The document, certified by digital signature, and a signed document, is recognized as equivalent.


From http://pda.trend.az/ 03/17/2011

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Azerbaijan to Create E-system of Real Estate Registration

Azerbaijan is working to develop an e-system of the real estate registration, Azerbaijani Parliamentary Legal Policy and State Building Committee head Ali Huseynli told Trend. Stressing the existence of problems in the real estate registration, Huseynli said illicit interests play a role in issuing the documents by the State Real Estate Registry Service. Huseynli said problems in this area decreased following the President's appropriate orders. All the processes relating to the immovable property registration must be in e-form, he added. "We need to make sure that all processes in this area are transparent. In this case, no problem will arise between a representative of the public authority and citizen," Huseynli said. Huseynli said the creation of a "single window" system in the real estate registration field will not lead to the final formation of a transparent mechanism in this area. "The "single window" system is an element of transparency, but it does not mean the solution to all problems. When they say "one window" that means that all documents relating to the real estate registration collected in one body and this problem is solved . I believe the use of "single window" will give effect only if the representation of documents and receipt of the decision is possible in e-form. The application of "one window" in different areas does not mean solving the problem," Huseynli said. He said the work is underway on creation of "E-Government" in accordance with the presidential decree and if this work is completed successfully, a number of problems will be solved in the near future. Regarding the creation of a transparent mechanism based on the presidential orders in connection with the registration of illegal buildings, he said the authorities should provide a transparent mechanism. "If it is necessary to enact a statute that is associated with the creation of a transparent mechanism, we are ready to prepare it., the parliament did not receive such an initiative on this issue," Huseynli said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/14/2011

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Azerfon Selects NSN for LTE Rollout, Network Modernisation

Azeri mobile network operator Azerfon has signed a network modernisation contract with Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Trend Azerbaijan reports. Azerfon, which provides services under the brands Nar Mobile and Azerfon-Vodafone, will invest over USD65 million in the modernisation of its GSM network and expansion of its 3G infrastructure, as well as the rollout of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Work has already begun by NSN and is slated for completion by the end of 2011. 'We have selected NSN... as our vendor for network expansion and modernisation, as a result of which we will have over 1,600 sites (2G/3G/LTE) by the end of 2011," commented Jurgen Peetz, CEO of Azerfon, adding: 'This year we will expand our network to the underground, thereby having high quality coverage not only in metro stations, but also everywhere on the tube system in Baku. Our aim is to provide customers of our brands, Nar Mobile and Azerfon-Vodafone, with a high performance network, and the best services and prices."


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/16/2011

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ISRAEL: Internet Revenues Bolster Bezeq's Full Year Results

Israeli fixed line incumbent Bezeq has released its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2010, revealing that revenues in the twelve month period climbed 4.1% to ILS11.987 billion (USD3.33 billion), representing the company's highest ever full year turnover. Revenues from traditional fixed line voice services continued to decline, falling 5.2% year-on-year to ILS3.19 billion, although this was offset by revenues from internet services which rose to ILS977 million from ILS863 million in 2009. Revenues from the company's mobile subsidiary, Pelephone, were up 6.6% at ILS5.73 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) meanwhile were up 15.6% y-o-y at ILS5.15 billion. Net profit attributable to Bezeq shareholders from continuing operations in 2010 amounted to ILS2.4 billion in 2010, up 13.3% against FY2009, when excluding a one-time gain of ILS1.5 billion related to the deconsolidation of multi-channel pay-TV business 'yes' in the third quarter of 2009. In operational terms, at end-December 2010 Bezeq reported a total mobile subscriber base of 2.857 million, up from 2.766 million at the same date a year earlier. Of that total the company noted that the number of 3G subscribers had risen to 1.325 million, almost double the 676,000 it reported at end-2009. Fixed line voice accesses were down to 2.365 million at 31 December 2010, from 2.489 million a year earlier, while broadband customer numbers stood at 1.066 million, up from 1.035 million a year earlier.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/08/2011

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HOT's 2010 Net Income Up 34.7%

Israeli cableco HOT Telecommunication Systems has revealed a 34.7% year-on-year increase in net profit for the twelve months to 31 December 2010, according to Globes Online. The telco saw net income climb to ILS106 million (USD29.66 million), up from ILS85 million a year earlier, on the back of revenues that increased 4% against the previous year to ILS3.13 billion. Cable television services remained the company's largest revenue generator, while turnover from fixed line voice and broadband internet services was ILS1.03 billion. In operational terms HOT's fixed voice subscriber base increased from 521,000 to 610,000, while broadband customer numbers rose from 701,000 to 752,000. Commenting on the results HOT CEO Herzl Ozer said: 'The 2010 business results were very good, reflecting the strong and steady improvement in performance during the year. We intend to continue to focus on strategic areas, including improving service, development and upgrading of infrastructures, and promoting triple-play services."


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/11/2011

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Cellcom Reveals Increase in Net Income, Revenues in 2010

Israel's largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Cellcom, has unveiled its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2010, posting a 9.2% year-on-year increase in net income. The cellco reported that in its 2010 financial year it generated net profit of ILS1.291 billion (USD364 million), up from ILS1.182 billion a year earlier, while in the final three months of the year it saw net income climb by almost 18% against the same period a year earlier. Revenues meanwhile for FY2010 stood at ILS6.662 billion, up 2.8% against the previous year, with Cellcom reporting that turnover from content and value added services (including SMS) rose by 26.1% y-o-y and accounted for approximately 19% of services revenues. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the twelve months to end-2010 was ILS2.667 billion, an increase of 5.5% against FY2009. In operational terms, at 31 December 2010 Cellcom's total subscriber base stood at 3.394 million, with the cellco noting that it had added 102,000 net new customers over the year, all of which it claimed were post-paid subscribers. The operator's 3G subscriber base meanwhile totalled 1.14 million at the end of 2010, with Cellcom having added 143,000 net new third-generation customers over the course of 2010.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/16/2011

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Israel's MoC Launches Tender for Two New 3G Concessions

Israel's Ministry of Communications (MoC) has launched a tender to select two new mobile network operators, Globes Online reports, with four potential bidders set to take part in the sale process. Bidding started at 10am local time on Monday morning, and the regulator is offering two 3G licences, although a number of alterations to the auction process have been made. Under the revised sale plans the starting bid amount has been lowered to ILS10 million (USD2.91 million), down from ILS100 million, with bids to be updated every ten minutes. The second alteration made to the sale was a change in the amount and timing of bids once the ILS100 million threshold is reached; bids will now increase by ILS5 million every ten minutes, instead of rising in ILS1 million increments per hour. Bidding will take place for both concessions simultaneously, and will run until just two would-be buyers remain. Speaking ahead of the sale, communications minister Moshe Kahlon said of the development: 'Tomorrow will conclude the reform in the communications market, which aims to increase competition in the cellular sector. The reform began 18 months ago with the entry of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), continued with the lifting of churn barriers, such as the cancellation of exit fines and the reduction of inter-network connectivity fees at the beginning of this year, and will peak tomorrow with the entry of new mobile carriers into the market ... The results of tomorrow's tender will change Israel's cellular sector. A more competitive market will result in much lower prices, improved service for consumers, and of course, bring about innovation and technological progress."


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/11/2011

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HOT Initiates Tie-up Talks with MIRS

Israeli cableco HOT Telecommunication Systems, which is controlled by French businessman Patrick Drahi, has reportedly notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) that it has started merger negotiations with local iDEN operator MIRS Communications, which is also now under Drahi's control. According to Haaretz, it is understood that HOT's board has already approved the proposal, with the company claiming that such a deal would lead to increased efficiencies and allow it to better compete with incumbent Bezeq. A tie-up of the two operators has been expected, particularly following Drahi's acquisition of a controlling stake in HOT; as previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2011 Drahi's bid to consolidate his control of the cableco took a step forward after he acquired the bulk of shares in the company held by Fishman Holdings. Following the deal Drahi's stake in HOT stood at 51.7% after his Cool Holdings Ltd unit purchased some 4.6 million shares from Fishman Holdings, representing around 6% of the company, at a price of ILS54.40 (USD14) per share; the total cost of the acquisition was around ILS249 million.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/05/2011

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IRAQ: Zain Hails Commercial Launch of Services in Kurdistan

Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain has announced that its Iraqi subsidiary has expanded its voice and data services to the Kurdistan region. The expansion is the first phase of the company's plan to cover all areas in the northern provinces of Iraq; the second phase will see coverage extended to remote villages and roads in the north, leading to complete coverage of the country. Zain will now also include Kurdish alongside Arabic and English as its local languages. 'The coverage of Kurdistan will not only be welcomed by the local population, it will play key role in spurring business and accelerate the pace of construction and reconstruction," commented Emad Makiya, CEO of Zain Iraq, adding: 'Only the oil industry has invested more in the region and this surely must demonstrate our commitment to playing a key role in the rehabilitation of this great nation." In an interview with Reuters earlier this year, Zain Iraq's chief executive Emad Makiya said the firm expects to sign up between 15,000 and 18,000 new cellular users a month after commencing services in Kurdistan. Makiya said that total subscribers for 2011 are expected to increase by around one million from the roughly twelve million users reported at 31 December 2010. The company also plans to launch of 3G services in Iraq, following regulatory approval.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/28/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Online Service Delivery in the South Up by 14 Per Cent

The government of South Australia has recorded a 14 per cent increase in online registration renewals this year. The Service SA (http://www.sa.gov.au) serves as a portal to government services and information. It is an online shop with secure purchasing facilities for residents to pay bills, renew vehicle or boat registration, and apply for a birth, death or marriage certificate. Service SA was introduced in 2009. According to the SA Minister for Government Enterprises, Gail Gago, the site has increased in popularity with residents. "In 2010 to 2011, registration renewals under the secure online system increased by 14 per cent and now represent 48 per cent of all registration renewals," Gago said in a statement. She adds 33 per cent of all licence renewals were completed online as of January this year. The increase in use of the system coincides with the release of a new lookup function on the Ezy Reg website, with Gago saying that South Australians are able to easily check the expiry dates of any car registered in South Australia. "It enables drivers to easily type in the registration number of a light vehicle and be immediately informed of its registration status," she said. The look-up function provides customers with information like plate and vehicle details and the registration expiry date. However it does not provide personal information.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/21/2011

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Australia Funds Solar Energy for Public Schools

This year, the Australian government is distributing funds to 1,226 schools in the country for the installation of solar and other renewable power systems inside their campuses. Over AUS$51 million (US$51 million) will be given to eligible primary and secondary schools through the National Solar Schools Programme of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency of Australia, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet, has announced. In a push for the promotion of renewable energy sources in the country, the government will grant up to $50,000, or up to $100,000 for multi-campus schools, under the programme. Government schools will be the focal point of the programme, but independent schools may also apply for eligibility for the programme. The programme will cover payment for the installation of solar or other renewable power systems, including rainwater tanks and energy efficient measures such as energy efficient lighting, ceiling fans, sensors and shade awnings. It is an effort by the Australian government to encourage the use of renewable energy sources to reduce energy consumption and electricity costs, as well as the impact of climate change. In support of the National Solar Schools Programme, online energy monitoring services such as www.SolarSchools.net, have propped up to provide user-friendly and accurate data on solar energy and energy consumption of schools.

Dalia Mikhail, founder of www.SolarSchools.net, told FutureGov Asia Pacific that as part of the rollout of the National Solar Schools Programme, the Australian government expects schools to have their own energy monitoring service. This has allowed for a larger uptake of solar energy for public schools. At present, over 800 schools in Australia are connected to www.SolarSchools.net. Once a school has a solar system installed, the web-based service links to the system and offers access to data via a user-friendly visual web interface that is publicly accessible not only to school officials, but also to students and the larger community. According to Mikhail, the service allows schools to analyse their energy use and pinpoint possible areas of consumption reduction. Since the inception of www.SolarSchools.net in 2003, schools connected to the web service have cut a total of 2254.1 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, equivalent to 901.7 cars driving for a year.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/18/2011

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Australia Invests $12M on a Flood Alert Project

The project, to be called Floodzoom, is a web-based tool that simulates the behaviour of floodwaters - technology that is expected to be critical in helping emergency services tackle floods. Floodzoom will predict the spread of floodwaters and their impact on local communities by analysing weather maps, satellite imagery, topography, stream flows and other factors. It will also be able to calculate flow rates for floodwaters - vital information for timing an evacuation - and allow access to individuals wanting to assess potential risk to homes and properties. According to Water Minister Peter Walsh, Floodzoom would improve the effectiveness of community warnings and response and recovery. "It will give emergency services a more accurate prediction of flood behaviour and help individual landholders assess their own flood risk," Walsh said. More than $12 million out of the $19.3 million flood program will be spent on Floodzoom. The system will also include up-to-date information on roads, water channels, drains and other landmarks affecting the movement and rise of floodwaters. Major studies of the future risk of flooding in up to 25 at-risk Victorian communities will be also be undertaken as part of the $19.3 million flood-response package - in addition to the studies already announced for Charlton, Creswick and Clunes.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/12/2011

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Australians Confused by Telephone Service Charges - Survey

The vast majority of Australian telephone consumers have a patchy understanding of billing and call price information, according to ACMA research released today into how consumers' use and understand their phone services and numbers. "There have been profound changes in the range of telecommunications services available, and the way consumers purchase and use them," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. "These changes have significant implications for regulatory arrangements, particularly those protections that rely on consumers' understanding the structure of telephone numbers." The research found that mobile phones continue to leap ahead as the main communication service, now being so for nearly half of all Australians (47%), compared with 33 percent primarily with fixed landline. There has also been a sea change in the way communications services are purchased," Mr Chapman added. "Bundled plans have become very popular. The research found that three in five mobile phone users and two in five home phone users report have a usage plan. Those that have a usage plan for only one service report a higher proportion of calls from that service compared to the service without a cap or deal. Both of these trends are major factors contributing to a decline in consumers' understanding of the price and location information embedded in traditional fixed telephone numbers, meaning that embedding this information may no longer be an effective mechanism to fulfil consumer protection needs. A related topic was consumers' understanding of less frequently called number types such as 13/1300 and 1800 numbers," Mr Chapman said. "It seems these are confusing for many Australians compared to more frequently called numbers like mobile and local numbers. One in five Australians was either unable to define a local call from a landline or their explanation was incorrect."

While a majority of Australians continue to keep and use a hard copy classified, directory, all except those aged over 65 years are just as likely to use the electronic version as the hard copy directory. Directories and directory assistance services are used twice as often to find a business number as a residential number, indicating that the role directories have played historically by encouraging call connections between people may be declining.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 05/13/2011

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Gigabit Wireless Project Scores $1.43m Funding Boost

Commercialisation Australia has boosted the funding of National ICT Australia (NICTA). The $1.43 million grant is for NICTA to further develop its high speed gigabit wireless communications technology ('GiFi"). The funding, specifically provided to Nitero, a company formed by NICTA researchers to take the technology to market, will be used to reduce the size, power consumption and cost of the technology to enable its use in consumer devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, mass storage devices and displays. NICTA chief executive, Hugh Durrant-Whyte, said the funding would bring the research organisation's vision of the wireless office and "home of the future" closer to reality. "NICTA has made a significant investment in developing this technology since 2004 and this additional financial support will make a real difference to its market potential." NICTA's Stan Skafidas, the leader of the gigabit wireless research, said the project was the result of at least 10 PhD students over a number of years. "NICTA had the foresight to see the importance of millimetre-wave gigabit wireless technology in 2004... I am grateful for the support the project has received from key players in the global semiconductor industry, such as Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, Anritsu and Agilent Technologies, and the support it received from the State Government of Victoria," Skafidas said in a statement.

Commenting on the grant innovation minister, Senator Kim Carr, said the aim of Commercialisation Australia is to transform ideas and projects into commercial products in the market. "This is essential if Australia is to get full value from its scientific and research capabilities," Carr said. "Through Commercialisation Australia, the Government helps companies, entrepreneurs and inventors take up opportunities and create exciting and new products and industries." Nitero chief executive, Patrick Kelly, said the global electronics industry had shown an interest in the 60GHz solution. "This substantial support by the Australian Government will allow us to continue to develop our product and bring the benefits of 60GHz to consumers worldwide," he said. Upon his appointment to CEO, Durrant-Whyte indicated his motivation to commercialise NICTA projects in order to better launch them onto a global stage. "A company will go to the best place in the world, not just it's local neighbourhood so we have to compete on that basis," he said at the time. I think NICTA should be playing a pivotal role in really enabling the research to be undertaken such that all these applications and so on can be developed. But also it's got the secondary role of world creation, whether that's through assisting existing companies to do things like port or mining automation, all the way through to generating startup companies. If a guy has got a good idea and really wants to go for it and it makes commercial sense, NICTA should be there supporting these people to move on and do that and create wealth." Last year researchers from NICTA won the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Award for work on Wi-Fi technology.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/18/2011

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Social Media Shares More Marketing Budget: Survey

A new survey indicates more traditional business marketing money is being spent on social media activities, including using the public services to build customer relationships, not just to drum up publicity. Last year 72 per cent of businesses allocated more than 10 per cent of their marketing budget to social media, up from 57 per cent of businesses in 2009. And social media is winning more money for marketing programs in general. According to the Nielsen-Community Engine 2011 Social Media Business Benchmarking Study, 44 per cent of participating businesses expanded their marketing budgets in 2011 to fund a social media strategy. The local study was commissioned by social business software company Community Engine and conducted in April 2011 from a sample of 417 respondents, of which 83 were businesses in the private sector employing 100 or more staff. Some 40 per cent of businesses allocated the most of their social media budget to display advertising or maintaining a presence on Facebook, which is the most popular social network platform with one in four Australian businesses having a Facebook presence. According to Community Engine, more businesses are building up social media marketing expertise.

The company's director of social, Stephen Johnson, said only 35 per cent of businesses lacked knowledge and expertise to implement social media activities, down from 53 per cent in 2009. "A significant proportion of businesses want control of the online platforms with one in five saying they would much prefer to create their own social network than to utilise external social networks," Johnson said. Only about 16 per cent of businesses have difficulty measuring the ROI of social media activities, down from 28 per cent in 2009. Another key finding of the survey was a shift from using social media for branding to using it for customer relationships. Some 43 per cent of businesses see social media as a way to build a relationship with customers and stakeholders, with 33 per cent viewing it as a branding tool, down from 61 per cent in 2009. Popular marketing activities include, maintaining a presence in social media networks (28 per cent); tracking and monitoring what is said about the company and staff (26 per cent); and responding to and acting on comments (25 per cent). Unsurprisingly, large businesses tend to be more active on social media than SMEs.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/18/2011

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Australia Invests on E-Mental Health Portal

The Australian government is investing A$14.4 million (US$15.5 million) over five years to develop a single e-mental health online portal to make it easier for people with mental illness to access information and services. The portal seeks to provide online training and support to general practitioners, indigenous health workers, and other clinicians working in the mental health field. In addition, it will be a substantial help to those in regional Australia struggling to gain access to face-to-face treatment as well as those who seek for information and medical attention anonymously. The e-mental health portal will consolidate existing but often "scattered" websites and telephone services to give people access to a range of online or telephone-based services through a "virtual clinic". It will give consumers access to a range of online assistance at different treatment levels and give health workers access to information, training and other related resources that would help them deliver health services and treatment. The portal joins a roster of single-stop Web shops announced by the government, including the allocation of A$38.7 million (US$41.2 million) to the Human Services portfolio over four years for the completion of its single website and telephone number. According to the federal government, a part of the funding will be met from agency resources, and will support the continued development of a single portfolio website which will include a personalised Web browsing that will enable users to find information relevant to their personal circumstances.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/20/2011

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FIJI: Vodafone Extends Mobile Payments to Housing Loans

Vodafone Fiji has signed a deal to expand its mobile payments service, M-PAiSA to allow local Housing Authority customers to pay their loans. The CEO of Housing Authority, Mr Alipate Nairosui said that loan collections remain a challenge for the company and its analysis of the customers in arrears also indicates that lack of convenient service points could also be a contributing factor for customers not making their payment in a timely manner. "For Housing Authority clients, M-paisa now offers that convenience and flexibility to make their loan repayments from anywhere and anytime;" said Mr Khan. The best thing about this service is that Housing Authority clients will be able to use this service free of charge. There is absolutely no charge to the customer for making their Housing Authority Loan repayment via M-PAiSA. Once payment is made via M-PAiSA, the customer receives an electronic receipt instantly via SMS confirming the payment. Simultaneously, Housing Authority also receives payment advice which it is able to view in real time through a secure access over the web. The M-PAiSA service was launched in June last year and now has over 320,000 registered users. M-PAiSA product Manager, Shailendra Prasad said, "We have a number of businesses that are currently undergoing training to launch this service in the coming days.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/21/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Investigation Launched into Roaming Costs Between NZ and Australia

The New Zealand and Australian regulators have launched a formal investigation into the trans-Tasman roaming services provided by the two countries' mobile operators. Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement this morning with his Australian counterpart Senator Stephen Conroy, at the Korea-Australia-New Zealand (KANZ) Broadband Summit. "Many New Zealanders take their mobile phone, tablet or laptop with them when they travel to Australia. They need to have confidence that they are purchasing services in a competitive market. If this investigation finds they are not, then regulatory intervention will be considered," says Mr Joyce. The announcement follows the publication in May last year of a discussion paper that sought stakeholder views on whether a formal investigation was warranted. The two Ministers' decision to proceed was based on analysis of traffic and revenue information provided by the operators as well as views expressed by respondents to the May 2010 consultation. "Our view is that, on the basis of the information before us, it is reasonable and appropriate to undertake a full market investigation," says Mr Joyce. The investigation will be conducted by New Zealand's Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and Australia's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. As part of the investigation, the two governments will release a draft decision outlining their conclusions on the state of competition and, if appropriate, their preferred options for action. The draft decision will be made available publicly for comment before a final decision is made. The two governments expect to release their final decision in early 2012.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/28/2011

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Mobile Termination Rates to Fall in New Zealand

New Zealand's Commerce Commission has announced significant reductions in the wholesale termination rates for mobile calls and text messages over the next three years. Termination rates for calls will halve to less than 4 cents by 1 April 2012, with further reductions until 2014. Termination rates for text messages will drop to 0.06 cents from 6 May 2011. "These changes are intended to address significant competition problems in the wholesale mobile market which have resulted in high retail prices - particularly for prepay customers - a low number of mobile calls and high rates of people switching networks, compared to other countries," said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. "However, we continue to be concerned about the extent to which the price of calls and text messages between people on different networks are significantly higher than calls and text messages between people on the same network. These price differences create significant barriers for the new entry and growth of small mobile operators in the mobile market," said Dr Patterson. While the Commission expects reduction in wholesale termination rates for calls and text messages to resolve this problem, it will be monitoring this situation closely, including publishing monthly reports, and is prepared to move quickly to limit these price differences if required. The graduated reduction in termination rates for calls will allow mobile providers time to adjust retail rates. In providing this graduated reduction, or glide path, the Commission said that it has sought to balance the benefits for consumers in terms of lower prices, while allowing mobile providers time to adjust retail prices.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 05/05/2011

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Mobile Health IT Specialist Gets Govt Funding Boost

Auckland mobile health IT vendor Vensa Health has been granted $252,000 by the recently-formed Ministry of Science and Innovation to carry out further research and development relating to its technology that enables interactive mobile communications between health providers and patients. The ministry was formed in June last year, from the merger of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. Vensa Health flagship product is the Txt2Remind practice-patient messaging system, which enables healthcare providers to send mobile text message health appointment reminders and health promotion messages for breast and cervical screening, diabetes and cardiac checks, immunisations, medication reminders, and more, directly to patients. The company's chief executive, Ahmad Jubbawey, says in a statement announcing the grant: "Currently around one in ten appointments are missed, and each missed appointment represents a lost opportunity for early intervention. Our system can be used in a very targeted way to more effectively deliver on the government's priority health targets such as immunisations for under 2's, better diabetes and cardiovascular services, and improved access to elective surgery. "

According to Jubbawey, a recent 'Global Mobile Health Market Report', published by mobile research firm research2guidance, predicts around five hundred million people will be using mobile health apps by 2015. "The mobile revolution in healthcare that everyone has been talking about is happening. Our new technology will help us be part of that as governments and health providers look for innovative ways to achieve the best health outcomes and consumers demand better access," he says. Vensa Health's General Manager of ICT Anossis Oliveira says, "Vensa is now recognised as a key player in the mobile health sector (mHealth). Our new generation scalable SOA platform interfaces easily with all major patient management systems, and is compliant to all key national and international health message formats and standards. We have multi-lingual message capabilities, and a complete end-to-end audit trail of all outgoing and incoming messages. We also have close to real-time message delivery capabilities through leveraging established relationships with major Telco gateways." The $252,000 grant builds on an earlier one of $30,000 from the MinistryVensa Health received an earlier investment of $30,000 from the Ministry.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/17/2011

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Statistics NZ Gets $58m to Update IT Systems in Budget

Statistics NZ will receive $58 million over the next four years to update its IT systems, it was announced in Budget 2011 today. A statement from Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says the funding will go towards the programme 'Statistics 2020: Achieving the Statistical System of the Future", which aims to update the department's IT systems. "Statistics New Zealand has a unique IT environment," Williamson says. "It has about 250 systems that produce statistics about key economic and social data." In addition, the department receives an extra $3.8 million in capital funding over the next four years, totalling $12.7 million over 10 years. "The extra funding will enable the organisation to transform the way it produces statistics. It will increase productivity and reduce the longer-term cost of statistics production. "The funding will benefit individuals, communities, and local and central government agencies which base their decisions on robust information," Williamson says.

igovt benefits
Other ICT-related spending includes $27.6 million over the next two years for igovt services, which are intended to make it easier for people to interact with government online. "The igovt services provide an easy and secure way of accessing government services online and proving identity," says Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy in a statement. "Without this investment, most government agencies would be forced to develop their own authentication and verification systems. This duplication would be expensive and complicated, and many smaller agencies simply wouldn't be able to provide online services. "This is another important step by the Internal Affairs Department to coordinate the use of information and communications technology across government. Many government agencies, including the Labour Department, New Zealand Transport Agency, the Police, Internal Affairs Department, and the Auckland and Wellington City Councils, are already using igovt log-ons for various online services. "An increasing number of agencies are looking to adopt it this year for services such as applying for a new passport or changing electoral roll details. The Internal Affairs Department has entered into negotiations with New Zealand Post to expand the use of igovt services."

Full allocation to Crown Fibre
Capital funding of $942 million has been released to Crown Fibre Holdings. This funding, in addition to previous allocations means CFH no has access to the full $1.4 billion set aside for the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative, a statement from ICT Minister Steven Joyce says. The Budget also provides $28.2 million to allow schools to connect to the UFB network. "In the past month, the Government has finalised negotiations for the rural broadband initiative and will soon be securing deals for the majority of the ultra-fast broadband initiative," Joyce says. "These are significant milestones that now see us moving into implementation of our vision for New Zealand's digital future."

SmartGate funding continues
Budget 2011 includes an extra $3.5 million in operational funding for SmartGate, Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says. The Budget also provides $3.4 million in capital spending for 2011/12. The system, which uses face recognition biometric technology from the information stored in a microchip inside ePassports, has recently just clocked its one millionth passenger. Demand is being driven by the increase in New Zealand and Australian passengers with ePassports who are eligible to use it. Tourism volumes are also expected to increase over the next few years. SmartGate is currently available at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports. The funding will see six more gates and 13 kiosks installed between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch Airports and will move trans-Tasman travel a step closer to the "near domestic" experience sought by both the New Zealand and Australian governments. "Additional SmartGate capacity will greatly assist in the management of major events such as the Rugby World Cup 2011," Williamson says.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/19/2011

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: IT Provider Urges 50% Drop in Rates

INTERNET rates in PNG need to be dropped by 50% from its current price to give easy and convenient access to people, managing director of Data Nets Ltd Sundar Ramamurthy said. Ramamurthy said this at the emerging technologies information seminar at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Port Moresby yesterday with the theme "enabling emerging technologies to assist business". He said the main challenge in accessing internet in PNG was capacity constraint and needed to have a high speed capacity for internet users. Ramamurthy said new innovations such as the mobile broadband service like the recently launched Digicel's 3G broadband access was fantastic for the country. He said so much excuse was put on high illiteracy as a hindrance to the expansion of internet services, "but if PNG wants to develop, we have to drop the internet price". Ramamurthy said since the start of the company in 1993, it had grown immensely and had expanded its internet service to 30 towns in PNG apart from their main operating centres. He added that he was also looking at expanding to other parts of the Pacific as this was one of his ambitions when he first started. The seminar attracted some of the largest IT companies in the world such as Cisco Systems, NEC and American Power Conversion (APC) and the audience comprised of business houses, government departments, banks and NGOs. The seminar topics were focused on giving an insight into the current and future technologies and how they were benefiting businesses in other parts of the world.


From http://www.thenational.com.pg/ 05/11/2011

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NGO Tapped for Women's Global Digital Literacy Campaign

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched a digital literacy partnership with Philippine-based NGO telecentre.org Foundation that over the next 18 months will train one million unskilled women to use computers and modern information and communication technology (ICT) applications to improve their livelihoods. The new Women's Digital Literacy Campaign will leverage the combined reach of telecentre.org Foundation's global network of 100,000 telecenters worldwide and ITU's 192 member states and 700 sector members to deliver training in ICT use following a "train the trainer" model. Between now and end 2012, training courses will be offered in at least 20,000 telecenters in countries around the world, each of which is expected to train at least 50 women - for a total of one million women trained.

The ITU is a specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies. Telecentre.org Foundation, on the other hand, is a non-profit international organization registered in the Philippines and headquartered at the CICT (Commission on Information and Communications Technology) building in Quezon City. Its main funders are the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Microsoft and the CICT. "We hope this joint campaign with telecentre.org Foundation will have an enormous impact on improving the condition of women, wherever they may live, and whatever their circumstances," said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Tour谷 in a statement. "With technology now widely recognized as a critical enabler for socio-economic development, this campaign will further reinforce ITU's global efforts to promote the digital inclusion of women, and will be a key element in achieving Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality."

Basheerhamad Shadrach, executive director of telecentre.org Foundation, said that offering digital skills to over one million women at the grassroots will help reverse the paradigm whereby, in many countries, technologies most often benefit men more than women. "These telecenter women, once trained to take advantage of the power of technology, will help their communities to access locale-specific information, time-tested knowledge, market opportunities, enhanced skills for employment and productivity, and more importantly, participate in the modern knowledge era, not only as mere consumers, but also as providers and producers of knowledge assets," he said. Under the terms of the agreement, ITU and telecentre.org Foundation are encouraging national governments, the private sector, and other international organizations to contribute digital literacy curricula in local languages and/or to provide trainers and other resources to national telecenters.

In addition, ITU will contribute a number of curricula developed by its Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), notably from its Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative, as well as offering its ITU Academy distance learning platform for training purposes. Through Connect a School, Connect a Community, ITU is helping its member states to leverage their connected schools as community ICT centers, providing ICT skills for the social and economic development of people with special needs, including women. Digital literacy training materials for women and other groups are available online at www.connectaschool.org. ITU has also developed a range of digital literacy training materials designed to be used in school-based community centers and multi-purpose telecenters, by women, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities.

In addition to providing basic ICT literacy, the materials show trainees how ICTs can be used to support a range of economic activities such as handicrafts, agro-tourism and agriculture. The agreement provides for trainer training to be delivered via national telecenter networks that are partners of telecentre.org Foundation, including through national telecenter academies, universities, and other training institutions. It also mandates telecentre.org Foundation to continuously track and report on training delivered via a joint ITU-telecentre.org Foundation website, to ensure commitments are kept and momentum is maintained.


From http://goodnewspilipinas.com/ 05/02/2011

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AFRICA: Nations Call for ICTs to Tackle Disease

Nairobi - African health ministers have called for the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to help with attempts to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and sickle-cell disease. The recommendation that ICTs be harnessed to increase health awareness and empower individuals and communities was part of the Brazzaville Declaration on NCDs, which the ministers have signed. The declaration includes other recommendations, calling for the strengthening health systems, and support for partnerships and networks that bring together national, regional and global players including academic and research institutions, public and private sectors, and civil society to tackle the rising problem.

The ministers also urged the WHO, partners and civil society organisations to take the initiative and give technical support to member states so that they can implement the recommendations better, as well as monitor and evaluate what they have done. NCDs such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases, have spread to the developing world and cause the majority of the deaths worldwide, according to the first global report on the status of NCDs released by the WHO last week (27 April). Some 36 million, or 80 per cent, of deaths caused by NCDs in 2008 occurred in the low- and middle-income countries. The declaration, named after the Congolese capital city where it was adopted last month (6 April), will be presented at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September.

"It is high time African governments adopted new science and new technologies to help reduce NCDs on the continent," said Robert Mathenge, a cardiologist at the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya. "I am particularly excited about the prospects of telemedicine, where a few specialists can sit in Nairobi and interact with health workers in rural villages in real time and guide them through examining, diagnosing and treating patients," he told SciDev.Net. Such technologies, he said, will lead to the earlier diagnosis of diseases and the use of specialist treatments and preventive strategies in even the remotest parts of the country. "African governments need to invest more in the development of ICT infrastructure. In the long run, they will reap big [benefits] because, if left unchecked, NCDs have to be treated with complicated, expensive technologies and medicines," he said.

Davy Omolo, an ICT expert at telecommunications company Telecraft in Nairobi, said: "We have one of the fastest-growing ICT sectors on the continent and it is time we capitalised on this". But Tim Unwin, UNESCO chair in ICT for Development (ICT4D), was cautious on telemedicine. "It is intuitively very appealing, but it is striking that it has not yet been particularly successfully introduced across Africa," he said. "We need to know much more about why telemedicine initiatives have so frequently failed." Unwin said that although some aspects of ICTs could be productively applied to tackling NCDs, for example, in providing information to health workers on how to diagnose the diseases, "to be successful, ICTs in health need to be integrated into comprehensive nation-wide policies and practices".

He added that health awareness programmes that use traditional media, such as radio and television, can be "hugely important in raising awareness". The WHO report says that prevalence of NCDs in Africa "is rising rapidly and is projected to cause almost three-quarters as many deaths as communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases by 2020, and to almost equal them as the most common causes of death by 2030". The common risk factors involved in driving the rise in NCDs, according to the report, are tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol, which lead to raised blood pressure, excessive weight, and raised sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/03/2011

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GHANA: IT Skills to Boost Women's Participation in Crucial Sector

Greater efforts to support girls and young women to acquire skills in information and communications technologies (ICTs) could help address projected shortages of manpower in those professions, the United Nations telecommunications agency said on Tuesday, marking the first "Girls in ICT Day. "With many countries now forecasting a shortage of skilled ICT professionals within the next ten years, it's vital that we attract young women into technology if we are to sustain healthy growth rates for the industry overall," said Hamadoun Tour谷, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in a statement announcing the launch of the Day.

"With excellent employment opportunities and very good remuneration, a career in technology represents an excellent choice for girls in every country worldwide," Mr. Tour谷 added. The Girls in ICT Day will be observed on the fourth Thursday of April every year to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women through the use of ICTs. It results from a resolution adopted at ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, last year. Under the resolution, ITU pledged to incorporate a gender perspective in the implementation of all its programmes and plans, following which the Global Network of Women in ICT was established.

The network is designed to encourage girls and young women to choose technology careers by providing mentoring resources, high-profile role models and toolkits that help national authorities and organizations promote technology careers to women. It is supported by ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), which, through its Gender Unit, is working on a range of strategies to use ICT to improve the livelihood of women worldwide. "This new Girls in ICT Day will provide a much-needed boost to female participation in the ICT sector," said Mr. Tour谷. ITU's support for the establishment of the Day and for the launch of the Global Network of Women in ICT are among the first in a year-long series of activities around the theme of "Women and Girls in ICT" endorsed by the ITU resolution. One recent activity was the high-level panel organized to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, with the theme of "Goodbye to the IT girl? Why are young women deserting technology?"

The BDT will also be spearheading a number of gender-related initiatives over the course of the year, including the recent announcement of a new partnership with Telecentre.org to train disadvantaged women in basic use of ICT equipment and applications. "Technology is now widely recognized as a critical enabler of socio-economic development," said Brahima Sanou, the BDT Director. "Leveraging the power of ICTs to improve the livelihood of women worldwide has the power to dramatically accelerate progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality by the target date of 2015," he said.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/06/2011

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EUROPE: eHealth Poised for Advances in 2011

The European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry (COCIR), which represents the medical technology industry in Europe, has built strong competences in eHealth and pushed this technology as one of the most efficient ways to promote integrated care. COCIR is at the centre of key recent and future eHealth activities. COCIR welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 17 December 2010 between the European Commission and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which expresses an official willingness by the two parties to cooperate on eHealth. Interoperability and the education of healthcare professionals are key elements of the document. This is an important milestone for the industry as it potentially gives a boost to the eHealth market for EU companies wishing to expand their business in the United States and vice versa.

The following eHealth activities are anticipated for 2011 and beyond, some of which include COCIR's participation: The EU Directive on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare adopted on 28 February 2011 sets out for the first time the legal framework for eHealth in Europe, thus encouraging the development and adoption of electronic patient records throughout Europe. The European eHealth Governance Initiative will be launched in 2011, promising to cover a wide range of eHealth issues and accelerating the deployment of eHealth solutions. The event eHealth week 2011 will be held in Budapest, Hungary on 10-12 May 2011. The revamp of the data protection legal framework in Europe is expected to clarify the rules surrounding the use and processing of personal data in the EU and reinforce citizens' confidence in eHealth and electronic patient records. COCIR has made some recommendations to ensure that rights to privacy and patient safety go hand in hand in the forthcoming legal framework. The eHealth domain is expected to be an important element of the ICT research field, part of the 8th Framework Programme (FP8) set to start in 2014. COCIR welcomes such developments and has invited the EC to support eHealth research in the most promising areas. Further developments are forecasted on minimum patient data set, patient registries and efficient links to electronic health records (EHR). COCIR is involved in several EU-funded projects, including 'RENEWING HEALTH', 'Chain of trust' and 'eHealth Innovation'.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/15/2011

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EU: eHealth Holds New Opportunities but Cooperation Is Needed

Although eHealth cannot replace the physician-to-patient relationship, it has a fantastic potential, Hungarian Minister of National Resources, Mikl車s R谷thelyi emphasised, at the press briefing of the ministerial conference of the eHealth Week in Budapest. Nelly Kroes and John Dalli, the participating members of the European Commission agreed, and all stressed the need for cooperation and best practice exchange between the Member States of the European Union. eHealth Week is the biggest European event in the field of ITC for healthcare. The event is hosted every year by the European Commission and the current holder of the Presidency of the EU Council; it is attended by health professionals and policy makers, as well as healthcare development companies. The motto of the three-day event (10-12 May 2011, Budapest) held during the Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council was 'Investing in the healthcare systems of the future.'

The minister gave an account of his visit, together with members of the Commission and international healthcare professionals, to Semmelweis University of Budapest, where they became familiar with several remarkable medical research projects and technological innovations. In this context, Mr R谷thelyi emphasised the importance of innovation in healthcare. "We have to invest in efficient care systems and to create more efficient healthcare," Minister of State for Health of the Ministry of National Resources, Mih芍ly Sz車cska said in his opening remarks, at the press conference. He explained that electronic upgrades will greatly promote both healthcare policy decision-making and the provision system. "We have been talking about a new and modern healthcare provision system and ways to improve the existing ones," Mr Sz車cska said, summarising the objectives of the conference. He believes that accelerating eHealth developments will help to create sustainable healthcare systems and strengthen Europe's competitiveness. Mikl車s Sz車cska stressed that this field also requires European cooperation.

Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes showed her appreciation of the innovative solutions presented. The Commissioner said European creativity and innovation should not be underestimated. "There are lots of innovative solutions in Europe, which have to be made accessible," she warned. Ms Kroes also mentioned that involving the business sector would help a lot, in creating and disseminating new solutions. At the same time, she underlined the importance of cooperation between Member States. European society is aging, the number of chronic diseases is increasing, and social insurance systems call for a reform in most Member States, European Commissioner for Health, John Dalli told the press conference, regarding the healthcare problems of Europe. Mr Dalli said, "eHealth can help us to overcome our problems in the long run, but we will also need to create a suitable environment for it. There are no borders in healthcare, it is very important to exchange best practices and primarily, we have to be cost-efficient." The Commissioner believes that we have to invest in new and innovative technologies. Also, we have to convince financial ministers of Member States that healthcare investments will pay off eventually.

Mr Dalli also mentioned that eHealth is also a big challenge for healthcare workers, as they have to learn to use new tools and transform their work methods. "New solutions are not meant to replace human labour: they have to be involved during the development stages," he outlined. Mr Dalli reminded about recent achievements as well: he believes that several problems are solved by the Directive on 'cross-border' healthcare, which was adopted by the Council during the term of the Hungarian Presidency, on 28 February 2011, following the approval of the European Parliament. The press conference was followed by the inauguration of the eHealth Week exhibition, where companies presented their latest eHealth developments.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/19/2011

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BELGIUM: eHealthBox Goes Live

As part of its mission to promote, support and provide secure electronic communication among all healthcare stakeholders, the Belgian eHealth platform has been developing eHealthBox, a secure electronic mailbox. eHealthBox is a free service that will allow receipt of official announcements, forms or specific notifications. In addition to simplifying the administrative burden and reducing paper waste, the value of eHealthBox mainly lies in the speed and authenticity with which information is communicated, and the secure access to this information. The project is currently limited in its functions, as only public partner institutions are able to publish their documents for consultation. eHealthBox has already been made available via the Belgian eID card. Moreover, it is now possible to receive automatic notifications when a message will be published in the eHealthBox. The application 'eHealth update info' has been developed for this purpose. New applications will be set up in 2012, such as end-to-end encryption of a transmitted message, as well as the broadening of target groups. eHealthBox can be accessed via the secure link MyeHealth (eID card required for identification), which also contains useful information on automatic message notification. User manuals are available at the Technical Library. Queries can be addressed to the eHealth Contact Centre at the following number +32 2 788 51 55 or by filling in a contact form.


From http://www.ePractice.eu/ 03/07/2011

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BULGARIA: eHealth Reduces Expenditure in the Health Sector by 20%

With the introduction of eHealth, expenditure in the health sector decreases by 15-20 %, said Parvan Rusinov, the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications at the inauguration of the 6th Regional Conference on eHealth on 10 February 2011. He added that for Bulgaria, as well as other countries in the region, eHealth is not a superfluous luxury, but a coherent approach to improving the effectiveness of the health system given a shortage of financial resources. He cited the studies in the USA, Canada, the UK and Scandinavian countries that show that in the health sector, a reduction of between 30 and 40 % can be accomplished in terms of needless medical procedures, laboratory tests and superfluously prescribed medicines. In these countries and in Bulgaria these problems are due to the lack of constant communication between the doctors and the lack of access to the medical history of the patient. Experience shows that information technology contributes 20 % to the improvement of the health service, with the remaining 80 % due to decisions related to organisation, human resources and planning. The Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications is responsible for the overall strategy for eGovernment, and it supports the development of fully integrated eHealth systems, Parvan Rusinov said.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/11/2011

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CROATIA: ePrescriptions Introduced Ahead of Schedule

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (Ministarstvo zdravstva i socijalne skrbi Republike Hrvatske, in Croatian) announced that as of 24 January 2011, electronic prescriptions have replaced paper prescriptions in the primary healthcare system across Croatia. The switchover took place seven days before the scheduled launch. The implementation of ePrescriptions helps to reduce unnecessary administrative burden and waiting periods, while increasing the quality of health services, which was one of the goals set by the healthcare reform. With the introduction of ePrescriptions, it is no longer necessary to issue approximately 50 million paper prescriptions annually, allowing cost savings of about HRK 15 million (approx. € 2 million), i.e. 250 tonnes of wood or 100 tonnes of paper per year. These funds will be directed towards further improving the quality of health services in Croatia. Furthermore, a 5 % reduction in medication consumption represents savings of up to € 30 million, and the ePrecriptions system will contribute to eliminating unnecessary doctor visits; it is thus expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.


From http://www.ePractice.eu/ 03/14/2011

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DENMARK: Health Summary and eHealth Self-Services Now Also Available to Citizens at Borger.dk

Citizens logged with their digital signature into their personal page ('My Page' - Min Side, in Danish) on the Danish portal for citizens Borger.dk can now access their patient records and make use of a full range of health-related eServices while visiting the citizens' portal. After logging into their personal pages with their NemID, citizens can access the 'My Health Summary' service which allows them to have an overview of their health information that has been gathered from various health sources. This information includes: medical prescriptions, hospital stays, electronic health records, status of test results, organ donation and living wills. Likewise, via My Page, citizens can order new health cards or change General Practitioners (GPs) online, among other self-service solutions. In addition, in the citizen portal's 'Health and illness' section, users can also obtain answers to their questions about the Danish healthcare system.

This is the result of fruitful collaboration between Borger.dk and Sundhed.dk, the national eHealth portal. Commenting on this cooperation, Sunhed.dk Director Morten Elbæk Petersen said: "Sundhed.dk delivers the most relevant health information to Borger.dk based on the relationship that Sundhed.dk has with the healthcare partners." He explained that this merger allows citizens to benefit from the best service and stressed how easy it is to find answers to all frequently asked questions on the citizen portal. Jimmy Kevin Pedersen, Head of the National IT and Telecom Agency, Citizen Communications Office said: "Borger.dk offers everything in one place. This means that citizens can find information, use self-service solutions and view on My Page what personal information the public authorities hold about them". He added: "The fact that citizens have access to their personal health data on My Page is another step towards a page with personal details that can really be used for anything. Therefore, we are also very pleased to collaborate with Sundhed.dk." One of the most visited areas of the portal so far is the health card ordering service which details the application procedure and informs citizens of their application's status. The section 'Physician choice' is also expected to become popular; it combines information about the doctors to choose from and makes it possible to have a change of GP recorded.


From http://www.ePractice.eu/ 04/13/2011

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ESTONIA: Medical Prescription Centre Wins National eHealth Award

The Estonian Medical Prescription Centre was the uncontested winner in the eHealth category of the 'Best e-services in Estonia 2011' competition; it was announced on 22 February 2011. The Centre is the electronic prescription project developed on the initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Margus P邦邦a, the chairman of the judges' panel, justified the choice by saying: "Despite the problems experienced at the launching of the system, this e-service has, to date, made the lives of both patients and doctors much easier, having turned the entire Estonian healthcare system inside out in just one year." The competition for the 'Best e-services in Estonia 2011' was organised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MEAC) and the Estonian Informatics Centre (RIA), under the EU Structural Funds programme 'Information Society awareness' within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Similar competitions are also held in 2005, 2007 and 2009, but under the name of the best content service. There were a total of 71 entrants for this year's competition, competing in eight different categories. The Medical Prescription Centre and the other category winners will represent Estonia at the World Summit Award (WSA) in April 2011. WSA is a global activity to select and promote the world's best e-Content and most innovative ICT applications.


From http:// www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/11/2011

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GREECE: Launch of Public Consultation on Tender for Integrated Electronic Prescription System

The tender notice was published following a joint agreement between the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity and European Commission directives. The overall aim of the project is to implement an integrated electronic prescription system in accordance with the provisions of Law no. 3892/2010. According to the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, this system is expected to: reduce expenditure by limiting the phenomenon of overprescription and promoting the use of generic drugs, etc.; promote the safeguard and improvement of insured citizens; provide a modern and functional work environment for healthcare professionals; support relevant actors in decision making and policy development in healthcare. The system is in the process of completing its electronic prescription pilot project which has been implemented by the Insurance Organisation of the Self-Employed (OAEE) since 18 October 2010, and is being expanded to other Greek insurance funds.

Specific pilot project milestones:
The Pharmacy Register contains 10148 records. Nearly all (9820) pharmacies have registered, when co-located pharmacies are also taken into account. Integration into the rural doctors system and the Health Centres of the Attica Region took place within the first 15 days of May. The electronic registration of paraclinical tests based on the existing system that is already in use by the Public Servants' Health Care Organisation will be incorporated by 15 May. Efforts to curb pharmaceutical costs yielded € 700 million in 2010. Similar efforts in 2011 are expected to reach € 1 billion.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/19/2011

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NORWAY: Northern Norway at the Forefront of Norwegian Regions in eHealth Solutions

It has been nearly ten years since General Practitioners in Northern Norway first integrated telemedicine, making it possible to send referrals and receive discharge summaries electronically. Over the next three years, nursing and care services in all municipalities located in the northern region will also communicate electronically in an effective and secure manner with GPs and health authorities. There are numerous stakeholders in the health sector who liaise in order to provide enhanced patient care services. Therefore, access to accurate information for these providers is essential, regardless of time and space. Electronic message exchange (EME) will become the de facto way of communicating in the health services. Traditional mail and the telephone will be replaced by electronic means: referrals, discharge summaries, laboratory results, discharge notes, queries and replies, among others, will all be sent using a secure email system. On a national scale, Northern Norway is in the vanguard of such systems use, and secure email is already in use between GPs and health authorities in the region.

The interaction reform scheduled to enter into force in January 2012 is increasing the pressure on local authorities to introduce EME. A trend in the right direction is shorter hospital stays for patients and rapid transfers to nursing and care services in the municipalities. In addition, the proportion of the population that is elderly is expected to increase sharply in the next few years. This reinforces the need for more efficient, safer and enhanced communication across and within all levels of the health sector. To date, the majority of information transfers are paper-based or carried out by telephone. Information exchange between the health service levels will mainly be performed electronically, and the municipalities are required to facilitate this digital communication. Nursing and care services and health clinics must use electronic medical records (EMR) and provide electronic documentation and information exchange.

The Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (NST) has been dealing with telemedicine and eHealth issues via the FUNNKe project, and has faced particular challenges related to financing activities in the municipalities. On account of funding from public instruments (RDA-II) in 2009 designed to stimulate regional development, FUNNKe is able to provide municipalities with free access to know-how, advice and support. There is a focus on projects that create lasting value and are able to tackle the challenges associated with a lack of infrastructure, equipment, expertise and knowledge. Over the next three years, FUNNKe will provide municipalities throughout the northern region free access to expertise and support in the following areas:
Anchoring and motivation within municipalities;
Startup knowledge;
Technical expertise in EME;
EMR and training methods;
Access to professional networks and fora.

FUNNKe was developed by the NST. In 2009, it was supplied with RDA II funding totalling approx. NOK 650 000 (€ 82 000) for an EMS mapping project in Troms. At a later stage, the mapping project in collaboration with the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority was expanded to include all municipalities in the region. The pilot project generated targeted financing schemes by the Norwegian Directorate of Health for projects in the municipalities of Troms and Ofoten. The Northern Norway Regional Health Authority and the NST recently sought funding to implement FUNNKe in all the northern municipalities. The project was allocated NOK 22.5 million (€ 2.9 million) for the period 2011 to 2013. A Ministry of Health and Care Services grant allows for the expertise gained from the FUNNKe project to be made available to all municipalities in the north. The municipalities of Finnmark and Nordland are also participating in the project.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/07/2011

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China to Realize Online Train Ticket Booking This Year

An official with China's Ministry of Railways said Tuesday that a train ticket booking system on the Internet will be put into operation nationwide this year. The online booking system would relieve the burden on railway stations and provide more conveniences to passengers, said ministry spokesman Wang Yongping during an online interview hosted by xinhuanet.com. Demand for train tickets is always high in China, especially during the Spring Festival, the most important holiday of the year. Passengers desperate to return home lined up for hours in freezing weather to purchase tickets. Also, a real-name ticket purchasing system, which requires proven ID numbers when purchasing a ticket, will be expanded to high-speed railways following the trial run in several pilot stations during this year's Spring Festival travel rush, Wang said. Throughout the 40-day migration period that started on February 3, China's railways carried a record 221 million passengers, among which almost one-fifth traveled on the high-speed railways. Wang said that the real-name system proved to be very helpful in ensuring railway security and cracking down on ticket scalping. China's high-speed railways started operations in April 2007 and have carried more than 600 million passengers. Also, according to Wang, there have been no reported accidents, so far. However, Wang noted that in spite of owning the world's second longest railways, China still faces bottlenecks in railway development such as strained carrying capacities and difficulties in providing tickets for citizens. In the next five years, China will build more high-standard regular railways with an average speed of about 200 Km per hour nationwide, while adding more high-speed railways in populous and developed areas, Wang added.


From Xinhua News Agency 03/09/2011

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Cable TV Networks to Go Digital

China aims to digitalize all of its cable television networks above the county level by 2015, stepping up the pace to advance the convergence of cable television, telecommunications, and the Internet, said a government official. The country's cable TV subscribers reached 187 million by the end of last year, of which digital TV users were 88 million. "For cable TV operators, digitalization is the key to move on the three-network convergence," Tian Jin, vice-minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said at the conference of the China Content Broadcasting Network on Monday. A digitalized cable TV network enables a much larger amount of content transmission and, together with other technologies, will make it possible for TV broadcasters, telecom carriers, and Internet companies to enter each other's fields and provide services. China launched a pilot project in 12 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, for trials of the convergence last July, after the remained pending for years because of a lack of consensus among the different stakeholders in related industries. Tian said the SARFT has drawn up a preliminary plan for setting up a nationwide cable television network company and "will send the plan for government examination as soon as possible".

The company will be responsible for consolidating all the nation's separate cable television networks into a single one. Different from the telecom market, which has only three carriers, there are many cable television networks in China, all run by different operators at varied administrative levels. At the county level alone, there are about 3,000 networks. The lack of a nationwide unified network has become an obstacle to the three-network convergence. This is also a reason why many industry experts say the progress of the convergence is slow in China. "Compared with technical transformation, such as digitalization, to bring the cable TV networks together is a much greater challenge," said Horse Liu, an analyst with market research company IHS iSuppli. The SARFT said last year that it aimed to consolidate all the cable TV networks in each province together, and thus having "one network for one province" by the end of 2010, but Tian said on Monday that the goal was not fully achieved and SARFT "should make more efforts" to achieve it this year. "In actual practice, the convergence became extremely difficult in places where TV broadcasters and telecom carriers don't agree with each other," said Wei Leping, director of science and technology committee of China Telecom Corporation Ltd. "The root of the difficulty lies in that the telecom and broadcasting industries are supervised by two different industry regulators," he said, adding that a unified regulator should be formed.


From China Daily 03/23/2011

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'Web Opens New Page for Readers'

A growing number of Chinese people have turned to digital reading, a trend insiders said will greatly improve the quality of literature. The Eighth National Reading Survey, which was released on Thursday by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, showed that the number of Chinese readers using digital media dramatically increased last year. Some 23 percent of respondents read books via mobile phones, 3.9 via e-book readers, 18 percent on the Internet and another 2.6 percent by PDA (personal digital assistant)/MP4/electronic dictionaries, according to the survey. "All kinds of media, including radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and mobile phones, should be a part of establishing a new trend for reading and add to the social influence of activities designed to promote reading," said Hao Zhensheng, the academy's director. "In the long run, online reading could greatly improve the quality of literature," Hao said. The nationwide survey was conducted from September to January and had 19,418 respondents in 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Of the various media for digital reading, e-book reading saw the highest increase, rising by 200 percent compared with 2009, according to the survey. It found that readers aging 18 to 70 spent about 42 minutes daily reading online. It also found that the number of people reading via mobile phones had climbed rapidly, that users spent about 3 yuan ($0.46) on reading via mobile phone monthly, and that more than half of China's mobile phone readers were rural residents - due to a lack of other reading sources.

China has about 600 million mobile phone users, and this is dramatically changing the way rural residents read, Hao said. "E-books are a good rival to printed books and magazines. They can force traditional publications to produce even better quality works of literature," Hao said. Another survey in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, showed that 26 percent of residents frequently and 53 percent occasionally read e-books. The survey, conducted in March by the Guangzhou publicity department, Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group and Guangzhou Xinhua Publishing Group, was released on Friday, a day ahead of World Book and Copyright Day. Up to half of the 4,000 respondents said they spend about one to three hours a day reading paper or online books. The survey also found that 77 percent of respondents liked reading e-books because of the ease of searching and downloading on the Internet. In addition, more than 21 percent of respondents learnt about books via the Internet, according to the survey. "The Internet has opened a new page for readers. It has gradually changed the reading habits for many people," said Bi Shumin, a surgeon-turned writer. Bi suggested that people should make more use of public reading sources such as libraries to increase their reading experience. "I bought an apartment near a library in Beijing several years ago, and it helps me a lot in reading. I can frequently borrow books from the libraries," she said.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 04/23/2011

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E-reader Maker Looks for Tonic

Having boasted in May 2010 that its aim was to overturn Apple Inc's dominance in the Chinese tablet PC market, the nation's leading maker of e-readers and tablet PCs, Hanvon Technology Co Ltd, has posted a first quarter loss of 40 million yuan ($6 million). By contrast, the company it planned to overtake, Apple, registered a profit of $6 million for the same period. At the time of its claim, Hanvon seemed to be on top of the world. In 2009, full-year sales revenue from its e-readers increased to 580 million yuan, from 200 million yuan in 2008. Following the release of the results, Liu Yingjian, Hanvon's founder and chairman, admitted that the loss was the result of the appearance of more tablet PCs in the Chinese market. Only 280,000 e-book readers overall were sold in the first quarter of this year, a decline of 7.41 percent quarter-on-quarter, while tablet PC sales reached 1.04 million units, a 32.5 percent quarterly increase, according to the Beijing-based research company Zero2IPO Group. At its peak in 2009, Hanvon held 80 percent of the e-book market. The company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in March 2010. Its share price skyrocketed to 175 yuan just a few days after its IPO, but had fallen to 23.90 yuan at the market close in Shenzhen on May 5. The market growth for e-book readers in China this year will be 1.05 million units, below previous estimates, according to data from the IT research company, Analysys International. Meanwhile, despite arriving on the market later than e-book readers, sales of tablet PCs will reach at least 4.5 million units.

This year, a number of international companies will launch new tablet PCs in China, including Hewlett-Packard Corp, Dell Inc, Acer Inc and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Apple's iPad 2 goes on sale in China on May 6, in tandem with a price reduction for its earlier first-generation iPad. "Last year, our N800 e-book reader cost 3,400 yuan - 500 yuan less than an iPad," said Hanvon's Liu. "However, we were forced to cut the price of the N800 to 2,900 yuan in response to the price reduction of the iPad 1." Amazon.com Inc also lowered the price of its Kindle e-book reader to $114 in response to the iPad price cut, but without sustaining a loss, according to its financial report. "Unlike the United States, Chinese e-book producers haven't formed a cohesive business chain that integrates devices, applications and e-book copyrights," said analyst Sun Peilin from Analysys International. "The profit margin from selling hardware has become increasingly narrow due to intense competition." Chinese e-book producers need to cooperate with publishers to develop software for the device, because they won't survive by only providing hardware, said Sun. Liu said Hanvon will place more emphasis on developing software, such as an e-book online sales platform, in the hope of rescuing its full-year sales revenue. Amazon.com has more than 810,000 e-books available through its website, while Hanvon has only about 100,000. According to Zero2IPO, the popularity of tablet PCs will have a negative effect on the e-book-reader industry, but "the effect has been limited so far", said Zhang Yanan, an analyst at the research firm.


From China Daily 05/06/2011

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Microblogging Becomes Mandatory Course

How to write an official microblog? How to attract followers? How to deal with negative comments? How to adapt to attention from netizens? In the last month, all Party schools in Zhejiang Province have made a course in microblogging mandatory for full-time student officials. The microblogging course is a new one offered this year for the first time. Its contents include "Current situation of microblogs," "How to set up a microblog" and "The relationship between microblogs and public opinion." Microblogs have become a popular method over the past year for officials looking to publicize their side of the story. Besides offering a platform for the owner of the blog to post his thoughts, it also allows for a large gathering of online users, becoming a gauge for public opinion. "Officials should go into 'glass houses,' be supervised and create conditions for onlookers," said Cai Qi, a member of the Zhejiang provincial Party committee. So far, dozens of Zhejiang officials have launched microblogs under their real names. Officials have been praised for setting up microblogs, but they have also drawn concern. Some people question whether the microblogs are written by an official himself or by his secretary, while others say such microblogs would follow the route of official websites and become useless decoration for officials. But the biggest challenge for many microblogging officials is not their choice of words, but balancing their roles as officials and being a normal, modern citizen. "Officials need courage to open microblogs, and this courage comes from having an open mind and self-discipline," said one commenter on a microblog.


From China.org.cn 05/12/2011

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China's 477 Mln Netizens Boost Need for Healthy Internet Culture

The number of Internet users in China reached 477 million at the end of March and websites registered with the proper authorities climbed to 3.82 million, a senior telecommunication official said Monday. Wang Jianwen, deputy head of the Telecommunications Administration Bureau under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, announced the figures while addressing a meeting on creating a healthy online environment. Noting that the rapidly-developing Internet has been shaping social relations, the economy, and culture, Wang said surging online fraud, pornography and illegal publicity are disrupting online communications and the market economy. According to officials, illegal publicity is when companies or individuals recruit "Internet mercenaries" to engage in improper competition against rivals, such as fabricating or distorting facts that can lead to blackmail or seeking to reap profits by sensationalizing issues via the Internet. A product brand manager for Mengniu, a major Chinese dairy product company, was arrested in October last year after enlisting the help of a public relations firm in organizing an online slander campaign against rival milk product firm Yili. At the meeting Monday, representatives from 140 major Chinese websites signed a self-discipline pact, vowing to never organize or take part in any form of illegal publicity on the Internet. The websites represented include www.sohu.com, www.netease.com, www.sina.com, www.qq.com, Chinese language search giant www.baidu.com, video-sharing database www.youku.com, and the social networking service (SNS) www.kaixin001.com.

The Internet Society of China (ISC), which worked out the pact with the websites, is calling on all Internet participators, organizations and individuals to fight illegal online publicity practices, said Ma Ning, general secretary of ISC, while addressing the meeting. Ma said the move aims to form an Internet environment showcasing the values of integrity and civility, which is favorable for the Internet industry's healthy development. Among the representatives from website firms, Wen Yonggang, deputy general manager of the national web-based broadcaster China Network Television (CNTV), said illegal online publicity jeopardizes people's right to know the truth and undermines the public's trust in Internet-based communication. Li Fang, deputy editor-in-chief of www.qq.com, a website under China's biggest instant messenger service provider Tencent, Inc., said his website will fight any publicity activity that goes against the rules of online transparency and fairness or violates the media code of conduct. Furthermore, Li Bin, general manager of www.cqnews.net, a provincial-level online news portal based in the southwest municipality of Chongqing, said his website will arrange for more training to increase the awareness and capabilities of its editors cracking down on illegal online publicity.

China launched a two-month campaign in the middle of April to crack down on illegal publicity activities on the Internet. Also on Monday, officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information technology, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, attended a video conference on building a healthy Internet environment. Government departments should instruct website operators to observe their social responsibilities and eliminate online contents involving pornography, violence, fraud and vulgarity, said a statement issued after the conference. The statement further said authorities will continue to crack down on online pornographic and vulgar contents and will launch a special investigation into Internet cafes. Moreover, efforts should be made to foster a healthy concept and self-discipline among netizens to let them take more initiatives in the building of a healthy Internet environment, the statement said. The statement added that authorities should encourage the public to report online violations of laws and regulations. The number of people using the Internet rose to 457 million at the end of 2010, up 73.3 million from the previous year, according to an earlier report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).


From Xinhua News Agency 05/16/2011

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Online Microresumes Are a Hit for China's Job Seekers

One hundred and forty words isn't a lot, but China's job seekers are cramming an entire career's worth of experience into a few sentences in order to help them find the perfect job. "Microresumes" have become especially popular this May, as prospective university graduates are getting ready to enter the workforce. Graduate students are particularly likely to post their resumes on their microblogs. "I am from the city of Qingdao city and I am looking for a temporary job to help me get by. I will take my post-graduation examinations next year," wrote a graduate student from Qingdao University in east China's Shandong Province on weibo.com, China's most popular microblogging site. There were more than 17,000 microresumes posted on weibo.com as of last Friday. College graduates aren't the only ones taking to their keyboards to find a new job. China's gainfully employed are also using microblogs to seek bigger and better opportunities. Ruan Xin, a senior manager with a company in China's economic hub of Shenzhen, recently posted a microresume in the hopes of finding a better job. Ruan was quoted in a Thursday article in the China Youth Daily newspaper as saying that microresumes are an efficient way for both job seekers and employees to achieve their goals.

Direct and short introductions can quickly spread over the Internet, which helps employers save time when they're trying to find the right candidates, he said, adding that the speed at which short introductions can spread on the Internet also allows prospective job seekers to make more connections than they would with traditional resumes. Several companies have begun looking at microblogs as an effective channel for recruitment. A recruiter for Alipay, China's largest third-party online payment service, said that Alipay has been recruiting employees via microblogs since 2009, according to the China Youth Daily article. The recruiter says that microblogs can "yield twice the result with half the effort" in helping companies to recruit new employees. New figures show that about 140 million people have signed up for accounts at weibo.com. Chinese media giant Sina, which owns weibo.com, estimates that the site will have 200 million registered users by the end of this year. However, summing up an entire career in just 140 characters is a challenge for many job hunters. Some of the microresumes posted online seem to be posted just for their humorous content, rather than for the purpose of actually finding a job. "Some microresumes are more like micronovels, just another instance of online entertainment," says Wang Yan, a college student majoring in journalism at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, the capital city of central China's Hubei Province. Wang Dong, a human resources director working for an online advertising company, says that he is very cautious when dealing with microresumes. He believes that they aren't long enough to provide a suitable introduction for employers. "Microresumes aren't necessarily suitable for every industry," Wang says. "Advertisers and media companies are the most suitable targets for this kind of recruitment." He suggests that good microresumes should be clear and tightly focused, with links to the poster's personal website, if he or she has one. This can allow employers to understand the candidate more easily, he says.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/21/2011

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JAPAN: Internet Holds Up Despite Quake, Tsunami

Japan's network infrastructure has stayed largely intact despite the huge earthquakes and tsunami which struck the island nation Friday. Renesys reported that the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks have not really affected the Internet's undersea cables that keep Japan connected to the rest of the world. A small percentage of Japanese internet connections went down and many of those have come back up. That shows that, in a country immersed in technology, the Internet can serve as a critical backbone for people who need to communicate their whereabouts to others. I know that much since two of my cousins, one in Tokyo and another in Hokkaido, both posted messages on their Facebook pages saying that they were doing fine. By contrast, when Taiwan got hit by an earthquake in 2006, several carriers got knock out as undersea cables were broken. Some connections have gone dark, such as the Pacific Crossing cable connection in Ajigaura. Keynote Systems, a mobile and Internet monitoring firm, also said it found very few problems at a macro level for Japan's internet late Friday afternoon. But some leading Japanese sites struggled to stay up and available. Dave Karow, senior product manager for Internet test and monitoring at the company said, "At a macro level, the Internet did what it's supposed to do. It didn't even blink. Access from Tokyo to major internet properties based on the Keynote Business 40 was not impacted in any meaningful way. Additionally, access between Tokyo and regional hubs including Seoul, Singapore and Taipai, as well as San Francisco, was not impacted either." But on a micro scale, Karow said that a number of top sites had slow downs, rather than site failures, and most lasted less than an hour. The alarms occurred throughout the day, rather than just around the time of the first quake. A small number of alarms lasted longer, averaging 7.5 hours.


From http://venturebeat.com/ 03/12/2011

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Internet-based Social Media Useful amid Telecom Trouble After Quake

Twitter, Facebook and other Internet-based social media are serving as useful communication tools following last Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan which have led to voice telecommunications difficulties. These online social networking services can be accessed via personal computers or mobile phones with Internet capability even in some of the disaster-hit regions where voice communication has become almost impossible. But these services must be used cautiously as they can spread groundless information. When telephone connection difficulties emerged just after the magnitude 9.0 quake jolted northeastern and eastern Japan on Friday afternoon, Twitter in particular gained popularity as it enabled people to post short messages to their "followers."' Some of the messages asked designated people for replies, saying the phone connection was not working. There were also posts of a link to a site that compiled maps of evacuation shelters for the many commuters in the Tokyo metropolitan area who could not go home Friday night due to the suspension of train services. Since the quake, Twitter users have urged people with large numbers of followers to disseminate information in their "tweets." These people include Takafumi Horie, former president of popular Internet portal site Livedoor Co, who is well known for his venturous business style and his involvement in a false financial statement scandal. He has some 600,000 followers. But some messages posted on Twitter since the devastating quake included unfounded and erroneous information.

One such message said Turkey was to provide 10 billion yen in aid to quake-hit Japan and another said harmful substances would fall amid rain after oil tanks were burned at a refinery of Cosmo Oil Co in Chiba Prefecture following the quake. The Turkish Embassy denied the information about aid, while the oil company said the message about harmful material was not true. "Information amid any emergency situation is mixed," said Yoji Ochiai, a lawyer well-versed in social media. "But seemingly useful information, even if uncertain, should be posted proactively. Information recipients have no choice but to develop their literacy and decide whether the information is reliable or not." Among other Internet-based social networking services, Facebook has grown popular in Japan after it triggered antigovernment movements in Tunisia and Egypt. Users are asked to register their real names. After the quake, a man who was on a business trip to Aomori Prefecture in northeastern Japan posted a message on Facebook reporting his safety, saying, "Electricity has returned in front of Aomori Station. I will spend one more night here in the absence of transportation means." He soon received a return message from one of his friends saying, "I'm glad to hear you are safe." In another development, Japanese broadcasting companies distributed footage of their news programs to Internet video-sharing sites to try to provide information to disaster-hit regions where few people could watch television. "The attempt was very effective in also allowing Japanese people overseas to find out the details of the disaster-hit regions," Ochiai said. "In future, we can expect social media to continue to be useful in the event of disasters."


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 03/15/2011

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Billions of Yen in Relief Donations Come Through Internet Sites

Billions of yen in donations for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake have come through a variety of donation websites taking advantage of the Internet to organize people's humanitarian efforts. Depending on the website, donations as small as 50 yen can be made, either via mobile phones or computers, through easy-to-use electronic transfer services. Many sites display the total amount and number of donations received and have exceeded 100 million yen in donations. One site had gathered more than 1.2 billion yen. The collected funds are sent to groups like the Japanese Red Cross Society. In addition to donating through each site's particular payment service, one can apply "points" saved from making purchases at the sites or apply the purchase price of digital goods like desktop wallpapers to the donation funds. There are also sites that hold collections of links to donation websites. It is important, however, for users to check information like the conditions for donating and make sure they choose sites that are trustworthy. The main donation sites available for Japanese users are: Google Checkout, Yahoo Bokin, NTT Docomo, KDDI, Softbank Mobile, Rakuten Bank, Japan Net Bank, the Japanese Red Cross Society, JustGiving Japan, T-SITE Point Bokin, Edy Bokin, Groupon, Mixi, NicoNico Bokin, GREE, Mobagetown, and Amebapigu.


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 03/27/2011

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Bloggers Join Hands to Create Japan 'Quakebook'

Inspired by a desire to help victims of Japan's deadly earthquake, a group of bloggers and writers have come together through the Internet to create a book of stories about the disaster. The result, "Quakebook", is a moving collection of photos, memories and reflections about the massive tremor and monster tsunami that demonstrates the power of the web to unite people around the world in times of tragedy. The project is the brainchild of a British man living in Japan who blogs under the name "Our Man in Abiko" on websites such as Twitter, where the project uses the hashtag #quakebook. On March 18, a week after the tsunami hit Japan's northeast coast, he sent a tweet saying: "I want to compile a book of quake experiences and publish it in a week and donate all profits to Red Cross. We have the technology. "If everyone wrote 250 words -- one page -- or submitted their favourite (original) tweets, pics or artwork, I could edit, publish it in days," added the resident of Chiba Prefecture just east of Tokyo, who prefers to keep his identity secret to preserve the collaborative spirit of the project. "I was having a shower thinking, here we are relatively unscathed and we're doing nothing and it's infuriating," he told AFP. "There's a massive crisis on my doorstep and I couldn't forgive myself if I didn't do something to help." Less than 45 minutes after his first tweet, he received the first contribution. "That gave me a clue. I thought: I'm on to something here. I've hit a raw nerve," he said.

More than 200 people have been involved in the project, including volunteer editors and translators from as far afield as the United States and Ireland. "The reason it works is because we all want to do something. It's very therapeutic for people to tell their stories. They feel like they've been ignored or forgotten," its creator said. "It's been great. You realise you're not alone. And that's maybe even more valuable than anything else." The project has received dozens of contributions from Japanese nationals, expatriates as well as people watching the tragedy unfold from overseas. "I have been around Tokyo for 15 years and I feel I am needed here now more than ever. The decision whether to stay is the most complex one I have ever had to make in my life," wrote Tokyo resident Dan Castellano. "Japan is my adopted home. I would not leave a burning house alone if my family were still inside," he said, according to excerpts on the project's blog http://quakebook.blogspot.com. The 9.0-magnitude earthquake which crashed into Japan's northeast coast at 2:46 pm on March 11 has now left more than 28,000 people dead or missing and triggered a nuclear emergency at the Fukushima power plant. Hundreds of thousands more have been left homeless and are now living in temporary shelters, while many others have been affected by food shortages and rolling power blackouts. Some of the Quakebook contributors, like Yuki Watanabe, a Fukushima native now living in Tokyo, have family in the affected zone. "My parents' house is within 40 kilometres of the Fukushima nuclear plant. They've been told they must stay indoors.

Although the house wasn't greatly damaged by the earthquake or tsunami, as the house is built on solid ground, they have to contend with the problem of radiation," she wrote. "What have we done to deserve this? We are suffering like others in disaster affected areas. The difference is we have an unnatural and unseen danger to deal with. Please don't abandon Fukushima," she pleaded. It's a project that would not have been possible in such a short space of time before the explosion in social networking sites like Twitter. "We've talked to people in Fukushima and Miyagi (another devastated area), all through tweeting, blogging and through technology," the Quakebook creator said. "I think people are responding because we are amateurs. People are opening up. We finished it in one week so memories are fresh and the emotions are still raw." "Quakebook (2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake)" will be available soon to download online via the blog site and later in a print edition, possibly through Amazon, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.


From http://www.google.com/ 03/29/2011

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S. Korea's Smartphone Users Top 10 Million

The Korea Communications Commission said that a total of 10.02 million people used smartphones as of Wednesday, showing a sharp increase since the launch of Apple's iPhone in Korea in November 2009. From 800,000 in December 2009, the number of users rose to 2.47 million in June 2010 and to 7.22 million in December. It further increased to 9.26 million last month, topping the 10 million mark this week. The KCC estimated that the number of smartphone owners will top 20 million by the year end. Since the introduction of the iPhone here, local major handset makers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have raced to join the competition. The number of Korean smartphone users surpassed the 10-million mark this week. Samsung rolled out its flagship smartphone Galaxy S, running on Google's Android mobile operating system, in the second half of last year, while LG was slower to release its flagship smartphone, Optimus. In 2010, Samsung and LG garnered a market share of 8.6 percent and 1.9 percent in the global smartphone market, respectively.

A total of 45 different smart mobiles were released in the local market in the same year, the regulator said. "Due to the wide use of smartphones, the functions of mobile phones have moved beyond only offering voice calls, which was their main function in the past, to making their position as a comprehensive service platform that enables the search of information involving transportation, games, finance and education," said a KCC official. According to a government survey, more than six out of every 10 people who owned smartphones were in their 20s and 30s, whereas 30 percent were in that age bracket for general phone users. It was also found that over half of smartphone subscribers were under unlimited data usage plans, where a basic fee of 55,000 won applies every month, which contributed to the sharp rise in mobile data traffic. Mobile data traffic was up more than 11 times to 5,463 terabytes last January, from 449 terabytes in January 2010, said the KCC. The KCC said it will make further improvements to the smartphone payment plans and expand the number of affordable smartphones as well as make joint efforts with telecom firms and software developers for better mobile content in a bid to improve service for smartphone users.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 03/24/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: Digital Era Dominates Lawsuit Filings

As many futurists predicted, digital is dominant in many areas of our society and lawsuits are no exception. According to the Supreme Court, 79.5 percent of the suits filed with the Patent Court since April 26 last year, when the system was first adopted, were "paperless" electronic suits. About 47.9 percent were applied for online and another 20.5 percent were transferred to the digital system after originally preparing them offline, the court said. The online suit system was adopted last year at the patent court and is expected to expand to other judiciary departments due to its efficacy and popularity. About 5,600 people have registered at ecfs.scourt.go.kr, the website handling the general e-suit process, and about 370 people visit the online address every day. "The number is almost equivalent to that in the U.S. or Singapore, where electronic lawsuits have been in operation for more than 15 years," the court said. A pilot program has been conducted on civil suits since early this year and the authorities are considering expanding it to administrative, home and bankruptcy suits from next year. At 80 courts nationwide, there is computing and presentation apparatus essential for paperless trials and another 85 will be equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities by the end of the year. More than 260,000 out of 1 million cases dealt with at civil courts every year will be paperless, the Supreme Court predicts. "Many things will change. The paper cabinets will be taken away from the judges' rooms and the clerks will no more have to carry bundles of papers everywhere," a Supreme Court official was quoted as saying by Yonhap News.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/26/2011

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More Koreans Socialize with 'Invisible' Friends

The network of so-called "invisible" friends is growing as young Koreans maintain a broad online network of acquaintances they have never or rarely met, rather than focusing on a small group of friends they have to interact with in the real world. The spread of Internet messaging services such as NateOn and MSN as well as smartphone messaging service called Kakao Talk has made it possible to communicate with invisible friends at any time anywhere. NateOn is Korea's leading PC messaging service boasting 33 million subscribers, of whom 15 million log on at least once a month. People under 30 make up 72 percent of them. The total number of subscribers to Kakao Talk recently surpassed 10 million, with each user having an average of 50 "friends," which translates into 200 million messages exchanged every day. Each NateOn subscriber has 101 "friends" and uses the service for 48 minutes a day on average. There are evident drawbacks. One example is theft using stolen ID. From 2009 until February this year there were 6,897 cases of theft using stolen IDs that netted around W14 billion (US$1=W1,082), according to police estimates. Experts say the trend is due to the fact that young Koreans feel more comfortable communicating online, leading to a shift in the very concept of what a friend is. "In the past a friend meant someone you share things with, but young Koreans these days consider as friends anyone who can satisfy a particular need, so they can have dozens of friends," said Chungnam National University psychologist Chun Woo-young. "The rise in the number of friends has increased the opportunities for communication, but the level of affinity has declined."


From http://english.chosun.com/ 05/04/2011

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E-book Craze Hits S.Korea

E-book mania has hit South Korea thanks to successful sales of tablet PCs. Until recently, Korea was not part of the global e-book craze. This year, however, explosive growth in the domestic e-book market is expected. Kyobo Book Center recently announced e-book sales for the first quarter of this year (Q1) 6.4 times higher than those of Q1 last year. The number of Q1 e-book downloads skyrocketed by a factor of 96 from 2010 to 2011. Statistics from online mobile device application stores also reveal the popularity of e-books. Among Korean application sellers, Apple's App Store recorded sales of 16,440 e-books and 7,260 educational books, while T store sold 20,596 e-books and 5,068 educational and foreign language books. A look at the publishing market also confirms the popularity of e-books. The number of popular printed books released simultaneously with e-books has increased. Also attracting attention are cases where books are published exclusively in e-book format: Kyobo Book Center did this for the Maigret series in November last year, while Interpark published Korean author Cho Chong-rae's classic ten-volume Taebaek Mountains novel in e-book form for the first time this February. E-book-related marketing is also in full swing. Since last month, telecommunications giant KT has been running an event where customers receive "electronic cash" that can be spent at its on-line "Olleh ebook" store (ebook.olleh.com).

Off-line bookstores such as Kyobo Book Center, Interpark and Bandi and Luni"s, meanwhile, are running events where customers receive a free paper book when purchasing an e-book. "When you consider the fact that smartphones and tablet PCs have only been around for a year, South Korea's e-book market growth rate is extremely high," said Chang Gi-yeong, director of the Korea Electronic Publishing Association. "Existing statistics do not allow accurate distinctions, but we estimate that around 100,000 e-book titles have been published." Until recently, South Korea's e-book market had been somewhat detached from the global trend. Last year, following the success of the Kindle e-book reader, the global e-book market enjoyed huge growth, with e-book sales surpassing paper sales by Amazon. It was only in South Korea that e-book sales fail to take off. E-book readers such as those released by Samsung (Papyrus), iRiver (Story) and Interpark (Biscuit) failed to get much of a reception, while Samsung Electronics even withdrew from the e-book reader market last year.

The big change in the e-book market this year is beyond doubt due to the decisive role played by tablet PCs. The increasing number of tablet PCs in circulation since the beginning of this year, such as the Galaxy Tab and the iPad 2, has begun opening a new form of e-book market. Analysis by experts says that South Korea, where the growth rate for smart devices is high, is entering the tablet PC e-book era directly, without going through an era, like that in the United States, of dedicated "electronic ink" readers such as the Kindle. The result is that businesses are leaping headfirst into the e-book market. On May 18, NHN launched "Naver Books E-book Service." On May 17, Hancom entered into an alliance with Yes 24 to launch the "Hancom ReadOn" e-book viewer for the Andoid platform. SK Telecom is due to enter the market within the first half of this year, while KT is already the olleh ebook service. The market for "self-publishing" services, which allow users to make their own books, is growing. Solutions allowing users to create their own e-books, such as the "Namo eBookEditor," have been launched, while services creating custom-made e-books, such as textore, Autopub and Bucci, have also appeared.


From http://english.hani.co.kr/ 05/20/2011

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INDONESIA: Businesses Can Tap into Social Networks

Did you know that your musings on Facebook and Twitter are valuable to many businesses such as producers of consumer goods, electronics and cars? Say, for example, that you"ve just purchased a cell phone, and after using it for a week, you found it had many flaws. Its battery only lasts five hours in standby mode, or it quickly gets too hot for your temple. Can you really complain to the manufacturer and get help? Perhaps not. After all, it is only a Rp 200,000 handset anyway. Perhaps you"ve just had lunch at a seafood restaurant and you found the crab wasn't fresh, and the cook looked so sleepy he must have had a little too much Chablis the night before. How do you warn your friends and relatives not to go to this restaurant? Or let's say you"ve just returned from a hospital in West Jakarta to get some medical help and were unhappy with the way the nurses treated you. What would you do? Well, you could do two things. Complain to the manufacturer or write about it on your Facebook or Twitter. If you lodge a complaint, it will usually fall on deaf ears. So you resort to writing on social networking sites.

The age of social networks has given us Facebook and Twitter to share our disappointments, which smart companies can mine and use to their advantage. They can use the information gathered from social networking sites to improve their products, provide their employees with the right training or even monitor what their competitors are doing, if they have the right tools. Businesses should not ignore social networks, especially as Indonesia has the fastest growing number of Facebook users in the world, who are certainly producing a lot of data on a daily basis. "Companies have tons of internal data at their disposal as well," said Singgih Wandojo, the operations director at SAP Indonesia. He reiterated this as SAP launched a new version of its Business Intelligence (BI) solution. BI is a set of tools that enables businesses to turn raw data, including data captured from social networking sites, into useful information, such as what colors new car buyers would like their new cars to come in, how they want the dashboard to look like or what electronic devices they want cars to have as standard features. Data was once kept in databases. Then we had data warehousing, which captured data from places like transactions systems. Then data mining tools were developed to extract information from structured and unstructured data. But to really turn data into useful information, companies need Business Intelligence.

BI tools are provided by a number of companies including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Incidentally, SAP has coined another term: Business Analytics. "Business Analytics is an umbrella term," Atul Patel, SAP's VP for Business Analytics and Sustainability, told me recently. SAP's BI group of solutions includes BusinessObjects Explorer, BusinessObjects Crystal Report, BusinessObjects Excelcios, BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and BusinessObjects Web Analysis. These tools offer decision makers speed, mobility and the use of social networks. Decision makers want speed because they need information in real time to beat their competitors and expand their businesses. SAP maximized the speed of the database search process by inventing a technology called "in memory computing". As you may already know, data used to be stored in spinning hard disks. In the past few years, the speed of access on hard disks improved significantly, yet they are no match for the memory. Therefore, to increase the speed, the large amount of data is moved from the hard disk to the memory before the search is performed.

Decision makers demand mobility as they are warming up to the idea of working anywhere, anytime. SAP meets this demand by developing its own solutions for mobile devices. During the press conference, Atul demonstrated how he was able to use his BI applications on an iPad, to show us what he meant by mobility. I started this article by listing some of the ways we could use social networks such as Facebook for more than just telling the world we are hungry. However, as we also know, there are infinite ways we express our opinions on Facebook or Twitter. So how can companies extract the right information? For example, how can a shampoo maker learn whether people love its product or not? Well guess what? A few business software companies have developed what they call "sentiment analysis".


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/28/2011

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Optimus 2X: A Smartphone with Many Entertainment Options

The first phone to use dual core processors has plenty of entertainment options. Released in Korea last January, the currently most powerful Google Android in the world was set to hit Indonesia's market recently. LG Electronics Indonesia marketing director David Tjokro said consumers had responded well to the new Android phones, based on experiences in other regions - specifically Europe. He said LG had run out of stock of Android phones in many countries. "By observing how the market reacted in other countries, we believe the Android market will grow in Indonesia," David Tjokro told journalists at the product's grand launch recently. Journalists were given the opportunity to test the phone at this launch. The phone has two cameras. An 8-megapixel camera features autofocus and there is an LED flashlight on the backside of the phone. Users can take a video in HD quality with the camera. The 1.3 megapixel camera can be used for video conferencing. For the display screen, Optimus 2X uses a 4-inch touch screen with 16 million colors with 800 x 480 resolution. It also has Adobe Flash Player version 10.1 if one wants to watch a YouTube clip. The smartphone comes with an HDMI cable, which allows users to display content on their phone on a television. Users can play games or a video and mirror it on an HD television. When it comes to sound, the headset is assisted by a dual speaker and 7.1 virtual surround sound. The phone also has plenty of capacity for music files. "Currently more than 250,000 applications are downloadable on the Internet for Android," added LG president director Kim Weon-dae. The phone has 8 gigabytes of built-in memory, and supports a microSD that can be expanded up to 32 gigabytes. It will be released in the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system version. Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) had already been released on the market.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 05/16/2011

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LAOS: Teachers to Use Software to Manage Exam

The APIS Company, Laos in cooperation with the PREDICT JSC, Vietnam held a exam management software familiarization session for representatives of tertiary institutes and secondary and primary schools across the country last Wednesday, April 11. The experiment on applying the software in Laos was conducted last year for the Dongkhamsang Accounting College, Saengsavanh College and several primary and secondary schools. The software is specifically developed for examination process including the issuance of closed and open exam questions and marking. It was introduced in Vietnam in 2010 to ease the management of examination in general education and tertiary institutes. The programme has been adjusted, including by translating the Vietnamese language version into Lao one, to ensure proper application in Laos by the APIS Company in Laos with technical assistance from the PREDICT JSC in Vietnam, according to Mr. Sisouvanh Sangbouabulom, Deputy Director of Software Engineering Department, Vientiane Technology Institute.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 05/13/2011

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MALAYSIA: Adopt ICT to Attract Youths, Food Outlet Operators Told

The food and beverage industry should adopt information and communication technology to make it more attractive to employees, an expert here said. National ICT Association of Malaysia chairman Wei Chuan Beng said if technology was adopted in the reservation and food ordering process, it would be more attactive to the young. "They will be able to guide patrons through the food ordering process, making their job more fun," he said at a seminar on improving profitability and efficiency in the food and beverage industry yesterday. Wei said the association would work with the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCCIM) to ensure that modern technology was used by food outlet operators to reduce the need for foreign workers. Selangor and Federal Territory Ku Su Association vice-president Ringo Kaw said the shortage of workers was a severe problem in the food and beverage industry. "Chinese restaurants were seriously affected when the Government announced the move to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country. "Some 20 years ago, restaurant workers could be hired easily. These days, even Form Five students refuse to work in restaurants," he said.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/08/2011

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E-file Assessments Early to Avoid Congestion

Taxpayers can begin filing their income tax assessment forms for 2010 through e-filing for individuals and employers. They could do this by going to https://e.hasil.gov.my or click on its official website www.hasil.gov.my, Inland Revenue Board public relations officer Masrun Maslim said in a statement yesterday. "To avoid any online congestion, we urge taxpayers to submit their tax forms early and not wait until the last minute on April 30," he said. If there are any additional tax to be paid, it should be paid by the deadline, otherwise, late penalty payment would be imposed, he said. He also reminded taxpayers to provide accurate information and declare the right income tax amount while keeping supporting documents for up to seven years for audit purposes.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/08/2011

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Virtualisation the Building Block for Cloud

More than half of Malaysian companies see virtualisation as the key building block to cloud computing. Most (65%) already have virtualisation solutions in place, with a further 28% planning to implement such solutions. "This means that 62% of the 223 Malaysian companies surveyed see virtualisation as a primary building block for cloud computing," said Ed Lenta, general manager for South-East Asia at VMware Singapore, a virtualisation and cloud infrastructure company. The survey, conducted in Sept last year by US-based Springboard Research, surveyed 6,953 businesses in total in seven Asia Pacific countries - Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. It interviewed senior business and IT decision makers in the companies. "Virtualisation allows organisations to decouple critical business applications and information from underlying hardware. This in turn provides a faster and cost-effective way to the cloud," Lenta said. The survey also revealed that 90% of companies see cloud computing as being relevant to the organisations; this means the market will move at a rapid pace towards cloud environments. "The companies in Malaysia that have a cloud approach or solution in place are mostly deploying the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model," Lenta said. Also, many of these businesses perceive network security as a major barrier to cloud computing, with 48% of the Malaysian companies citing this as their key concern. The companies surveyed are from the technology, telecoms, public sector, manufacturing, insurance, financial services, healthcare, transport/logistics, education and retail industries. The study included small and medium businesses with less than 100 employees each, and multinationals with more than 10,000 staff members.


From http://techcentral.my/ 03/23/2011

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High-tech System Helps Students Learn Better

Students will soon find it easier to grasp their lessons when the Tutor Intelligent Learning Management System (iLMS) is introduced. It helps students by offering suitable learning plans determined by psychometric tests. The smart learning software - developed by Perfisio Solutions Sdn Bhd which is a subsidiary of Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) - is based on technology developed by applied-research agency Mimos Bhd. Tutor iLMS enhances learning experience through cognitive profiling and learning objects. A psychometric test is used to identify a student's multiple learning intelligence and distinguishes a suitable learning style for him or her. Once a learning style - whether visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or simply read-and-write method - has been determined, the system will churn out unique lesson plans for the student. Based on their psychometric test results, students will be presented with learning plans that come in the form of text and graphics, or more engaging formats such as multimedia, virtual reality and even augmented reality.

The system includes monitoring features that enable students, parents, teachers and state education departments to track the student's learning performance at various stages. Utusan group chief executive Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Ahmad Makaruddin said the system can help students better understand their lessons at school and when they revise their lessons. "These tailor-made lesson plans will deliver the lessons in a way that the student finds interesting. We can expect them to have a better understanding of a particular topic," he said when launching the system here. At a press conference afterwards, Mara chairman Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said students can now have an alternative learning-plan to the one-size-fits-all method used in schools. He added that test drives to ascertain the effectiveness of the smart learning software had been conducted in the Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Merbok, Kedah, for three months starting August last year.

Mara will continue to conduct more test drives in four other MRSM branches and a Mara skills training institute this year. "Students seem to be happy with the lesson plans that are churned out by the software, but it is too early to tell whether it has helped with the performance in their subjects," Idris said. Mimos president and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Wahab Abdullah said Tutor iLMS can be customised to suit the needs of any school. "The technology is already there and teachers can tweak the features based on their needs. A religious school can add religious subjects to the matrix," he said. Mara plans to make the software available in all 46 MRSMs nationwide by next year. However, Perfisio plans to wait for the complete findings on the pilot projects before making the software available on a larger scale. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin officiated at the launch.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/04/2011

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E-tender System to Take Off Soon

Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) is making preparations to implement National e-Tendering Initiative (NeTI) that will be the platform to process online job tenders under the Works Ministry. The NeTI project will enable the automisation of all tender procurement processes right from advertising stage to assessment. It has gone through five phases of fine tuning, and from 2003 till now has seen an expenditure of RM25mil. CIDB e.Construct Services Sdn Bhd operations chief Ghazali Rahmat said with NeTI, there would be a reduction in the cost of government tender preparations and the cost of tender bids. "Total savings in government job tender processes through this system could come up to RM200mil from an average of 5,000 government tenders a year compared with the conventional tender methods," Ghazali said at a ceremony to mark the start of NeTI customer service centre's operations here yesterday.

Works Ministry deputy chief secretary (development) Datuk Nasir Mat Dam, CIDB chairman Datuk Hamzah Hassan and CIDB e.Construct Services chairman Elias Ismail officiated the event. Ghazali said the centre showed CIDB's commitment to implement NeTI. "We plan to open 13 more NeTI operation counters at CIDB offices in each state to help smoothen the application of the system." For now, NeTI will be used by Class A or Grade 7 contractors for government projects worth RM10mil and above. This is to allow contractors of other classes to prepare themselves for the system. CIDB plans to introduce NeTI for contractors in Class B and below in five years. For a start, the Works Ministry, Public Works Department and CIDB have been given the mandate to implement four pioneering projects to test the system which started last month and will end in June. Ghazali said efforts were also being taken to apply the NeTI system at local authority levels but for other ministries, they would need to seek Finance Ministry's approval.


From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 04/21/2011

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THAILAND: New World of Virtual Recruitment

There was no e-mail to connect with and there were no websites to support research about prospective employers. Not only was it a time-consuming process, but also a difficult one. In 2011, Gen Y job seekers - and indeed anyone seeking a new job - have a wide variety of online and mobile solutions to support the job-hunt process. Today, a job seeker in one country can apply for a job in another, navigate the Web for background information, conduct an interview via video conferencing, and ultimately secure a new role without ever having physically met their new employer. Thailand's leading human-resource solutions and staffing-services company, Adecco, has been quick to develop and adopt technologies and tools that help to put Thailand to work every day. From what I call "stage one" - the development of our virtual-candidate database and website - the company has become highly sophisticated in connecting virtually with candidates and clients.

Since 2009, Adecco has featured prominently on selected social media and networking platforms. Through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, job seekers can obtain details about job opportunities and also prepare themselves for job interviews by watching interactive films about interview techniques and how to impress in the first meeting with a potential employer. The ability for job seekers to ask questions in discussion groups and forums and to share tips with other like-minded individuals has helped to build a "job community", in which it is understood that leveraging knowledge and expertise can be highly beneficial. Last year, Adecco reached new heights in connecting job seekers to jobs by launching the first iPhone app in Thailand dedicated to helping people connect to work opportunities in a matter of seconds through an iPhone or iPad. The effectiveness of this app has led to new development work on BlackBerry and Android applications. The opportunities seem limitless right now for the ways that people will find work in the future. In 2011, the new talent that companies are able to attract is more crucial to their success than ever before. Organisations are looking further afield for smarter and more dynamic employees. While companies will win the war for talent by being highly connected, the same is true for job seekers. For many, "online" will mean "first in line".


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 03/08/2011

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Online Marketing for Hotels and Tourism

In recent years, the tourism industry has been moving forwards and the introduction of many new hotel chains, independent lodging facilities and travel agencies has broadened opportunities for travellers. Tourists are also finding that popular online channels are helpful for investigating availability and rates for multiple reservations, such as lodging, ticketing, airlines and car rentals, via the Internet. For suppliers, the same online channels can reduce supply-chain costs, improve services and enable new distribution technologies. Online channels for the tourist industry are now growing faster than offline channels, as a greater proportion of the population goes online and begins to use the Internet more intensively. The number of people turning to the Internet for vacation and travel planning has increased dramatically. There seems to be millions of vacation-planning websites out there! The best example is TripAdvisor, which provides reviews and photos, along with advice on hotels, attractions and restaurants for people scheduling their next trip. This is why most travel providers are now increasing their marketing budgets for online tools. Travel is the most frequently sold thing on the Internet and the trend is accelerating. Getting Internet users to visit your website will surely increase your revenue opportunities, as long as your website is effective - that is, informative, competitive, usable and creditable. There are five very good reasons why anyone in the hotel and tourism should be using online tools: there is a clear cost advantage; inquiries are traceable; responses can be made in real time; the Internet is interactive and allows two-way communication; and online business will increase your traffic and sales transactions.

Online operations in the tourist industry are no longer simply a matter of having a website. Having a website is great, but it is meaningless if no one knows about it. You must implement an online-marketing strategy into every step of the consumer decision-making process. 1. Recognition of need and awareness of problems. Use both offline and online promotions to boost your online traffic. 2. Information search. Drive more potential customers to your website by providing sufficient user-friendly pages, optimising your site for search engines (SEO) and making effective marketing use of consumer-generated media such as social-networking sites, mail lists, blogs, forums, community sites and others. 3. Evaluation of alternatives. Use social-networking sites such as travel blogs and hotel-review sites to increase awareness of your products and brand. Consumers tend to seek the online opinions of others, and they will believe people's recommendations before accepting a company's marketing messages. 4. Purchase. Provide fantastic value rather than trying to beat your competitors on pricing, like offering "exclusive deals that can only be found online". Choose the most effective online agency as well as incorporating your own direct-reservation system into your website. This will not only help to persuade customers to make an instant purchasing decision, but will also help to cut your competitors out of the choices offered by agencies. 5. Post-Purchase evaluation. Monitor both positive and negative feedback carefully to make sure that customer issues are resolved. Potential customers can be persuaded or influenced by other word-of-mouth referrals. This feedback can also be used not only to assist in cross-selling and up-selling, but also to measure market demand before implementing your next marketing plan. Finally, and best of all, it is important to integrate all online tools with your website pages, contents, promotions, and so on, to create an effective marketing campaign. The most significant factor in this business is experience of service. You need to offer and provide customer service at its best, through friendliness and efficiency. This will help you to drive your online channels and pave the way to a successful business. Kasem Thianthongdee is managing director of Metropoint Bangkok, a hotel that has successfully adopted online social media as its key marketing channels.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/26/2011

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VIET NAM: To Grant E-passports No Sooner Than 2013

Vietnam's first electronic passports are expected to be put in use no sooner than 2013 instead of in 2011 as rumored, the Ministry of Public Security has said in an official note. The Wednesday announcement by the Immigration Management Department at the ministry also said the new e-passport is going to cost the same amount of VND200,000 (US$10) as the paper one, rejecting rumors that owners of e-passports will be charged $100 each. According to the plan approved by the government, the ministry might be issuing the first electronic passport in late 2012 and grant more of them to the public in 2013. The e-passports will be installed with chips carrying personal information of the holders. The project, estimated to cost a total of $52.55 million, will apply fingerprint identification technologies that are compatible with those used in e-ID cards as well as criminal archive systems currently being built by the ministry. Passengers at airports will thus have their passports scanned by an automatic checking system, instead of showing their passports to some officials the traditional way.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/05/2011

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Making Money on Facebook

Some people have performed tricks to earn money from Facebook, including impersonation. Since Facebook allows members to develop quizzes themselves, many users have been attracted by fortune-telling quizzes. "Within an evening, I join tens of fortune-telling quizzes. They are very interesting," said Phuong, from HCM City. However, this is the way to collect personal email address of players. A short time after playing the quizzes, Phuong received a lot of invitation letters to join such groups named "Sharing a river", "Topica.edu.vn", "Grateful", etc. All invitation letters were sent from the same email address. Website www.facebook...vn is advertised as the place where one can buy fans for their Facebook pages. Visiting this site, one will see the names of "typical clients" of this , like Language Link, ACET (reputed English language training centers in Vietnam), Miss Vietnam Mai Phuong Thuy, etc. and instruction to download and fill up ready-made contracts from the site. According to Tuoi Tre Daily, the website is owned by a joint stock company, which advertised to help attract visitors to clients' facebook pages at the price of VND1,000/member. After signing a contract, clients have to send 50 percent of the contract value to the firm's banking account. Half of the pay will be transferred when the contract ends. However, the list of partners, their contacts, and contract forms on the website have been removed. This service is offered based on the need of some people who want to buy fans to support their entries on Facebook. However, some have signed contracts and paid the service provider but they didn't have fans yet.

According to Nguyen Viet Dung, a lecturer from the BMG International Management Institute, some individuals and organizers took advantage of Facebook to earn money. They created hundreds of accounts and used auto add friends tool to seek at least 5,000 friends. They then invited them to mark "like" to a website. When these sites have enough members, they would sell them to partners. When Facebook detected this form of trick, and closed any account which used "tricks" to attract fans, these people have changed their trick. They create Facebook accounts in the name of famous people in Vietnam, like singer Ho Ngoc Ha, Miss Vietnam Mai Phuong Thuy, etc. to attract fans. They also create events and invited people to join by clicking "like" on Facebook. Hoang Nam, a Vietnamese student in Japan, said: "Recently I saw a campaign to vote for Ha Long Bay as the new natural wonder of the world on the Internet. I immediately joined by clicking "like" for that page but after that I found out that the page had no connection for Ha Long Bay. It was a Facebook page advertising for Vietnam Travel". Miss Vietnam 2006, Mai Phuong Thuy confirmed that she has only one Facebook account, which is linked with her friends, not fans. While regulations on social network management and on solving disputes in the online world are not completed, Internet users should be careful when they participate in any online activities to protect themselves, experts advised.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/16/2011

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BANGLADESH: Digital Bangladesh Aims to Give the Citizens a Modern Identity

The Bangalee nation had a dream, which was conveyed by the greatest Bengali of all times - the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We achieved our independence through a war of liberation after a long stretch of movements and struggle in order to realize that dream. Half of that dream has now materialized, but our struggle for freedom or economic emancipation is yet to be crowned with success. The dream of a Golden Bangla is yet to be attained. Bangabandu's daughter and leader of the masses Sheikh Hasina had declared a pledge to build a Digital Bangladesh based on her "Vision-2021" in the election manifesto of 2008, keeping in mind her father's dream. The main idea of a Digital Bangladesh is to groom the nation as a knowledge-based middle-income country by the year 2021 through utilization of technologies. It aspires for a poverty and hunger-free Bangladesh through overall uplift of the living standard of Bangla's inhabitants. The present government has worked relentlessly during the past two years for achieving that objective. It is a matter of satisfaction that the use of technology, especially that of information technology, has increased substantially due to the involvement of the masses in the sincere endeavors of the government. People have realized that positive changes were taking place in their lives due to the application of technology. I consider it to be a huge success of the government. The government has succeeded in creating confidence among the citizenry.

The development vision of Sheikh Hasina has striven to bring backward segments of the country's population to the mainstream by offering them additional assistance. In order to realize that, our objective has been to build a Digital Bangladesh by involving all citizens of the country. Technology is considered a path for progress, and Digital Bangladesh will be for all our masses. We feel more encouraged when we hear from the IT technologists of the present generation that Digital Bangladesh is not a distant world. It is our own world. It is merely a guarantee for becoming more developed, speedier and acquiring more sensitive technology at affordable prices. Again, it also implies different worlds for different individuals. For a student, it is an assurance for obtaining high quality education. For a farmer, it is a guarantee for a market for the crops he produces. For a sick man, it is a guarantee for getting good treatment and freedom from standing in the queue day after day. For a government employee, it is the best medium for communication and evaluation of his work. For a pensioner, a freedom fighter and a widow, it is a guarantee for obtaining safety allowances and pensions with transparency. The main theme in the philosophy of Digital Bangladesh is to ensure the empowerment of people through optimum utilization of technology, establishment of good governance and above all to meet the needs of all citizens at their doorsteps. Digital Bangladesh will be implemented for the welfare of all citizens irrespective of their wealth or status.

The ICT Policy was adopted in April 2009 soon after the formation of the present government. A total of 306 action plans were taken up in its main program for implementation. The policy has fixed immediate steps, medium-term measures and long-term actions for all ministries. As a result, all bodies of the government are getting ready for e-governance. The Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology is coordinating the whole endeavor. Many of you have witnessed the digital innovation fair held at Bangabandhu Novo-theater earlier this year. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had inaugurated the fair. Local and foreign policymakers, experts and officials from over 100 organizations were present at the inauguration. Explaining the significance of digital Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said then: "It implied paying bills through mobile phones, buying railway tickets from home, getting health care from Upazila level doctors while staying in the village." She further said "we had made a pledge before the election to build a Digital Bangladesh." We have chosen information technology as a tool to fulfill that commitment. We seek to ensure transparency, accountability and good governance at all layers of administration.

Those who are working and providing leadership to the administrative and service sectors of the government have to think anew. They will have to find out how services can be ensured for the country's 150 million people. We do not want the people to move from door to door of administration for services. Rather, we want services to reach the doorsteps of the citizens. We have for the first time succeeded in presenting our good intentions before the people. You have noticed that even the secretaries of ministries were now telling the people what they would do for the common man during the coming year. These are big changes. We also witnessed during the digital fair that a canopy of honest competition has been put in place among the concerned ministries in this area. Many things can be said about our successes in information technology over the past two years. These include getting exam results through SMS and registering for university admission from home. Mention can also be made about the delivery orders received by sugarcane growers through mobile SMS. I have a firm conviction that people's interest in technology, especially information technology, has increased because of these developments. As a consequence, the number of mobile phone users has increased by over 20 million during the past two years. And at governmental level, we were also inspired to establish 4,501 union information service centers throughout the country. Even unions without electricity supply have not been left out. Besides, information centers have also been set up in 125 Upazilas and information portals were launched for 64 districts. We are optimistic that by the grace of Almighty Allah, we shall succeed in building a Digital Bangladesh as desired by Bangabandhu's daughter before the year 2021.


From http://arabnews.com/ 03/26/2011

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IT Education in a Mess

Computer studies at secondary and higher secondary levels are being conducted without specialised teachers in the state-run educational institutions. The government has not yet created any permanent posts for teachers of the discipline at its 570 schools and colleges 15 years into introduction of the subject. Teachers of other disciplines -- mainly physics, chemistry, biology and business studies -- with a short course impart lessons at these institutions. Interestingly, many private schools and colleges, which are run with government subsidy, have permanent posts for this discipline. Education officials and teachers observe as the government envisages building "Digital Bangladesh", this is discrimination and neglect towards a subject deemed crucially important for industrial growth and national development. They say it is quite impossible for a teacher to impart lessons properly with such brief and inadequate training. The situation is deplorable at upazila levels where teachers seldom use computers for teaching, they add. "It's like patching up things with whatever available to impart computer lessons to the students," says a teacher of a private college in the capital wishing not to be named. "The syllabus at college level is quite big and it needs sound practical knowledge to impart lessons," he adds. Sources in the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) say the government cannot appoint teachers for the discipline due to its complicated system. They say the personnel structure does not support any post for the discipline. Besides, the authorities concerned also seem to be reluctant to create new posts as no such move has ever been visible. Since its introduction, computer studies have remained optional -- a 100-mark course at secondary level (SSC) and 200-mark course at higher secondary level (HSC).

Around 70 percent of 317 government schools and most of the colleges offer courses in this discipline. Students, especially at the HSC level, are interested to take the course as it helps them score good marks. At school level students study computer fundamentals including package programmes, visual basic programming, etc, while at college level the students study in two years operating system, input and output, digital logic, visual basic programming, computer architecture, multimedia, internet, networking, etc. Several students complain that the teachers often face difficulties while imparting the lessons. "Many times our teachers fail to make us understand the details about what is visual basic programming," says a student of Satkhira Government College. "There is no coordination in the class as teachers of several disciplines teach us the subject in two years," comments another student of Noakhali Government College. DSHE Director General Prof Noman-ur-Rashid said it would be possible to propose for post creation only when the discipline is made compulsory like English and Bangla. The discipline had not been given proper importance earlier. As a result, it is being conducted somehow. Many institutions have neither teachers nor computers, Prof Noman added. "The discipline must be made compulsory with new curriculum, while necessary infrastructure has to be ensured because the government has a plan to build Digital Bangladesh by 2021. After that we can propose to create necessary posts," the DG added.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 04/09/2011

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An E-content Repository for Bangladesh

The government of Bangladesh has put together a National e-Content Repository meant to empower rural people, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, by giving citizens easy access to information on education, agriculture, health, law, human rights and citizen service. Right now, the programme has the participation of 148 government organisations and 50 local and foreign non-government organisations. With the repository, there is no longer a need to "go to districts for information and spending money and time", said Hasina. The information put up is in writing, audio, video and animation formation - making it easy to understand and accessible to those who are illiterate. All mobile phone operators in Bangladesh have also been asked to prepare mobile content in the national language - Bangla. Within the repository are 50,000 pages of information which is expected to be increased to 5 million pages by 2013, said Nazrul Islam Kha, National Project Director, Access to Information (A2I) programme.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/11/2011

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INDIA: Postal Services to Be Computerised by 2013

In a new e-governance initiative Government of India (GOI) has approved a proposal for the 'IT Modernisation Project' of Department of Posts (DoP) to be implemented in a phased manner by 2012-13, subject to availability of funds for improving postal operations. The proposal includes computerisation of all non-computerised post offices, development of software for various operations of DoP, commissioning of a data centre, provision of network connectivity and implementation of rural technology solution. A state-wise list of the number of post-offices already computerized had been released in which Uttar Pradesh has the most number of computerised post offices- 1510 and the least number of computerised post offices in Jammu and Kashmir- 132. The information was released by the Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, Sachin Pilot in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 9th March 2011.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/12/2011

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Indian Broadband at Grassroots for Social Inclusion: PM

New Delhi: Stating that the balance of power was shifting to the people at large, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday modern information and communications tools will be universally provided at the grassroots level to ensure social inclusion. "There is a discernable shift in the balance of power to people all over the world," the prime minister told the 10th edition of the India Today Conclave at the packed Darbar Hall of the Taj Palace Hotel here. "We are moving towards providing broadband connectivity to all 250,000 panchayats so that the modern technology is harnessed for citizens' empowerment." The prime minister also stressed on skill development to reap the demographic dividend where India was already boasting the largest working population in the world with half its 1.17 billion people below the age of 35. "The focus is to create a skilling revolution in our country that touches every nook and corner," he said, adding this should not just include the federal and state governments but also the civil society, the corporate sector and non-profits. The government has already launched a skill development programmer and constituted a National Skill Development Corp with the mandate to impart vocational training to 500 million people by 2020.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 03/18/2011

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E-Toilets: New Face of Sanitation in India

Eram Scientific Solutions, a Kerala based firm, developed the country's first e-toilets through amalgamation of electronics, web and mobile technologies to revolutionise sanitation in India. A coin is dropped into the slot and bingo the door to the toilet slides open, the light and exhaust fan turn on. And after use, in case you forget to flush, the automated flushing turns on and sterilizes the commode too. Delight, the country's first e-Toilet unit, has been developed by city-based Eram Scientific Solutions. It is part of Eram Group, a company which has operational presence in India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Currently, there are 16 units installed, of which six are in Greater Noida, in Uttar Pradesh, while the rest are at various places in Kerala. Eram Director MS Vinod said this e-toilet is a result of a convergence of electronics, web and mobile technologies. "It features an automated door opening, power flushing, automatic closet washing and sterilization, and automatic platform cleaning mechanism, all backed by SMS alerts to inform the control room about the status of water tank and bio gas plant in the event of any errors or failures," Vinod told IANS. An e-toilet occupies around 20 square feet and has two doors -- a sliding door at the front, and a normal door ahead of the toilet. "As soon as the coin (entry charge) is dropped, the sliding door opens and the light and the exhaust fan come on. Inside the toilet there is a bucket, mug and all other items. In case the user does not flush the toilet after use, the system automatically does all the cleaning operations."

"The human excreta is treated and it is reduced to a sand-like material, which will not have any bacteria and it is removed physically once in three months," Vinod said. Its unique structure facilitates the display of advertisement boards on its outer surface. This can act as a source of additional income for its operators. Delight's model gives more emphasis on advertisement revenue, whereas the only source of income in the traditional public toilets is in the form of coins. He said 15 more units in Kozhikode city and one in Kochi are under installation. "It is expected that 2,000 units in Kerala and 8,000 units in other Indian cities are possible in the next financial year," Vinod said. The price of this e-Toilet varies from Rs 350,000 to Rs 850,000 (inclusive of bio-membrane reactor's price). Bio-membrane reactor is a nano-technology- aided device that instantly recycles the used water and makes it ready for future use, he said. The price depends on the manufacturing materials like fibre, metal sheets, stainless steel, MS pillars and a combination of the said materials. Electronic and cleaning features will be the same for all variants, but more facilities for physically challenged, women and children will be added to the top models. Other specialties of this product include efficient water conservation techniques. Besides, the entire waste decomposing is through bio enzymes and reusing the water. This unit can be managed from a remote location and the system can be closed down, or remote washing can be done through GPRS controls. The average life of a unit is estimated to be around 7-10 years, Vinod added.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 03/31/2011

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Bihar to Launch a Slew of Online Services Soon

Bihar's Rural Development Department has decided to provide online service to the people seeking income, caste, death and birth and others certificates. "We are contemplating to provide on line service to the people, who have to run to the block office for such certificates," Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra said. Mishra after review of the development schemes undertaken by the department said that the people would not have to go to the block office every time for certificates. The scheme christened as 'kahin bhi kabhi bhi sevayen' would be launched soon. "The department is moving methodically before launching the scheme aimed at mitigating the problems of the common masses," the Minister said. The Minister said that he recently met IT Minister Shahid Ali Khan to discuss the IT support required to his Department for the purpose. The meeting assumes significance as the functioning of the 2 MBPS lines, through which the block offices are connected, are not up to the mark.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/19/2011

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SRI LANKA: E-Passport Soon

The Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka is planning to introduce biometric passport system within the year to increase travel document security and personal identity protections. The issuance of biometric passport was proposed at the first Colombo team meeting by the Regional Immigration Liaison Officer Network early this year. Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said in inaugural speech that experts from Australia and Hong Kong are preparing feasibility reports on implementing biometric passports. He said introducing the 'N' series of passports, installing new equipment in the Documentation Examination Laboratory is among suggestions submitted. Introducing an electronic travelling system and issuing visas online are also raised. Perera said the 30 years of war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam saw criminal and terrorist elements abusing the Sri Lankan system to commit cross-border crimes and violations. "Identity theft, passport forgeries, counterfeit visas, illegal crossing of borders both by air and sea to make bogus asylum claims have undermined our border and national security interests as well as security of countries in the region and beyond," he said. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are among the Southeast Asian countries that have started issuing e-passports. The use of e-passports, or biometric passports by 2015, is mandatory for member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.


From http://egovonline.net/ 03/30/2011

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NEPAL: IT Sector Can Become Country's Best Job Provider

The Information Technology (IT) sector can be developed as one of the best job providers in the country which is facing increasing unemployment among its youths, said IT professionals on Saturday. Speaking during a programme organized by Union of IT and IT Enabled Service Professionals -Nepal on Saturday, they however said that lack of appropriate government policy for regulation and development of IT is severely hindering its growth in the country. On the occasion, Allen Bilochan Tuladhar of Microsoft Office, Nepal presented a paper related to IT sector and pledged to support all IT professionals and students as well as people interested in IT for the overall development of the sector. Similarly, Kishore Kumar Agrawal, general secretary of Nepal Chambers of Commerce (NCC) urged the Union to work for the betterment of the IT sector in the country so that it can contribute in the development of the country. The Union said it wants to create more job opportunity in the country by cooperating with government and other non-government organization, according to press statement. Both national as well as international IT professionals who were present at the program pledged their support for the development of IT in Nepal.


From http://www.nepalnews.com/ 03/06/2011

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PAKISTAN: ICT Admin to Stop Smoking at Public Places

ISLAMABAD: In order to stop the rapidly disseminating smoking culture in public places, and create a healthy and green environment in capital, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration has decided to launch anti-smoking drive in the city, but a mafia of Shisha managers in the city, has started delaying tactics to stop this drive. ICT Administration with co-operation of Ministry of Health, Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industries (ICCI), traders community, ICT Police and Islamabad Traffic Police would shortly launch an anti- smoking campaign in Islamabad to create awareness amongst the general public as well as other stake holders, shop keepers, restaurants owners, to avoid and discourage smoking at public places in first phase of drive. According to police spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Amer Ali Ahmed held a meeting with office bearers of ICCI trader's community at his office on Tuesday. The officials of Ministry of Health, SSP Tahir Alam Khan, SSP Traffic Police, Moeen Masood and other officials of administration also attended the meeting. The meeting discussed various ways and means to implement the anti- smoking law in Islamabad. It was decided that ICT Administration with all stakeholders, would jointly launch an awareness drive during the first phase through which smoking at public places.

Addressing the participants, Ahmed said shisha smoking at restaurants would also be discouraged and a meeting with the restaurants owners was also being arranged very shortly and they would be given time to remove shisha smoking outlets and ensure smoke free environment in the restaurants. According to sources, some influentials are forcing ICT Administration through ICCI and other stakeholders to stop this campaign as this drive could damage their business in city. But still administration has not shown any leverage for stopping it. Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Assistant Director Wasim Khawaja told Daily Times that numerous flavors are being used in shisha. Use of shisha can lead to diseases of lungs and cancer and it also can lead to Ulcer. There are more or less 250 places in the city where shisha is being served. The owners charge customers 250 to 400 per hour. There are some places like Daman-e-Koh and other places where shisha is served. Besides, at cafes and barbeque restaurants use of shisha has been increased within a few months.


From http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/ 03/16/2011

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FDE to Be Placed Under ICT

ISLAMABAD - After the devolution of education ministry to provinces, government will place Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) under the administrative control of Islamabad Capital Territory, it has been learnt. A source in Education Ministry told Pakistan Today that after the devolution of Education Ministry to provinces under 18th Constitutional Amendment, which is likely to be completed within a month, FDE which deals with 408 educational institutions will be given under the administrative control of ICT. Director General FDE Shaheen Khan said that till the issuance of notification she could not speak about the fate of FDE. "It has come to my knowledge unofficially that FDE will be handed over to ICT but FDE has not received any official letter in this regard yet," she added. Currently FDE runs 208 primary schools, 58 middle schools, 102 secondary schools, 20 FG Higher Secondary, 10 FG colleges and 20 model colleges, with more than 7000 teachers associated with it. It is also pertinent to mention here that March 15 was deadline set by implementation commission to devolve education, culture, tourism, health and livestock ministries to province however commission had to face provincial chief secretaries' apprehensions for accommodating employees of the said ministries. A total of 13,216 educational institutions with 1,463,554 students are working under the Education Ministry in Islamabad Capital Territory, Azad Jammu Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The number of employees in these institutions has risen to 79,744, with 61,189 teaching and 18,555 non-teaching staff that would be affected by the devolution.


From http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/ 05/20/2011

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ARMENIA: Android Market Available

Orange Armenia has announced full availability of Android Market in Armenia, offering its customers to use paid services, for example buy applications on Android Market using VISA, MasterCard. Orange offers in its shops a large variety of Android-based smartphones, such as HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, as well as Samsung Galaxy Tab. Orange Armenia, 100% subsidiary of France Telecom, launched its mobile voice and internet services on November 5, 2009 throughout the republic.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 05/17/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Baku Social Trading Platform Gains Momentum

There is a virtual world existing at the same time with the real world called internet, it is a world where a huge number of people studies, works and entertain. Moreover, it is possible to sell and buy in Net. Internet-trading has never ever developed so rapidly in Azerbaijan, as today. An official marketplace of Baku "Place.az" is a vivid example of it. If you want to buy or sell something - from a pen to a luxurious suburban villa -you may settle this problem without leaving home, and even without getting up from the table. The idea turned out to be in demand - simplicity of the process quickly attracted hundreds of buyers and sellers. To have an opportunity to sell and do good shopping, you just need to pass a simple registration (of course, free of charge), to load all the images of goods to the web-site, to set prices for them and wait for interested buyers. You do not need to pay anything for the services of a mediator, and your goods will be sold at the price, set by you. A wide range of goods and prices at the Place.az is also very attractive. Here you can by notebooks for children with a set of multimedia and educational programs ad special children's browser, a kitten, a homemade soap and prestigious restaurant in the very centre of the city. The most expensive product at the web-site costs 550,000 manat, and the cheapest - 3 manat. Place.az develops, and all we need, is to rejoice at a successful startup and opportunities, opened for us!


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/04/2011

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Azerbaijan Applies 'Single-window' Registration for Imported Vehicles

Azerbaijan plans to simplify customs clearances for vehicles imported into the country by introducing a "single-window" system, State Customs Committee Chairman Aydin Aliyev said as the Cabinet of Ministers' meeting chaired by President Ilham Aliyev this week. The meeting was devoted to socioeconomic development in the first quarter of 2011. "A common mechanism is being developed with the relevant executive authorities," he said. Aliyev said plans include carrying out customs and state registration, record keeping, issuing state registration certificate and marks and other procedures via the "single-window" system. Azerbaijan applied the "single-window" process at the country's customs checkpoints in 2009. The new system will allow the committee to improve control method efficiency and technical means of verification. This will save time on checks. The "single-window" system for vehicle registration will be a continuation of these activities. The system's introduction is a new order in international practice. It positively affects trade acceleration between countries and international trade development.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/14/2011

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Azerbaijan Introduces E-digital Signature Platform

An e-digital signature platform has been presented by the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry within the global initiative Microsoft Innovation Day today. The project is implemented in accordance with the Law "On electronic signature and electronic documents", by the consortium of the companies Ultra, Azerin and the local office of Microsoft. Azerbaijani Deputy Communications and IT Minister Elmir Velizade said that the center's infrastructure is built based on a Microsoft solution. Users should submit an identity card, an application to receive the digital signature and a receipt confirming payment of fees to the digital signature issuance center. After applicants receive an approval from the center, they should also receive a notification through the traditional postal service. To use a digital signature, the user must use a card reader and special software, which can be downloaded from the Internet site e-imza.az. The page provides information about all existing types of e-services. The main advantage of digital signatures is the full transfer of business relations and ties into an electronic format. The digital signature issuance infrastructure in Azerbaijan is completely ready for operational use. Azerbaijan plans to use three centers for issuing digital signatures, two of which will serve the public and private entities, and one which will be the head office. An electronic signature is a sequence of symbols received through the transformation of the source document through special software. Getting a digital signature ensures the authorship and contents of documents exchanged by an organization through the Internet. It is impossible to forge an e-signature. The documents certified by the digital signature or a signed document are recognized as equivalents.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/03/2011

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Iraq Eyes USD2bn for Fourth Wireless Licence

Iraq hopes to raise around USD2 billion from the auction of the country's fourth mobile phone operator licence, expected to take place by the end of the year, Gulf Daily News reports, citing Iraq's communications minister, Mohammed Allawi. Plans for the licence tender received final cabinet approval in May 2010, by which time 15 firms had expressed an interest in entering bids, including US-based Verizon Communications, South Africa's MTN, Turkcell of Turkey and the UAE's Etisalat. The minister has proposed that 40% of the shares in the licence be allocated to a privately-owned operator, while 35% will go to the public and 25% to the Ministry of Communications (MoC). According to Allawi, Iraq has allocated USD500 million to spend on upgrading outdated and damaged infrastructure after decades of war and economic sanctions. The government also aims to boost fixed line phone penetration and internet reach to 25% within five years. The funds include 37% of last year's unspent budget allocation. Allawi said completing a fibre-optic network to connect Iraq to the rest of the world would be one of the MoC's main aims for this year.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/11/2011

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Kazakhstan Education Ministry to Launch E-learning System

The Kazakh Education and Science Ministry sets to launching e-learning system at secondary schools," director of strategic planning and information technologies department Nurgali Arshabekov said. Introduction of e-learning system is one of the guidelines of the state-run education development programme til 2020. Schools will be provided with digital educational resources, 4-10 Mb broadband Internet. E- class registers, e-libraries, schedules, will be launched as well. Teachers and pupils will get an access to the world's best educational resources. The Ministry readies to start e-learning in 44 schools of Almaty, Astana cities and Karaganda region. Next year the school numbers will increase up to 537, in 2013 up to 926.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 04/13/2011

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AUSTRALIA: State to Drastically Advance Digital Education

With the Australian Government's Digital Education Revolution (DER) adopted by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (NSWDET), every Year 9 to Year 12 student in NSW public schools will have a laptop by June 2012. Terry O"Brien, Policy Project Leader, NSWDET, shared that DER wants to meet the following aspirational goals:
* All students have personal access to an appropriate information access and/or computing device in all areas of learning;
* Teachers devise student centric programmes of learning that address curriculum standards and employ contemporary learning resources and activities;
* Students engaged in rigorous and stimulating programmes of learning that meet their individual needs and prepare them for success in 21st Century.
* To achieve these goals, not only are students given laptops, wireless networks are also being installed in every high and central school across the state, and schools with more than 100 laptops will have a full-time Technology Support Officer (TSO) to give onsite technical support.

"It is much more than a technology rollout," said O"Brien. "Given that principals would be leading the programme in their schools, Trevor Feltcher, Deputy Director of General Schools, determined that that the programme needed an educational leadership approach rather than one of management and administration. Consequently teachers and principals were seconded to lead the development of school-friendly policies for the management of the laptops in schools as well as programmes and resources for professional learning and curriculum support." Web-based resources have been developed along with curriculum examples of how the technology provided can be used. Hosted through the Teaching and Learning Exchange (TaLe), an existing NSWDET online repository of digital learning objects, the resources include archives of instructional videos and digital learning objects.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/28/2011

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AU Govt Completes Broandband for Seniors Programme

The Australian government has completed the installation of 2000 internet kiosks under the AU$15 million (US$15 million) Broadband for Seniors programme, providing around 94,000 elderly citizens with free access to PCs and Internet. Since the project rollout in 2009, these older Australians have provided with basic computer skills training and received around 43,000 basic online lessons. "This helps seniors keep in contact with their communities, family and friends, using email, Skype and Facebook," Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) spokesperson told FutureGov Asia Pacific. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost two in three Australian households have a broadband internet connection. However, less than a third of Australians aged over 65 currently use the internet. FaHCSIA said the Broadband for Seniors aims to address this digital divide. "In a recent survey of kiosk users, 86 per cent of respondents felt their skills had improved and 84 per cent reported increased confidence in using new technology," it added.

FaHCSIA spokesperson said feedback indicates that Broadband for Seniors has been a very positive experience for participants. "Many seniors have even said the programme has helped change their life .One woman in Adelaide is now emailing her grandchildren every day, another man in Queensland has documented his family history online," he adds. FaHCSIA spokesperson said they have met the key performance indicators for the Broadband for Seniors programme - establishment of 2000 seniors internet kiosks, increase in access to broadband internet and increase in confidence and skills of senior Australians in using computers and the internet. He said the challenge they face is anticipating what seniors want to gain from the initiative. "Many seniors who have completed the basic training have indicated that they want to develop their skills further - to go beyond surfing the net and sending email and learn to edit photos, use Skype, YouTube and Facebook," he adds. FaHCSIA spokesperson said the host organisations received computer equipment and furniture so that kiosks can continue to operate and the consortium partners of NEC Australia, Adult Learning Australia, Australian Senior Computer Clubs Association, and U3A Online will continue developing seniors' computer skills.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/03/2011

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Australia Improves Mobile Emergency Services

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released new rules to ensure emergency services will more readily be able to access location information about callers using mobile phones. The new rules require mobile carriers to provide emergency service organisations with the most precise mobile phone location information available for emergency calls made from mobile phones, in situations where a Triple Zero (emergency hotline) caller is unable to verbally report their location. The Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 1) will officially commence on 20 April 2011, giving carriers time to trial their systems before making the enhanced capability available to all emergency service organisations.

The new Determination requires mobile carriers to:
• provide the most precise location information they have available on request from an emergency service organisation
• resolve emergency call location queries with the highest possible priority
• ensure emergency service organisations are provided with a designated contact point and telephone number for location queries, or have a dedicated process for location queries
• assist an emergency service organisation to identify the relevant mobile network carrying the emergency call

The new rules were made after consultation with mobile carriers, the Emergency Call Person and emergency services organisations, and have the support of all groups as an important step in improving the delivery of mobile location information to enhance the emergency call service.

In an official statement released by ACMA, Acting Chairman Richard Bean said, "Locating callers quickly and with confidence is clearly a crucial element of the Triple Zero emergency call service. The ACMA's new rules enable emergency service organisations to access the most precise location information that is currently available on the mobile networks and also to automatically capture the benefits from any future developments in location-based services offered by the mobile carriers." Mobile phones now account for around 63 per cent of calls made to Triple Zero. Unlike fixed landline phones, emergency calls from mobile phones do not automatically give emergency service organisations accurate details about a caller's whereabouts. In addition, the ACMA is continuing to explore with industry and emergency services organisations the potential automatic provision of enhanced mobile location with every emergency call.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/03/2011

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Australian Defence Force Launches eHealth System

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) launched earlier this year its Joint eHealth Data and Information System which will develop and implement an electronic health records system, designed to improve the quality of healthcare to all of the country's defence forces. The Joint eHealth Data and Information System (JeHDI) is a web based system which will simplify record management and provide immediate access to patients' medical records and other healthcare information. The JeHDI would improve the productivity of health care personnel, provide the ability to map health related trends and patterns, derive financial reports related to the provision of healthcare to ADF personnel, and maintain the security of health data. Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Indigenous Health, Hon. Warren Snowdown MP, said that the JeHDI would complement the Australian Government's National eHealth Strategy, which has committed AU $466.7 million (US$466.7 million) to develop a Personally Controlled eHealth Records system which is set to be available from 2012-2013.

He further added that this initiative would be a very opportune time for ADF, as it takes a key national leadership role in the introduction of electronic health records in the country. The Australian Department of Defence has made a substantial investment of more than AU $55.7 million (US $55.7 million) for the development and effective delivery of the JeHDI system over the next four years. The JeHDI will be developed with Defence Oakton and CSC Australia. The latter being one of the world's largest health systems integrator, has been selected as the prime systems integrator to deliver the JeHDI system. The JeHDI system will be developed through a staged process and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/17/2011

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Austrade Develops New Learning Management System

Austrade, Australia's Trade Development Agency will be moving 130 of its online courses to a new Learning Management System (LMS) that incorporates comprehensive learning and performance and career management functionality with social collaboration features. Given that Austrade has a large database of training and learning materials, the LMS will be hosted in the Cloud. According to Austrade, a key requirement of the new Cloud e-learning system is the ability to migrate historical data from the "legacy LMS and performance management" system. The training history consists of about 20,000 records which need to be mapped and imported dynamically so they appear in the user's training history. Meanwhile, for performance history some 5000 records need to be exported from the legacy system as a PDF and imported as an attached file against user's profile. "The system must be able to interface with Austrade's Aurion HRIS system by providing an inbound data feed that creates user accounts by importing employee and organisational structure information from Aurion,"a representative from Austrade said in an official statement.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/11/2011

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New Zealand Govt Funding to Connect Low Income Families

The New Zealand government will set aside NZ$6.6 million (US$4.9 million) funding over the next three years to provide 3000 low income families across the country with computers and digital skills training. The funding will allow Computers in Homes (CIH) programme to expand to new areas throughout New Zealand including Manukau, Opotiki, Ruapehu/King Country, Wairarapa, Christchurch and Dunedin. CIH, an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust, a non-profit, helps local schools provide refurbished computers, internet access and computer training to families with school-aged children. For a cost of NZ$50 (US$37), families receive free training, a recycled computer, 6 month's internet connection and technical support. CIH National Coordinator Di Das said CIH aim to raise the literacy level of children from low decile schools and empower parents to become actively involved in their children's learning, as well as increase their own employment opportunities. "Creating a computer culture and digital learning experience in home would help children with e-literacy. We take the parents with 'techno-fear" who come to our programme who have not touched the computer before, from being non-users to confident users," she said. Das said programme participants receive 20 hours of basic computer training at their children's schools before they can take home refurbished computers. This includes word processing, emailing and using the Internet for homework as well as for general family information.

Das added the results from the programme have included employment success and continued education, with many achieving a tertiary qualification. "Parents have been able to understand what their children are doing at school about technology and they really want to understand what facebook is all about. They love doing online banking so that they can look in their account that night and how much they have got for the next day. They also love Trade Me to buy and sell goods." Since 2000, 5000 families have already benefited from the programme. However, CIH estimates that more than 100,000 New Zealand families with school-aged children in low income communities still don't have a computer and internet access at home. This prompted the launch of the '100,000 Challenge" which aims to connect the 100,000 remaining families without a computer in their homes and encourage digital literacy and competence. "We will continue working hard to realise our vision of bringing computer technology within reach of all New Zealand families with school-aged children," Das said, stressing that has still a long way to go and is a huge step towards promoting digital literacy. CIH regional projects are funded by Department of Internal Affairs, while the Ministry of Education provides final support for refugee background families to benefit from the programme.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/01/2011

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NZ Allots Extra Funding for Taranaki Medicine Management System

Health Minister Tony Ryall has approved more than half a million dollars (USD 370,000) in extra funding for the Taranaki medicine management system, which is set to reduce medication errors, improve efficiencies, and provide safer care for patients. "Safe medication management is a priority area for improvement and this demonstration in the Taranaki District Health Board (DHB) is very important," says Minister Ryall. The Taranaki District Health board will be piloting The Medicines Reconciliation Project. It will provide a more reliable link between the medication patients are taking when they come into hospital, what they take during their stay and what they leave hospital with. "Many errors would be avoided by making it clear what medication a patient is on, and then making that information available electronically to all health professionals helping the patient," he said. "By enforcing a number of formal, standard steps into the medicine management process, there is less chance of a patient being mistakenly given a medicine he or she is allergic to, that will interact with a medicine they are already taking, or that they are already taking."

The demonstration would be a key part of a programme that would result in a standard medications system that can potentially be used in hospitals, general practice, pharmacies, residential agaed care facilities, and the wider health disability sector in the country. According to the Ministry of Health, adverse drug events add an average of 7.5 days to a patient's stay in hospital. At around NZ$1000 (USD 750) a day in hospital, and a conservative 8,000 patients a year, we are looking at estimated savings of more than NZ$60 million (USD 45 million) a year for District Health Boards. "This is a significant potential saving for the health service, and will see patients return home sooner, freeing up hospital resources for more patients. The Taranaki demonstration is set to finish later this year, before the safe medication management programme is rolled out nationally" Mr Ryall says. The project is a joint initiative between the Health Quality and Safety Commission and the National Health IT Board.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 04/29/2011

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Hiring Intentions Remain Strong - Employer Survey

Hiring intentions remain high among ICT sector employers, according to recruitment firm AbsoluteIT's latest employer intentions report, released yesterday. Almost 75 percent of employers surveyed intend to take on staff in the next 12 months, slightly less than the figure of 76.5 percent recorded in the first survey, in September. Of those polled in the latest survey who intend to hire, 48.68 percent intend to do so in the next 12 months, 13.5 percent in the next six months and 11.41 percent in the next 12 months. Just over half plan to hire 1-2 staff, with a third intending to hire 3-5 and 10 percent planning to take on 6-10. Key skill sets that remain in demand include business analysts, software developers and project managers. The survey polled employers on their feelings about the government's ultra-fast broadband project and found that 63 percent believe the UFB rollout will increase employment in the sector by 1-4 percent; others thought the expansion in hiring prompted by the fibre build will be greater. In a statement, AbsoluteIT director Grant Burley says: "While there is still a lot of uncertainty around how and why UFB will impact the ICT employment market, it's clear that the majority of employers have a positive outlook."


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/18/2011

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Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals

A training course for official data producers in the Pacific region that aims to improve their capacity to produce internationally comparable statistics is under way in Suva, Fiji from 26-29 April 2011. The course is called Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals. In recent years, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have gained importance in national development strategies in many countries; ICT policies have been put in place in order to develop their information and knowledge societies. This has created a growing need for reliable data and indicators on the access and use of ICTs, and their impact on development. Such data and indicators help governments design and evaluate ICT policies and strategies, compare their ICT developments with those in other countries, and adopt solutions to reduce the digital divide. In 2004, recognising this need for internationally comparable ICT statistics, the international community launched Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, a multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of ICT data and indicators, particularly in developing countries.

At the official opening of the training course, SPC Deputy Director-General Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu said, 'SPC is very happy to be part of this programme, given that the focus of the workshop is to improve the capacity of official data producers in the Pacific region to produce internationally comparable statistics on ICT access and use by households and individuals. In the Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific that was endorsed by Pacific ICT Ministers in Tonga last year, one of the key issues identified was the availability of ICT data. The essence of this is that policy makers and law makers cannot make informed decisions if accurate and timely statistics are not available. Therefore, it is very important for any government to put in place measures and mechanisms to ensure that the integrity of ICT data and statistics is maintained and sustained," she continued. Mrs Utoikamanu pointed out that we often complain about the unavailability of statistics when we need them, and even if statistics are available they are either outdated or inaccurate. 'This is a very common issue, especially in the public sector in the Pacific region. Therefore, I am delighted that this workshop will strengthen your capacity as statistical officers so that you can help your governments design and evaluate ICT policies and strategies, compare their ICT developments with those in other countries, and adopt solutions to reduce the digital divide."

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) interacts and cooperates with regional agencies such as SPC to deliver training courses in different regions of the world. Susan Teltscher, Head, Market Information and Statistics Division of ITU, which organised the training course in partnership with SPC, said, 'ICT measurement is essential for a number of reasons, such as designing, evaluating and reformulating policies; monitoring and assessing the digital divide; analysing the impact of ICT on growth and development; as well as for international and regional benchmarking." Mrs Teltscher also highlighted the challenges involved in collecting ICT household statistics in developing countries. These were mainly due to a lack of awareness and cooperation among different stakeholders at the national level; a lack of capacity and technical expertise to collect ICT statistics; and a lack of funding to carry out ICT household surveys. She added that there need to be partnerships on measuring ICT for development in order to promote the advancement of comparable ICT statistics at the global level. The training course is based on the ITU Manual for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals, 2009 Edition. The training is supported by the Canadian voluntary contribution to the ITU in support of the activities of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development in developing countries.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 04/29/2011

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Mobile Virus Threats Double Over 16 Month Period

Anti-virus software vendor, Kaspersky Lab says that the number of malicious programs targeting mobile devices has more than doubled between August 2009 and December 2010. In 2010, over 65% more new threats targeting mobile devices were detected than in the previous year; and over 1,000 variants from 153 different families of mobile threats were included in Kaspersky Lab's databases by the end of 2010.The growing popularity of the Android platform has inevitably drawn the cybercriminals attention: in August 2010, the first malicious program targeting Android was detected, and since then, that number has reached 15 programs from a total of 7 families. The first threats targeting Apple's iPhone OS also appeared during this last reporting period, but infected only devices that had been jailbroken in order to install third-party games and other software not manufactured by Apple. Most mobile threats continue to target the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) platform, which is supported by a huge number of mobile devices. That means it is not only smartphones that are at risk of infection, but basic mobile phones as well. The second most-targeted platform is Symbian, with Python in third place.

"The use of SMS Trojans is still the easiest and most effective means by which malicious users can earn money. The reason is relatively simple: any mobile device, be it a smartphone or a basic mobile phone, has a direct connection to its owner's money via their mobile account. It is this 'direct connection' that cybercriminals actively exploit," explains Denis Maslennikov, a Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.From 2010 onwards, sending fee-based text messages ceased to be the sole illegal money-making scheme for virus writers developing threats targeting different platforms. Other unlawful schemes such as redirecting mobile Internet banking users to phishing sites and stealing passwords sent by banks to mobile phones were also used. Mobile threats have become more complex than ever and include the emergence of mobile bots and other remotely-controlled software. According to Denis Maslennikov "This means that attacks launched by mobile threats have reached a completely new level." Kaspersky Lab predicts an increase in the number of vulnerabilities found on mobile platforms, as well as an increase in the number of threats for Android and the continued use of short numbers by cybercriminals.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/23/2011

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AFRICA: Software Piracy in Africa Double Global Rate

Nairobi - The commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), which excludes South Africa, reached $109 million in 2010 as 83 per cent of software deployed on PCs during the year was pirated. This stands at almost double the global piracy rate for PC software, which is 42 per cent, having risen by 3.6 points on the previous five year average. These are among the findings of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world. During the past 5 years since 2006, Botswana's piracy rate has dropped by 2 per cent; Kenya's by just 1 per cent; while Zimbabwe's rose by one per cent in 2008, but returned to the 2006 rate of 91 per cent in 2010. Zambia's piracy rate has remained unchanged year over year. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's piracy rate of 91 per cent is the second highest in the world.

"These findings show that little progress has been made in reducing the software piracy rate in East and Southern Africa and there is much more work to be done," said Dale Waterman, chair, BSA Middle East and Africa Committee, and also the Microsoft's Corporate Attorney for Anti-Piracy for the Middle East and Africa region. "The further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the region's economies." Globally, the opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights, with seven in 10 respondents expressing support for paying inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances. Strikingly, support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates. The survey also found widespread recognition that licensed software is better than pirated software, because it is understood to be more secure and more reliable.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/12/2011

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NIGERIA: Value of PC Software Theft Reaches U.S. $255 Million, Says BSA

The commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Nigeria has reached $225 million in 2010 even as 82 percent of software deployed on PCs during the year was pirated, according to a new study by Business Software Alliance, (BSA). Nigeria's piracy rate, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world. However, the commercial value of pirated software, according to BSA study has increased from $100 million in 2006 to $225 million in 2010.

These are among the findings of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world. "These findings show that little progress has been made in reducing the software piracy rate in Nigeria and there is still much more work to be done," Dale Waterman, Chair, BSA Middle East and Africa Committee, said, adding that, "The further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the country's economy." For Emmanuel Onyeje, General Manager Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, clearly, there is a strong appreciation for the value delivered by legal software.

"The results reinforce the need to educate users that software downloaded from P2P networks is often illegal, and installing software purchased for one computer on multiple home or office PCs is piracy." he added. Similarly, in the words of Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO, "Today's study shows that while piracy continues to threaten the global economy, people clearly understand and appreciate the value of intellectual property, especially its role in driving economic growth," "Software theft continues to stifle IT innovation, job creation, and economic growth around the world. This report clearly shows the importance of educating businesses, government officials, and end users about the risks of software theft -- and what they can do to stop it.", he added. Meanwhile, this is the eighth study of global software piracy to be conducted by BSA in partnership with IDC, the IT industry's leading market research and forecasting firm, using a methodology that incorporates 182 discrete data inputs for 116 countries and regions around the world.

This year's study also includes a new dimension: a public-opinion survey of PC users on key social attitudes and behaviors related to software piracy, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. Globally, the opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights, with seven in 10 respondents expressing support for paying inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances. Strikingly, support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates. The survey also found widespread recognition in both developed and developing nations that licensed software is better than pirated software, because it is understood to be more secure and more reliable. The problem is many PC users lack a clear understanding of whether common ways of acquiring software, such as buying a single program license for multiple computers or downloading a program from a peer-to-peer network, are likely to be legal or illegal.

Additional findings from the study include:
* Globally, the value of software theft grew to a record $59 billion -- nearly double that when the study began in 2003.
* Half of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 had piracy rates of 62 percent or higher, with the global average piracy rate at 42 percent.
* Emerging economies have become a driving force behind PC software piracy. Piracy rates in the developing world are 2.5 times higher than those in the developed world, and the commercial value of pirated software ($31.9 billion) accounts for more than half of the world total.
* The most cited advantages of licensed software globally are access to technical assistance (88 percent) and protection from hackers and malware (81 percent).
* Among the common ways people in engage in piracy is to buy a single copy of software and install it on multiple computers.
* Strong majorities of PC users around the world believe intellectual property rights and protections produce tangible economic benefits: 59 percent globally say IP rights benefit local economies, while 61 percent globally say IP rights create jobs.

The 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study covers piracy of all software that runs on PCs, including desktops, laptops, and ultra-portables, including netbooks. This includes operating systems, systems software, such as databases and security packages, and applications software, with legitimate free software and open source software covered by the scope of the study. New this year, BSA retained Ipsos Public Affairs to survey more than 15,000 business and consumer PC users in order to provide more insight into key social attitudes and behaviors related to intellectual property and the use of licensed versus unlicensed software. The surveys were conducted, online or in-person, in 32 markets that make up a globally representative sample of geographies, levels of IT sophistication, and cultural diversity.w.bsa.org) is the world's foremost advocate for the software industry, working in 80 countries to expand software markets and create conditions for innovation and growth.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/15/2011

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UGANDA: Communications Commission Orders 24-Hour Shutdown of Facebook over Protests

The Uganda Communications Commission quietly asked Internet service providers to block communication on Facebook and Tweeter messaging platforms for 24 hours during the Walk-to-Work campaign on Thursday last week. However, Internet services carried on without a glitch that day save for subscribers on one network who experienced intermittent interruptions. An April 14 letter signed by Mr Quinto Ojok, who signed in acting capacity for UCC's Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, said social networking fora like Tweeter and Facebook, be shut-down for security reasons. "We have received complaints from security that there is need to minimise the use of the media that may escalate violence to the public in respect of the ongoing situation relating to walk-to-work mainly by the opposition in the country," reads part of the communication. "You are therefore required to block the use of Facebook and Tweeter for 24 hours as of now, that is; April 14, at 3:30pm to eliminate the connection and sharing of information that incites the public."

When contacted yesterday, UCC top boss Mr Mutabazi told Daily Monitor that there was a miscommunication and that the letter wasn't necessary. He nonetheless didn't deny his office had sent out the letter. "The letter was written in my absence. We didn't authorise [a] ban of any website and Ugandans are free to communicate," Mr Mutabazi said. He added: "It was a small error but we only request that Ugandans be mindful of their country by using the websites carefully." However, Mr Ojok, who spoke through the commission's public relations officer, Mr Fred Otunnu, stood by the letter. The letter was addressed to 10 companies and also copied to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology and to the Inspector General of Government. The companies are: MTN, Airtel, Orange, Warid, Uganda Telecom, AfricaOnline, Afsat Communications, Broadband (U), Foris Telecom, and Infocom. ICT Minister Aggrey Awori yesterday said he had not seen the letter, having been out of office for some time, but said it was "unusual" to write such a letter.

Aiding uprisings?
The head of legal affairs at MTN, Mr Anthony Katamba, told Daily Monitor he would first consult and check if the letter was received and acted upon, while at Airtel, their public relations officer Joseph Kanyamunyu also promised to check with the Managing director. Last week, there were also allegations that government had given an oral directive to TV stations to stop live broadcasts, and by yesterday, only one station was broadcasting the protests live. UCC is the national regulator of the communications industry in Uganda. The two social networking platforms, mainly used by the youths and corporate class are reported to have been used in mobilising public support for the uprisings which toppled the governments in Tunisia and Egypt.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/19/2011

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ASIA-PACIFIC: Tackling Cybercrime Laws and Protection in Workshops

Delegates from around the region will gather in Tonga this week to address cybercrime legislation and look at ways to protect Pacific Island citizens against computer-based offenses. The Pacific Cybercrime Legislation Workshop, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Australian Attorney-General's Office and the Council of Europe, will be held 27 - 29 April at the Fa"onelua Convention Centre in Nuku"alofa The main aim of the workshop is to help Pacific countries develop cybercrime laws in line with international standards. "The growing threat of cybercrime and the attacks experienced by societies around the world underlines the need for countries to put in place a comprehensive set of measures to protect their citizens," stated Mr Siaosi Sovaleni, the Suva-based manager of SPC's ICT Outreach Programme under the Economic Development Division.

"Measures include criminal law and criminal justice action. Currently, most island states of the Pacific region are not sufficiently equipped to protect their societies against cybercrime through criminal law, nor are they are in a position to engage in efficient international cooperation in this respect." Up to 70 participants from the region's communications, justice and police departments will attend the three-day summit. Topics on the agenda include the threat of cybercrime, international standards for cybercrime legislation, criminal and procedural law, cybercrime training for police, judges and prosecutors, and the cooperation between law enforcement and internet service providers. Head of Tonga's delegation, Secretary for Information and Communications Mr Paula P. Ma"u said there were important implications for Tonga's future.

"The Government of Tonga will be implementing the Tonga-Fiji Submarine Cable Project within several months. The potential for increased connectivity and rapid electronic exchange of huge amounts of data is remarkable," he said. "Taking on any new ICT technology brings many benefits, but we also need to ensure our citizens are protected from crimes that can be committed through the simple use of a computer and a network." Delegations from each country will present the cybercrime situation in their respective states as well as recommendations for measures against cybercrime at the end of the workshop. The workshop is being convened in response to the Tonga Declaration made after the Pacific Regional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on 18 June 2010, which recommended the cooperation between SPC, the Council of Europe and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to develop policy and legislative frameworks to combat cybercrime and promote cyber security in the region. Website http://www.mic.gov.to


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 04/28/2011

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EUROPE: Massive Cyber Attack Targets European Institutions Before EU Summit

The European Commission and External Action Service was hit by a "serious" cyber attack right before a crucial EU summit that begins tomorrow. The European Commission has not divulged the nature of the attack due to security reasons but has confirmed that the attacks were serious. An European Union source has compared the current attacks as similar to those that targetted the French Finance Ministry last month during the G20 meeting. At the time of the attack Patrick Pailloux, the head of the French National Agency for Information Systems Security described the attacks as "pure espionage". Tommorow European leaders are set to meet in Brussels to discuss the economic convergence in the European area, the bailout fund as well as the ongoing military action in Libya. The European Commission has initiated an investigation and has taken steps to ensure sensitive information is not revealed to unauthorised personnel.

All European Commission staff has been told to change their passwords and only exchange information through secure email systems. Some reports coming out of the Commission suggest officials are suspecting espionage and China's involvement in the attacks but officially the Commission has declined to speculate on the origin of attacks. However, sources have told this website that there is keen interest among foreign entities to find out individual member state positions on various issues being discussed in this "important summit" beginning tomorrow in Brussels. In the attack on France more than 150 of the 170,000 French Finance Ministry's computers were affected and the ministry came under sustained cyber attacks to unveil documents related to the G20 meeting.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/23/2011

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Internet Privacy: Ed Vaizey Criticises EU Proposals on Online Privacy - Calls for "Practical and Proportionate" Measures

Ed Vaizey warned against raising false hopes with the EU's "right to be forgotten" on the web directive. The Communications Minister believes it is difficult to enforce and finds the proposals disproportionate. Earlier in the month, the EU Justice Commissioner Vivianne Reding, laid out the core principles of data protection on the web and she insisted "right to be forgotten" must be one of the four pillars of the new framework. Speaking at an e-privacy event the UK Communications Minister warned about raising "false expectations". "How do we force a website hosted in Calcutta to take down an image uploaded in Croydon?" Mr. Vaizey asked. "We should not give people false expectations. No government can guarantee that photos shared with the world will be deleted by everyone when someone decides it's time to forget," he said. The Minister pointed out trying to regulate the internet within a particular jurisdiction is futile due to its global nature.

The European Privacy Association has already raised concerns about how the European Commission would regulate this. "How will they know if a company is indeed targeting EU citizens?" Paolo Balboni asked. "Are they going to oblige end users to identify themselves?" And businesses are concerned about the form of user consent as well as the impact on the economy especially the internet advertising industry. The online advertising market is the biggest revenue generator in the UK and the CBI and others including the government are worried about the impact these rules might have on the industry. The US and EU agreement on internet privacy is also hampered by Europe's insistence to the "right to be forgotten". An EU source told eGov monitor that the public should have the right to take back their consent. The Communications Minister urged for a global solution to a global challenge. However, European officials are hopeful that there would be more convergence between the US and EU positions over the next few months especially since the Obama Administration announced it would produce a "Privacy Bill of Rights" with Congress. Despite the rhetoric about cooperation between the two sides covergence on privacy policy is still a long way away.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 03/29/2011

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Cybercrime Complaints Fell 10% in 2010

IDG News Service - The U.S. agency that tracks complaints of criminal activity on the Internet reported Thursday that fewer people complained about Internet fraud in 2010 than in the previous year. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) runs a Web site where victims can report details of any cyberfraud. It shares the data with law enforcement agencies to help them hunt down criminals. Last year it received 303,809 complaints, almost 10% fewer than the previous year's total of 336,655.The IC3 is run by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. It released its annual report Thursday, based on data submitted in 2010.The largest single source of complaints was from people who had been duped by criminals posing as buyers and sellers. International scammers, preying on eBay and Craigslist users, have made millions over the past decade. Just last week, a Romanian national, Adrian Ghighina, pleaded guilty to his role in a scam that took in $2.7 million by tricking eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader.com users into paying for vehicles that were never delivered. Even without factoring in the fraud at online auction sites, which the IC3 counts separately, this type of activity accounted for 14.4% of complaints, the IC3 said. That's a noticeable jump from 2009, when the total was 11.9%.

Complaints about 2009's most-reported scam -- malware-laden emails that purported to come from the FBI itself -- dropped in 2010. In 2009 these fake FBI emails were a big problem, totaling nearly 17% of all complaints. In 2010, they totalled 13.2%.There was also a drop in complaints about "advance fee scams," where the victim is promised a big lottery payout or inheritance as soon as they pay a phoney administrative fees. These dropped from 9.8% in 2009 to 7.6% last year. It's not surprising if scammers are looking for new activities because consumers may be getting wise about some of these crimes, said Adam Chernichaw, a partner with the law firm White & Case in New York, who consults with financial services companies. "After a number of years in the spotlight you get your consumer base educated and they search for an easier route," he said. Chernichaw believes the overall number of complaints may be down because companies are getting better at dealing with fraud. Online merchants are getting better about refusing suspicious transactions and automated fraud detection tools are picking up scams earlier, he said.


From http://www.computerworld.com/ 02/24/2011

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Social and Mobile Tech Vulnerable in 2010 as Cyber-Attacks Skyrocket

A report from Symantec this week provided data on cyber-threat activity that occurred between January and December 2010. The report also offered some predictions regarding Internet dangers in 2011 and beyond. An accompanying press release highlighted what some of its researchers deem "government-focused megatrends" and sobering statistics on recent malicious activity. According to Marc Fossi, executive editor and the manager of development for Security Technology and Response at Symantec, many cyber-attacks come from one of two sources - bad guys with specific targets or bad guys targeting anyone just for the money. "That's really what you're seeing, that division between these low-level guys who are just after everybody. They want the quick buck. The high-level guys, they're going after your government organizations," he said. There are rumors about governments sponsoring "high-level" attackers to get into foreign networks, but that's not something Symantec can confirm.

But whether they're backed by big government or not, such malefactors are certainly dangerous. "They are sophisticated enough, and they're working in teams," Fossi said. Data from the Internet Security Threat Report includes these sobering figures from 2010: a 93 percent increase in Web-based attacks from 2009; more than 286 million unique threats; a 42 percent increase in mobile vulnerabilities; and more than 260,000 identities exposed per average data breach. Symantec researched malicious cyber-activity targeting both consumers and organizations from the public and private sectors. "We don't do this as a wake-up call or anything like that," Fossi said. "We're just reporting on what we"ve seen and sort of trying to put that together in a clear picture."

The report also highlights major trends from last year that set off alarm bells, all of which could be perceived as threats to government: highly targeted attacks aimed at and launched by nation-states, which werer exemplified by the Stuxnet and Hydraq malware exploits; exposures caused by government adoption of social networking and mobile applications; and Web-based attacks aimed at government systems. The targeted attacks are the work of the high-level attackers Fossi mentions: men and women who want to disrupt government or corporate networks or discern private information. "Hydraq was a targeted attack where a bunch of really big multinational companies had all been infiltrated," Fossi said. Hydraq was used to steal information from computers and send it back to criminals, a zero-day exploit, or one that takes advantage of a security hole that no one has developed a patch for.

Web-based attacks, however, are less discriminating it seems. These threats hijack applications or websites to compromise all users, not just those specific to certain companies or departments. Such infiltration is made easier today because people can access software that allows them to perform hacks that would have previously required advanced programming abilities. "They offer people who don't know enough to construct their own attacks an easy way of launching pretty sophisticated attacks," Fossi said. Social networking is also an emergent avenue on the threat landscape for government organizations. And interestingly enough, attackers can use the technology to glean information about people without doing any hacking at all. "You can do so much reconnaissance work online through what people post to their social networking accounting," Fossi said. For example, he said, if someone posts that he is attending the Symantec government symposium on a social networking site, an attacker could use that information by sending a fake e-mail to the person about the event. The e-mail would look like it came from a Symantec address and say something like, "Here's an itinerary for the government symposium you're attending."

"If the victim fell for this and opened the e-mail, he or she just walked into a breach," Fossi said. This opens up a whole new can of worms when it comes to mobile technology where people access both corporate networks and private social networking accounts from personal mobile devices. The Symantec report cited mobile vulnerabilities but stopped short of claiming that malicious cyber-activity was running rampant on the devices. Fossi warns, however, that the world could be on the threshold of a mobile malware nightmare. "What I think is going to be the tipping point for those types of threats is going to be people using their mobile devices for more financial transactions," Fossi said. Once people use their phones to handle money, the temptation will be too great to resist. But as of now, laptops and desktops are the main avenues because they're the paths of least resistance. "It's still easier for them to compromise people through their computers."


From http://www.govtech.com/ 04/08/2011

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China Cleans Up Spam Problem

IDG News Service - It's been a few years coming, but it looks like China may finally be getting a handle on its spam problem. Once the largest source of the world's spam, China has been gradually fading off the list of the world's top spam-producers. Right now Cisco Systems' IronPort group ranks it at number 18 in terms of spam-producing countries. That's a big drop from two years ago, when it consistently ranked in the top five. China is home to more than 420 million Internet users, according to the International Telecommunications Union, and many of them are connecting via hacked computers. Back in 2009, those hacked systems had been pumping out spam at a pretty good clip. In January of that year, China was ranked the number three spam-producing country in the world, according to data compiled by security vendor Sophos. But by the end of 2009, spam from China started to drop off significantly, according to Chet Wisniewski, a Sophos researcher. Sophos now ranks China as spam producer number 20, right behind Spain. "This is the first time in recent memory that China has not been in the top 10," said Cisco Research Fellow Patrick Peterson, in an e-mail interview. According to him, China got serious about the issue in 2006, launching an anti-spam initiative that brought network operators and security companies together to address the problem. Peterson described this initiative as "dramatically successful." "China has been notable in the amount of spam that's not coming from China now," said Michael O'Reirdan, chairman of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group and a distinguished engineer at Comcast. Spam fighters from the U.S. are now working more closely with members of the Internet Society of China -- the group behind China's anti-spam effort -- to work out standards and better ways of cooperating, O'Reirdan said. They're set to outline these efforts in a report, due next month, entitled "Fighting Spam to Build Trust." Perhaps the U.S. will learn a thing or two from China. According to Sophos, the U.S. remains the top-spamming country and the source of about one-fifth of the world's spam. Security experts say many of those messages are crafted by spammers residing outside the country, but the fact that they have so many many hacked machines in the U.S. at their disposal is a major problem. At last week's RSA Conference, Microsoft's security chief went so far as to suggest that companies might want to start using digital health certificates to help cut down on the number of infected PCs. Cisco says things have improved in China as ISPs have become better at working with customers to cut down on the spam problem.


From http://www.computerworld.com/ 02/25/2011

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New Campaign Targets Illegal Online Maps

Authorities are stepping up efforts in a special campaign to crack down on unlicensed mapping service providers and take down online maps that violate Chinese laws, said a senior official from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM). Xu Deming, Director General of the SBSM, said Sunday at the launch ceremony of the National Geographic Information Science and Technology Industrial Park in Beijing that inspections would be carried out on all mapping service providers and online maps until August. The authorities will check if mapping service providers are licensed and whether online maps contain information that disclose State secrets. Unqualified service providers will be closed down by authorities if they refuse to rectify or take down unmodified online maps, Xu said. According to SBSM statistics, the bureau has uncovered 1,058 cases of illegal mapping services, including more than 30 cases relating to foreign organizations and military, since January 2009. The bureau said that 3,686 websites out of 41,670 web mapping service websites were found to contain political mistakes, and more than 200 websites were closed. In May 2010, China ruled that all online mapping service providers should be licensed with the SBSM before the designated deadline of March 31, 2010. Those that failed to comply would be shut down or blocked by June. "Our bureau has made plans based on the SBSM's notice to carry out inspections in the province," an official from the Shandong Provincial Bureau of Surveying and Mapping told the Global Times Monday. "We will fully cooperate with the inspectors. We also have our own censorship, as we ensure the map used on the website is qualified, and we have also set up a database of sensitive words," Chen Wei from sina.com told the Global Times. "We submit our mapping database to authorities for approval every three months," he said.


From Global Times 03/08/2011

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China Cracks Down on Online Copyright Infringements and Counterfeits

In a concerted effort to crack down on copyright infringement and counterfeiting, Chinese authorities have suspended nine online shops, said the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Wednesday. A joint investigation team, organized by the MOC and the State Administration for Industry & Commerce, went to Guangdong and Shandong provinces to investigate the cases, according to a statement on the ministry's website. The statement said the suspended shops, registered on large online sales websites such as Taobao.com and Eachnet.com, sold a wide range of fake products, including garments, mobile phones and watches, at very low prices. The police seized more than 12,800 items of copied commodities, including Armani, Burberry, Timberland, Levi's, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Nokia. Relevant departments will further clamp down on trademark violations and strengthen supervision over online shopping in order to create a sound online shopping environment, said the statement.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/06/2011

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China Cracks Down on Illegal Sex Products Online

China has launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on the spread of misinformation through online sales of sex products, according to a government statement on Wednesday. The crackdown is carried out to help facilitate the healthy sexual development of adolescents, said the six government departments that jointly launched the campaign. Statistics from the China Illegal Information Internet Reporting Center showed that more than 4,000 complaints concerning incorrect information on sex products have been received since last year. The information is usually transferred through false advertising and labeling of sex products, said the statement. Over 90 percent of so-called "sex medicines" without approval numbers were found to be counterfeited. These products do not provide any medical benefits, and some even have harmful side effects, said the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). Even worse, some illegal drugs such as ecstasy and crystal meth were also found in online stores, where they were being advertised as "sex medicines". These drugs are extremely harmful and can lead to higher rates of crime and juvenile delinquency, said the statement. Online advertisements for sex products often contain pornographic content, and have become a channel for the spread of vulgar information, according to the statement. The new campaign will discourage the dissemination of obscene information and content, said the statement. The crackdown was jointly carried out by the State Council's Information Office, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Health, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and the SFDA. These government departments said the public may report illegal information by calling a special hotline at 12377 or logging onto net.china.cn.


From China.org.cn 04/20/2011

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China Seizes More Pirated Online Goods

China's customs authority said on Thursday it had seized 13.68 million yuan (about 2.1 million U.S. dollars) worth of pirated goods sold online following a five-month clampdown campaign. The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said some 1.08 million items hunted down included fake medicine, apparel, watches and cosmetics sold at Internet shops. Those goods were confiscated as a result of inspections of express deliveries and postal mail. GAC pledged to intensity the clampdown on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations, notably through those violations occurring on the Internet. It will also strengthen cooperation with public security and postal authorities to prevent the sale of pirated goods.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/06/2011

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Japan Internet Providers Block Child Porn

A group of Japanese internet service providers started blocking access to child porn websites on Thursday as part of efforts to crack down on the spread of sexually explicit images of children. Japan is seen as a major global source of child pornography in photo and video form -- despite production and distribution being outlawed -- and authorities have stepped up efforts to contain the problem. The possession of child porn remains legal in Japan. The Internet Content Safety Association, established in March with 21 member companies, said nine leading providers had started preventing users from accessing sites containing pornographic images of children. More than 100 websites are subject to the block, said local media reports. The nine companies, including NEC Biglobe, NTT Communications and KDDI, between them cover about 50-70 percent of online households, according to the National Policy Agency. The association has been making a list of internet addresses subject to the block, based on information from the Internet Hotline Centre Japan, which monitors illegal and harmful information on the Internet, it said. Meanwhile, four major Internet search sites, including Google and Yahoo Japan, are ensuring that sites subject to blocking do not show up in their search results, the association said. Law enforcers took action in 1,342 child porn cases in 2010, up 43.5 percent from the previous year, to reach a new record since such data was first compiled in 2000, according to the National Police Agency.


From http://www.google.com/ 04/22/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: 40 Websites Bombarded by Cyber Attacks

Websites of about 40 key South Korean institutions, including the presidential office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, came under cyber attack on Friday. Although there was no serious damage caused by the attack, the websites were hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks around 10 a.m. The attacked websites included a number of governmental organizations and major firms. Among they were the Defense Ministry, Unification Ministry, the National Assembly, the U.S. Forces in Korea, the Korea Communications Commission and the military headquarters. The two biggest Internet portals - Naver and Daum - as well as major commercial banks such as Kookmin, Woori and Shinhan were on the list. "There was a DDoS attack, but no damage was reported," said a presidential aide at Cheong Wa Dae. The DDoS attack was similar to the cyber attack that targeted 17 local websites during July 7-9, 2009. It launched malicious codes that cause personal computers to bombard sites without users' consent. The attack targets specific systems by overloading them. It is also capable of banning access to servers and harming the hard drives of PCs. Soon after the attack, the Korea Communications Commission, the state telecommunications policymaker, issued a second-level alert following the cyber attack. There are four different alert levels which can be issued. This indicates that the government will closely monitor the increase of online traffic and keep a close watch on the appearance of malicious codes which could be used for DDoS cyber attacks.

The KCC will also partner with related agencies, including the online information security and vaccine firms, in case of an emergency. "The number of zombie PCs, which are infected by malware and taking part in the attack, currently totals up to 11,000, much smaller than the 115,000 counted during the 2009 cyber attack," said a KCC official. "However, we're aware and making preparation measures since the number is likely to increase." AhnLab, the country's top information security firm, said that additional attacks were expected. The firm also said that the attackers hacked two local peer-to-peer file sharing websites a day before on late Thursday and planted malware in the files. "For the PC to not be infected by the malicious code, one must have the latest security patch for the computer operating system and must update the vaccine program, along with checking the system in real time," said Kim Hong-sun, chief executive of AhnLab. "The attached links sent through the e-mails and online messengers should not be clicked on and files should be screened when downloading them from peer-to-peer sites." Earlier on July 7, 2009, local and U.S. websites were flooded with signals from infected computers causing service disruptions. Up to 270,000 computers were used to attack the local and U.S.-based websites. The incident was traced to a Chinese internet protocol address used by the North Korean Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. The government then moved to set up a cyber security center for financial and economic institutions, claiming it would include functions to counter the DDoS attacks.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 03/04/2011

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S. Korea's Major Web Sites Hit by DDoS Attacks

A fresh wave of cyber attacks hit major South Korean Web sites, including that of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, on Friday, local media reported, citing industrial sources. Starting 10 a.m. Friday, 40 web sites, including the ones of presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and top lender Kookmin Bank, came under distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing AhnLab, South Korea's top information security company. Additional attacks are expected to come at 6:30 p.m., Yonhap said. DDoS attacks are unsophisticated but pose great difficulties for websites to defend against. The attacker directs a giant traffic surge to its target, overwhelming the site's servers and making it hard for legitimate users to access the site.


From Xinhua News Agency 03/04/2011

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Gov't to Tighten Security of Computer Networks Against DDoS Attack

Security of the state Internet network being used by central and local administrations will be beefed up, the home affairs ministry said Tuesday, after the country came under a massive cyber attack, known as the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, early this month. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said it will put intranets of city, county and ward offices as well as the state Internet network under the protection of the government's computer system to automatically shut off abnormally heavy traffic and provide security against DDoS attacks. The government will also build a computer system for sharing information on malignant codes in cooperation with civilian experts, Kim Nam-seok, the first vice home affairs minister, said during a forum with chief computer security officers here. Hiring 60 more computer security officials for central and local governments and providing them short-term domestic and overseas trainings this year were also part of the countermeasures. In addition, the ministry will organize a study team with civilian and government computer experts so they can work out measures to deal with the varietal DDoS attack or a new type of massive cyber attack, the official said. About 30 government and business Web sites came under the DDoS attack for two days from March 4, with about 50,000 "zombie" computers infected with a virus seeking simultaneous access to selected sites and swamping them with traffic. (Yonhap News)


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 03/22/2011

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Electronic Banking Safety Under Scrutiny

The prosecution and financial regulators began their investigation into the unprecedented breakdown in network systems of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, or Nonghyup. While the number of Nonghyup customers comes to about 30 million, the bank suffered a significant problem within its online transaction systems for the three-day period ending Thursday. More seriously, the bank said it has failed to uncover factors for the breakdown. There were two speculations - the systems could have been hacked or intentionally destroyed by one or more employees. But nothing has yet to be clearly revealed as of 4 p.m. Thursday. Nonghyup made a public apology and gave detailed explanation of the affairs during a press conference Thursday. The bank said that the exact cause of the incident should be identified through the authorities' investigation. Nonghyup alleged that the breakdown started from the laptop computer of an employee, who works for the bank's subcontractor. The bank also argued that it has no choice but to suspend all of its systems due to a code causing problems in the employee's computer. But the employee reportedly insisted that he had not entered the code into his notebook computer. Nonghyup has seen its network systems, including Internet banking and automated teller machines, break down since around 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Financial Supervisory Service, which dispatched a group of inspectors to Nonghyup on Wednesday, has pledged to conduct a more intensive inquiry into the bank starting next Monday.

The watchdog also plans to instruct financial companies to bolster cyber security for their electronic financing system to check if there is critical weakness. Electronic finance in the nation has made rapid progress over the past several years. However, electronic financial accidents have continued, such as hacking at Korea Exchange Bank in May 2005, phishing at Kookmin Bank and Nonghyup in January 2007, an attempt to hack into Hana Bank and Korea Exchange Bank in May 2008, hacking for root permissions at Moa Savings Bank in May 2008, and a series of financial accidents by telephone. "As the risk of electronic financial accidents has increased, continued efforts should be made to further develop e-finance safety," an FSS official said. The Electronic Financial Services Act was enacted in February 2006 and came into effect in January 2007. Its purpose is to decide who takes responsibility for financial accidents and to protect customers. Solving the responsibility problem may be needed to decide possible solutions between customers and financial companies. The act states that financial companies and e-finance service providers should take responsibility for damages when customers sustain losses resulting from technological accidents.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/14/2011

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Financial Firms Ordered to Report Cyber Security

The financial authorities have embarked on an initial inquiry into the cyber security systems of all financial companies in the aftermath of the recent security lapses at Hyundai Capital and Nonghyup. "Since April 11, we have been conducting an IT security inspection - in written form - into all financial service companies," the Financial Services Commission said in a statement Friday. Furthermore, a task force specifically aimed at bolstering the security of the information technology sector in the financial industry is to be formed soon, the regulatory body said. FSC also said that - after the paper-based probe - each financial sector, such as banks and loan issuance firms, will also be subject to the on-the-spot probe of the coming task force starting late this month. The task force will be composed of the FSC, the Financial Supervisory Service, relevant ministries and IT specialists in the private sector. "Based on the coming one-month inquiry, we will map out measures to strengthen IT security which could prevent companies from suffering financial accidents (including hackers' attack)," the FSC said. In a move to maximize the efficacy, the regulator is also considering cooperating with the National Intelligence Service, the Korea Communication Commission, and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

The stern regulatory action comes amid the ongoing situation under which Nonghyup, also called the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, underwent an unprecedented breakdown in network systems this week. Nonghyup, whose financial customers reach about 30 million, suffered a significant problem within its online transaction systems for the four-day period from Tuesday to Friday. While there were two sets of speculation - the systems could have been hacked or intentionally destroyed by one or more employees - for the factor, the prosecution as well as financial regulators have already launched separate probes. In addition, the Bank of Korea said Friday that it would also join the Nonghyup inquiry as early as next week in coordination with financial regulators. Meanwhile, regulators are also investigating Hyundai Capital, which suffered a cyber attack whereby personal information of about 420,000 customers and passwords of 13,000 were hacked. According to a report by Rep. Lee Sung-heon of the Grand National Party, many financial companies failed to abide by regulatory instructions on cyber security last year. Though regulators call for them to set aside IT security funds equivalent to at least 5 percent of their total IT sector budget, only one - Shinhan Bank - out of the seven major commercial banks has met the requirement. Nonghyup posted the 2-percent level in the ratio of IT security spending to the total IT budget, the report showed. As part of its move to raise the level of oversight, the financial authorities plan to take the currently non-binding "5-percent rule" into serious consideration when they assess financial companies.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/15/2011

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Financial Industry to Tighten IT Security

The local financial sector geared up to tighten security of its IT systems after watching hackers take advantage of security loopholes in the nation's top financial firms, sources said Thursday. Major banks here said they were devising measures to step up security, such as beefing up their oversight teams or banning employees from using electronic devices perceived as potential security threats. Hana Bank has banned the use of USB flash drives; such a drive from a laptop was the cause of the latest network crash at the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, also known as Nonghyup. Employees also are required to go through a multi-step security procedure including a one-time password system when logging in to central servers carrying valuable data on customers and their bank. Woori Bank said it is considering increasing the number of staff on its IT security team, while Shinhan Bank will be stepping up investment into security hardware. "The financial authorities seem to believe we need more people to manage our IT networks and systems," said one source at Woori Bank. All staff at these banks will also be required to attend intensive training courses to help boost their security awareness.

Korea, as the world's most wired country boasting a sophisticated IT network in all sectors, is particularly vulnerable to hacking and other cyber threats, experts said. "Both the authorities and corporate sector have been much too lax and negligent about securing their IT systems," said Lee Sung-hun, a lawmaker of the ruling Grand National Party. A dozen lawmakers including Lee have presented a bill at the National Assembly obligating financial companies to designate chief security officers. On the regulator's side, the Financial Supervisory Service is recommending firms set aside a bigger security budget - 5 percent of their total IT-related budget - and reinforce their workforce following a series of network-related crimes this year. In reality, banks on average devoted about 3.4 percent of their budget to security oversight, while investment banks devoted 3.1 percent and card companies about 3.6 percent. In addition to the Nonghyup case, which both the bank and authorities believe was committed by hackers, Hyundai Capital, a second-tier lender, also had its customer information stolen by a hacker just this year. Going further back, there was a hacking at Korea Exchange Bank in May 2005, phishing crimes at Kookmin Bank and Nonghyup in January 2007, along with attempts to hack into Hana Bank and Korea Exchange Bank in May 2008.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/21/2011

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Police Probing Online Commerce Fraud

A woman in Gwangju requested a police investigation after she received a can of butane gas from an online seller instead of the iPod she had paid for. Kim ordered an iPod from an online second-hand vendor who offered it at half the market price. After a phone call with the seller, the woman sent half of the money to the vendor's account. But what Kim received was a can of butane gas. Kim tried to reach the seller but the phone number no longer existed. It is the latest in a spate of online fraud cases. "One must be careful when dealing with direct sellers who court clients with low prices," police said. In recent online fraud cases, customers reported that they received empty alcohol bottles, stacks of newspapers or bricks instead of the goods they paid for. In a typical on-line transaction for used goods in Korea, the buyer first sends the money to a broker or Internet operator, who then would resend the money to the seller only after confirmation from the buyer.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/26/2011

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Security Concerns Rise Over Wi-Fi Networks

Security concerns involving the country's wireless Internet networks are rising again following findings that global firms Google and Apple both used the Wi-Fi networks to collect user information. Two companies reportedly collected the location logs of their smartphone users from the wireless networks provided by local telecoms in Korea. The problem stems from many smartphone owners' habit of connecting to the Internet in the Wi-Fi hotspots since the zones grant free and easy access, which does not involve a difficult user authorization process. KT's QOOK Wi-Fi zones offer free online access to its registered users and SK Telecom's T Wi-Fi zones are open to anyone with a wireless device. KT, which is stressing that the large number of wireless networks is one of the company's strongest points, plans to build up to 100,000 wireless Internet zones by the end of this year, while its rival SKT aims for 62,000. "I'm somewhat aware that the open wireless Internet networks can trigger security problems, but I tend to go with the option anyway because the Wi-Fi networks are much faster in data transfer compared to the 3G network on mobile," said an office worker who only wished to be identified by her surname Park. The Wi-Fi networks, however, come in handy not only for ordinary consumers, but also for firms like Apple and Google that are collecting "anonymous" user information since the process is free of charge.

"The most important aspect of Wi-Fi zones is that it could be used by anyone because it is an open network that uses a specific frequency range," said an official at the Korea Communications Commission, a state telecom regulating body. "Because of such characteristics, we have not set a limit up to now as to how it could be used or how it should be established." Although wireless networks are known to benefit many people, the time has come to draft a set of network management measures, which is a field that has been left vulnerable, according to industry sources. They also supported their statement by pointing to a recent study which showed that it has become possible to steal private information of smartphone users by creating a fake wireless Internet network that has the same name as the public Wi-Fi network. "I personally think Korea's lagging behind in dealing with Internet security issues, especially in the Wi-Fi area," said an industry insider. "The government keeps enforcing ID logins, but I believe secured packet transfers, like the U.S." encryption efforts, on personal information such as logins and account numbers should be considered."


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/03/2011

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MALAYSIA: Banding Together Against Cybercrime

Concerned over rising threats online, Cybersecurity Malaysia is taking a proactive step by collaborating with Fortinet Inc, a global network-security expert, to curb cybercriminal activities. Under the strategic collaboration, Cybersecurity Malaysia via its Malaysian Computer Emergency and Response Team, and Fortinet's regional R&D and Technical Support Centre will share information and technical know-how. Cybersecurity Malaysia will gain an even better view of emerging cyberthreats by working with Fortinet, said Adli Abdul Wahid, vice-president of the Malaysian agency. "The tie-up further strengthens our technical capabilities to identify and respond to cyberattacks more quickly," he said at a media briefing after both parties inked a memorandum-of-understanding on the collaboration. Last year, the national cybersecurity specialist centre, which operates under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, received a total of 8,090 cybersecurity incident reports - a significant leap from the 3,564 received the previous year.

And, it said, the trend is showing that the number of cyberthreats will increase further. In the first quarter of this year, 3,563 cybersecurity incidents have already been reported, and of those, 1,273 were related to fraud. These include 400 phishing attacks that targeted Malaysian banks. Adli said the popularity of social networks, the availability of Internet-enabled mobile devices, and the rise in e-commerce are fuelling the increase in threats to enterprise security. Fortinet's facility in Kuala Lumpur is one of its three main technical centres worldwide and provides round-the-clock threat monitoring, as well as Pan-Asia regional support. The other two centres are in the United States and France. Cybersecurity Malaysia and Fortinet will also work to develop local IT security expertise, as well as offer real-time online threat intelligence services to the public and private sectors. The partnership will also address the shortage of cybersecurity specialists in the country, through joint seminars and discussions that will involve management teams in companies and other organisations.


From http://techcentral.my/ 05/20/2011

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THAILAND: Security Looms as Growing Mobile Problem

Internet security experts are warning that mobile Internet users are facing a rapidly escalating threat from hackers and spyware. As the computing capacity and the popularity of small mobile devices and gadgets have increased, so have the risks of attack from other mobile devices and computers, creating a growing threat of mobile users losing their privacy or confidential business data. International computer security firm Symantec said in a recent Internet Security Threat Report that a massive threat volume of more than 286 million new threats were detected last year, accompanied by several new megatrends in the threat landscape. Security experts say that once a hacker has successfully gained access to a computer network via a mobile device, it is very difficult to prevent illegal activities such as data leaks, malware infections and privacy violations. The president and founder of ACIS Professional Centre, Prinya Hom-Anek, said that mobile devices now had all the functions of a desktop computer. Therefore, it is necessary for users to protect their information and control the data available to mobile devices so as to avoid attacks upon their networks and loss of privacy and data.

At present, he pointed out, there was no anti-virus protection for mobile devices. Prinya said businesses using mobile devices should understand the threats inherent in the practice. They should establish a primary policy relating to information that can be accessed via mobile devices and educate their mobile users on habits to adopt to minimise risks of attack. Hackers are, these days, able to approach mobile devices with cookie attacks, e-crimes and smart-phone spyware, involving GPS location maps, SMS logs, SMS details and GPS tracking. He said mobile users should be concerned about their GPS privacy. Geo-location or location services are activated on smart phones by default, and the physical locations of both current and historical users can be continuously tracked. Mobile-phone markets create a database that identifies and records the location of all mobile cell towers and Wi-Fi access points. Rootkit attacks by hackers on smart phones or upcoming tablet computers may become a lot more devastating because smart phone owners tend to carry their phones with them all the time, he said.

S-Generation chief executive Chaiyakorn Apiwathanokul said that information security on mobile devices was a very important issue for individuals and businesses. He said executives should develop a policy, standards and tools to control their organisation's information so as to prevent it being downloaded by computer criminals. Owners and enterprises using mobile devices should regard mobile security applications as essential for the protection of their privacy and their business data. NForce Security Systems managing director Nakrop Niamnamtham said research studies had found that the role of mobile devices in business would grow to the point where, next year, the number of new smart phones and tablet PCs would outpace desktop computers and notebooks. Therefore, users and business should have security applications in place, such as encryption, in order to protect their mobile devices from data threats and illegal access. Sourcefire's security architect Suwitcha Musijaral said that security on mobile devices should be a matter for both mobile users and mobile operators.

The operators are beginning to be concerned about illegal information on their networks that might be affecting mobile users. They are providing a "basic level" of security to support and protect mobile users from virus and spyware attacks. "I think it is important that mobile users should protect themselves from attack on the network, such as updating anti-virus applications to protect thread information and data such as pictures and telephone numbers," he said. In a recent Internet Security Threat Report, global security firm Symantec said there had been dramatic increases in both the frequency and sophistication of targeted attacks on enterprises. Social-networking sites are increasingly being used as attack-distribution platforms and there has been a change in attackers' infection tactics. Increasingly, they are targeting vulnerabilities in Java to break into traditional computer systems. Symantec's report explores how attackers are exhibiting a notable shift in focus toward mobile devices. It finds that an overwhelming majority of attackers have leveraged the news-feed capabilities provided by popular social-networking sites to mass-distribute attacks. In a typical scenario, the attacker logs into a compromised social-networking account and posts a shortened link to a malicious website in the victim's status area. The social-networking site then automatically distributes the link to news feeds of the victim's friends, spreading the link to potentially hundreds or thousands of victims in minutes.

Last year, 65 per cent of malicious links in news feeds observed by Symantec used shortened URLs. Of these, 73 per cent were clicked 11 times or more, with 33 per cent of them receiving between 11 and 50 clicks. Symantec said the major mobile platforms were also becoming sufficiently ubiquitous to attract the attention of attackers. It expects attacks on these platforms to increase. In 2010, most malware attacks against mobile devices took the form of Trojan Horse programs that posed as legitimate applications. While attackers generated some of this malware from scratch, in many cases, they infected users by inserting malicious logic into existing legitimate applications. The attacker then distributed these tainted applications via public app stores. While the new security architectures employed in today's mobile devices are at least as effective as their desktop and server predecessors, Symantec said attackers could often bypass this protection by attacking inherent vulnerabilities in the mobile platforms' implementations. Unfortunately, such flaws are relatively commonplace - Symantec documented 163 vulnerabilities last year that could be used by attackers to gain partial or complete control over devices running popular mobile platforms. In the first few months of this year, attackers leveraged these flaws to infect hundreds of thousands of unique devices. According to Internet-security firm Mocana, it is no surprise that 47 per cent of organisations do not believe they can adequately manage the risks introduced by mobile devices. Neither is it surprising that more than 45 per cent of organisations say security concerns are one of the biggest obstacles to rolling out more smart devices.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 05/19/2011

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VIET NAM: Information Insecurity Danger

Vietnam ranked fifth among 10 nations worldwide most at risk from information insecurity in 2010, according to the Vietnam Information Security Association (Visa). Over 30% of Vietnamese businesses reported network security problems, while around 30% admitted they didn't feel safe with their current network systems. Visa also said, at the national seminar on information security in Hanoi last week, that 20% of businesses couldn't identify a motivation behind the cyber attacks. Nguyen Viet The, head of the IT Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said information insecurity increased last year. The said the .vn domain is third-highest for vulnerability to hacker attacks, while nearly 60 million computers were attacked by viruses last year. Last year an online newspaper suffered DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks several times. Meanwhile, many websites of organizations and businesses have admitted serious shortcomings in information protection. The pointed out that poor management was the root cause of most problems. Most websites appear to ignore warnings from national information security agencies, while many people still use unauthorized software. As of February this year, Vietnam had 27 million Internet users, or 32% of the population. There were nearly 192,000 websites using the .vn domain and many businesses had adopted an online payment system into their business.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/15/2011

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INDIA: In Need of a Dedicated Cyber Security Policy

Cyber security and information security are growing demands across all the sectors in the government as well as private firms. With the advent of information technology comes a threat of it being misused. Today's cyber crimes are much more sophisticated than they were say 5 years back. The cyber crimes are committed with a lot of precision and planning and that is were the need for strict cyber laws and policies come in. "Internet is today world's largest database and having cyber laws means to protect that huge information base," said D R Karthikeyan, Former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Director General, CRPF. Speaking at ASSOCHAM's 4th International Conference themed 'Cyber and Network Security, he added that India needs a dedicated cyber security policy as the threats are huge and rampant and protecting the huge data which is there on the cloud is a challenge. "With businesses growing and expanding it has become a challenge to safeguard the information," he added. Also speaking at the conference B Bhamati, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India said, "Increasing level of information technology (IT) has resulted in exchange of high-level confidential information, its storage and processing." "Cyber security essentially depends on changing and upgrading according to the growing threats and crimes," she added. She talked about Adaptive Threat Management and its importance in today's scenario. "Need of the hour is undoubtedly Research and development, innovation and new ideas for dealing with the cyber crimes," she said. The conference discussed various Cyber and Network Security issues such as Critical Infrastructure Security, Mobile Security, Network Security, etc.


From http://egovonline.net/ 04/01/2011

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PAKISTAN: Crime on the Rise in ICT

ISLAMABAD - The federal capital witnessed an alarming increase in incidents of robbery, car-theft and cheque-fraud, with Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police registering eight robbery, seven car-theft and seven cheque-fraud cases in the last week alone. ICT police told Pakistan Today that they had registered two cases of murder last week, while the week before last, they had registered three cases of murder, two cases of robbery, six cases of car-theft and seven cases of cheque-fraud. Shalimar police station registered three cases of robbery and three cases of car-theft in the last week. Similarly, Margalla police station registered two cases of car-theft and a case of cheque-fraud in the last week. Two people were killed by unidentified assailants, a house was robbed and a car was stolen from the Koral police precincts last week while in the week before last, no significant cases were reported. Four robbery, one case each of car-theft and mobile phone snatching and two cases of cheque-fraud were registered with Sabzi Mandi police station. Kohsar police station registered seventeen cases of cheque-fraud, three cases of robbery and three cases of car-theft in past few weeks. Abpara police station registered one case each of robbery and cheque-fraud and Bhara Kahu police station registered one case each of robbery, car-theft and cheque-fraud in the last week. One incident each of robbery and cheque-fraud were reported at Sihala police station in the last week while in the week before last, two men were killed in the area. A police source said residents of rural areas including Bhara Kahu, Sihala, Tarnol and Sbazi Mandi had lodged several complaints regarding the high crime rate in their areas but the police, to show a good record to their high officials, were not registering numerous robbery, theft and burglary cases.


From http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/ 05/20/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: IT Ministry to Discuss Safety and Reliability of Postal Services

The Azerbaijani Communications and Information Technologies Ministry stated on Monday that it plans to take part in discussing issues of postal service reliability and safety. The discussion will be held on April 1 in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in a joint 32nd meeting of the Postal Commission of the Regional Commonwealth of Communications (RCC) and 21st meeting of the RCC Postal Operators Board. Novruz Mammadov will represent Azerbaijan at the meetings, as head of the postal services department of the ministry and as chairman of the postal services of the RCC. The meetings will discuss the joint stamp, the implementation of concepts of establishment within the RCC express mail system (EMS RCC) and other issues. These meetings, however, will be preceded by the third international workshop on March 29-31. It will focus on the Universal Postal Union's strategic regional project "Improving quality of service."


From http://en.trend.az/ 03/28/2011

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Information Security Systems Presented in Baku

BlueCoat and Kaspersky Labs have presented comprehensive information security system solutions in Baku. A presentation of the vendors' solutions was held at a specialized workshop on corporate security today under the auspices of Headtechnology Azerbaijan. Solutions were presented at the workshop on Web security, modern proxy servers, BlueCoat and Kaspersky Labs product integration and key information security issues. Blue Coat and Kaspersky Labs specialists spoke about the evolution of proxy server requirements, corporate Web security, and Internet access policy.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/20/2011

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Azerbaijan to Create Structure to Monitor E-news Portals

An Advisory Council will be created under the Azerbaijani Press Council to monitor the observance of journalistic ethics by the Internet news portals, Azerbaijani Press Council Chairman Aflatun Amashov told Trend. He said members to the advisory council will be elected by the experienced managers of information portals. Amashov said such a practice exists in other countries. "No country in the world controls the activities of Internet portals. However, social structures exist anywhere in the world and they control the quality of published materials and their conformity or nonconformity of journalistic ethics. In some countries, Internet portals themselves create such a social structure, and monitor through these structures. In other countries, this mission journalistic is performed by organization," Amashov siad. At a time of decision-making in respect to Internet portals, the Press Council will base on the advisory board's decisions. He said the decisions will include a public reprimand, no administrative penalty will be applied. "Decisions based on public reprimand are more effective. The media understands this and tries not to violate ethical standards. In practice, we have not yet faced with the constant violation of the ethical norms by the Internet information portals," he said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/03/2011

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Cyber Terrorism-related Information Resources in Azerbaijani Found in Foreign Countries' Servers

A number of cyber terrorism-related websites and information resources operating in the Azerbaijani language were found in foreign countries' servers, Azerbaijani National Security Ministry's Department head Karim Karimov said at a roundtable on "Cyber and national security: NATO policy and national position" on Wednesday. "The activity of such information resources have been ceased thanks to the joint operations of the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry, Communications and IT Ministry and other relevant agencies," he added. Investigation revealed that they were established to spread guidelines about the religious and national confrontation, illegal armed groups, terrorist and radical religious organizations and preparation of explosives. As a result of the deliberately distorted information provided by biased and non-objective forces, a number of well-known resources and information portals, which are used and referenced by users, lose their credibility, Karimov said.

Karimov cited the e-encyclopedia Wikipedia as an example. "Very often, the insidious forces post biased information about Azerbaijan here. Those who know nothing about Azerbaijan receive false information about our country and this affects the credibility and economy of the Republic," he said. Certain difficulties are faced while eliminating this problem, international organizations and foreign countries discuss the issue and systematically take measures, Karimov said. "An increase is observed in the number of online resources through which the separatist, nationalist and radical racist forces conduct a false ideological propaganda. Armenia continues its occupation policy against Azerbaijan in the virtual space. These attacks are conducted from the Internet segment of Armenia itself and neighboring countries. Recently, two Azerbaijani ministries' websites have been attacked by computer network and information resources. Investigations conducted by our colleagues in neighboring states revealed that Armenian citizens committed these attacks," Karimov said. A sale of special technical means used to obtain info is widespread through the Internet, he said. Conduct of illegal operational and investigative activities at a time of using e- money transfer services usually pose a threat to human rights and freedoms.

"Using online channels as a means of international communication, we encounter the illegal services. This is manifested in the form of theft of telecommunications traffic. The number of such crimes has been increased recently. Offenders create virtual companies with limited technical capabilities under the guise of providing cheap telephone conversations with various countries, and they transmit communication traffic more than their opportunities allow. But they can not pass it with high quality and stable, which results in occurrence of problems in channels. Communication traffic, which can not be passed, does not reach its destination. Some companies, giving announcements in a variety of texts, deceive customers and create an inconvenience for them," Karimov said. Investigations revealed cases of selling pornographic materials and materials on child pornography and drugs through the Internet. Important state infrastructure and human lives become subject if attacks through computer network. Manifestations of cyber-terrorism are observed in virtual space. Forces, taking advantage of opportunities of information technology to carry out their illegal activities, criminals and terrorists create a cyber-threats to national security, Karimov said. Cyber crime and cyber attacks carried out inside the country and from abroad, are transnational in nature in Azerbaijan. "Through the network, we face cases of destruction, modification, and denial of information, copyright infringement, misappropriation of information, spread of viral programs to assign computers and their networks, banking and financial transactions using of information illegally obtained cards and money laundering ," Karimov said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/04/2011

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KAZAKHSTAN: Websites Blocked Ahead of Elections

It's election season in Kazakhstan and the government isn't risking an Arab-style revolt (a very unlikely prospect anyway). But to play it safe, in recent weeks the Kazakh authorities have increased web censorship in the Central Asian country. Last week our bureau in Almaty noticed that some RFE/RL sites (including our Kazakh, Russian, and English-language sites) were not accessible for those who connect through the biggest ISPs -- KazTeleCom and Nursat, which are closely associated with the state. "It was first noticed on Monday morning [February 21] at 8:30 a.m. local time when our senior web editor came to work and couldn't access our own website from his work computer," the head of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service Yedige Magauin said. "All of our sites were inaccessible, with short breaks of 15-20 minutes when there was access. Those 'breaks' repeatedly happened almost every 40-60 minutes. The same picture is being reported from our correspondents in south of the country. In western parts of Kazakhstan, no problem was reported at this point." Our bureau staff also had problems accessing the BBC Russian website, the K-Plus TV station, and the opposition newspaper "Respublika" (which has been blocked for a while.)

This has happened before. A Kazakh NGO, For The Free Internet, announced on January 27 that at least 14 websites had been blocked by the Kazakh government, including opposition media outlets and some social networks. According to For The Free Internet, the websites were blocked by KazTeleCom, Kazakhstan's major Internet provider. In April 2010, KazTeleCom blocked access to two opposition publications often critical of the government. And RFE/RL's Kazakh website was blocked in 2008. The Kazakh government denied responsibility and the blockage persisted for over seven weeks. In 2009, Kazakhstan adopted controversial amendments to its Law on Information and Communications Networks. Essentially that meant that all websites, including blogs and social network sites, are considered "mass media" giving the authorities wider legal powers to prosecute "offending" parties. An RFE/RL staffer from the bureau went to the headquarters of Nursat last week and met with the head of the company's tech department, who denied any blockage on their part. They promised to send their technicians to check the situation, but failed to. In subsequent reporting, an unnamed source in Nursat's technical department admitted to RFE/RL that the company is "blocking" the websites and that they "have to obey their bosses."

Magauin, the head of our service, speculated that: "One possibility is it is believed that a big portion of Azattyq's [RFE/RL's Kazakh Service] audience in Kazakhstan are office workers, including officials, who access our website from their workplace." KazTeleCom and Nursat mainly provide connections to offices and government buildings, whereas household connections, which are generally serviced by a different KazTeleCom subsidiary, have not been disrupted. With Internet shutdowns in Egypt and Libya, it's possible also that the Kazakh authorities are testing their shutdown capabilities, via the ISPs. Or maybe, ahead of the April 3 presidential election which the incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev is going to win by a mile, they're just trying to frustrate users interested in accessing the site, without being accused of actually blocking anything. This kind of selective filtering is consistent with Kazakhstan's past practices and the assessment by the OpenNet Initiative: The government has established systems to monitor and filter Internet traffic. Since the traffic of all first-tier ISPs goes through KazakhTelecom's channels, surveillance and filtering is centralized. The ONI suspects that state officials informally ask KazakhTelecom to filter certain content. The government has established systems to monitor and filter Internet traffic. Since the traffic of all first-tier ISPs goes through KazakhTelecom's channels, surveillance and filtering is centralized. The ONI suspects that state officials informally ask KazakhTelecom to filter certain content.

Don't, however, expect a youth-and-social-media fueled revolution any time soon in Kazakhstan. Not only does Nazarbaev have a firm grip on power, but the opposition is weak and divided. Bruce Pannier, one of RFE/RL's Central Asia experts, paints a fairly gloomy picture. According to him, there have been some trickle-down benefits to create and sustain an emerging middle class in the oil-rich country, which has provided a degree of stability (especially when compared to Kazakhstan's less stable neighbors to the south). Logistically, as Pannier points out, Kazakhstan is a huge country with a population of only some 16 million and with few compact urban areas such as Almaty and Astana. So upheaval -- regardless of any Internet filtering activity on behalf of the government -- looks very unlikely.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 03/02/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Govt Reveals New Cyberspooks Unit

The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation is opening a new cyber investigations unit that will combat electronic spying in the nation's networks. This special cyber investigations unit will investigate and provide advice on state-sponsored cyber attacks against or involving Australian interests. The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is working to guard against foreign interference and espionage through technical means, said Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland in a speech at the unit's unveiling. McClelland acknowledged cyber security as being at the forefront of the Australian government's agenda. "Cyber intrusion, while a distinct method of accessing otherwise private information or disrupting critical systems, cannot be considered in isolation," he said. "It forms an important part of the broader security landscape. Ultimately, cyber security is a people problem - as people hack computers." For this reason, the Australian government is investing in enhanced capabilities for bolstering its resilience against related threats. The end aim is for the government to better prevent, detect and prosecute cyber intrusions.

The Australian government is strengthening its fight against cyber espionage by holding a close cooperation between ASIO, the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Defence Signals Directorate's Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC). The partnership seeks to identify developing threats and determine suitable responses. "The cooperation is crucial especially to countering the threat posed by those using the Internet as a modern espionage tool with the potential to facilitate access to large volumes of sensitive government and commercial information" said McClelland. McClelland said the interest in cyber activity is continuously rising within the community, brought about by such cyber security threats as 'GhostNet" in 2009, which infected computers of Tibetan non-government organisations and the private office of the Dalai Lama, and the 'Stuxnet" worm that has controlled critical infrastructure in Estonia in the past. "These attacks and the threat to critical infrastructure such as banking, telecommunications and government systems is not something we can be complacent about," he said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 03/14/2011

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South Australia Police to Adopt e-Crime Distributed Review System

An upward trend in cybercrime in South Australia (SA) has pushed the SA Police Force to adopt a distributed review system to help local authorities and investigators work on more electronic crimes more quickly and efficiently. Since 2003, the SA Police has operated an Electronic Crime Section (ECS) to conduct electronic analysis and investigate incidents of cybercrime. The establishment of the ECS has provided effective crime prevention and enforcement services in the electronic era during that time. However, due to the rapid phase of technological innovation, the rising demand for anti-cybercrime initiatives outstripped the Police Force's capacity. The e-Crime Distributed Review System will enable the SA police force to remotely access forensic data taken or seized from computer hard drives and other data storage devices, cutting time to provide electronic evidence services. The system would also allow investigators to review and search through data and bookmark files, pictures, videos, emails, and other documents that are of evidentiary value to the case. Furthermore, it is expected that the distributed review system will also decrease the demand on electronic evidence specialist personnel through allowing front line investigators to access, review and search with relative ease and through the application of semi-automated processes in a forensically safe and secure manner.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 05/03/2011

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Responding to Cybercrime Threats in the Pacific

Threats originating from cybercrime or computer-related crime are just as real to Pacific Island nations as any other country in the world and therefore need to be addressed through appropriate national cybercrime policies and legislation. This was the main message delivered to delegates at the Pacific Regional Workshop on Cybercrime, which commenced in Nuku´alofa, Tonga today. The workshop aims to support Pacific Island nations in strengthening their cybercrime legislation in line with international standards such as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Addressing over 70 delegates at the workshop, Prime Minister of Tonga Lord Tuʻivakan身 said, 'Lack of resources and capacity are familiar limitations in our joint efforts in the Pacific to provide adequate measures against this rather international criminal act. Since threats can originate anywhere around the globe, the challenges are inherently international in scope, and it seems that the solution requires international cooperation, investigative assistance, and common substantive and procedural provisions," he added. Lord Tuʻivakan身also outlined several factors that were critical to achieving the objectives of this workshop. These included a comprehensive national cyber security plan, strong commitment and leadership by governments to fight misuse of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by enacting dedicated laws, clear organisational responsibility for enforcement activities and making available adequate resources to enforcement authorities for monitoring purposes.

Andrew Warnes from the Attorney General's Office in Australia, reiterating the Australian Government's commitment to work collaboratively with its Pacific neighbours in this area, said that the Internet had made it significantly easier for criminals to operate from abroad, especially from those countries where regulations and enforcement arrangements were weak. 'For this reason, it is critical that laws are harmonised, or at least compatible, to allow for cooperation internationally to tackle this growing problem," he said. Alexander Seger from the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, emphasised that the internet rights and freedom go hand in hand with the rule of law. He underlined the benefits of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime for countries of the Pacific. 'This treaty serves as a guideline for countries to strengthen their legislation and as a framework for efficient international cooperation," he explained. 'The cybercrime legislation of Tonga is already largely in line with the Budapest Convention." Siaosi Sovaleni, Manager of the Pacific ICT Outreach Programme at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) brought attention to the Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific, which highlights addressing cybercrime in the Pacific as a regional priority. 'This ICT framework was not only endorsed by Pacific ICT ministers but also the Pacific Forum Leaders in August last year," he said. 'We have the political support and it is now up to you and me to implement this decision. I do hope that this workshop is not the end but the beginning of our efforts to ensure we have the appropriate legislative framework and tools to make ICT use safer, especially for our Pacific communities." The three-day workshop is organised by SPC in partnership with the Australian Government, the Council of Europe and the Government of Tonga.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 04/29/2011

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Mobile Infrastructure Market Rebounded to Highest Level Since 2008

Mobile infrastructure market revenues increased 33 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $11.2 billion, according to a report released by Dell'Oro Group. The report indicates that the market expansion was a result of continued strong WCDMA sales, as well as a pick up in the 2G market. In addition, vendors started recognizing significant LTE infrastructure revenues during the fourth quarter. "The demand for mobile broadband is spreading throughout the world, and we saw strong WCDMA performance in all regions as the massive growth in data traffic resulted in operators worldwide investing in their 3G networks," commented Stefan Pongratz, Analyst of Mobile Infrastructure research at Dell'Oro Group." The fourth quarter marked the first period of significant LTE revenues. While the U.S. operators led in terms of covered LTE population, it was the European vendors who took the lead in the LTE infrastructure market. Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens in particular, accounted for 80 percent of LTE infrastructure revenues during the quarter," continued Pongratz. The report indicates that the positive momentum seen during the fourth quarter will continue in 2011, as the total mobile infrastructure market is forecast to grow 5 percent next year, with the WCDMA and LTE markets forecast to show significant expansions.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/02/2011

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Digitally Connected Economies: Sweden, Singapore Top the List - UK Comes at 15th While US Is 5th

Sweden is the most prepared country to take advantage of ICT in driving economic growth for the second year in a row, according to the World Economic Forum's 10th Global Information Technology Report released earlier this week. Singapore missed out on the top spot once again and trails Sweden by 0.01 points. The WEF said: "ICT continues to drive innovation, productivity and efficiency gains across industries as well as to improve citizens' daily lives." The report examined 138 countries which accounts for over 98% of the global GDP. Finland, Switzerland and the United States make up the top five while the UK comes at 15. Europe dominates the top 20 list with 11 places as France takes the 20th spot while Germany is ranked 13th. There are 3 Nordic countries in the top 5, and 5 in the top 10 and Iceland is ranked 16th behind the UK.

Asia and the Middle East have done well too and there has been significant improvements recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean region. However, Africa especially sub Saharan African and North Africa demonstrated downward trends. The rankings were based on a set of 71 socio-economic indicators based around three main stakeholders - individuals, businesses as well as government, and include assessments of markets, regulatory environment and education. One of the key reasons for relatively lower ratings for the UK and the US was their failure to score high on quality of math and science education. UK came 55th in that ranking while the US did a little better at 52.

The ownership of PCs and broadband penetration also counted for a lot in the rankings which shows why European economies such as Spain and Portugal did worse. And it also shows why South Korea, Hong Kong and others have done better than the US and the UK, where many people still do not have access to superfast broadband unlike the Asia Pacific countries. Soumitra Dutta and Irene Mia, authors of the research's summary, said: "This presents an opportunity for economies - and cities - all over the globe to take decisive steps to gain the competitive advantage that can be derived from widespread use of broadband networks."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 04/15/2011

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IT Is Heading Toward Its Own Industrial Revolution: Analyst

The IT industry is in need of a fundamental shift, much like the industrial revolution, where the growing demand by end users for IT services will force a new paradigm for software deployment and consumption that will be more efficient and cheaper, said an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Jean-Pierre Garbani explained that IT environments are getting increasingly complex - software complexity and capacity doubles in size every two years, and workers are getting more mobile with device proliferation - yet IT departments continue to respond with band-aid fixes. Garbani said popular approaches such as increasing headcount, virtualization, and process automation are often applied outside of a long-term IT strategy. "What you get at the end of the day, is more diversity in the tools and therefore more complexity," said Garbani.

Organizations have the habit of building all of what they consume, such as building apps that, in turn, render IT services, said Garbani. But, as with the industrial revolution, the route to greater productivity at lesser cost is to acquire components of the IT environment from third parties who have already built it, believes Garbani. Cloud computing, he continued, is that new paradigm that companies, such as Amazon and Google, have leveraged for economies of scale. Yet, Garbani warns that this paradigm shift will force process change across the organization. With automated processes, less human intervention is required. IT admins, whose jobs have traditionally been very tactical, will find themselves in more strategic roles. A recent global study by Axios Systems Inc., an IT services management provider with an office in Toronto, investigated the degree to which organizations are continuing to manage IT services amid a move to the cloud.

Only 26 per cent of IT professionals thought their IT service management processes were mature enough to manage cloud services. Meanwhile, half of respondents didn't think their organizations were ready, and 23 per cent were unsure.The same study also looked at the rate at which organizations are moving to the cloud. Twenty-eight per cent of respondents already adopted a cloud strategy in one or more areas of the organization. Five per cent have plans to deploy cloud services in the next three months. Twenty per cent plan to roll out cloud services in six months and beyond. Thirty-two per cent reported having zero plans to adopt a cloud strategy. When it comes to IT service supply chains, Axios's executive vice-president Markos Symeonides said many organizations he works with understand why they must have a complete view of how business services are built. "These organizations must get an end-to-end view for all services, including cloud-based ones," said Symeonides.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 05/06/2011

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AFRICA: Network Convergence in South Africa Presents New Revenue Opportunities

Convergence presents opportunities for overcoming declining revenues of voice only services and promoting usage of broadband data services, where the current focus is on investments. Convergence turns networks into customer-centric services-oriented platforms that promote subscriber retention and revenue growth. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market had 19.12 million dual play subscribers in 2009 and estimates this to reach 161.02 million in 2016. Declining voice revenues due to price differentiation are pushing investments into broadband data services. This will promote convergence. "The demand for converged services will grow in all market segments and will be driven by increasing broadband penetration," notes Frost & Sullivan ICT Senior Research Analyst Dr. Vitalis G. Ozianyi. "Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are investing in broadband data services to create new revenue sources to overcome declining voice average revenue per user (ARPUs)."

Broadband will support new services like TV and Web services that will be effectively marketed as converged products rather than individual services. These products will foster CSP competitiveness based on service differentiation. Lack of concrete business models to support the adoption of convergence is likely to slow down the migration to converged network platforms. CSPs in the region depend on mobile voice revenues and prefer to introduce independent services that will not influence income from voice. "The lack of proven successful converged networks and services business models for the SSA market means that independent service offerings are preferred by CSPs," remarks Ozianyi. "Broadband data services are being introduced as separate subscriptions from voice; the same trend is expected for video services like mobile TV."

The motivation to migrate to IMS service control platforms for converged IP networks is hindered by the lack of business models that will ensure continued offering of niche services. This is true especially for circuit switched voice and SMS. Gradual adoption of convergence will enable operators to seamlessly offer niche services and benefit from offering of new services bundled in enriched products to gain a competitive advantage in the market. CSPs need to take advantage of convergence to prepare their networks for subscriber demand for rich multimedia services that will overtake the demand for current niche products for both business and consumer segments. "They should ensure that investments in network infrastructure go towards build capacity for subscriber and service management, and data transport," concludes Ozianyi. "This will position the networks appropriately for evolution.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/23/2011

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Africa: Pan-African Parliamentary Science Forum Launched

Addis Ababa - An Africa-wide forum for parliamentarians which aims to give science, technology and innovation (ST&I) a more central role in the policy-making process was launched this week (2 May). The African Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (AIPF-STI) was launched by speakers, presidents and delegates of African parliaments on the sidelines of the Second Session of the Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST-II), held in Ethiopia. All national African parliaments, the Pan-African Parliament and all regional parliamentary assemblies will be members. Observer's status may be granted to the Network of African Science Academies, the media, representatives of science councils or universities and regional and international organisations such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Africa is the least advanced continent in ST&I and the move will boost its growth at national, regional and continental levels, said Aida Opoku-Mensah, director of the ICT and science & technology division at UNECA. "The move by parliamentarians to take interest in ST&I will help push its agenda within their governments so it gets due attention," she said at the launch. Conversations between parliamentarians and scientists should, Opoku-Mensah said, lead to improved structures for research and development - essential if Africa is to meet the Millennium Development Goals and address other development challenges.

Lidia Brito, director of the division of science policy and sustainable development in the natural sciences sector of UNESCO, said the forum will encourage dialogue but also ensure that African parliaments have structures that support ST&I such as strong parliamentary committees. "It will be about bringing parliamentarians, scientists and journalists together to share their common ground with a specific common agenda - which will be to influence the policy-making process," she said. Brito added that this is the first Africa-wide forum for parliamentarians with a central agenda of promoting ST&I. Abdirahim Abdi, speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, said: "For scientists to push their agenda at policy-making level, they need to work closely with MPs to lobby governments for funding against competing national interests". The forum would further this goal, he said. Abdi said the first major challenge for the forum will be funding, although all member states will carry some financial responsibility for its running costs. Possible hosts for the secretariat are the East African Legislative Assembly and UNECA. The forum was launched as a result of collaboration between UNECA, the African Union, UNESCO, ISESCO and other partners.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/04/2011

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Africa: Region 'Must Embrace Geospatial Information'

Addis Ababa - African governments could become more sensitive to what their people really need by harnessing the wealth of available geospatial information, a meeting of scientists and policymakers has heard. This was one of the recommendations put forward by a meeting of the sub-committee on geo-information on the sidelines of the Second Session of the Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST-II), in Ethiopia, earlier this month (2-5 May). "Given that over 80 per cent of public and private planning and decision-making processes use geospatial data, governments of developing countries need to recognise and acknowledge the importance of GIS [geographic information systems]," Wilbur Ottichilo, a Kenyan parliamentarian, told SciDev.Net.

One of the success stories presented at the meeting was the work of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) - based in Nairobi, Kenya, and established in 1975 by the Economic Commission for Africa - which provides advisory services and capacity building for GIS services such as surveying, mapping and remote sensing. Over the last seven years, RCMRD has been collaborating with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to establish a satellite-based early warning system for disasters, SERVIR-Africa. Ottichilo, a former director-general of RCMRD, uses GIS to determine which areas within his constituency, Emuhaya, lack infrastructure or have poor harvests. The entire constituency is being mapped using the Constituency Development Information System (CDIS).

Africa Must Embrace Geospatial Information. The aim of CDIS is to create a 'smart' system that analyses, stores and displays geographical data to help with improved planning and management for food security and poverty alleviation. For example, it allows online monitoring of how crops are doing by looking at satellite images of vegetation in the area. But Africa is still poorly mapped, with much of the data unreliable or held commercially, according to Derek Clarke, chief director of South African mapping organisation National Geo-spatial Information. This could be attributed to the lack of a methodological approach to the collection and maintenance of geospatial data, Clarke said. It is also a clear indication that the continent's national mapping organisations are poorly resourced. He added that any GIS technologies developed must be affordable and appropriate for the African context.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/16/2011

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RWANDA: Digital Multimedia Academy to Open Next Month

The Africa Digital Multimedia Academy, which is supported by Pixel Corps, a US-based digital media firm, will next month open its doors, at the Regional ICT Training Centre (RITC) of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Director of RITC, Jerome Gasana, said that preparations for the opening are at advanced stages. "We concluded an agreement with Pixel and we are going to purchase some of the equipment that will be used in the academy," he added. Gasana disclosed that they are expecting instructors from the USA, early next month. He said that the centre would start with an initial batch of 10-20 students as a pilot phase. He added that the move is to assess the success of the academy in terms of training before more are enrolled.

The academy will focus on quality video and film production, basic production skills like computer graphics, shooting/editing, and audio lighting. Other aspects of digital media production such as podcast technology and online streaming video broadcast, binary skills such as rot scoping, match moving, distance learning, visual literacy would also be taught. The criteria for selecting students will be based on knowledge of basic computer skills. Pixel Corps has specialised in computer graphics and video production for close to 30 years and has worked with some of the largest visual production companies in the US, such as Industrial Light and Magic and Lucas Film on the Box Office hit movie, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The government will fully fund the academy while Pixel Corps will provide the required technology.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/27/2011

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ZIMBABWE: Awards of Excellence for Outstanding Sectors

Vice President Joice Mujuru is on Wednesday next week expected to present the Infrastructure Development Forum awards to sectors that excelled in infrastructure development over the past year. The twoday event, which brings together diplomats, development banks, advisory firms, Government officials and corporates, will be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls. According to the organisers of the awards, Noteworthy Thinking Capital, the awards will be presented in 20 categories. Ms Sandra Mehlomakulu said the companies would be assessed for their performance during the period from January to December 2010.

Among some of the notable awards to be presented are Best Building of Zimbabwe, Best Infrastructure Asset Portfolio, Most Converging ICT Network, Most Progressive Zimbabwean Legislation/Policy Affecting Infrastructure, Best Infrastructure Deal, Best Zimbabwean Revenue Collector for Infrastructure, Best Construction Company of the Year, and Best Infrastructure Bank. Ms Mehlomakulu said the public was also invited to vote for the winners through email at She said that infrastructure development was central to the country's economic recovery efforts as it anchored all activities.

Among some of the recommendations made at the forum last year was a call for the respect for and enforcement of intellectual property rights. There was also a call to increase funding for research and development through such avenues as tax breaks. The forum also recommended human capital development through a constructive engagement of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. The use of ICT in human capital development was also highlighted. In terms of parastatals and State enterprises, the Infrastructure Development Forum said that there was need to justify the existence of such entities. There was need for the Government to revisit its involvement in this business and consider whether they should be privatised or not.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/06/2011

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ARAB STATES: Saudi Arabia - Public Sector IT Spending in Saudi to Reach USD 2.4 Billion in 2013, Further Driving Demand for Advanced Enterprise IT Solutions

Novell to conduct exclusive demos in KSA about strategic advantages of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Novell Middle East, the leader in Intelligent Workload Management (IWM), pointed out that public sector IT spending in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been projected to reach USD 2.4 billion in 2013 from around USD 1.6 billion in 2009 for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9 per cent, according to Springboard Research. The trend provides the ideal backdrop to strengthen Novell's marketing activities in KSA and organise campaigns to educate target audiences about its next-generation enterprise solutions. Meanwhile, Novell has announced that it will conduct a road show in Saudi Arabia where it will provide exclusive demonstrations of the strategic advantages of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, an interoperable platform for mission-critical computing. The road show will be held on Sunday (March 06, 2011) in Riyadh, KSA, as part of Novell's continuing efforts to create awareness across key growth markets about the latest advances in its cutting-edge IT enterprise solutions.

Diyaa Zebian Managing, Director - Middle East and North Africa, Novell, said: "The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is designed to handle mission-critical workloads and offers a truly powerful and cost-efficient solution for business enterprises. With IT expenditure across Saudi Arabia growing steadily, it is crucial to organise awareness campaigns that will allow business enterprises to understand and take advantage of the strategic advantages of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Novell is certainly eager to hold the road show in KSA as several companies have already confirmed their participation in the event." Novell boasts more than 25 years of expertise in business technology to help enterprises enhance operating flexibility at lower total cost of ownership. Recognised as a global leader in Intelligent Workload Management systems, the company provides solutions and support to over 50,000 companies in 43 countries.


From http://www.mysolutioninfo.com/ 03/06/2011

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ASIA-PACIFIC: ASEAN Discusses ICT Application to Industry

The 3rd Regional Conference on ICT Applications to Industries and Small Companies in ASEAN Countries (RCICT 2011) was hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos. The conference is designed to provide opportunity for participants to exchange information and ideas on emerging systems, standards, regulations, services and variety of applications of ICTs. "Recently, we are facing rapid changes of ICT industries more than ever, which make us hard to catch up with the fast pace of development. To respond to this trend, businesses, regulators, and researchers have to adapt themselves to provide better interactive environments for general public," said Dean of the National University of Laos's Engineering Faculty, Mr. Boualinh Soysouvanh. "Researches should go beyond their academic contributions and make some practical contribution to our everyday lives. It's not easy to keep up with the fast pace of the ICT development alone," added Mr. Boualinh.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 03/11/2011

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Cloud Adoption Accelerating in Asia Pacific - IDC

According to research firm IDC, the adoption of cloud services is continuing to mature in the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) region. The region has emerged from the economic uncertainties of 2009 and 2010 with increased enthusiasm for cloud computing as a way of delivering existing and new business services. Use of cloud technologies for IT infrastructure will accelerate rapidly in 2011 as new cloud services are brought to market, and users will look beyond the basics of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to source business services that will enable their organization to take advantage of recovering markets more quickly.

In its latest report, IDC said APEJ remains different in many ways from the rest of the world, and the course of future cloud development will differ in a manner defined by the limits of budget, bandwidth, and local legislation. But as one key trend, driven in part by the economic recovery and in part by the availability of cloud computing offerings, is a renewed focus on enterprise IT as business enabler and competitive differentiator. Cloud computing is the key accelerator of this trend. Most of the enterprise IT "stack" is now available via cloud models in the form of infrastructure, platforms and Applications-as-a-Service.

But as the cloud delivery model is maturing, IDC is now seeing the next layers being delivered via cloud models as well: business processes, consulting, design and management. "The end-game of this trend is an IT framework where business managers can fully manage, procure and consume all the services, processes and systems they require in order to run their business in the best and most agile way possible. And in this framework, none of these will be seen as or consumed as 'IT" but merely seen as necessary services", said Chris Morris, research director of IDC's Asia Pacific cloud technologies and services. "This means that the key CIO responsibilities will move beyond the traditional ones of validating suppliers in terms of availability, performance and compliance. The future role of the CIO will be much more business focused and will become more about managing contracts and relationships. So even for the CIO, technology itself is becoming less and less of a focal point," Chris added.

However, while technology may not be the focal point of this framework, technology is clearly needed to make it work. Whether it runs on a private cloud, hybrid or public clouds or even on more traditional IT platforms, technology is at the core of this transition towards IT being seen as any number of services. "All CIOs today should be focusing on how their choice of IT can help the enterprise to get to this point. Any IT deployment, any IT plan and every IT strategy today should be seen in the light of how enterprise IT can be changed from being technology centric to being business centric. The CIO should focus on IT that enables this transition towards "IT without technology," added Claus Mortensen, IDC's principal of Asia Pacific emerging technology research. - Newsbytes.ph


From http://www.gmanews.tv/ 04/09/2011

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Broadband World Forum Asia Asks What's Next for Broadband in Asia-Pacific?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With less than a month to go before the largest broadband event in the Asia-Pacific region and with more than 53 countries represented and 115 operator companies attending, the Broadband World Forum Asia 2011 agenda is still expanding and is shaping up to be the biggest event yet. "There are huge opportunities for the broadband industry across the Asia-Pacific region and it is the subject of continued discussion by operators and service providers."

The latest additions to the Broadband World Forum Asia programme include a service provider partnership with Pacnet which will see its Chief Executive Officer Bill Barney lead a keynote presentation on Day 1. Plus, coveted presentations have been added from Dr. Chengbin Shen, Director of the Mobile and Broadband Network Division at Shanghai Research Institute, China Telecom who will be discussing the Status and Strategy of China Telecom Optical Access Network Development and from Ric Clark, Chief Technology Officer at Alcatel-Lucent Australia on Realizing The Potential Of A Connected World: How Can Carriers Leverage Broadband To Deliver New Revenue Streams Through New Business Models?

A full A to Z of Asia-Pacific operators from AT&T, Bharti Airtel and China Telecom through to XOX Com, YTL Communications and Zain have been secured and will address the 2,000+ delegates at the event on 10 and 11 May 2011, at the KL Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Co-located with IP&TV World Forum Asia 2011, Broadband World Forum Asia 2011 will focus on how the industry can Profit from investment into High Speed Broadband as an Enabler of Social and Economic Growth and will feature a comprehensive speaker programme debating the hot topics across Asia and the wider global broadband industry. Gavin Whitechurch, director of the Broadband World Forum series, is looking forward to kicking off the debates. He said: "There are huge opportunities for the broadband industry across the Asia-Pacific region and it is the subject of continued discussion by operators and service providers.

"Some countries, such as India, are embracing the possibility of a National Broadband Network and are investing significant amounts of money in FTTH projects. There are other countries, like Bangladesh which are embracing the mobile broadband market as there is a widespread lack of fixed internet access. The options are varied and are all helping to improve the way people communicate and do business across the globe." Broadband World Forum Asia, the largest broadband event in the Asia-Pacific region, is back on the industry calendar after a brief absence, and is set to equip the industry with the latest opinions on how to increase revenues and maximise investment in fibre and broadband networks. The combined exhibition is Asia Pacific's largest broadband media showcase and networking centre. To view the full event programme and register for the conference, visit the Broadband World Forum Asia 2011 website at www.broadbandworldforum.com/asia


From http://www.businesswire.com/ 04/20/2011

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Digital Drought in Asia

HUA HIN, Thailand - The web is full in Asia, at least according to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) which has announced the release of its last batch of IPv4 Internet addresses. It comes as no surprise that the number of IP addresses has been exhausted; after all, the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) already made it known in February that it had assigned the last IPv4 blocks to Regional Internet Registries. The surprise is that those addresses where used up so fast in the Asia-Pacific region.

APNIC has reserved almost 17 million IPv4 addresses for release under a limited distribution plan primarily to network operators for use in the facilitation of integrating with new generation IPv6 address blocks. Under the new rations eligible organizations will only be entitled to 1,024 new addresses. A day before the announcement Chinanet Fujian Province Network managed to snag up more than a thousand small blocks adding up to nearly half a million IPv4 addresses. Many Internet providers across Asia have been aggressively buying up net addresses in preparation for the dearth ahead. A number of them will have sufficient reserves to enable them to offer more services to end users; many also connect users and share the same address over multiple packages. Those that have not foreseen the impending digital drought may be forced to turn down new customers and in turn may go out of business.

A hasty rollout of IPv6 technology by Asia-Pacific providers is not the solution either, as connectivity between the new system and those that still have not upgraded from IPv4 will be fraught with headaches with network address translation (NAT) technologies. Part of this problem lies in the fact that the United States is still clinging on to the lion's share of the 4 billion IPv4 addresses currently available. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) has over 60 million regular addresses left and administers more than 75 million unused legacy addresses. Microsoft recently spent US$7.5 million to purchase 666,000 addresses from Nortel. Today's reliance on current technology and reluctance of global Internet carriers to get their heads together and make IPv6 a reality for all could give them a bigger hangover tomorrow.

Hardware
BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion has finally jumped onto the tablet train with the launch of its own Playbook this week. The unit, which has some hard-hitting competitors including two versions of Apple's iPad and a slew of Android tablets, has not been given the complimentary introduction it wanted by technology and review websites. The major downside of the device is its reliance on an existing BlackBerry smartphone to access its full functionality. The Playbook does not have its own cellular connection, only WiFi, so to get online away from a hotspot it needs to be tethered to a BlackBerry. The tablet "bridges" to the phone via a secure Bluetooth connection to access encrypted corporate emails, contacts and calendars stored on the handset; once the connection is severed the data is lost (it remains on the BlackBerry). RIM claims that this functionality will be built into future models of the Playbook along with its own cellular connection. In reality, those that don't already have a BlackBerry may be better off looking elsewhere for a tablet device. The unit has been priced to compete with the iPad, namely $500 for the entry level device up to $700 for the top-end one.

Telecoms
The planet's most secretive tech company has been throwing out lawsuits again this week claiming rival companies are copying them. Apple sued Samsung for mimicking the look and feel of its own iPhone and iPad. The company is alleging that Samsung's Galaxy smartphone and tablet range, which are powered by rival company Google's Android software, are too similar to Apple devices in look and feel. Apple is claiming patent infringement on color, shape, scrolling, zooming, and motion-based functionality used in its own products. To appease the fickle fruit, maybe Samsung, and all other rivals, should have designed pink triangular tablets that activate when dropped into water and zoom when they are hurled into the air at high speed. Apple is also embroiled in lawsuits with rival smartphone manufacturers Motorola and HTC over similar issues.

Internet
Yahoo has made a u-turn on its data-harvesting and privacy policies by stating that it will be retaining search records for 18 months. The move, which is unlikely to win the search company any new friends, will begin in mid-July whereupon Yahoo will begin storing user search data, including IP addresses, cookies and search-related information, for 18 months. The current storage time is 90 days. Microsoft, which powers Yahoo's search technology, implemented a six-month anonymizing strategy last year to protect user privacy by masking parts of their IP address and deleting personally identifiable data. Yahoo's announcement has back-tracked on that policy and angered privacy activists who feel that large Internet companies are gathering too much information on people and as a consequence are becoming too powerful themselves. Google, the big daddy of the search and online advertising industry, also keeps user search data for a year and a half. About 97% of its almost $30 billion per year in revenues from online advertising doesn't come from nowhere - it comes from your behavior on the web! (By Martin J Young)


From http://atimes.com/ 04/22/2011

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EUROPE: 2011 European Outsourcing Association Summit & Awards Announced in Spain

The 2011 European Outsourcing Association (EOA) Summit & Awards will take place in Madrid, Spain on 20th & 21st June, it has been announced. Hosted by the EOA's Spanish chapter, the 2011 EOA Summit will look to build on the success of the 2010 event by bringing together Europe's leading outsourcing suppliers, end-users and support service providers for a two day conference focusing on the latest innovations, trends and developments in the European outsourcing market. The event will also include the prestigious European Outsourcing Association Awards, a gala awards ceremony aimed at celebrating and rewarding excellence in pan-European outsourcing.

"We're extremely pleased to announce that this year's Summit and Awards will be held in Madrid in June," said Martyn Hart, Chairman of the EOA. "Last year's event proved to be extremely popular with our members, and was hugely successful. We look forward to offering delegates the opportunity to learn about and celebrate best practice in outsourcing, while ensuring a variety of networking opportunities as well as, of course, an opportunity to relax and enjoy the world famous Spanish hospitality."

As the umbrella organisation for a collection of not-for-profit trade associations operating across Europe, the EOA is the centre of excellence in pan-European outsourcing, focused on communicating the significant benefits and strategic lessons of outsourcing across Europe. Run by its members, for its members, it offers a unique combination of seasoned experts and practitioners working on the buy-side and supply-side of outsourcing, active across the Central European markets. With more than 1,000 corporate members from the seven national trade associations the current EOA chapters span across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, UK and Spain. Companies already confirmed as attending this year include: Visionlab, T-Systems, Telefonica Espana, DHL Supply Chain, Adecco, Hitachi, Steria, Fujitsu, and Capgemini.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 03/31/2011

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GREECE: Online Youth Entrepreneurship Platform Focuses on Community Building and Knowledge Sharing

In what is considered a first for the Greek public administration, digital information, networking functions, as well as all the required material for anyone currently doing business in Greece or wishing to do so, are being incorporated into the information, networking and collaboration platform 'Startup Greece'. According to Michalis Chrysohoidis, Minister for Regional Development and Competitiveness, the youth entrepreneurship initiative 'Startup Greece' contains a database of laws and regulations, procedures, support structures, incentives, success stories and failures and interaction with public and private institutions. Mr Chrysohoidis invites membership and requests that participants assist in fostering an entrepreneurial culture.

Startup Greece is aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Greece, bringing together people and ideas and changing the country's perception of doing business and entrepreneurship. It combines an online entrepreneurship community with a knowledge and information database specialised in the field of doing business. Startup Greece targets the following stakeholders: entrepreneurs and young people interested in starting a business; business experts; private investors and business angels; financial organisation executives; public administration officials; executives working for business and/or innovation-related bodies; and interested lay persons. Startup Greece is supported by the Ministry of Regional Development and Competitiveness and the Greek Government, in collaboration with communities of young entrepreneurs.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/13/2011

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Digital Divide Still Present in Washington, D.C., Broadband Map Shows

Washington, D.C., continues to deal with a "stark digital divide" within the city, a problem highlighted again in a broadband adoption map released Wednesday, March 9. The online map found that the average broadband wireline adoption rate for Washington, D.C's population in 2009 was 65.3 percent. But broadband adoption continues to vary widely among Washington, D.C.'s eight wards. Officials said Wednesday that many neighborhoods in Wards 5, 7 and 8 - which are less affluent - have broadband adoption rates below 40 percent, the federal government's threshold for what defines an "underserved" community. In the other wards - affluent neighborhoods - have adoption rates of 80 percent or more.

The finding dovetails with broadband data collected in 2009 by former mayor Adrian Fenty's administration. The map announced Wednesday was developed by the district's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) through economic stimulus funding. The map data was included in a national map of broadband adoption and speeds released last month by the federal government. The GIS-based map is interactive and plots the district's 250 free Wi-Fi hot spots, the locations where free computer and Internet access is available, as well as residential broadband adoption rates reported by each U.S. Census tract.

New mayor Vincent Gray and his administration affirmed their commitment to solving Washington, D.C.'s digital divide. Federal funding from the stimulus is aiding the effort. Last year the district received a $4.2 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), coupled with $1.5 million in matching funds, to put toward an Internet and computer skills education program offered at Washington, D.C.'s public libraries and community college campuses. The program is targeting underserved individuals, including low-income residents, seniors and residents who speak English as a second language. The six-month classes, called DC Broadband Education, Training and Adoption (DC-BETA) will continue for the next two years.

Beyond this education component, two other grants awarded earlier by the NTIA address the cost and public availability of broadband. A $17.4 million grant is extending the district's high-speed fiber-optic network, called DC-Net, which is currently available to schools, libraries, public housing and other institutions. Another $1.5 million grant to Washington D.C.'s public libraries is funding expanded computer learning centers and training, and one-gigabit anchor connections. "Bridging the digital divide means ensuring that people have access to computers, know how to use them, and have high-speed Internet access - at public venues, at work, and at home," Interim CTO Rob Mancini said on Wednesday in a statement. "With the support of our federal grants, we're working on all these fronts. Our new broadband map is an important milestone in our work, as well as an important contribution to the national mapping effort."


From http://www.govtech.com/ 03/10/2011

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Top Local Government Website Award Given to Coronado, California

Awarded for its e-government and communication initiatives, Coronado.ca.us has been recognized as a 2011 Top Local Government Website Award recipient by online encyclopedia and reference resource Juggle.com. This year's recipients applied innovative web technology in order to provide citizens with greater access to government information and services. Dedicated to the successes of the local community, Coronado.ca.us is one of several Local Government portals offering outstanding online resources for local businesses and e-government services.

According to Leslie Suelter, Director of Administrative Services, "The City of Coronado's website has been in place for many years but received a major redesign about two years ago. Like most municipalities, the City of Coronado tries to provide valuable information on its website for its citizenry, businesses, and visitors. For citizens, this includes access to the municipal code, budget and financial reporting information, department information, and community events." The awards editor at Juggle.com hand-selected this year's Top Local Government Award recipients by evaluating a variety of site features and functionality, including: usability, up-to-date content, access to e-government services, community resources and technological innovation. The features and functionality offered to users enabled them to surpass other websites in their class.

"The City's website includes information about City recreation facilities, links to visitor serving organization. The website is a work in progress and we constantly strive to keep it current and make improvements as needed," noted Suelter. Award recipients receive a feature page on Juggle.com that includes an interview with one of the individuals responsible for maintaining or managing each website. For Coronado's feature, visit http://www.juggle.com/coronado-california-top-city-government-website. Belleville, Illinois-based Juggle.com is an online encyclopedia and reference resource featuring facts, articles, images, biographies, and statistics covering thousands of popular topics. For more information on Juggle and other topics, visit http://www.juggle.com.


From http://www.prweb.com/ 04/14/2011

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CHINA: Quality of Users Will Decide Internet's Future

The role the Internet plays in China has captured great attention from the Western media in recent years. But they rarely noticed that many scholars in China, especially those solemn experts of great academic attainments, paid less and less attention to the online comments. A celebrated scholar recently told me that he even did not bother to take a look at the comments on his online articles. This was not because he did not attach weight to readers' feedback to his own essays. Most of the follow-up comments were irresponsible emotional outbursts, and even verbal attacks. Online posts containing vicious attacks, slipshod complaints, curses and rumors have already triggered a storm online. Not long ago, after Japan was torn by the earthquake and tsunami, there were several curses, even coarse invective in certain posts. Some have said that this is the online freedom of speech. But this is not freedom of speech at all. It blasphemes against online freedom. Too many such complaints would affect real and responsible freedom of speech. Who will be willing to air true and responsible views in an atmosphere tainted by such "garbage"? Who will regard a forum that allows foul words as a space for free speech? Others contributed coarse online posts to the impeded public opinion channels. Some Westerners supported this idea and often quoted or highlighted these views in their own articles.

Nevertheless, they rarely thought that the consequence of curses and unreasonable emotional outbursts will wreck and hinder rather than promote the spreading of public opinion. Actually, it is misleading to say that the public opinion channels are not easily available. A tiny minority of the Internet users who post messages online don't represent real public opinion, especially in China with its huge agricultural population. People can be anonymous when airing their opinions online. No one knows their real identity and they can post messages under pseudonyms. But there should be a baseline of ethics at the bottom of one's heart, just like one should stop the car when the traffic light turns red. It's not right to run the red light just because there are no cameras or cops at the crossroad. I often logged on to some overseas mainstream media websites, including those in the developing countries. There might be quite a number of comments following the articles, especially those from famous experts. There were different opinions, even criticism against the authors, but most of the commentators can obey basic moral principles. Coarse curses and attacks rarely appeared there. China's Internet has developed by leaps and bounds. But the quality of Internet users still needs to be greatly elevated. Online anonymity has undoubtedly opened the way for the spreading of vulgar words. Allowing the minority to air their opinions randomly online will seriously taint China's online speech platform. No one denies that the application of new Internet technologies, including blog and microblogs, will boost China's development. It's the net users' quality and the cleanness of the online speech environment that will have the final say on the further development of new Internet technologies.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 03/24/2011

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CHINA: 4G Network Is Another Step Closer to Reality

China Mobile Communications Co said on Monday that the country's top telecom regulator has approved five telecommunication equipment makers to begin construction of the fourth-generation (4G) network. China Mobile, the world's largest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers, obtained approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in December to conduct a commercial trial of the homegrown 4G network TD-LTE (Time Division-Long Term Evolution) in seven major Chinese cities. TD-LTE equipment providers have also been given the green light to provide equipment for the trial. Xinhua News Agency said the first approved cities to host the trial network will be Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Shenzhen. According to an earlier statement by China Mobile, Beijing and Xiamen are also on the testing list, but they have yet to receive approval from MIIT. The company said the 4G network will provide connection speeds up to 50 times faster than the current third-generation (3G) technology. China Mobile's TD-LTE standard, which has been in development since late 2007, is already considered as one of the international 4G industry standards.

Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said in an earlier report that the network will be available for widespread commercial use in the seven selected trial cities by the end of 2012. The company has signed TD-LTE cooperation agreements with nine international telecom carriers and aims to build 27 trial networks globally. 4G technology is regarded as the future growth engine for the telecom industry because it can attract large amounts of capital into new network construction projects and service development. China Mobile released its 2010 financial report on March 16. It said that the company will increase its investment budget over the next three years to 388.3 billion yuan ($59.2 billion) and "more than half of the investment will be put into basic network infrastructure, with an emphasis on the 4G infrastructure", said Ding Jing, a researcher of Nanjing Securities Co Ltd. However, MIIT and some analysts do not believe that the 4G era will become a reality in the near future. Miao Wei, the minister of industry and information technology, told China Daily earlier that 4G "will still take three to five years" to become China's mainstream commercial network. Jake Li, a telecom analyst at Guotai Junan Securities, told China Daily that the adoption of 4G in the country "won't be that soon". According to MIIT, China's mobile users hit 870 million by the end of January, out of which 3G users comprised 51.7 million.


From China Daily 03/29/2011

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Digital Technology Rapidly Changing the Way China Reads

While traditional forms are still the norm in China, there has been a massive rise in the use of digital technology for reading purposes. According to the Eighth National Reading Survey - conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication - there was a 200 percent rise in the use of e-book readers in 2010, while mobile phones were now the preferred medium for 23 percent of respondents. It also found those aged between 18 and 70 now, on average, spend around 42 minutes per day reading online. E-book readers may still account for just 3.9 percent of those polled for the survey but a spokesman for the academy said given that China has around 600 million mobile phone users - and that more than half of those users were rural residents with limited access to resources - reading via digital appliances was a trend that was only going to get more and more popular in China. The survey found that on average Chinese people read 4.25 books per year, 101.16 editions of newspapers, 7.19 editions of magazines and 0.73 e-books. The Chinese survey polled 19,418 people across 29 of China's provinces during the period of September 2010 through January 2011. In comparison, the most recent survey held into the reading habits of Hong Kongers - collated during the 2009 edition of the city's end-of-year Book Fair - found that 60 percent of adults spent five hours or more a week reading.

That survey found 73 percent of China's more tech-savvy southern cousins used the internet to read and that 43 percent read e-books. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Hong Kongers said they used their mobile phones to read, while six percent used iPods. What China reads ... 1. Newspapers 66.8 percent; 2. Books 52.3 percent; 3. Magazines 46.9 percent; 4. Mobile phones 23 percent; 5. Internet 18.1 per cent; 6. E-book readers 3.9 per cent; 7. Personal digital assistant/MP4/Electronic dictionary 2.6 percent; 8. CD/DVD 1.8 percent. How long China spends reading ... 1. Internet 42.7 minutes per day; 2. Newspapers 23.7 minutes per day; 3. Books 16.8 minutes per day; 4. Magazines 13.7 minutes per day; 5. Mobile phones 10.3 minutes per day. What China prefers to read ... 1. Paper books 68.3 percent; 2. E-books online 21.4 percent; 3. Mobile phones 10.2 percent; 4. E-book readers 2.8 percent; 5. Printed from the internet 1.7 percent. Figures from the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication


From http://www.independent.co.uk/ 05/06/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: Smart, Green Tech to Dominate IFA Electronics Show

Smart innovation and green technology are expected to dominate the IFA, one of the world's top electronics trade shows, to be held in Germany in September, its organizers said. During a preview and news conference for the international press in Alicante from April 14-17, leading industrial firms - such as Samsung Electronics, Siemens, Bosch and Ford - presented how they will set the stage at IFA. The trade show will be held in Berlin from Sept. 2-7. Moving from a bi-annual to an annual event in 2006, IFA has attracted 238,000 visitors, including 125,000 trade visitors, and showcased 1,423 exhibitions from 47 countries in 2010, according to Rainer Hecker, chairman of the supervisory board at gfu, the event's organizer, along with Messe Berlin. "IFA is the festival of global brands," he said. "It's a success story for more than 80 years in consumer electronics and home appliances and an international meeting point for industry, media, retail and customers." In the consumer electronics sector, the world's top flat-screen TV maker Samsung Electronics claimed smart TV and convergence will be the two major trends in 2011. "Smart TV is a normal TV and it's not a TV with a built-in piece," said Michael Zoeller, marketing director for TV at the Samsung Electronics" Europe headquarters. "(But) it offers more content, more convergence and more experience." Introducing its Series D8000, Zoeller said the smart TV that is also equipped with 3-D will provide a channel and program guide as well as access to TV applications on one screen.

People will be able to connect TV with multiple devices such as their laptop, blue-ray hot disk drive and smart camera as well as wireless devices, including tablet PCs and smartphones, he said. "It's very simple and easy," he added. Zoeller also said that Samsung is upgrading its marketing tactic to gain a larger share in the European market. The Seoul-based company is going to launch the 3-D video on-demand service with some free 3-D content in Europe next month and reduce the price of 3-D glasses, offering two pairs at 79 euros, down from 120 euros, according to Zoeller. "We hope that with these kinds of activities, the adoption of 3-D will grow," he said. "This is not future and it's happening right now. We're presenting more examples of convergence and smart TV at IFA." Market research firm DisplaySearch, however, said that many European consumers were not convinced about TV replacement in its survey that questioned 1,000 consumers in five European countries, including France, the U.K. and Italy. Although the details are to be released during IFA, there was a clear need for the industry to educate consumers more about why TV replacement was necessary, said Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics and Europe TV research at DisplaySearch. The survey also revealed that price was not a particularly strong motivator to buy in many countries, he said. "France, Germany consumers are skeptical about replacing their TVs early," said Gray. "(But) Emerging market consumers have a shorter replacing cycle.

Indonesia consumers said they would replace TVs every three years." Automobile manufacturer Ford, on the other hand, introduced a SYNC system on its model Focus, saying people could now drive smart. The SYNC system enables people to connect to digital devices while driving on the road, even creating a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car. With the voice-activated system, drivers can turn on the entertainment and navigation system, and control the temperature in the vehicle by talking into the system, said Jason Johnson, user interface design manager at Ford Motor Company. The system is currently available in 19 different languages and comes with 10,000 first-level voice commands, he said, adding that the vehicle will be available in Europe next year. A total of 3 million SYNC vehicles have been sold in the U.S., he added. "It also has an emergency assistance feature that provides key information directly to the operator and supports emergency assistance in more than 30 countries," said Johnson. In the home appliance sector, two German-based companies Siemens and Bosch introduced a washer, dryer and refrigerator that focused on innovation and green technology. Stressing efficiency and convenience, Siemens said its washer named i-DOS is the first example of such innovation for it comes equipped with an automatic dosing system. "We had a successful launch in Germany (last year) and we're rolling out the system now in Europe and the market is ready for it," said Ulrich Twiehaus, head of marketing and communications at Siemens. It also presented blueTherm, a self-cleaning condenser, which it says maximizes convenience and increases energy efficiency. Bosch featured its refrigerator dubbed "SmartCool," claiming the product takes a year to use the electricity other refrigerators consume in six months.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 04/17/2011

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Korea's e-People Wins U.N. Public Service Awards

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission said Friday that its online portal on civil complaints and proposals, "e-People," had won a United Nations Public Service Award. On June 23, U.N. Public Service Day on June 23, the U.N. honors creative and innovative administrative achievements every year. The commission had entered the "e-People system, knowledge management for people's voice" in the category of "advancing knowledge management in government," and was told it had won on April 30. The panel says that e-People is an integrated website (www.epeople.go.kr) that deals with civil complaints and proposals to central and provincial governments and public organizations. It is utilized as a venue for free and open discussion. About 100,000 people visit the portal daily. The commission analyzes some 800,000 complaints filed through the portal to identify problems and improve related systems. "We will offer unstinted cooperation and support to developing countries with a great interest in e-People, and help them adopt our process for resolving civil complaints," an official of the commission said. The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from June 20-23. The portal had been cited as the Online Politics Trophy Top 10 at the World eGov Forum 2006 and the Best Demonstration Stand Award at the eChallenges 2008.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/06/2011

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INDONESIA: Mobile Market to Grow by 12% in 2011

According to Tavess, the Indonesian GSM market penetration is yet again expected to register around 12% growth rate in 2011. With approximately 80% penetration (for voice-services), the market is, however, nearing saturation, and the number of double-digit growth years are counted. As an overview - The Indonesian GSM market which maintains around 85% share of the mobile telecom market of the country is mainly served by five network providers: Telkomsel, Indosat, XL, Hutch and Axis. The first three in the list collectively enjoy nearly 90% of the total GSM subscriber-base, including about 75% of the total enterprise customers.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/20/2011

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MALAYSIA: Alcatel-Lucent to Offer 40GbE Network Connectivity

Alcatel-Lucent has jumped onto the datacentre switching solution bandwagon with its "future-proof" OmniSwitch 10K and OmniSwitch 6900 Modular Ethernet LAN Chassis, that promise up to 40GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) network connectivity between servers and storage, as well as to the Internet, by year end. The high-capacity and adaptable OmniSwitch 10K simplifies Layer 2 network deployment and offers scalability to meet current and future bandwidth requirements. Also, the stackable 6900 ships with extensive resource reservation control mechanisms, Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching, as well as system and network level resiliency. At the moment, both switching solutions offer up to 10GbE capability. To support 40GbE network connectivity, the company will introduce related add-on interface modules which required no fabric upgrades on the enterprise side. OmniSwitch 10K will get four-port and eight-port 40GbE interface modules, while OmniSwitch 6900 will have a slide-in three-port type.

The vendor's modular-chassis product management director, Khurram A. Khawaja, said that as most enterprises are now facing the challenge of coping with the explosion of data traffic from smart devices and newer applications, the ability to upgrade to faster network connectivity is crucial to avoid traffic congestion and higher over-subscriptions. Also, Alcatel-Lucent's add-on interfaces make it easier for enterprises to evolve with the changing trends in the market without requiring them to rip up and replace their existing infrastructure, he said. "Our offerings enable customers to start at their own pace - where they can begin at the lowest level for their existing environment and scale up as and when needed," Khurram said. As there will be variables in the configuration of the solutions, Alcatel-Lucent is not able to provide the exact pricing for them. However, Khurram said, the OmniSwitches are at least 25% more affordable than similar offerings from its competitors. The company hopes to secure up to 10 local customers this year. It has begun talking with three potential clients in the education, healthcare and transportation sectors.


From http://techcentral.my/ 04/28/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Cognizant Bags ICT Award for Year's 'Best New BPO Locator"

Cognizant, a leading provider of consulting, technology, and business process outsourcing services, today announced it has won the Philippines' International ICT Award for Best New BPO Locator of the Year for 2011. Instituted in 2007 by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (CanCham), the International ICT Awards honor individuals and organizations for outstanding performance in promoting the country as one of the top BPO destinations around the globe. The awards aim to encourage innovation and excellence among BPO service providers. Cognizant was chosen for the top honor in the Best New BPO Locator of the Year category based on its size, growth and diversity of the business and its clients; quality; depth and breadth of competencies; management capability; and commitment to developing people, social responsibility, and industry support. Cognizant's global delivery center in Manila provides high-end operational business process services, IT Infrastructure Services, and other offerings to global clients, including one of the world's largest communications companies and a leading global financial services institution. "As one of the world's fastest growing destinations for business process outsourcing, the Philippines has become a leading player in the booming ICT industry," said Gillian Joyce Virata, Senior Executive Director and Officer-in-Charge of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines. "We are delighted at the way Cognizant has grown in Manila while engaging actively with academia and the local community, allowing them to benefit from the deep business insight and global best practices that have enabled Cognizant to achieve industry-leading growth. Cognizant is creating high-value jobs, enhancing the local talent pool, driving economic progress, and showcasing the Philippine ICT industry to the rest of the world." "We are proud to have won this prestigious accolade just 17 months after we opened our global delivery center in Manila in October 2009," said R Chandrasekaran, President and Managing Director of Global Delivery at Cognizant. "We have steadily grown our presence and investment in the Philippine capital. Our Manila center is an important part of our integrated global delivery capability and growth strategy underpinned by our approach of bringing the best talent in the world to our clients."


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 04/18/2011

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THAILAND: Twenty Million Thais Online Next Year

The number of Internet users in Thailand is expected to reach 20 million next year, and the value of the Internet-service market is forecast to rise to Bt40 billion. According to the former President of the Thai Internet Service Providers' Association, Morragot Kulatumyotin, the size of Thailand's Internet-service market reached Bt33.5 billion last year. About 70 per cent of this, or Bt22.6 billion, came from households and small or home offices. The remaining 30 per cent, amounting to Bt10.9 billion, came from organisations. This year, there are about 16 million Internet users in the country and about 2.67 million households access the Internet via Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). TOT is the leading Internet service provider (ISP), with a market share of about 40 per cent of ADSL services to households around the country. True and 3BB each hold 30 per cent of the country's ADSL market. Morragot said Internet-service fees had remained fairly static, but speed had lately been increased by as much as 50 per cent, encouraging greater Internet use. "I think the Internet-service market in Thailand is continuing to grow, especially in the domestic "backbone" of Internet use, where ISPs are providing services at affordable prices from high-speed networks. Thailand's ISPs also have an 18-gigabit-per-second international Internet gateway in order to access the Internet from international hosts," she said.

Commenting on the affordability of Internet-service fees, Morragot said that small ISPs needed to adjust themselves and provide new services, such as Internet data centres, application services and customised service packages. These services should be suitable for niche markets, in order that these small ISPs could survive. There are currently about 150 ISPs in Thailand, but only about 15 active ISPs. Morragot said the size of Thailand's Internet market was expected to grow by about 20 per cent this year, compared with 2010, making its value about Bt40 billion, with about 20 million Internet users. The factors that will drive Internet-market growth include the continued rise of mobile and smart phones and the growing reach of ADSL. Smart-phone users will increasingly access the Internet and mobile Internet and the ADSL-market size is sure to grow because there are currently 7 million ADSL number users, but only 2.67 million ADSL household numbers. "I think that the size of the smart-phone market next year will be crucial to the size of the overall Internet market, because about 13 per cent of smart-phone users are expected to access the Internet to reach data-communication services or non-voice services from network providers and 3G networks. This will enable businesses to develop and provide mobile applications to support user demand, and this will be an important driver for the market next year," Morragot said.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 04/21/2011

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VIET NAM: Market Moves on to 4G

While the real benefits of 3G are still being debated, 4G wireless technology is soon to hit the Vietnamese telecommunications market, further adding to the confusion. 3G, third generation telecommunications hardware standards and general technology for mobile networking, was launched in Viet Nam in 2009 by Vinaphone, Mobifone, Viettel and EVN Telecom. However, most subscribers complain the quality of 3G broadband is low, network coverage is limited and that 3G focuses on mobile internet rather than value-added services (all services beyond standard voice calls and tax transmissions). Gross revenue in the past year from 3G services has fallen short of mobile service providers' expectations, according to the Viet Nam Post newspaper, which surveyed 3,200 3G subscribers in Ha Noi and HCM City in the last quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, mobile operators are promoting 4G, the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards which is 3-10 times faster than 3G. The Ministry of Information and Communications has granted a 4G-LTE (Long-term evolution) pilot licence to the VNPT, Viettel, FPT, CMC Telecom and VTC. Despite mixed reactions over 3G, Hoang Manh Cuong, director of CMC Telecom, said 4G technology was a vital trend in modern day telecommunications, and that it needed to be fully embraced by businesses and the public. However, Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop said it would be impossible for 4G to receive official licensing by next year. He added that 3G technology was still new to Viet Nam and the benefits of switching to 4G had to be carefully considered.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/05/2011

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Cloud Computing Summit Attracts 300 IT Specialists

Microsoft Vietnam late last week hosted a summit featuring over 300 IT decision-makers and business leaders in HCMC to help them understand the role and impact of cloud computing, and introduce Microsoft's vision for technology. At the workshop, Microsoft executives and partners shared and discussed trends and insights into the realities, challenges and opportunities of the cloud with the local IT community and media. "The Vietnam Government has identified ICT as a key driver of its economy, and we believe the cloud can accelerate this," said Andrew Pickup, chief marketing officer of Microsoft Asia Pacific. "We look forward to enabling Vietnam's businesses, government and consumers to adopt the cloud in line with their business needs. Some Vietnamese businesses will want on-premise solutions, others to be completely in the cloud whilst others would prefer a combination of the two." The Vietnamese Government is looking to have a strong advanced IT industry by 2020. The industry is expected to account for 20% of the country's gross domestic product by then. FPT, an IT company in Vietnam, and Microsoft signed in May 2010 a partnership to work together to develop cloud computing services in Vietnam.

With the recent launch of Windows Phone 7 and more generally the increased penetration of Smartphones in Vietnam, there are a lot of opportunities for innovative developers in Vietnam to develop mobile applications, according to the two companies. Analyst firm Gartner said the main priorities CIOs faced in 2010 were shifting away from enterprise applications towards virtualization and cloud computing. This enables businesses to worry less about managing the IT infrastructure and focus more on driving business growth. Gartner said that by 2012, 80% of Fortune 1000 Enterprises will be using some form of cloud or off-premises computing services, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets. Another analyst firm IDC also believes enterprises will be using private clouds as a way to phase in broader use of cloud services and computing in the future. However, companies remain most concerned about security, performance and control of data when considering cloud adoption.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/10/2011

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Outstanding ICT Businesses Honored in Hanoi

Organizations and businesses operating in information and communications technology (ICT) who won the Vietnam Information and Communications Technology Award (VICTA) were honored at a ceremony in Hanoi on Saturday. This year, the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) was recognized as the best performer in infrastructure development in the fixed telephone sector and the military-run telecom group, Viettel, as the most effective operator. Other businesses operating in telecommunications such as VMS MobiFone Company, Vietnamobile Communications Centre, VDC Company were also honored at the ceremony. VICTA awards were presented to state-owned IT organizations, agencies and businesses and foreign businesses who have greatly contributed to the development of ICT industry and community. In term of IT, Electronics Communication Technology Investment Development Joint Stock Co (Elcom) won the best effective software enterprise award and FPT affiliates secured two awards for the best domestic service and product provider for the domestic market and for export.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/24/2011

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Key ICT Summit Comes to Hanoi

Some 300 domestic and foreign leaders in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector will gather at the Vietnam ICT Summit 2011, to be held for the first time in Hanoi on June 9-10. Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of the Vietnam Software Association (VINASA) and FPT Group, said leading ICT experts both at home and abroad will present speeches on the vision and strategy for ICT development. The event will see the participation of Doctor Dan E Khoo, President of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA). Also, reports which give an overview on the software and ICT sectors are expected to help businesses self-assess their visions and strategies, Binh said. Within the framework of the event, there will be three discussions on macro issues decisive to the target of lifting Vietnam to become an ICT power. A wide range of activities will be held, such as an exhibition, business matching meeting and a ceremony to honour Vietnam's best ICT products and services.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/15/2011

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IT Sector Sets Bullish 60% Growth Target for Year

With leading software companies signing a slew of foreign contracts, the industry is eyeing a 60 per cent growth rate this year. The industry said the market has shown signs of strong recovery since last year. Analysts attributed the increase in foreign deals to Viet Nam's capabilities in areas like information and communications technology, factory automation, and embedded systems. Companies like TMA Solutions, CSC Viet Nam, Global Cybersoft, and LogiGear said the number of foreign contracts has risen dramatically. Nguyen Huu Le, chairman of TMA Solutions, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the company hosted foreign executives every week and closed half of all deals it negotiated on average. It has recruited