Winter 2011 Issue 36
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  ICT Development

Contact Us: unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
ˇˇ Global: Study - 2015 Could Mark the End of the PC Era
Global: 43 Countries to Join Open Government Partnership
Africa: Survey Highlights Importance of Connect Africa Goals
Asia-Pacific Countries Meet to Review and Strengthen Role of ICT for Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Development
Australia Develops First E-Mental-Health Strategy
China Launches Gov't-sponsored Job Hunting Website
IT Policy 2011 Aims to Extend National e-Governance Plan
S. Korea Top World Internet Economy Last Year
PHILIPPINES: Digital Technology Aids Disaster Relief
U.S.: The Top 20 Green-Powered Cities
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ˇˇ 7 Freedom of Information Laws Pass in Past Year; 18 More Under Consideration
ITU Reveals 'Smart' Guidelines Plan to Further Universal Broadband Access
Global CTOs Call for Faster Progress on E-health Standards - Disaster Relief, Sustainability Also High on Agenda at Strategic Meeting
UN Commission Endorses Global Broadband Targets
AFRICA: Minister - Priority for IT Cooperation with Continent
Survey Highlights Importance of Connect Africa Goals
Nigeria: National Software Policy, Ready for Approval
ARAB STATES: New Guidelines Launched for Dubai Govt Websites
Saudi Arabia: MCIT Plans to License First Three MVNOs in 2012
ASIA AND PACIFIC: Internet Censorship in Asia
EUROPE: EU Agrees Radio Spectrum Policy
Net Neutrality Gets European Parliament Backing
DK: New Digitisation Strategy Aims to Make the Public Sector Paperless by 2015
Ireland: E-government Is Back on National Agenda
Sweden Champions Internet Freedom
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil - Senate Approves Access to Information Bill
Guyana Approves Freedom of Information Act
Canada: Feds Announce Changes to Open Data Licensing
Net Neutrality: Stronger Rules Needed in US and EU
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ˇˇ CHINA: To Foster Internet Development in Four Areas
Ministry Orders Cleanup of Online Music
CHINA: Gov't Calls for Boycott on Online Falsehoods
Healthy Environment for Mcroblogs Uged
China Calls for Joint Efforts for Peaceful, Secure, Equitable Cyber Space
China Prepares Online Retail Rules
China Spurs Growth of Mobile Internet
China Vows to Speed Up Internet of Things Development: MIIT
Mainland, Taiwan Look to Develop Mobile Internet Sector
Five Cities Chosen for Cloud Computing Pilot Plan
JAPAN: Children's Net Utilization Ability to Be Tested
SOUTH KOREA: Telephone Monitoring Decreases
Personal Info Online Despite Law Revision
Korea's Internet Regulations Could Be More Open: Schmidt
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ˇˇ LAOS: People to Access Cheap Internet
Lao Telecom Services Not Impacted by Marketing Regulation
PHILIPPINES: Measure Creating ICT Department Approved
THAILAND: The Public to Be Provided with Greater Opportunities to Have Access to Information
Better Webmasters Needed
VIETNAM: 4G Waveband for Vietnam: One Man One Idea
VIETNAM: Finance Ministry Plans 80% Changeover to IT by 2015
New Decree Drafted to Address Changes in Internet Services
Over US$50 Million for Rural Internet Connection
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Enacting New Broadcast Law
INDIA: Policy Makers Meet, Discuss National Broadband Plan and Bringing ICT Connectivity in Villages
IT Policy 2011 Aims to Extend National e-Governance Plan
Telecom Policy 2011 Aims at Free Roaming, Full MNP
India's IT Policy 2011 Assures 28 Million New Jobs
Delhi Geographical Spatial Data Infrastructure Act 2011 to Come by November 15
India Kicks Off Mega-Project to Connect All Villages with Broadband
Optical Fibre Network Plan Gets DoT Nod
E-district Project to Be Rolled Out in More Districts
NEPAL: To Have Education ICT Masterplan
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ˇˇ UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: New Guidelines Launched for Dubai Govt Websites
AZERBAIJAN: Third State Program on ICT Introduction in Education to Be Adopted
Azerbaijani IT Company Implements E-government Project in Kyrgyzstan
Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway to Be Launched by Mid-2013
Azerbaijan, Hungary Define Cooperation Directions in IT Sphere
Azerbaijan's Mobile Operators Develop Proposals to Launch 4G Network
State Budget to Earmark AZN 10m to Implement Electronic Azerbaijan State Program
UZBEKISTAN: President Signs Law "On Exchange of Credit Information"
OSCE Welcomes Reform of Media Law in Uzbekistan
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ˇˇ UN Sets Ambitious National Targets for Broadband Affordability and Uptake
Pacific Nations Reaffirm Support for SPC's Work in Economic Development
AUSTRALIA: Attorney General Defends Cybercrime Bill
Australia Develops First E-Mental-Health Strategy
A 'Digital Social Contract' for Online Behaviour
New Code Promises Better Protection for Telecoms Consumers
New Body to Represent Australia in International Standards Fora
NEW ZEALAND: Copyright Law Supports Failing Business Model - TUANZ Head
New Zealand to Get Cloud Code of Practice
National's Plan to Boost Broadband Demand Would Be Run by MED
NZ Releases First Open Govt Policy
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ˇˇ Implementation of Online E-gov Services Worldwide Could Produce Savings of $114 Billion in 2016 - ABI
43 Countries to Join Open Government Partnership
AFRICA: Kenya Leading with Mobile Government Implementation
SA Ready to Embrace Mobile Government Services
ARAB STATES: Bahrain eGovernment Authority Wins the Global FutureGov Award
Egypt: IT Houses Project Launched
Kuwait Central IT Agency Wins Creativity Award of E-Gov't
Oman Bags Five Prizes at GCC E-govt Awards
EUROPE: The Sixth Ministerial E-government Conference Is Taking Place in Poland
Digital Agenda: Five New Cross-Border Online Public Services
EU Pushes Open eGovernment Services Concept
Swiss ICT Sector Seeks Indian Solutions
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil - Open Governments Must Start at the National Level
US Releases Cloud Roadmap for Comments
U.S.: States Look to Modernize Their Aging Tax Systems
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ˇˇ CHINA: Microblogging Offers New Platform for Officials to Serve the Public
Police Steps Up Hunt for Criminals Through Online Lists
Websites Employed to Facilitate Voter Registration
Chinese Internet-based Network to Speed Up Publication of Natural Disaster Data
Macao Promotes Communication with Public Through Internet
Beijing City Gov't Shares Info on Weibo
China Launches Gov't-sponsored Job Hunting Website
S. KOREA: To Launch Internet Broadcasts on Inter-Korean Relations
Seoul Mayor's Inauguration Broadcast Online
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ˇˇ LAOS: Telecom Operator to Launch 4G Internet
PHILIPPINES: BJMP Launches 'E-Dalaw' for Inmates
VIETNAM: Microsoft Helps Promote E-government in Vietnam
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Starting e-Tender
Dist Admin Services Go Online Today
INDIA: E-monitoring for Haryana MLA's
Orissa IT Minister Launches District Website
Use of Information Technology to Curb Corruption
India Launches E-payment Gateway
NIC Deploys Cloud Project for E-governance
SRI LANKA: To Launch Online Health Portal
PAKISTAN: Sindh Secretariat, Governor, Chief Minister Houses: IT Department Fails to Start BI System
SIKKIM: Accenture to Roll Out E-gov Portal
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Taxes Ministry to Start On-line Registration of Legal Entities in Early 2012
Azerbaijani Ministries and Departments to Fully Transfer to Rendering E-services by 2013
Azerbaijani Financial Monitoring Service's Database Expands
BAHRAIN: New ICT eGovernance Panel to Reduce Costs
KYRGYZSTAN: We Hope to Create E-government - Alexander Avanesov
KAZAKHSTAN: Appoints New Deputy Communications and Information Minister
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Broadband Release Sites Unveiled
AU Govt Invites Discussion on Cyber White Paper
AUS to Test Census 2011 Data Processing
AUS Revampes Emergency Services Website
AUSTRALIA: NSW Government Backs Digital Economy with Taskforce & $3m
Australia Signs Up for Six-Year Govt Search Service
NEW ZEALAND: Government Websites Back Up and Running
Celebrating APAC E-govt Efforts in APAC
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ˇˇ Public Cloud Services Market in Asia-Pacific to Hit Revenues of US$12 Billion
E-commerce Brings Pollution Rise
ASIA AND PACIFIC: To Become Largest M2M Market in 2013
Toronto Dominates Top 20 List of Canada's 'Most Innovative' Tech Firms
Top Canadian Digital Media, ICT Companies Named in CIX Top 20
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ˇˇ CHINA: Vice Premier Calls for Development of IT Industry
China's Electronics and IT Sector Continues to Grow in Jan.-Aug.
Taobao Works to Bring Order to Booming E-market
New Service to Boost Mobile Shopping
Chinese Online Sales, Especially of Electronics, Stall
New Study Offers a Roadmap for E-commerce in China
JAPAN: E-commerce Soars in Japan, Smartphones the Cause?
S. KOREA: Top World Internet Economy Last Year
Mobile Ad Market Growing Strong
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Brocade Unveils Network Subscription Model
Making Cloud Adoption a Breeze for SMEs
VIETNAM: E-commerce - High Hopes Put on the Market After 60-million-dollar Affair
Foreign Investments Serve as New Propulsive Force for Online Commerce
3D Smart Phones Meeting Great Challenges in Vietnam
Mobile Internet Ads to Explode
B2B Trading Floors Contrive to Live on Small Income
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Uncovering World's Cheapest Laptop
INDIA: E-commerce Not Taken Off as Expected
Indian Insurers to Spend $1.8 Billion on IT
India Launches World's Cheapest Tablet Computer
IT Sector High on PC Sales
Uttar Pradesh Launches Online Payment Portal for Industrialists, Investors
Indian State Unveils e-Payment Portal for Entrepreneurs
India: Bangalore to Launch Mobile Payment Services
SRI LANKA: Ports to Offer E-payments by 2012
PAKISTAN: Top IT Companies Keen to Invest in the Country
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: ArmenTel to Offer Customers 'Alternative' Fixed Line Tariffs from Next Year
AZERBAIJAN: Some $1.8 Billion Invested in ICT Sector
Azerbaijan Posts 33.3% Rise in Mobile Phones Market
KAZAKHSTAN: Alca-Lu Completes USD100m Transtelecom Fibre Upgrade
SAUDI ARABIA: Mobily Launches LTE: Becomes First Operator in MENA to Introduce 4G Services
TAJIKISTAN: Reportedly Charges Excise Tax on Internet Providers' Services
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Broadband Lab for Businesses Unveiled
Australia Invests A$100 Million in Broadband Infrastructure
AU Saves US$12M with National Telepresence System
$85 Million Govt Plan to Support Victoria's ICT Industry
NEW ZEALAND: Businesses to Spend $6.2 Billion on IT
Mobile Broadband Device Market to Hit 525 Million by 2016
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ˇˇ Public Wi-Fi Hotspots to Grow 4-fold by 2015: Study
ASIA AND PACIFIC: Asia Tops for Subway Internet Access
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Mexico - Internet Becomes a New Battleground in Drug Wars
Wind Mobile Continues Expansion Across the Country
U.S.: The Top 20 Green-Powered Cities
Report: Broadband Access Up Slightly in U.S. Homes
US: FCC Plans Cheap Internet Service and Computers to Connect Poor Americans
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ˇˇ CHINA: Having 929.84 Million Mobile Phone Users
Active Online Exchange "Major Feature" of China's Internet, Says Senior Official
Social Network Websites "Pose a Challenge"
China Sees Rapid Popularization of Smartphones
Open Courses of Top Chinese Universities to Go Online
China Expands Online Service of Train Tickets
JAPAN: World's Biggest Blog Obsession
Digital Habits Slow to Catch on in Japan
DPRK Establishes National Online Medical Service System
S. KOREA: Smartphone Users Likely to Top 20 Mln in Nov.
English Weather Info Available via Mobile Web
Mobile Web Surfing Gains Momentum Among Korean Users
Experts Discuss Impact of Information Technology
Five New Online Universities to Open Next Year
Online Social Networks Becoming Rumor Mill
Digital Hospitals to Bolster Growth
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Education Savings Scheme to Go Online
MDeC Readies Cloud-computing Push
Use 3D Software to Plan Disaster Recovery
PHILIPPINES: Digital Technology Aids Disaster Relief
Pasig to Field More E-jeepneys
THAILAND: Smart Phones Lift Bank ATM Service
VIETNAM: Only 8% of Homes Have Internet
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: To Introduce Mobile Banking at Post Offices
Govt. Firm to Reach Health Facilities to Doorsill of People Thru' ICT
INDIA: E-solution for Public Complaints
E-deals for Land in Indian State
Online System to Protect Migrant Indian Workers
Giving Citizens Right to Public Services Through ICT
SRI LANKA: Tracking Police Clearance Certificates Using SMS
Sri Lanka E-channelling to Expand Service Coverage
Sri Lanka: Digital IDs Almost Ready
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Facility for ID Cards via Internet Thrown Up to Citizens
Azerbaijan's All Hotels Will Join "Hotline" Network by Late 2011
ICT Services Top AZN 990.2m This Year
KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Users Reach 6.7 Million
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: NSW Flags $170m E-Health Medication System
AUSTRALIA: 80% of TVs and Computers to Be Recycled by 2021 - Government
Australian State's US$2 Mil Funding to Boost ICT Skills
AUS to Build "Next-Generation" Digital Hospital
AUS Rural Health Alliance Implements Virtualisation Infrastructure
New Numbers and Improvements for 000 Services
Online 'Fair Go' Essential for Our Digital Future: Report
NEW ZEALAND: School to Upgrade IT Systems, Provide Free Internet
NZ Plans Online Medicine Information Resource
NZ to Form National Health Innovation Hub
NZ District Health Board Saves with E-whiteboard
Wellington - The Creative Digital City
Commonwealth Launches Cross-Govt Social Network
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ˇˇ UN-Backed Forum Discusses Internet Security, Openness and Privacy
ARAB STATES: Qatar Boosts Cyber Security as Digital Society Expands
EUROPE: EC Wants All Non-European Business to Adhere to Data Protection Directive
German Spyware Scandal Expands to Political, Legal Circles
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Cyber Attacks on News Sites in Chile
U.S.: Former State Official to Lead Federal Cybersecurity Efforts
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ˇˇ CHINA: Thousands of Websites Closed Over Illegal Online PR Deals
China Deletes 400,000 Web Links for Copyright Piracy
China Cracks Down on Online Black Markets
China to Go High Tech in Online Crackdown of Illegal Publications
JAPAN: Record Labels Unite Against Web Site
Japan Eyes Private Firms Help on Cyber Attacks: Report
Govt to Prep for Cyber-attack by Sending 'Infected' E-mail to Staff
Japan Govt., Police Probing Cyber Attacks on Key Installations
Public Services in Nine Prefectures Cyber-attacked
SOUTH KOREA: Netizen Fined for Defaming Entertainer Online
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Cybercrimes Continue to Rise
CyberSecurity, Akamai Sign MoU
Malaysia Now CCRA Authorising Member
Hackers Continue to Target Android Phones
VIETNAM: More Than 300 Vietnamese Websites Hacked in October
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Mission's Website Hacked
Supreme Court Website Hacked
India, Bangladesh Target Students' Digital Divide'
India Will Ensure Strong Cyber-security, Claims Sibal
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: Youth Group Sparks Debate About Identity in the Facebook Age
AZERBAIJAN: CE Required National Legislation on Combating Cybercrime
E-security Office Project Initiated in Azerbaijan
'OSCE, Azerbaijan Should Step Up Fight Against Cyber Crimes'
Azerbaijan: Cybercrime Threatens Free Journalism
Internet Viruses Decrease in Azerbaijan
UZBEKISTAN: Tashkent Taking Wary Walk into Cyberspace
Central Asian Youth Network Seminar Focuses on Building Security Communities
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: IT Agency to Improve Security Function
Cyber Crime Threat to Australian Economy, Security
AUSTRALIA: Police Get Social to Bust Crime Online
NEW ZEALAND: National Cyber Security Centre Opened
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ˇˇ Study: 2015 Could Mark the End of the PC Era
Mobile Connected Devices to Double by 2020
Information Economy Report 2011: Highlights
Demand for New ICT Shows No Sign of Slowing, Driven by Growth in Emerging Markets, Yet the Digital Divide Remains Wide
AFRICA: To Pass 1 Billion Subscriptions by 2016 - Boosted by Dual SIM Ownership
ARAB STATES: Middle East Prepares to Keep Sensitive Data Closer to Home
ASIA AND PACIFIC: HNW Population Now Second Biggest
EUROPE: EU Commission Proposes Over €9 Billion for Broadband Investment
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ˇˇ CHINA: Web Portal Pledges to Ensure Authenticity of Online Information
JAPAN: To Facilitate Establishment of Palo E-Waste Center
Supercomputer Demolishes Its Own Speed Record
SOUTH KOREA: Top in Internet Download Speed - Study
Internet Addiction - A Major New Disorder: Lawmaker
Conference Highlights Future of Digital Culture
Smart Korea Shows Off the Nation's IT Progress, Prowess
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ˇˇ INDONESIA: Communication Minister Launches ICT Awards and Exhibition
Telcom Sector Likely to See Decreasing Profits This Year
LAOS: IT Service Market Surges
3G Networks Struggle to Keep Pace with Demand
Savannakhet Speeds Up Telecom Network Expansion
MALAYSIA: National ICT Month 2011 Starts Soon
TM, P1 in Highspeed Broadband Tie-up
PHILIPPINES: Mobile Internet on the Rise, Boosting Telco Revenues
THAILAND: Broadband Comes to Samut Sakhon
Entry-level Smartphones Chipping Away at the Feature Phone Market in Thailand, says IDC
VIETNAM: Bright Outlook for IT Industry
Vietnam Jumps 10 Places in ICT Development Index
VIETNAM: Vietnam's Internet Protocol TV Market Will Boom in Two Years
Cloud Computing Technology Becomes Popular in Vietnam by 2015
Rural Areas to Receive Internet Access
Three ICT Expos to Kick Off in Capital
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ˇˇ INDIA: Wants 600 Million Broadband Connections by 2020
India to Roll Out "ICU on Wheels"
Double Digit Growth Dream for Indian IT: Nasscom
Indian State to Develop GIS for Coastal Management
NEPAL: National IT Centre to Be Established in Hetauda
PAKISTAN: Broadband Growth - Among Top Countries
Internet Users Cross 20 Million Base in Pakistan
Pakistani Students Shine at Asia Pacific ICT Event
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: Serious Growth Registered in IT Sector, It Will Continue in 2012 - PM
Change in Methodology Sees Armenian Mobile Bases Contract in Q3
ICT Sector Growth Was 12.4% in 2011 - AZ Minister
Azerbaijan: Int'l Cybernetics and Informatics Conference to Be Held in Baku
IRAN: Govt Earns USD6.1bn from MTN Irancell in Six Years; Wimax Subs Base Rises to 175,000
KYRGYZSTAN: IT-conference BarCamp-2011 Due in Kyrgyzstan
TURKMENISTAN: To Reach Breakthrough in Telecommunications Through First National Satellite Launch
UZBEKISTAN: Conference on Information Technology Development in Asia ITPA 2011
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ˇˇ NEW ZEANLAND: City Unveils First Fully Integrated Metro Wi-Fi Network
NZ Internet Still Amongst the Slowest in the World - Survey
TONGA: ADB Helps It Connect to High-Speed Internet Access
Asia-Pacific Countries Meet to Review and Strengthen Role of ICT for Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Development

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Global: Study - 2015 Could Mark the End of the PC Era

Are you waiting for the tipping point that will signal the demise of the desktop computer? If so, 2015 could be the year, according to projections released Monday, Sept. 12, by International Data Corp. (IDC). By 2015, adoption of smartphones and tablets in the U.S. will result in more users accessing the Internet through mobile devices than via desktop PCs, according to IDC's forecast. The number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 16.6 percent from 2010 to 2015.

The company's projection of worldwide online behavior predicts that "the impact of smartphone and, especially, media tablet adoption will be so great that the number of users accessing the Internet through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline," a trend that will also be seen in Western Europe and Japan. Also by 2015, the worldwide population with access to the Internet will increase to 2.7 billion, an increase of 700 million from 2010. The semi-annual projections are built upon 150,000 data points gathered from 40 countries.

A separate study released last month from comScore estimated that 234 million Americans who are 13 years old and over use mobile devices, and 80 million of them own smartphones. Those numbers, combined with IDC's new data, indicate it's only a matter of time before more Americans are using their mobile devices than PCs to access the Internet.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 09/12/2011

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Global: 43 Countries to Join Open Government Partnership

With the only a few days to go before the Sept. 20 launch event, 43 countries have agreed to join the Open Government Partnership. The latest seven to appear on the official list are: the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Latvia, Peru, South Korea, Sweden and Ukraine. The list is: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Peru, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey and Ukraine. The original eight member countries are: the United States and Brazil (co-chairs), South Africa, the United Kingdom, Norway, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines. Seventy-nine countries were eligible under OGP criteria. At 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in New York, U.S. President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff, along with other heads of state, will appear at the kick-off event. The founding eight countries will endorse an Open Government Declaration, still undisclosed, and announce their national action plans, according to information from the State Department. "The founding governments will also welcome the commitment of a large number of governments to join OGP and to deliver their action plans in March 2012 in Brazil." Also that day, a "Power of Open" event is being held, at the New York headquarters of Google, to be attended by 150 invited openness activists and officials. The agenda includes a speech by Philippines President Benigno Aquino, who is under criticism for his still uncertain stance on long-ending freedom of information legislation. The Philippines coalition supporting FOI legislation earlier this week sent a strong letter to Aguino. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)


From http://www.freedominfo.org/ 09/16/2011

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Africa: Survey Highlights Importance of Connect Africa Goals

Informa Telecoms & Media yesterday, 11 November 2011, issued a report entitled 'Broadband in Africa' which assesses the progress of the goals set out at the Connect Africa Summit in 2007 and includes a C-level industry survey on the state of the broadband market in Africa. These goals aim to interconnect African capitals and major cities with broadband infrastructure, to connect African villages to broadband services, to adopt regulatory measures so as to promote affordable and widespread access to broadband services, to support the development of ICT skills and to adopt national e-strategies. Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media and one of authors of the report, comments on the progress of broadband connectivity in Africa, "A combination of public and private investment, regulatory action, competition and technological innovation has made telecoms services in general more widely available to a more diverse range of the population. There is no room for complacency though - devices and services are still prohibitively expensive for the poorest, terrestrial cabling remains undeveloped and mobile network coverage is often sparse or non-existent in some rural areas." According to figures published by Informa, a fifth of internet traffic in Africa will be carried by cellular networks by 2015, compared with a global equivalent of just 3%. Infrastructure investment on 3G networks has been rampant in recent years making mobile operators the main providers of internet services in Africa. Informa expects the broadband experience in Africa to become increasingly widespread with the number of broadband connections over cellular networks exceeding 250 million by the end of 2015, compared with 15 million fixed connections, of which 70% will be a digital subscriber line.

The industry's opinion
It has been recognised that broadband connectivity is becoming increasingly important in the growth of the telecommunications industry. 59% of respondents ranked mobile broadband services as being extremely important to the economic development of Africa - but there are very significant challenges facing the industry as it attempts to expand broadband rollout. The five most widely articulated challenges according to the survey's respondents were: cost of expansion insufficient connectivity/backhaul cost of retail broadband services cost of international bandwidth and; low PC penetration. While some good progress has been made in connecting cities and towns to a national terrestrial backbone, the percentage of villages connected to such a backbone remains very low. There needs to be a number of changes to the broadband market landscape in the next five years including cheaper services, more widespread availability of high-speed connectivity (focusing in particular on rural areas) and greater competition. Joint author of the report, Nicholas Jotischky remarks that Connect Africa should not just be judged against "deliberately aggressive goals, but by how much private and public investment it has encouraged and whether regulators have become more proactive in forcing widespread broadband access and whether governments are choosing to engage closer with their citizens and transform internal processes with the help of various e-services. The truth is that looking at the continent as a whole progress towards a more universal use of broadband infrastructure is variable but at least it is underway."

Highlights
The report highlights the value of the role of regulators in adopting measures that will promote the affordable and widespread access of broadband services. The relaxation of licensing, allocation of more spectrum and direction of cheaper retail broadband services can all play a large part in accelerating Africa's journey to enter a high-speed internet age and become a fully-fledged knowledge economy.


From http://www.bizcommunity.com/ 11/11/2011

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Asia-Pacific Countries Meet to Review and Strengthen Role of ICT for Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Development

Incheon, Republic of Korea (UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section) - Over 300 government representatives and development stakeholders from 35 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in Incheon, Republic of Korea this week to review achievements in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote sustainable and inclusive development in the region. The Second Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on ICT Human Capacity Development: 'Where are we, Where are we going and What will it take to fill the gap?' is being organized from 24 to 28 October by the Incheon-based United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), a regional institute of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Participants will share national ICT human capacity development experiences, lessons learned and deliberate on ICT challenges and gaps in order to formulate a collaborative roadmap to enhance regional ICT human resource capacities. While several Asia-Pacific countries are successfully using ICTs to address economic, social and environmental challenges, many others lack adequate access to ICTs. The Forum aims to promote understanding of the importance of building human capacity and formulating a regional consensus to bridge this intraregional digital divide.

"This Regional Forum is a timely event that will help sustain the ICT capacity successes of recent years and at the same time, work towards helping extend ICT benefits to all in the Asia-Pacific region and address emerging challenges," ... told the Forum. Cyber security will be a focus area of the deliberations with participants discussing ways to develop capacities to respond effectively to regional and national cyber security threats. A Parallel Track event during the Forum will enhance regional cyber security capacities utilizing the APCICT flagship ICT human capacity development programme Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders. "The importance of building national and regional capacities and regional cooperation to combat cyber threats is increasing, and will continue to do so as the Asia-Pacific becomes increasingly connected and integrated," Mr. See-Joong Choi, Chairman, Korea Communication Commission told the Forum. The Forum will also discuss opportunities to extend ICT for development (ICTD) human capacity building initiatives to young people, including through the APCICT Primer Series on ICTD for Youth which will be launched during a second Forum Parallel Track event involving university professors, deans and chancellors from the region.

"Today's youth, are tomorrow leaders. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the next generation has the tools and knowledge to effectively take on this role," Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director, APCICT told the Forum. A third Parallel Track event at the Forum will discuss and formulate recommendations to strengthen regional partnerships and improve knowledge sharing and dissemination of national and regional ICTD expertise. "Establishing strong working partnerships at this Regional Forum will help us take the important step to develop a collaborative regional community of practice that effectively shares important ICT capacity building knowledge," Yeong-Gil Song, Mayor of Incheon City told the Forum. The Regional Forum marks the 5th Anniversary of APCICT which was set up to strengthen ESCAP member states' capacities to use ICT for socio-economic development.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 10/24/2011

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Australia Develops First E-Mental-Health Strategy

Australia's recently established e-mental health expert committee is considering new online initiatives in its development of the nation's first national e-mental health strategy. The expert committee will advise on the rollout of the Australia's first mental health online portal and virtual clinic. Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said in an official statement, "Online mental health services provide an alternative form of support or care for people who don't want to, or don't feel comfortable accessing traditional face-to-face services. Online services have the potential to overcome geographical, attitudinal and financial barriers which we know that young Australians or people living in remote or regional areas often face." The government will provide $48 million in funding over the next 5 years for telephone counselling, self-help and web-based support services to boost efforts in mental health prevention and early intervention. The committee also plans to maximise e-mental health and harness the opportunities presented by the new and emerging technologies including the National Broadband Network. "Continuing advances in technology are revolutionising the way we provide health care, in particular for patients with chronic illnesses and conditions, such as mental illness," Butler added.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/07/2011

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China Launches Gov't-sponsored Job Hunting Website

A nationwide, free-of-charge job hunting website was launched Friday by the Chinese authorities. Sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS), the website - www.cjob.gov.cn - titled "China Job Bank," is designed as a nationwide employment information sharing platform for both employers and job seekers, according to Xin Changxing, vice minister of the MHRSS. More than 10,000 employers signed up to the website on the first day, with over 60,000 posts. The number of job seekers registered has reached almost 500,000. The present website is only a beta version and will later be upgraded, said Ming Hong, an official from the Department of Employment Promotion of the ministry. Ming said the information will be strictly filtered and verified to ensure authenticity and quality of information. The website has linked with human resources agencies in 25 provincial-level regions, and it is designed to cover the institutions in provincial and prefectural levels of all the provincial-level regions, except the Tibet Autonomous Region.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/19/2011

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IT Policy 2011 Aims to Extend National e-Governance Plan

While unveiling the Draft National Policy on Information Technology, 2011; expansion of the National e-Governance Plan has been recognized as a key thrust area. The policy draft of Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Electronics sector was released by Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Kapil Sibal, here in New Delhi, on 7th of October. Aiming to raise the revenues of IT and ITES industry to rise to $300 billion by 2010 from $88 billion at present, the draft also distinguished to mandate provision of all government services through electronic mode within a fixed time frame by enactment of the Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) Bill. The policy also pondered over one more area of making at least one individual in every household e-literate.

The thrust areas of the policy include: To extend the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and mandate provision of all government services through electronic mode within a fixed time frame by enactment of the electronic delivery of services (EDS) bill; To enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliability and decentralization in government and in particular, in delivery of public services; To increase revenues of IT and ITES Industry from $88 billion to $300 billion by 2020; To make at least one individual in every household e-literate; To formulate fiscal and other policies to attract investment in IT Industry in Tier II and Tier III cities; To promote innovation and R&D in cutting edge technologies and development of applications and solutions in areas like localization, location based services, mobile value added services, cloud computing, social media and utility models; To provide fiscal benefits to SMEs and start-ups in the key industrial sectors for adoption of IT in value creation; To leverage internet, web and mobile technologies for developing new products, technologies and businesses; To integrate internet-based and mobile-based delivery of services onto a common platform to enable seamless, ubiquitous, secure and personalized delivery of government and non-government services throughout the country; To integrate Aadhaar, financial and location-based services into this integrated platform to foster an ecosystem for innovation in services.

To create a pool of 10 million additional skilled manpower in ICT; To leverage ICT for key social sector initiatives like education, health, rural development and financial services to promote equity and quality; To make India global hub for development of language technologies to encourage and facilitate development of content accessible in all Indian languages and thereby help bridge the digital divide; To enable access of content and ICT applications by differently abled people to foster inclusive development; To facilitate adoption of ICTs in key economic and strategic sectors to improve their competitiveness and productivity; and To strengthen regulatory and security framework for ensuring a secure cyberspace ecosystem.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/08/2011

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S. Korea Top World Internet Economy Last Year

South Korea was the world's most advanced Internet and telecommunications economy in 2010, with high levels of access, usage and skills, while high-speed Web access remained unaffordable in many low-income countries, the United Nations said on Thursday. Mobile subscriptions grew 20% over the past year to more than 5 billion, with penetration of over 100%, or more than one mobile device per person, in developed countries and 70% in developing countries at the end of 2010. Mobile broadband Internet access mushroomed, especially in developing countries where fixed broadband access is scarce, the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) found in its annual information and communication technology report. But with mobile broadband prices for a monthly subscription of 1 gigabyte costing more than 10% of monthly income in countries such as India, Mali, Kenya and Brazil, high-speed Internet access remained unattainable for many. The Internet was used by just 21% of the population in the developing world, compared with almost 70% in developed countries, the ITU said.


From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 09/17/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Digital Technology Aids Disaster Relief

Recognizing the need for quicker and more efficient emergency response when calamities strike the country, a church-based, Jesuit-led organization and one of the country's telecommunications networks launched a disaster management system using the convergence of mobile and Internet capabilities. The E-Ugnay Disaster Management System of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB) and Globe Telecom aims to take advantage of the digital age in consolidating information from all over the country to allow on-ground personnel to act immediately during natural disasters. Erik John J. Gerilla, SJ, acting director of SLB revealed the importance of using digital capabilities in times of need. "The potential of the Internet in this field of disaster relief is largely underutilized. On the side, the utilization of mobile phones for communication is heavy during disasters. But without a web portal to consolidate these vital information being exchanged through the mobile phones, coordination for timely action is not possible," he said. He expressed confidence that the system will enhance coordination among volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries. "With this innovation, we are confident in our ability to respond to emergency situations anywhere in the country. The system will become our main vehicle to disseminate information to our volunteers and potential donors, thereby maximizing our limited resources during calamities and disasters. It is also an effective way of preventing or lessening duplicate efforts among the response groups," Gerilla said.

E-Ugnay, an imperative to "connect" donors and beneficiaries, is the new portal for the Filipino spirit of "bayanihan" in the digital age since it allows partner organizations to send disaster assessment forms, request for relief goods, and other data through a mobile phone application which will be consolidated by web-based application accessible online. The same data, tagged with the geographic location of the user, can also be sent to the E-Ugnay server via a mobile application. The system would then save the data, organize the information geographically and display it on a map. The E-Ugnay is developed by students from the Department of Information System and Computer Science of Ateneo de Manila University and later on taken over by the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center under Fr. Charlie Cenzon, SJ. The system involves processing the information received through an E-Ugnay-powered mobile phone and tracking in real time the number of relief goods needed in a particular location as well as facilitate their timely delivery to affected areas. Rob I. Nazal, head for Corporate Social Responsibility of Globe said this initiative can connect people at the forefront in disaster relief. "We are very glad to share our ICT competencies to a civil society initiative that increases disaster resilience by improving the coordination and communication of real-time disaster information, expanding donation channels, and connecting volunteers. Through this partnership, Globe and its employees hope to be more proactive in disaster relief efforts nationwide and at the same time showcase its network resiliency and innovative ICT solutions for disaster risk reduction and management," he said.

Nazal reported that Globe has provided food packages consisting of canned goods, instant noodles, rice, coffee, sugar and milk to some 400 families seeking temporary refuge at one of the hardest hit areas by typhoon "Pedring," Daanghari Elementary School in Navotas, during the September 28 on-line disaster monitoring map of SLB. As the official technology partner for E-Ugnay, Nazal disclosed that Globe will provide infrastructure support that will enable E-Ugnay to run on the network consisting of a postpaid mobile account; cellphone units for the E-Ugnay team, nationwide institutional hubs, and community-based partners; specialized SIM cards with discounted rates; and a P240,000 grant for SLB to implement its planned training activities for 2011-2012. Globe also pledged to donate its services during disaster relief operations through employee volunteer mobilization, fund raising support and GCASH services, Libreng Tawag for victims and families of affected communities, and Libreng Internet for E-Ugnay authorized field reporters.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/11/2011

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U.S.: The Top 20 Green-Powered Cities

Houston took the top rank this quarter in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's and Green Power Partnership's top 20 list of local governments that purchase the most green power. The rankings represent the largest purchasers among local government partners within the Green Power Partnership. According to the official website, the Green Power Partnership is a "voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources." The organization works with both the private and public sectors.

While Houston topped the list with 438 million kilowatt-hours of annual green power usage generated from wind energy, Austin, Texas, was a close second with 406 million kilowatt-hours. Austin recently moved to 100 percent clean and renewable energy as a product of wind farms. According to Green Power Partnership, purchasing figures for the top 20 rankings are based on annualized partner contract amounts (in kilowatt-hours), and not calendar year totals. Rankings are also determined on a quarterly basis. The top 20 are as follows:

City - Annual Green Power Usage (kilowatt-hours)
1. Houston - 438,000,000
2. Austin, Texas - 406,000,000
3. Dallas - 302,880,000
4. District of Columbia - 244,267,000
5. Chicago - 215,000,000
6. Montgomery County, Md., Clean Energy Buyers Group - 134,599,000
7. Philadelphia - 127,300,000
8. Suffolk County, N.Y. - 117,000,000
9. Chicago Public Schools - 107,709,620
10. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - 87,000,000
11. Austin, Texas, Independent School District - 65,640,000
12. Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission - 59,637,000
13. Forest County, Wis., Potawatomi Community - 54,677,205
14. Los Angeles World Airports - 35,827,829
15. San Jose, Calif. - 31,854,279
16. San Francisco - 31,593,977
17. Chicago Park District - 31,072,406
18. Montgomery County, Pa. - 29,391,000
19. Nassau County, N.Y. - 29,121,457
20. Santa Monica, Calif. - 28,000,000


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/31/2011

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7 Freedom of Information Laws Pass in Past Year; 18 More Under Consideration

Freedom of information laws were created in seven countries in the year since the last Right to Know Day, notable positive changes were recorded in four other countries and active efforts to pass laws are under way in about 18 nations, according to a FreedomInfo.org survey. Since International RTK Day 2010, first-time laws were adopted in: El Salvador, Guinea Canakry, Guyana, Jersey, Liberia, Nigeria and Mongolia. In addition, significant pro-access developments occurred in other countries, including administrative decrees in Tunisia and Niger. The Chinese and Ugandan governments took administrative steps toward greater openness. In 18 countries, efforts to pass new laws are ongoing, with some countries seemingly poised to pass FOI laws. On the other hand, negative transparency proposals surfaced in a handful of countries, some successful, and efforts to reform existing access regimes, while fruitful in the Ukraine, often ran into opposition. Overall, the level of activity appears higher than that recorded in the previous year. In last year's FreedomInfo.org's tally showed that a dozen countries were considering adoption of FOI laws and only one country, Bermuda, had adopted a law. Now in its ninth year, International Right to Know Day was begin by FOI Advocates in 2003 and is celebrated in dozens of countries with activities ranging from seminars and conferences to awards for best and worst practices by government officials. Another significant development over the yearwas the creation of the multinational Open Government Partnership. (See FreedomInfo.org overview.)

New Laws: West Africa Active
After an 11-year campaign, the signing of a FOI law May 28 in Nigeria came soon after passage of a harmonized version by the Assembly. The law has been praised by advocates and set an example followed by one Nigerian state, Ekiti, which approved its own FOI law. In October, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed into law the Liberian Freedom of Information Bill. Almost unnoticed, an access law for Guinea Canakry was issued in November 2010 by the outgoing military government. Most recently, Guyana's National Assembly passed a long-awaited bill that is expected to be signed soon. Mongolia in June adopted its Law on Information Transparency and Right and Freedom to Access Information. The Jersey Assembly in May approved a FOI law, but decided it will not go into force until the end of 2015.
And in March, El Salvador's legislative assembly approved a Law on Access to Public Information.

Administrative Actions in Tunisia, Niger
In several other countries, pro-transparency efforts came outside the legislative process.
In Tunisia, a Decree on Access to Administrative Documents was issued in May, although the exemptions were criticized as too broad. The transitional government in Niger in March issued a "Charte d'acc¨¨s ¨¤ l'information publique et aux documents administratifs" instructing administrative bodies on releasing information.

Other Positive Moves
In Morocco, voters in July approved a new constitution that includes a provision on access to information. Transparency activists hope to have an access law on the books by the end of 2012. In January, the Ukrainian parliament adopted new two new laws much improving existing laws on access to public information. Also positive were changes in China an Uganda.
As of August, Chinese citizens will be able to sue the central government and local governments if their requests for information are denied and in July officials urged local officials to be more open. And Uganda finally issued regulations to implement its FOI law, although they have been criticized subsequently. In addition, several subnational jurisdictions have adopted FOI laws: Selangor in Malaysia and Ekiti in Nigeria.

Tantalizingly Close: Efforts to Pass Laws Under Way
The prospects of more new laws being passed in the coming year is real. Promising signals from officials, however, don't always translate into prompt action, as frustrated activists have found in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Ghana, the Philippines, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, to name a few. Still, on all those countries the process is seemingly advanced. Perhaps the most resounding defeat came in Sri Lanka, but in many other countries, official resistance is strong.

Efforts to Pass Laws Ongoing in 18 Countries
In addition, FreedomInfo.org in the past year has written about pro-FOI drives in 18 countries.
The list reflects some government pledge or other significant official development. There are other countries in which advocacy efforts are building but harder to track. The countries in which FOI bills seems under active consideration are: Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, the Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Below are thumbnail sketches, with links to the FreedomInfo.org archive.
Argentina Tangle Progress on an Argentinean FOI law appears to have ground to a halt in the House after the September passage of a bill by the Senate.
Bahamas Bill Promised A key minister in the Bahamas recently pledged to bring a bill up soon.
Bolivia Has Draft Bill In Bolivia, a draft Bolivian freedom of information legislation was proposed by the Bolivian Ministry of Transparency and Combating, but has not moved forward.
Botswana Talks With a leading minority party figure pushing FOI legislation, activists held strategy discussions in April, but there is no immediate likelihood of passage.
Brazil Bill Stymied When new President Dilma Rousseff made passage of a FOI bill by early May a priority, activists' hopes were raised, but momentum waned and most recently a powerful senator made more explicit the changes he wished to make.
Second Draft in Cambodia The opposition party in Cambodia proposed FOI legislation in December, and now has developed a second draft.
Colombia Bill Urged by Activists Transparency activists in Colombia took a step forward this year by proposing a draft bill, although no immediate legislative action is on the horizon.
Delays in Ghana Parliamentarians delayed holding public consultations on the RTI bill in Ghana until this summer and now it looks like a bill may not be considered until 2012.
Kazakhstan Bill May Pass in 2012 FOI legislation in Kazakhstan will not be considered until 2012, according to a key member of Parliament, who said in August that further drafting work is necessary.
Mali: Plan Developing Mali's minister of communication in July committed to support an action plan to promote the right to information in the country.
Morocco Bill Expected In Morocco, voters in July approved a new constitution that includes a provision on access to information. Transparency activists hope to have an access law on the books by the end of 2012.
Mozambique Back in October, parliamentarians from all three major parties promised to bring a bill up soon in Mozambique, but in May the Mozambican chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in May condemned the subsequent inactivity.
Aguino Holds Up Action in Philippines Continuing doubts by President Benigno Aguino are holding up progress on legislation in the Philippines, where approval was narrowly averted in June 2010. Although Aguino has said he supports FOI, he has indicated that he has problems with the specifics. He ordered the drafting of a bill of his own but has not proposed his own version.
Rwanda Cabinet Backs Bill The Rwandan Cabinet in June approved an access to information bill and supporters were hoping for it to be signed into law in late September.
Senegal: Leaders Make Pledge Key members of the Senegalese government told FOI activists they support adopting legislation, but the process has not advanced very far.
Promises in Sierra Leone Throughout 2011, the government pledged to pass the FOI bill, but no action has followed. The most recent promise came from the president.
Spanish Bill Offered The Spanish Cabinet issued a much-awaited bill, which promptly drew criticisms as inadequate.
Sri Lankan Government Defeats Bill The Sri Lankan parliament in June defeated an opposition party proposal for a FOI law and the ruling party promised once again to make its own proposal.
Tanzanian Promises A top Tanzanian official said in January that the government wants to pass a FOI law.

Efforts to Undermine Laws Ongoing
In atleast seven countries, notably France, India, Holland, Hungary, Mexico, Poland and South Africa, the past year has seen anti-transparency efforts. So far the only such legislation that has passed was in Hungary. The Indian Cabinet limited the application of the law without legislative action. Getting the most attention, and triggering a substantial public outcry, were proposals by the South African government which are expected to ultimately pass. Committee passage of the controversial Protection of Information Bill, which would expand government controls over information, came in early September. More recently, however, the ruling party delayed a vote on what critics call "the secrecy bill." Poland: In July, the government proposed cutbacks to the Polish law. The amendments would prevent the disclosure of documents used in the preparation of official positions regarding the commercialization or privatization of property, court proceedings and international negotiations. A last-minute addition as the approved bill has caused Polish opponents to urge that it be vetoed. Holland: The Dutch Home Affairs Minister in May suggested that the government will propose limitations on use of Holland's Openness of Government Act, primarily to protect information about predecisional deliberations. A hearing in Parliament is planned for Sept. 29 and a debate in Parliament could occur this fall. Hungary: A new Hungarian law passed in June contains some positive provisions, according to local acivists, but also many negative changes such as more regulation of classified information. India: The Indian Cabinet in June decided to exempt the Central Bureau of Investigation from the Right to Information Act, leading to law suits, but legal development so far support the cabinet. France: An effort in France to amend France's security and access to information laws to require background behavior checks on users of government information was been withdrawn in December. Mexico: In Mexico last November, efforts to cut the budget of the FOI administrative body were repulsed.

Enhancement Efforts Fare Poorly
Some improvements to existing laws have been recorded in the past year, notably in January when the Ukraine parliament adopted new two new laws much improving existing access to public information statutes. They mandate that public officials voluntarily disclose information while also establishing a system for requesting information, all subject to various limitations.
On the flip side, many proposals to improve laws have stagnated. Pending proposals for change exist in countries including: Azerbaijan, the Cayman Islands, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and probably others.

Azerbaijan Proposals Made
Ideas for amending the Azerbaijan access to information law, for improving administration of the law and for enhancing proactive public access to information are among the recommendations contained in a recent report.
Suggestions Offered in Cayman Island
The Cayman Island's information commissioner in May proposed modifications to the 2007 law.
Indian Sports Minister Rebuked
An effort by the Indian sports minister to extend RTI to sports federations was spiked by the Cabinet.
Ireland Commissioner Makes Proposals
The Irish information commissioner recommended that the scope of the law be expanded to cover more public bodies, but no legislative action has resulted.
Jamaica Reform Bill May Get Drafted
The Jamaican Parliament this summer passed the report of the committee that reviewed the Access to Information Act and recommended significant strengthening. The Cabinet is expected to consider reform proposals and present a bill to the Parliament.
Japan: Disaster Interrupts
Natural disasters in Japan diverted all attention from issues such as draft FOI reform legislation, but activists are hopeful that an opportunity still exists to pass changes. 
Mexico Reform Effort Stymied
A package of reforms to improve the Mexican law are stuck until after the elections, according to activists.
Reforms Offered in New Zealand
New Zealand's Law Commission in October proposed reforms.
Pakistan: Promises Unfulfilled
Periodic official pledges to introduce a freedom of information law in Pakistan, such as one in January, have not materialized. Pakistan now operates with a 2002 ordinance. 
United Kingdom Moves Toward Openness
The United Kingdom government Jan. 7 proposed reforms to the U.K. FOI law that would extend its scope to more organizations and hasten the release of archived material, along with a few new restrictions. In July, the government ordered the release of more information on the performance of government agencies. And in August, a public consultation was begun on open data.
United States Strengthening on Hold
The U.S. Senate in May passed a bill to establish a Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays, but it is being blocked by Republicans, now in control of the House. (By Toby McIntosh)


From http://www.freedominfo.org/ 09/27/2011

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ITU Reveals 'Smart' Guidelines Plan to Further Universal Broadband Access

The ITU has used the forum of the Global Symposium for Regulators in Armenia City, Colombia, to outline its proposals to usher in a set of best practice guidelines to further the deployment of broadband services around the globe. The body hopes that the implementation of more focused, smart regulation will put the internet into the hands of a greater number of people and facilitate an industry sector that is constantly evolving. Commenting on the plan, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said: 'Increased access to the internet - and broadband in particular - will allow us to more effectively deliver services to meet the Millennium Development Goals, as e-applications such as e-health, e-education, and e-governance are able to reach even the remotest corners of the world.' However he went on to warn that such goals could only be met 'when broadband becomes more affordable' noting that regulators across the globe could help with this by backing plans to increase both capacity and competition in their local markets.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 09/27/2011

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Global CTOs Call for Faster Progress on E-health Standards - Disaster Relief, Sustainability Also High on Agenda at Strategic Meeting

Geneva - A meeting of 21 CTOs from leading companies1 in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry has urged ITU to accelerate technical standardization work in the field of e-health. CTOs stressed that reliable, interoperable standards are key to providing patients and health professionals with the means to utilize remote consultation services, advanced ICT-based diagnostic procedures and electronic health information services. The meeting, which was held today in Geneva during ITU Telecom World 2011, agreed that international coordination on standards will be vital, and that growth in telemedicine services will also demand aggressive roll-out of broadband networks. The CTOs encouraged ITU, as the world's leading developer of global ICT standards, to intensify its involvement by developing essential e-health infrastructure standards, and by cooperating with other standards bodies to create reliable, secure and interoperable e-health solutions.


From http://www.itu.int/ 10/27/2011

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UN Commission Endorses Global Broadband Targets

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has agreed on a set of four broadband targets that countries around the world should strive to meet in order to bridge the digital divide. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), by providing universal broadband access, governments will be able to ensure that their citizens are able to fully participate in emerging knowledge societies. The new targets, which cover aspects of broadband policy, affordability, and uptake, are as follows:

1.Making broadband policy universal - by 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access or Service Definitions.
2.Making broadband affordable - by 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than five per cent of average monthly income).
3.Connecting homes to broadband - by 2015, forty per cent of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
4.Getting people online - by 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60 per cent worldwide, 50 per cent in developing countries and 15 per cent in least developed countries.

According to Dr. Hamadoun Tour¨¦, Secretary-General of ITU, though the above-mentioned targets are ambitious, he explained that they are also achievable given the right political will and commitment on the part of governments and the private sector. ITU will undertake responsibility for measuring each country's progress towards the targets, producing an annual broadband report with rankings of nations worldwide in terms of broadband policy, affordability and uptake. The Broadband Challenge endorsed by the Commission recognizes communication as 'a human need and a right', and calls on governments and private industry to work together to develop the innovative policy frameworks, business models and financing arrangements needed to facilitate growth in access to broadband worldwide. The Challenge also stresses the need to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital revolution. (By Clarice Africa)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/26/2011

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AFRICA: Minister - Priority for IT Cooperation with Continent

Minister of Telecommunications & Information Technology Dr. Mohamed Salem said on Tuesday 08/11/2011 he will visit a number of Nile Basin countries soon, including Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia to activate a number of cooperation programs and events. A number of delegations are expected to embark on visits to the riparian nations soon including Ethiopian and South Sudan with IT experts discoursing opportunities to offer training and human resources services to those African nations, the minister said. He also unveiled a number of training programs to be offered to Rwanda, Eritrea and Burundi, affirming that cooperation with Nile Basin and African counties is currently one of the ministry's top priorities.


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/09/2011

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Survey Highlights Importance of Connect Africa Goals

Informa Telecoms & Media yesterday, 11 November 2011, issued a report entitled 'Broadband in Africa' which assesses the progress of the goals set out at the Connect Africa Summit in 2007 and includes a C-level industry survey on the state of the broadband market in Africa. These goals aim to interconnect African capitals and major cities with broadband infrastructure, to connect African villages to broadband services, to adopt regulatory measures so as to promote affordable and widespread access to broadband services, to support the development of ICT skills and to adopt national e-strategies. Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media and one of authors of the report, comments on the progress of broadband connectivity in Africa, "A combination of public and private investment, regulatory action, competition and technological innovation has made telecoms services in general more widely available to a more diverse range of the population. There is no room for complacency though - devices and services are still prohibitively expensive for the poorest, terrestrial cabling remains undeveloped and mobile network coverage is often sparse or non-existent in some rural areas." According to figures published by Informa, a fifth of internet traffic in Africa will be carried by cellular networks by 2015, compared with a global equivalent of just 3%. Infrastructure investment on 3G networks has been rampant in recent years making mobile operators the main providers of internet services in Africa. Informa expects the broadband experience in Africa to become increasingly widespread with the number of broadband connections over cellular networks exceeding 250 million by the end of 2015, compared with 15 million fixed connections, of which 70% will be a digital subscriber line.

The industry's opinion
It has been recognised that broadband connectivity is becoming increasingly important in the growth of the telecommunications industry. 59% of respondents ranked mobile broadband services as being extremely important to the economic development of Africa - but there are very significant challenges facing the industry as it attempts to expand broadband rollout. The five most widely articulated challenges according to the survey's respondents were: cost of expansion insufficient connectivity/backhaul cost of retail broadband services cost of international bandwidth and; low PC penetration. While some good progress has been made in connecting cities and towns to a national terrestrial backbone, the percentage of villages connected to such a backbone remains very low. There needs to be a number of changes to the broadband market landscape in the next five years including cheaper services, more widespread availability of high-speed connectivity (focusing in particular on rural areas) and greater competition. Joint author of the report, Nicholas Jotischky remarks that Connect Africa should not just be judged against "deliberately aggressive goals, but by how much private and public investment it has encouraged and whether regulators have become more proactive in forcing widespread broadband access and whether governments are choosing to engage closer with their citizens and transform internal processes with the help of various e-services. The truth is that looking at the continent as a whole progress towards a more universal use of broadband infrastructure is variable but at least it is underway."

Highlights
The report highlights the value of the role of regulators in adopting measures that will promote the affordable and widespread access of broadband services. The relaxation of licensing, allocation of more spectrum and direction of cheaper retail broadband services can all play a large part in accelerating Africa's journey to enter a high-speed internet age and become a fully-fledged knowledge economy.


From http://www.bizcommunity.com/ 11/11/2011

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Nigeria: National Software Policy, Ready for Approval

The national software policy is ready for approval, a source at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has told THISDAY. NITDA, the clearing house for IT projects in the Nigerian public sector last year, set up the National Software Policy Committee (NSPC) with members drawn from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to develop a national software policy aimed at providing a blueprint to make Nigeria a competitive country in the area of software development. THISDAY gathered that this broad spectrum of stakeholders has finally submitted a draft national software policy to the NITDA for possible approval. The intention of this software policy is to encourage an environment of informed and responsible behaviour that supports the established culture of openness, trust and integrity whilst facilitating effective software asset management and direct foreign investment. The competent source from NITDA stated that given the existing political and socio-economic status of the country in West Africa, in particular, and Africa in general, the fundamentals existed for the emergence of the country as a global competitor in the software market with ancillary beneficial impact of poverty alleviation, gender equality, and wealth creation in the society. According to the draft policy on software, the source said, there was a good evidence that the domestic market for software products and services is huge. He added that the challenge facing Nigeria was how much of this market opportunity was linked to the emergence of a vibrant local software economy and capability as opposed to net negative capital flight and job loses to international competition. "Thus, while indigenous software is capable of reducing the existing capital flight through foreign software. It also has the capacity to attract the tremendous foreign earnings desirable for accelerated growth of Nigerian economy. The national software policy is pivotal in answering this question" the source said.

According to the source, NITDA is committed to protecting the IT industry from actions caused by individuals or group of persons, either knowingly or unknowingly who break software copyright. This policy outlines the acceptable activities in dealing with software in Nigeria, as the unavailability of this exposes the users of software applications to risks including the inability to manage software with respect to costs, assets and media, licensing compliance and legal issues. A centralised approach to software asset management enables the IT sector to maximise the return on investment and to minimise the risks related to software. The benefits of this approach include strategic alignment, volume purchasing, improved productivity, version optimisation, better software support, easier administration, reduced risks from viruses and illegal software, and mitigation against breach of copyright and litigation due to non-compliance. Promoting software as one of the topmost critical national information infrastructure for the growth of the country's economy, promoting and facilitating software industry growth with a view to improving the quality and effectiveness of public service delivery, as well as driving transparency were the missions of the national software policy, the source added. The source also reiterated that accountability in governance, improving the standard of living of Nigerians through the use of software in all sectors as a tool to enhance productivity, efficiency and optimum utilisation of resources, promoting the country as a hub for growth of software industry and facilitating the flow of investment amongst others were some of its other missions. Furthermore, software human capital, software infrastructure, software fiscal policy, software industry economics, software legislative, regulatory and institutional framework, software and national development strategy, software research, innovation and development, among others, it was gathered were the focus areas of the national software policy. (By Amaka Eze)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/10/2011

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ARAB STATES: New Guidelines Launched for Dubai Govt Websites

The Dubai e-Government Department has launched the 2011 edition of the Government Websites Guidelines (GWG) for Dubai Government entities. The 2011 GWG was reformulated after rigorous international benchmarking, regional and local government customisation; feedback from key stakeholders in Dubai Government and also builds upon the success of previous Dubai Government websites guidelines and evaluations. Government entities will be able to view or download the new edition via Dubai e-Government's corporate website on www.deg.gov.ae. Ahmed bin Humaidan, Director-General of Dubai e-Government Department, said: "It is very encouraging to see that our government partners in Dubai have responded positively to previous editions of the Government Websites Guidelines. As a result of such a comprehensive GWG standard, the overall Dubai Government websites evaluation results increased from an overall average of 61 per cent in 2006 to 86 per cent in 2010. However, taking the cue from His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who advised us that the path of excellence and distinction does not stop at a certain stage, we have decided to raise the bar even further and have therefore reformulated the GWG to ensure that we remained customer-focused, and abreast with technology and latest website trends."

Bin Humaidan said that the new model and the related guidelines for Dubai Government websites will set a new target and benchmark for the government entities in the continuous journey to excellence. "We sincerely believe that compliance with the new guidelines will enhance the customer experience in our governmental websites leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher usage." Dubai e-Government Department has been evaluating Dubai Government websites since 2006 after providing the required guidelines and standards to ensure a certain level of uniformity and compliance among government websites. The 2011 guidelines are part of this quality initiative and were established after a rigorous international benchmarking exercise including compliance with recommendations laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as taking into account the particularities of the Dubai Government. The newly-formulated GWG is based on a strategic 'Government Websites Excellence Model' (GWEM) which was developed internally by Dubai e-Government Department. The GWEM is built around a customer-focused concept and consists of 46 guidelines around accessibility, usability and design, content and policies. The Dubai e-Government Department will conduct biennial (every two years) evaluations of Dubai Government websites for compliance with the new GWG standards.


From http://www.khaleejtimes.com/ 10/31/2011

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Saudi Arabia: MCIT Plans to License First Three MVNOs in 2012

Saudi Arabian communications minister Muhammad Jameel Mulla has announced that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) plans to issue three mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences in early-2012, whilst confirming that the regulator does not intend to open the market for a fourth player. ArabNews.com quotes the communications chief as saying: 'Virtual communications services do not require any new network ... We don't have any plan to license a new company to provide cell phone service'. Although rumours that the MCIT intended to endorse the entrance of MVNOs into the sector have circulated since 2009, Mulla's announcement marks the first formal acknowledgment of the watchdog's plan. TeleGeography notes that in January 2011, Zain KSA, Saudi Arabia's third mobile operator, launched a new pre-paid mobile package in partnership with the Friendi Goup, a UAE-based company that had previously introduced MVNO services in Oman and Jordan - the latter also in association with Zain. At the time Mikkel Vinterd, CEO of the Friendi Group clarified: 'This is a partnership outsourcing agreement rather than an MVNO. It is a package operated by Zain but branded Friendi. We will be working with Zain on certain aspects of the branding and distribution and services and so on, so it is a joint effort'. Vinter added that the package is designed to target international customers including foreigners who live in Saudi Arabia and nationals who have family or friends overseas, although roaming rates remained the same as those offered by Zain. As of mid-October 2011 Friendi claimed that it had achieved a customer base of around 700,000.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/17/2011

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ASIA AND PACIFIC: Internet Censorship in Asia

Reuters has a write-up looking at how Asian nations are realising that they cannot control the internet (here). The article mentions a few obvious characters like China and Singapore with Malaysia, India and South Korea all mentioned too. There is no coverage of Thailand - where use of lese majeste laws is regressing, according to Council of Foreign Relations -, Vietnam - where Facebook is officially blocked, though access remains possible - or other neighbours like Indonesia and the Philippines. Nonetheless, it is an interesting read, and my pick of excerpts are below: Comments from Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch: Governments are committing quite a bit of resources and time to block websites and I think it's a panic reaction. They have some temporary, immediate discouraging effect but over the longer term, they won't be effective because people will still find a way to get the news they want to hear. Once people have been exposed to the Internet and see the power of getting information free to your computer, it's a very addictive feeling of empowerment.

China:
Even China, which strongly regulates the Internet and is grappling with how to deal with the extremely popular microblogs read by hundreds of millions of its people, is highly unlikely to block them completely. This is true to a point. However the government has taken recent steps to restrict the freedom of Sina Weibo, while many services remain conscious that there are limits of freedom for discussions and topics. This article from Reuters - published today - delves into more details illustrating how uneasy the Chinese government is with the growth of microblogs, which are thought to have almost 200 million users today in China.

India:
In India, authorities were taken aback last month when an anti-corruption campaign multiplied on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and drew tens of thousands of people to protest sites.

Korea:
South Korea heavily filters online content involving North Korea, with which it is still technically at war. But its citizens continue to lobby the government for more access.

Singapore:
Singapore blocks a symbolic list of 100 mostly pornographic sites but does not to bar any site for political content. And despite strict controls on open political discussion, it allowed freewheeling criticism of government policies in the run-up to general elections this year. I would be cautious claiming that criticism was accepted, when tolerated is perhaps a more apt phrase. It seems that the government hugely underestimated the role of the internet and social media in the run up to the election. Incumbent candidates began, almost desperately, making use of it once they realised. The blogosphere is given some freedoms in Singapore. However, the government reclassified a number of political blogs as media, prior to the election campaign, to regain some control over their content.

Malaysia
Neighboring Malaysia pledged in 1996 not to impose controls on the Internet and was rewarded with investments from foreign technology companies such as Microsoft Corp and Cisco Systems. The decision led to vibrant online political commentary. Analysts say the government had since quietly considered some form of filters on the debate, but decided against it. Thailand is perhaps a more complicated topic but it does seem remiss not to mention its examples of internet censorship/freedom of speech issues when they made the news regularly over the past few months.


From http://asiancorrespondent.com/ 09/16/2011

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EUROPE: EU Agrees Radio Spectrum Policy

The EU Council has endorsed a text drawn up with the European Parliament and the Commission for setting a European radio policy. The agreement will foster the roll-out of enhanced wireless broadband systems, by requiring member states to authorise the use of the 'digital dividend' 800 MHz band for wireless broadband by January 2013. The states and the Commission will be responsible for jointly implementing these priorities. The Radio Spectrum Policy programme, first proposed by the Commission over a year ago, will begin in early 2012 and run through to the end of 2015, but its principles and objectives are of a permanent nature and will not expire in 2015.

The agreed Radio Spectrum Policy Programme includes several measures including creating an European radio spectrum inventory and putting in place a process for determining usage. It also includes fostering the deployment of wireless broadband by setting deadlines for authorising the use of harmonised spectrum bands for electronic communication services. It offers making at least 1200 MHz of spectrum available for wireless broadband services in the EU by 2015, following an assessment based on the spectrum inventory, promoting spectrum management, encouraging collective and shared use of scarce spectrum.

It also includes defining concrete steps to promote competition in the single EU telecommunications market, avoiding possible distortions arising from the accumulation of spectrum in the hands of certain operators. It also includes meeting the spectrum requirements of EU policies in sectors such as transport, energy, earth observation and monitoring, civil protection, wireless microphones and cordless cameras, and the internet of things and underlining the need for enhanced EU coordination in international spectrum negotiations. The agreement remains subject to a formal vote by Parliament.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 10/31/2011

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Net Neutrality Gets European Parliament Backing

The European Parliament has called for the internet to be kept open and neutral, urging ISPs to avoid departing from the principles of net neutrality. In a vote on Thursday, MEPs backed a motion that stressed how important the open nature of the internet had been to its development, and spelled out the dangers of letting ISPs block or downgrade traffic for anti-competitive purposes.

The resolution called on the European Commission to "ensure that internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target". "Reasonable data traffic management is required and very useful to prevent network congestion and the smooth running of applications and services," Herbert Reul, chair of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, it is clearly understood that traffic management practices must not be used for anti-competitive purposes."

The Commission is currently on a fact-finding expedition with regards to net neutrality, having tasked the regulator group Berec with finding out what abuses of net neutrality are taking place. Evidence gathered would include cases of, for example, operators blocking or throttling VoIP applications because they compete with the operators' voice business. Berec's report would no doubt look into other aspects of net neutrality as well, such as ISPs' desire to charge content providers such as the BBC and YouTube for carrying their services at a reasonable quality level.

Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has made it very clear that she wants any net neutrality regulation to be applied consistently across the EU, and she has lambasted the Dutch for bringing in such regulations on their own steam. The European Parliament's motion backed Kroes's approach, urging the Commission to come up with consistent, EU-wide guidelines to enforce net neutrality rules.

The MEPs called on Kroes to assess, within six months of Berec's report being published, "whether further regulation is needed to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of access of information, freedom of choice for consumers and media pluralism". Berec's report is due by the end of this year. The French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net has long been campaigning for net neutrality. It views the motion's acceptance of anti-congestion traffic management as a "loophole", but nonetheless welcomed the resolution as a whole.

According to La Quad, the next step is for the European Parliament's political statement this week to translate into hard law from the Commission. "EU telecoms operators already violate net neutrality in large numbers by illegitimately restricting Internet access," spokesman J¨¦r¨¦mie Zimmermann said in a statement. "If Commissioner Neelie Kroes is really committed to defending freedom of expression, as she has claimed in the past, she must act accordingly by imposing net neutrality by law, as was done in the Netherlands."

Cloud communications specialist Interoute was less effusive about net neutrality, saying in a statement on Thursday that a very strict interpretation of the principle could hamper private investment.

"Different traffic needs different rules, for example video must have priority over data, which in essence creates a multi-speed internet," Interoute director Lee Myall said. "Added to this is the need for investment to ensure the network infrastructure is fit to carry the huge increase in traffic that consumers are demanding. The risk now is that imposing net neutrality will restrict the internet investment and ultimately affect quality." (By David Meyer)


From http://www.zdnet.co.uk/ 11/18/2011

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DK: New Digitisation Strategy Aims to Make the Public Sector Paperless by 2015

The Danish Government published its new digitisation strategy for 2011-2015 in August 2011. The central aim of the strategy is that by 2015 digital self-service solutions will be established as the normal way for citizens to interact with the public sector. The new strategy, called 'The digital road to future prosperity', aims to phase out paper-based forms and postage. So citizens will use the Internet for all applications and notifications to the public sector, such as when they move, when they enrol a child in a nursery or when they order a new passport. In addition, all citizens and businesses will automatically be given a free digital mailbox to which all communications from the public sector will be sent. By 2015, therefore, interactions of citizens and businesses with the public sector will be entirely paperless.Those citizens who are not proficient in IT will still be able to get help from local service centres or over the phone. Alternatively, they may choose to provide a digital power of attorney to their relatives, so that their family can easily help them, even across geographic distances. The new digital strategy has a broad scope and aims to provide digital solutions across the public sector. It provides 60 individual initiatives, including: A commitment to, and investment in, IT and digital learning resources in primary schools. An action plan for the national dissemination of good and effective telemedicine solutions such as the monitoring of patients with diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This benefits patients since they are able to stay at home in a safe environment, as well as reducing the costs to the healthcare services. Vocational initiatives to provide businesses with easier paths to growth.

This includes fully digital written communication between the public sector and businesses from 2013. The initiatives of the digitisation strategy have a total budget of DKK 426.4 million (€57 million, approximately). Public sector digitisation initiatives will have DKK 325 million (€44 million, approximately), of which municipalities finance 40 % and regions 20 %, and DKK 101.4 million (€14 million, approximately) is allocated to vocational education digitisation initiatives. In addition, the Government has allocated DKK 500 million (€67 million, approximately) and the municipalities up to DKK 1 billion (€134 million, approximately) for IT in schools. Denmark published its first digital strategy for the public sector in 2001. Since then, the Government, municipalities and regions have worked closely together on digitisation, and have initiated the transfer of resources from administration into public services, and have streamlined and automated workflows across the public sector. This has resulted in digital solutions such as the citizen's gateway borger.dk, the digital signature (NemID) and electronic invoicing (NemHandel). It is hoped that the new digitisation strategy will build on these developments and cement Denmark as one of the leading nations in eGovernment. Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Minister of Finance, said: "There will be no need to spend billions on postage and manual handling. In recent years there has been a considerable emphasis on how we in the public sector organise ourselves, and in this digitisation is an important tool. Digital self-service means that parents can in peace and quiet inform the daycare centre that their children are in bed, or register a change of address with the municipality from their laptops instead of being left with forms and stamps. Digitisation makes life easier for the Danes and frees up billions. It is common sense, and I look forward to rolling out the strategy." Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said: "Digitisation offers citizens a much easier life since contact with the public sector can be managed via PC or smart phone around the clock and medical treatments can be undertaken via telemedicine. Danes are generally very good at using IT in everyday life, so for most it will be quite painless to make the digital method the citizens' first choice, but we must also ensure that those who are not so able in IT and modern technology are not left behind."


From http://epractice.eu/ 08/31/2011

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Ireland: E-government Is Back on National Agenda

E-government in Ireland, a term not heard of for quite a while, has returned to the table and the provisions set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, TD, call for more progress in the area, along with advances in cloud computing and shared services. Today, Howlin proposed a set of plans that will see the number of people employed in the public sector drop by 37,500 to 282,500 by 2015. While the reductions are going to result in savings for the public purse, it is clear that State doesn't want to see any reduction in the quality of service to citizens (aka, customers).

At the heart of the new measures is a Public Service Card and the return of a term you might not have heard for a few years: e-government. The internet will be at the heart of a slew of new services planned, including a new single awarding authority for student grants that will include an online application process that will commence in the 2013 academic year. New online services will include online voter registration, national rollout of fixyourstreet.ie and a central portal for more than 300 public services. Public accountability will be a key factor and building on the Healthstat initiative the State will embark on a wider GovStat initiative during 2012.

Public Service CIO Council
It recommends appointing a Public Service CIO Council to assist and drive ICT and e-government initiatives across the public sector, beginning this quarter. Work on the creation of a "new eGovernment Strategy" has commenced and will be completed by the end of Q1 2012 and each department and public body will complete plans in relation to the new e-government strategy by Q3 2012.

Among the examples provided are the rollout of new services, such as the digital renewal of adult passports, the national rollout of fixyourstreet.ie by all local authorities, and planning applications and objectives are to be handled online. A key reason for the take-up of electronic services and self-service facilities is that it will reduce the dependency and traffic to offline channels and enable staff to be redeployed to other priorities. A Public Services Card (PSC) will be the key access mechanism for the vast majority of public services. The Government said it will continue to enhance the use of cloud computing in the public service and trials and research have begun with "major ICT companies."

A "Cloud Computing Strategy" for the public service will be published at the end of the first quarter 2012. A further provision is to "Seek, through market exercises, to develop a compelling case over traditional computing provision for infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) provision for the public service." All Government departments are currently part of a consultation into driving shared services across all departments and public bodies. The project will be led by a shared services transformation manager. Services that could be shared across all departments include HR management, finance, payroll, ICT, procurement and pensions. (By John Kennedy)


From http://www.siliconrepublic.com/ 11/19/2011

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Sweden Champions Internet Freedom

Swedish Minister of Trade Ewa Bjrling invited companies and experts in the IT and telecommunication industry to discuss freedom on the Internet in a press meeting in Stockholm on Wednesday. She spoke about the importance of human rights on the Internet, pointing to Iran and China as examples of countries that try to close down the Internet and put up barriers for people's freedom of speech.

[Ewa Bjrling, Swedish Minister of Trade]:
"Since we have notice some initiative from certain countries that they would like to discuss in UN in different committees how they would like to cut down some parts of (the) Internet and we feel the opposite it should be free and we should have the same human rights in the Internet as we have in daily life."The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which Sweden is a member, has recently updated guidelines for multinational companies to support the freedom of opinion, organization and assembly on the Internet and is a consequence of the Arab Spring. Patrik Hiselius from Telia Sonera, one of the leading telecom operator in Nordic and Baltic countries, says a free Internet means more business.

[Patrik Hiselius, Senior Advisor, Digital Rights, Telia Sonera]:
"The uses have an interest of free flow of information on (the) Internet and the more free flow on the Internet the better is our business case." Carina Lundberg Markow, representing a pension fund in Sweden, became aware of the importance of ethical business when the fund realized that Yahoo, in which they had invested, gave out IP numbers to the Chinese regime in 2005. She believes in rewarding companies that respect human rights.

[Carina Lundberg Markow, Director CSR, Folksam]:
"Companies that are respecting human rights, they are supporting development in the industry, and that is a clear business case and I think they could be rewarded with higher profit in the future."The Minister and particpants will discuss what guidance a company needs in difficult markets and what states and ITC companies can do to support freedom of speech in business.


From http://english.ntdtv.com/ 11/17/2011

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil - Senate Approves Access to Information Bill

The Brazilian Senate has approved the access to information bill eight years after a proposal was first presented to Congress. "We welcome the approval of the access to information bill and congratulate the Senate for backing legislation that is fundamental to democracy," says Paula Martins, Director of ARTICLE 19 South America. "Once President Rousseff signs the law, Brazil will be better equipped to lead the Open Government Partnership and promote an open and transparent government to its people and the region as a whole," continued Martins.

The new law implements the right to access information held by public bodies guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution. It sets out the government's obligation to disclose information proactively and respond to specific requests for information. At present, the law needs to be signed by President Rousseff, who supported the drafting of the bill whilst she was chief of staff to former-President Luiz In¨˘cio Lula da Silva.

Brazil has been witnessing frequent anti-corruption demonstrations in several cities, whilst conferences on transparency and public control gather citizens and governments nationwide to discuss access to information and accountability. Internationally, the lack of an approved access to information law was a direct contradiction to the leading role of Brazil in the Open Government Partnership, an international effort to encourage transparency within governments. The bill was approved by the lower house of Congress in April 2010 but was delayed by the Senate until now.

Brazil will now face the challenge of implementing the law across 5,565 municipalities, 26 states and one federal district. At the federal level, implementation will start with a national campaign to raise awareness on the right to information and will include comprehensive training of public servants. All official bodies will be obliged to create a citizens' information service, to promote public participation through public hearings or consultations and to use the internet as a way to disclose information. Official websites will now be obliged to disclose information in different user- and machine-friendly electronic formats.

The law does not create an independent information commission. The Office of the Comptroller General is responsible to rule on appeals for requests to the executive branch. The legislative and judicial branches are required to create separate regulations setting out their appeals procedures. A special commission will review and revise information which is classified. Information relating to human rights violations perpetrated by public officials can never be exempt from disclosure.


From http://www.article19.org/ 10/26/2011

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Guyana Approves Freedom of Information Act

Guyana's Parliament has approved a freedom of information bill that will make most government documents available to those who request them. The measure calls for the appointment of an information officer responsible for releasing documents as long as the information does not compromise investigations or pose a threat to the country's safety. The bill also allows for the release of Cabinet minutes. Any public official found guilty of destroying public documents could face as much as a year in jail. President Bharrat Jagdeo is expected to sign the bill in upcoming months. It was approved late Thursday.


From http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/ 09/16/2011

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Canada: Feds Announce Changes to Open Data Licensing

In an attempt to make the data culled from the open data project more "open," restrictions on the licensing agreement have been adjusted. Before this Wednesday, it was hard to tell just how "open" the Federal government's open data project was. The idea behind it was to make the available sets of tax-payer funded data (260,000 of them, according to the government) available to the public, allowing it to be parsed for many useful tools.

Unfortunately, the stumbling block for open data is that it hinges on the licensing agreement attached to it. In Canada's case, the federal government originally attached stringent clauses to the licensing that prevented users from reverse-engineering the data to identify companies who were part of that data, and had strict rules for citation of where the data came from. For technology analyst David Eaves, who helped make Emitter.ca, a site that tracks 22,000 facilities, across the country, and identifies which are the worst polluters, this stipulation in particular was infuriating. "It kind of defeats the point. (My) pollution identification site was potentially in violation of the licence because we were identifying individual businesses because the data pointed to them very explicitly," he said.

Treasury board president, Tony Clement, acknowledged this short-coming to the open data project in Canada and hoped that changes would push more and better use of it. "We're liberalizing the approach on the terms and conditions of using the data sets to make it easier to access, more functional, easier to use," Clement said.

Eaves said that while there were still some odd decisions regarding the licensing agreement, these amendments have made the open data project "definitely a lot better." He is still confused at some of the mixed messaging present in the amended agreement. While at one point, the agreement states that you must make it clear that the data was taken from the government of Canada, there is a further statement that makes it clear you can't do just that. There is concern that if you just slap a government of Canada logo or watermark onto your site, it would lead readers to assume that whatever is on the page is actually endorsed by the government. "These two stipulations are kind of at odds. It would be a whole lot easier if they just got rid of it, but they're not going to," he said.

Eaves finds it odder still that the federal government is so concerned with putting it's stamp on the data in the first place. "They should not care so much that they want credit," he said. It's also a bit murky as to what constitutes credit.. "(It's) unclear where you have to make this disclaimer. (For instance,) if you're on a mobile phone app, space becomes a real premium issue, but this is not terribly onerous." It wasn't all bad news, however. The licence was amended to protect projects created with data, should that data be made unavailable in the future. Previously, Eaves said, the agreement made it clear that any data that was made unavailable was not to be used going forward. Now, projects that are created at any point can continue to use that legacy data with indemnity. "Even if the licence ends, you can still use the data you originally got under this license," he said. And the number of participating arms of government has increased too. "What is good about this announcement is it shows that the number of ministries and agencies and institutions that are thinking about what data they need to make open is increasing," Eaves said.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 11/07/2011

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Net Neutrality: Stronger Rules Needed in US and EU

On 20 November 2011, the US Federal Communications Commission's rules on net neutrality will come into force. While the rules are a welcome attempt at protecting net neutrality, ARTICLE 19 is concerned that they do not go far enough. With the EU set to adopt its own conclusions on net neutrality in early December, ARTICLE 19 calls on the US, the EU, and governments worldwide to implement rules that fully protect universal access to, and openness of, the internet. The principle of 'net neutrality' protects the consumers' right to access the content, applications, services and hardware of their choice. It is essential for the sharing of information and ideas on the internet. The priniple of net neutrality also requires that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and governments should not be allowed to use their control of internet infrastrucuture to block content, or prioritise or slow down access to certain applications or services, such as peer-to-peer transmission. In October 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a set of rules called 'Formal Complaint Procedures, Preserving the Open Internet and Broadband Industry Practices', aimed at ensuring net neutrality, and scheduled to come into force on 20 November 2011. Although the FCC approved the Rules on 21 December 2010, they have not entered into effect due to their delayed publication in the Federal Register. A number of legal challenges have been brought against the FCC following the publication of the rules, and therefore implementation of the rules is likely to be further delayed. The rules espouse three basic principles: (i) all ISPs must be transparent in their network management practices; (ii) ISPs are prohibited from blocking lawful sites and services; and (iii) fixed broadband providers cannot unreasonably discriminate against lawful network traffic. When the rules were first adopted last December, ARTICLE 19 welcomed the FCC's reaffirmation of the need for an open internet to promote freedom of expression. At the same time, we expressed our disappointment that the rules failed to provide adequate safeguards against discrimination, especially in relation to mobile broadband. We were also concerned that ISPs were allowed to restrict access to content and services for 'reasonable' network management purposes.

While ARTICLE 19 believes that the rules are a step in the right direction, they are too weak and inadequate to protect net neutrality. Although the FCC has banned the filtering of 'lawful' content, it allows the blocking of 'unlawful' websites and peer-to-peer transmission, which could result in the accidental blocking of 'lawful' websites and applications based on peer-to-peer technology, such as VOIP. Moreover, the ban on 'unreasonable' discrimination is too limited because the FCC rules only limit the ban to fixed broadband providers, excluding mobile. The adoption of net neutrality has not been the sole focus of the US. The Council of Europe recently adopted principles for the protection and promotion of net neutrality. In its Declaration on Internet Governance Principles adopted on 21 September 2011, the Committee of Ministers described universal access to the Internet as one of the key objectives of internet governance. In particular, the Committee stressed that traffic management measures could potentially interfere with freedom of expression and therefore had to comply with human rights principles. Following the Council of Europe's Declaration, the Council of the EU is also set to adopt its own conclusions on the open internet and net neutrality on 13 December 2011. The fundamental importance of the net neutrality principle for freedom of expression cannot be overstated. ARTICLE 19 urges the EU and other authorities around the world to implement provisions that fully protect net neutrality and go further than the principles laid down by the FCC.


From http://www.article19.org/ 11/07/2011

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CHINA: To Foster Internet Development in Four Areas

China, which has the world's largest Internet user population, plans to boost the development of its Internet sector in four areas and make it an impetus in transforming economic growth mode and in optimizing industrial structure, a senior official said Tuesday. The four areas are promoting Internet infrastructure construction, encouraging technology progress and application, accelerating Internet application in other industries, as well as intensifying information and Internet security management, said Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), at the 2011 China Internet Conference. The conference, with a theme of "Connecting China - Responsibility and Vitality," is scheduled to run from Tuesday to Thursday in Beijing. Miao said the country aims to build a safe and reliable network infrastructure based on the development of various technologies, including broadband and IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). He said efforts will also go to developing the next generation Internet, the Internet of Things and cloud computing. According to MIIT statistics, at the end of June, China had 485 million Internet users, with the penetration rate standing at 36.2 percent.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/23/2011

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Ministry Orders Cleanup of Online Music

The Ministry of Culture has ordered domestic websites to halt playback and download services for 100 songs from other markets that were not officially approved before being uploaded to the Internet. "A website that is engaged in the operation of an online music product must go through procedures with the ministry before providing playback and download services for the song on the Internet," Li Jian, an official in the ministry's department of cultural markets, told China Daily on Sunday. The ministry, which is in charge of online music, reviews all imported online music products and operates a registration system for domestic ones. "The procedure is a bid to strike out copyright infringement and refine the order of the online cultural market," Li said. Domestic search engines and websites have been asked to review and cancel services dealing with the listed songs by Sept 15 or face investigations and penalties, according to a notice on the ministry's website. The 100 songs are all from markets beyond the mainland such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Western countries. The list features music by Lady Gaga and Backstreet Boys.

Li said all music websites must follow the system of exclusive licensing of online music. "If one website first registers a song with our ministry, other websites have to obtain authorization from this website before providing services for the song," he said. "However, some break the law by violating copyrights or using pirated music. We are trying to fight this," Li said. However, insiders at recorded music companies said the "dual review" is superfluous. "All the lyrics and album covers go through official review by the General Administration of Press and Publication before production and release," said a woman from an exclusive licensee of EMI music in China, who declined to be identified. "It might work for those songs that are not recorded on discs but are only for the Internet," she said. Some insiders said the official approval procedure provides only slight protection for recorded music companies. "Now, we bring a lawsuit against a website if it is found to be using our songs illegally. The official approval only provides evidence when we get the websites into court, but it plays little role in restraining lawbreakers," said a man from one of the world's four major recorded music companies who did not want to be identified. "Also, the compensation we get from the lawsuits goes to us, but the fines imposed by the ministry, which constitute an administrative penalty, go to the country," he said. He also said that in reality, no companies in the industry offer exclusive licenses for online music to websites. "Even if we sell the online service rights for a song to a website, it does not have the right of resale. Other websites have to come to us to buy the song," he said. "No company will sell a song, to which they devote a great deal of effort and money, to a website agency," he said. The ministry in January and March ordered websites to stop providing services for 200 songs. Some websites face penalties because they have not deleted the unapproved music.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/29/2011

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CHINA: Gov't Calls for Boycott on Online Falsehoods

A government spokesperson on Friday called for a boycott on online falsehoods and Internet-based rumors, which he referred to as "malignant tumors" that are detrimental to social stability. The spokesperson from the State Internet Information Office under the State Council, or China's Cabinet, called for China's 500 million Internet users to "abide by the law, show self-discipline and refrain from spreading rumors." The spokesperson urged Internet enterprises and websites to "strengthen the management of information publication" and invited the public to give tip-offs on online rumors. The spokesperson made the remarks as he condemned a falsified "prostitute diary" that has became an online microblog sensation on Sina Weibo, the country's most popular Twitter-like service. Under the online pseudonym "Ruoxiaoan1," a 31-year-old male editor surnamed Lin posted 401 entries to his Weibo account starting in January, fabricating stories about working as a 22-year-old female prostitute in Hangzhou, the capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province. Before Lin's real identity was discovered by police, his microblog account was followed by more than 250,000 users, including several prominent Chinese Internet celebrities. Some of his entries were re-tweeted as many as 10,000 times. Lin was fined 500 yuan (78.5 U.S. dollars) for disturbing public order in accordance with China's Internet regulations, and his microblog account was permanently deleted. The spokesperson ordered relevant local authorities and websites to hold individuals and websites that spread rumors accountable, and penalize them according to law. China's websites have launched notable campaigns to stop the spread of information they consider harmful. Sina Weibo asked its millions of users to help check the spread of unconfirmed rumors in August. The company said that microbloggers will have their accounts suspended for one month if they are found posting messages containing false information. At 500 million users, China is home to the world's largest number of registered netizens. The rising popularity of microblogging services has allowed this segment of the country's population to voice their opinions and beliefs in a way that has never been seen before in China. The number of Chinese microbloggers reached 195 million by the end of June, a 208.9 percent increase over the number recorded around the end of 2010, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/01/2011

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Healthy Environment for Mcroblogs Uged

China's Internet watchdog on Thursday urged the building of a healthy, orderly environment for microblogging, stressing that there must be no avenue for spreading rumors or illegal information online. ang Chen, director general of China's State Internet Information Office, urged the strengthening of regulation over microblogs in a bid to use them to "serve the works of the Party and the nation," as well as the people. ang, also deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a seminar themed "how microblogs can serve society." ocial networking sites, such as microblogs and Facebook-like services, have become major platforms for social associations and information-sharing in China. ina Weibo, the most popular microblog service in terms of registered users, now has more than 200 million users. ith 485 million users, China is home to the world's largest number of registered web users. The rising popularity of microblogging has allowed segments of the population to voice their opinions in a way that has never been seen before in China. ang said that in accordance with laws and regulations, the government will punish those who use microblogs to spread lies, rumors, and pornography and subsequently threaten online information security and public security. e stressed that the government will not allow illegal information to be posted on microblogs. ang added that microblogs should be used for "popularizing sciences, advancing culture, and projecting social morality," adding that this type of information and the platforms that provide it should be increased to meet people's demands. ang's remarks come two weeks after the Ministry of Public Security urged the use of microblogs to "release correct and authorized information in order to dispel misunderstandings." iu Qi, head of the CPC in Beijing municipality, paid a rare visit to Sina's headquarters in August, where he encouraged Internet companies to stop the spread of "false and harmful information" and to "ensure the authenticity of information and create a healthy online media atmosphere."


From China.org.cn 10/14/2011

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China Calls for Joint Efforts for Peaceful, Secure, Equitable Cyber Space

China on Thursday called upon the international community to "work together towards a peaceful, secure and equitable information and cyber space," stating that cyber security "represents a major non-traditional security challenge" confronting the world at large. Wang Qun, the Chinese ambassador for disarmament affairs, made the statement when he was addressing the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on information and cyberspace security. The First Committee is in charge of disarmament and international security. "At present, the information and cyberspace security represents a major non-traditional security challenge confronting the international community," Wang said. "Effective response to this challenge has become an important element of international security and a major topic for multilateral diplomacy for arms control." The 21st century is the century of information, he said. "Information and cyber technology represents advanced productivity, and its rapid development and wide application have given a strong impetus to economic and social development and the progress of civilization," he noted.

"China believes that the international community should view this issue (information and cyberspace security) from the new perspective of 'a community of common destiny' and work together towards a peaceful, secure and equitable information and cyber space," Wang said. To this end, Wang put forward five principles - of peace, sovereignty, balance between freedom and security in information flow, cooperation, and equitable development. On the principle of peace, Wang said: "In recent history, humanity experienced two world wars and at times came to the brink of a nuclear war. In the information age, we must not go through the old sequence of 'suffering the pains of wars first and learning to cherish peace afterwards.'" "The international community should engage in active preventive diplomacy and promote the use of information and cyber technology in advancing economic and social development and people's welfare and in maintaining international peace, stability and security," he said. On the principle of sovereignty, the Chinese ambassador said: " Sovereign states are the main actor in effective international governance of information and cyber space. In this area, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the UN Charter and other universal basic norms of international relations should also be respected." "Countries should act responsibly and constructively in information and cyber space, take a multi-pronged approach in strengthening effective management in an effort to build a comprehensive and integrated national management system that comprises, inter alia, sound legal norms, self-discipline by the industries, security safeguard and social education," he said.

Touching upon the principle of balance between freedom and security in information flow, he explained: "While fully respecting the rights and freedom of all stakeholders in information and cyber space, countries should uphold rule of law so as to effectively keep order in information and cyber space." "Moreover, practicing power politics in cyberspace in the name of cyber freedom is untenable," he added. About the principle of cooperation, he said: "Since information and cyber networks both interlink with each other and belong to different sovereign jurisdictions, no country is able to manage only its own information and cyber business, still less to ensure its information and cyber security by itself." "Such a task requires all countries to work together and further strengthen international exchanges and cooperation," he said. On the principle of equitable development, Wang said: "The developed countries should help the developing countries enhance capacity in information and cyber technology and narrow the digital divide to enable the latter to share the dividend brought by the development of information and cyber technology in this globalized world and this information age so as to realize genuinely equitable and universal development."

Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador also called for the development of a comprehensive set of "traffic rules" for the " information highway," adding that "the United Nations is the most appropriate forum for the formulation of such norms and rules." "In this information age, 'information highway' has reached almost all corners of our planet," Wang said. "It is worrisome, however, that in this virtual space where traffic is very heavy, there is, hitherto, no comprehensive 'traffic rule.'" "As a result, 'traffic accidents' in information and cyber space constantly occur with ever increasing damage and impact," he said. "Therefore, the development of international norms and rules guiding the activities in information and cyber space has become an urgent task in maintaining information and cyberspace security of various countries." "As the most universal and authoritative international organization, the United Nations is the most appropriate forum for the formulation of such norms and rules," the Chinese ambassador said. In September, China, together with Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, submitted to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly an "International Code of Conduct for Information Security," with a view to launching an open and transparent process for developing, within the framework of the United Nations, international norms and rules for information and cyberspace security.

"We hope (this) will prompt countries to act responsibly and constructively in information and cyber space and address concerns of all parties in a balanced way," Wang said. "We wholeheartedly welcome comments and proposals from member states so as to make the Code better and further reflect concerns of all parties." "Information and cyber network has linked all of us closely together, making distance among countries a matter of microseconds in many cases," he said. "Let us work together to intensify our exchanges and cooperation in the field of information and cyberspace security and reach an early consensus on the Code with the objective of building a peaceful, secure and equitable information and cyber space." Furthermore, the Chinese ambassador called upon the international community to "work together to make information and cyberspace technology produce more development dividends and better serve world peace and well-being of mankind."


From Xinhua News Agency 10/20/2011

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China Prepares Online Retail Rules

China will step up efforts to provide regulation of the online retail market for the first time. The Ministry of Commerce with other government departments, is drawing up regulations on companies entering and exiting the market, improving market rules, and clarifying the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all players, Shen Danyang, a ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday. His remarks came after last week's online protest against the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company had attempted to raise the fees it charges vendors on its business-to-consumer site, Taobao Mall. Taobao Mall said that, next year, it will increase service fees by up to 10 times, plus a maximum 15 times increase in the cash deposits it takes from vendors. After a massive number of complaints and pre-planned "malicious buying" operations on large Taobao Mall vendors, Alibaba on Monday placated the vendors with a number of measures including a grace period for regular vendors and a reduction in their deposits. The protest revealed "a weak legal framework in the online retail market", Shen said, which makes more stringent regulation a must, he added. After a few years of rapid development, China has become the world's second-biggest online retail market after the United States. It is expected to overtake the US by 2015, according to a report by Credit Suisse Group earlier this year. The government has already set out licensing and other regulations in the online video, gaming, and mapping sectors. China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce is also drawing up the first regulatory document for the group-buying market, according to sources in the sector. Feng Xiaohai, CEO of Manzuo.com, a major player in the market, said the administration has been working on a plan to regulate the market for some time. The new rules are likely to deal with qualification criteria for group-buying websites after a number of players in the market engaged in fraud, according to Feng. The administration was not available for comment. By September, more than 1,000 group-buying websites had closed, according to the Chinese group-buying navigation site Lingtuan.com.


From China Daily 10/20/2011

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China Spurs Growth of Mobile Internet

A senior expert said Monday that China will take greater strides in promoting the development of its mobile Internet sector. Wang Xiujun, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said that the government will step up policy support for mobile Internet because it "promotes industrial integration and leads to revolutionary changes in development and technology." Wang said the country will speed up comprehensive upgrades for its information networks and boost the development of third-generation technology (3G), especially homegrown TD variants of 3G and LTE (long-term evolution) technology. Along with the development of information networks, the innovation and development of integrated technologies and businesses should also be highlighted, Wang said during the ongoing fifth International Mobile Internet Conference, which opened Monday in Beijing. Wang said that the Chinese government will attach more importance to the protection of users' personal information and their rightful interests and maintain a healthy environment for the development of the mobile Internet sector. The two-day meeting is sponsored by China Mobile, the world's largest telecommunications firm by number of users. "The development speed of mobile Internet is far quicker than what we imagined. Mobile Internet is becoming a reality, and is deeply changing our habits and behaviors," a statement on the firm's website said. The statement said mobile Internet has also had a great impact on the traditional operation and business modules of the mobile telecommunications industry.

MIIT data showed that the number of Chinese mobile phone users hit 952.31 million by the end of September, 102.46 million of whom are 3G users. According to the China Internet Networks Information Center (CNNIC), the number of netizens in China reached 485 million by the end of June this year. As of the end of 2010, the number of people who accessed the Internet through mobile phones had already reached 303 million. Mobile Internet users are even expected to outnumber those who access the Internet through computers next year, according to Enfodesk, a think tank engaged in researching of new media economics in China. Li Zhengmao, China Mobile's vice president, said the production of smart mobile phones has jumped 50 percent year-on-year globally. Li added that the continuous development and deepened applications of 3G and LTE technologies means that mobile Internet has entered a new phase for rapid growth. With more than 630 million subscribers, China Mobile has been pushing for the country's homegrown 4G standard, known as TD-LTE, or "Time Division-Long Term Evolution," to become a globally accepted standard. Huang Xiaoqing, who heads China Mobile's telecommunications research institute, said the TD-LTE technology will substantially lower bandwidth costs. He said the technology will provide faster broadband wireless services to meet future demand that the current 3G network would be unable to deliver. China Mobile also announced Friday the incorporation of a new company to accelerate its development of 3G and smartphone technology. The subsidiary, China Mobile Terminal Co., Ltd, will handle customization, testing, procurement, sales and service for the group's third-generation (3G) devices. The new firm will also speed up the research and development of TD-LTE.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/01/2011

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China Vows to Speed Up Internet of Things Development: MIIT

China is seeking breakthroughs in key technologies of the Internet of Things (IOT), and says it will strengthen the industry over the next five years, a senior official said Wednesday. The country plans to step up IOT research in its 12th Five-Year Plan period, to build a comprehensive technology system as well as a set of internationally recognized standards, Yang Xueshang, vice minister of industry and information technology said at a forum held in the southern city of Shenzhen. Yang said the country will work to promote IOT-related manufacturing, communication and service industries as well as scale up technology application to create an extended value chain. China has mastered a raft of self-developed key IOT technologies, and made preliminary applications in several fields including transportation, logistics, finance, environment protection, healthcare and national defense. However, IOT is still a fledgling industry worldwide, and China is facing various obstacles as it attempts to gain new ground. Further, the country's core technologies and products still lag behind those of developed countries, said Li Li, deputy head of Science and Technology Department under the ministry. According to Li, China still lacks an advanced integrated service network as well as leading enterprises in the sector. In addition, applications of the technology are still primitive and limited, and there are risks regarding information safety.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/16/2011

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Mainland, Taiwan Look to Develop Mobile Internet Sector

Mobile Internet development was a hot topic at the Third Cross-Strait Internet Development Forum, which opened in Beijing Tuesday morning. Delegates from across the Taiwan Straits called for greater cooperation in the promotion and development of the mobile Internet sector. "Due to the rapid development of mobile Internet, we have witnessed a boom of mobile services, including mobile TV, mobile reading and payment services," said Wang Xiujun, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). She added: "The development also accelerates the spread of third-generation (3G) networks and smart phones in China, as well as relevant telecommunication, financial and entertainment services." Wang commented that China would accelerate comprehensive upgrades of its information networks and boost the development of third-generation technology (3G), especially homegrown TD variants of 3G and LTE (long-term evolution) technology.

However, Taiwan experts called for greater development of the Chinese mobile operating system and user interface. "Apple's operating system is the most attractive feature of its products," said Charles Y. P. Huang, Deputy Secretary General of the Taipei Computer Association (TCA). "Google developed the Android system and Microsoft has Windows 8. The mainland and Taiwan have the most mobile Internet users in the world, so there's a great opportunity to develop a user interface in Chinese." MIIT data showed that the number of Chinese mobile phone users hit 952.31 million by the end of September, 102.46 million of whom are 3G users. According to the China Internet Networks Information Center (CNNIC), China's population of Internet users hit 485 million by the end of June this year and according to MIIT's statistics, the number of people accessing the Internet through mobile phones had already reached 318 million by the same time period. In addition to mobile Internet, delegates will discuss such issues as e-commerce, digital content and online education. The previous two sessions of the forum were held in Beijing and Taipei in 2009 and 2010, respectively.


From China.org.cn 11/16/2011

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Five Cities Chosen for Cloud Computing Pilot Plan

Policymakers have chosen five cities for a pilot program in cloud computing technology, an area the nation aims to develop during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), said senior officials at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Strategic emerging industries are a crucial part of the 12th plan, and new areas of information technology such as cloud computing will contribute heavily to economic and social development, NDRC Vice-Minister Zhang Xiaoqiang said at the China Hi-Tech Fair. "We should make efforts to develop it and make some breakthroughs," Zhang said at the event, which runs from Wednesday to next Monday. The NDRC, working with other national-level departments, drafted a strategic emerging industry development plan that will be sent to the State Council for approval, the NDRC said. Cloud computing is online computing that uses the Internet, instead of hard drives, for data storage. The five pilot cities are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Wuxi in Jiangsu province. According to the NDRC, the main participants in Beijing, where work will focus on cloud search and storage, are Baidu Inc, Lenovo Group Ltd and China Mobile Ltd. In Shanghai, major participants are Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd (cloud computing for the cultural sector) and China UnionPay (electronic payments and commerce). In Hangzhou, the NDRC has chosen Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to develop technology for small and micro-sized enterprises. Qi Chengyuan, head of the high-tech industry department at the NDRC, said that China should avoid "blind construction" in the cloud computing sector. "We should establish good examples, then fully implement their applications," Qi said. Application achievements in cloud computing have been prominently displayed at the Hi-Tech Fair. Zhang Jing of Alibaba Cloud Computing said at the fair that the company's technology had helped small and micro-sized enterprises cut their IT budgets by about one-third, and more than 3,000 clients use the company's technology.


From China Daily 11/18/2011

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JAPAN: Children's Net Utilization Ability to Be Tested

The education ministry has decided to carry out "digital literacy tests" for primary and middle school students to measure how effectively they utilize information and communication technology (ICT), including personal computers, beginning in the 2013 school year, according to sources. Because it has become indispensable to be able to find and compile information from the Internet for work and daily living, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry plans to use the results to improve teaching guidance in schools. The ministry has requested 137 million yen for preliminary research and test creation in its budget request for next fiscal year. The tests are planned for at least 6,000 primary and middle school students across the nation. Students will be scored on graphs using information obtained from fictitious Web sites and their analysis of the graphs. Computer operating records from the time of the tests will be also analyzed to determine areas of difficulty. The tests will include questions about proper usage of ICT, and its use in bullying and Internet crimes, as such issues are becoming more of a social problem, according to the sources.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 11/01/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: Telephone Monitoring Decreases

The Korea Communications Commission announced Friday that the total number of interceptions of telephone calls and online messages by government agencies dropped more than 20 percent in the first six months of 2011 compared to last year, but interceptions by military authorities more than tripled. According to data released by the state telecommunications regulator, the number of interceptions granted to government agencies was 444 in January-June, down 24.6 percent from 589 cases recorded in the same period last year. Government agencies can seek permission from a court to listen in on telephone conversations or read online messages - such as e-mails and private postings - of individuals under investigation. Interceptions by the National Intelligence Service dropped to 316 cases from 480 cases last year, but those by military agencies such as the Defense Ministry and the Defense Security Command increased to 29 cases in the first half of this year, up from nine cases last year. The prosecution was granted two interceptions, the same number as last year. The police's figure was 97, down one from last year.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/14/2011

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Personal Info Online Despite Law Revision

Private personal information is readily available online a month after a revision of the personal information protection law took effect, leaving much of the population here at risk. According to Internet security experts on Monday, private information including resident registration numbers of Grand National Party lawmaker Na Kyung-won, who ran for Seoul mayor, civil servants and people with disabilities can be found online. Na's resident registration number, for instance, was first discovered on June 14 and was still displayed as of Monday. "The personal information protection law is unable to serve its purpose, because its monitoring software is incomplete," said one Internet security expert. "There are some 50 confirmed sites that are leaking private personal information on the web." A quick keyword search shows that government organizations including the Human Resources Development Service of Korea, the Jung-gu district office of Daegu Metropolitan City and the Young-nam Institute of Construction Technology Education poorly protect information. One website of an education facility for construction has left the resident registration numbers of some 50,000 students exposed over the past year. According to Internet security experts, the situation is just as grave for people with disabilities. The right combination of keywords in an online search reveals the names, addresses, phone numbers and types of disabilities of those who receive disability pension. All the information can be downloaded in one convenient file.

"When the personal information of people with disabilities is leaked, there is a much higher chance that they will be taken advantage of because of their lack of ability to appropriately react to the incident," according to Bae Bok-ju, head of the Women with Disabilities Empathy. Those who have personal information in the systems of credit card and capital firms have also had personal information leaked. According to a survey of 60 credit card, insurance and other firms by the Korea Consumer Agency on Friday, only 27 have applied newly revised policies regarding the handling of personal information this year. In July, hackers attacked SK Communications and made off with the personal information of 35 million clients at the Cyworld social networking site and Nate online portal. According to government data, Korea's population falls just below 49 million people. In order to address increasing concerns over the poor protection of information, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance plans to increase its information protection budget by 29.4 percent to 263.3 billion won ($237.2 million) for next year.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/31/2011

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Korea's Internet Regulations Could Be More Open: Schmidt

Google Inc.'s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said Tuesday that he has asked the Korean president and the top telecommunication regulator to take a cue from countries with more lax rules on the Internet. "It's my view and I think Google's view that regulations of the Internet in Korea could be more open and more modern," he said at a press meeting, adding that some regulations in Korea fell "a little bit behind." Schmidt's remarks came one day after he met South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Choi See-Joong, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC). He heaped praises on the country's advanced broadband infrastructure and a widespread adoption of mobile devices, but Google's former chief executive officer expressed disappointment at the country's growing efforts to regulate the Internet market and online space. "Other countries have more liberal policies in some cases about the Internet and they should examine them," Schmidt said while briefing reporters on what he told the president and the KCC chief. He declined to comment on any specific regulations. Even though Schmidt exalted South Korea for the unprecedented speed of adopting new technology and mobile devices, Google picked Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan as destinations for its new data centers, a decision that Schmidt said is a result of "a complicated calculation of efficiency." Regulations in South Korea are often blamed for having delayed the local debut of the iPhone, which was released nearly three years after its global launch. In 2009, Google refused to accept South Korean government's request to require users to use their real names when uploading videos on YouTube.com.

Last year, the U.S. company shut down Android market's game category for South Korean users, to bypass obligations to rate mobile games before their release. But with the quick growth of smartphone users in Korea and rising criticism that regulations do not align with the interests of local companies nor Korean users, the government began to phase out some of those regulations. Google and the Korean government agreed to resume Android market's game category for local smartphone users and Korean game developers, Schmidt said, without announcing a specific schedule. South Korea's real name verification rules were also rendered obsolete as Google redirected Korean video uploaders to YouTube's international Web site where they can post videos without fully disclosing their identity. During his first visit to Korea since 2007, Schmidt also met executives at Samsung Electronics Co., its largest Android partner, and visited mobile operators to promote the near field communication technology and Android ecosystem. The company is under an antitrust investigation by South Korea's fair trade watchdog after its search rivals, NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp., filed separate complaints against Google, accusing the U.S. company of limiting rivals' access to Android devices.

In a separate remark that may be viewed as counter to his stance on online regulations, however, Schmidt said Google benefited from having real name requirements on its own social networking site, Google Plus. "We have benefited from having a requirement that (users) have what looks like a real name on Google Plus," he said. "The quality of comments and quality of discussion is much better." Earlier this year, Google introduced Google Plus as its answer to Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc., and to play catch-up in the increasingly popular social networking field. Its attempt to crack down on fake accounts and spam on Google Plus, however, faced public backlashes and began debates about the fuzzy definition of online anonymity. Google plans to allow more flexibility regarding what names users can adopt for their Google Plus accounts, Schmidt said, while trying to maintain the high quality of the space. "We'll allow more flexibility," he said.


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 11/12/2011

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LAOS: People to Access Cheap Internet

The National Internet Centre has decided to allow Japanese company NTT Communication (NTT Com) to conduct a research into a reportedly cheap internet and telephone network provision project. A MOU on the matter was signed in Vientiane Capital on Sunday, Oct 9, between Head of the National Internet Centre, Mr. Khamkhit Saysongkham, and Senior Vice-President of the Enterprise Sales Division of NTT Communications. Vice-Chairman of the National Post and Telecommunication Authority, Mr. Thansamay Kommasith, and relevant officials of both sides witnessed the signing. Tokyo-based NTT Communications is Asia's No.1 managed service provider supporting both global and domestic network services all over the world. NTT Communications is the international and long distance service arm of NTT, one of the largest telecommunications company in the world.


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

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Lao Telecom Services Not Impacted by Marketing Regulation

Lao Telecommunications Company (LTC) services will not be affected by the government's recent regulation and crackdown on telecom marketing. In August, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications ordered telecom companies operating in Laos to stop offering special promotions to attract more customers such as free call credits, sim cards and messaging services. "The regulation is good for all operators because it has increased their profits," LTC Deputy Director General Mr Chanthavone Sosamphan said recently at a thank you party for the company's dealers and partners. Over the past two years, increased competition and special promotions have resulted in reduced call service charges and offers of free call credits and cash prizes that have caused revenues to fall. "The tax contributions to national revenue also dropped," Mr Chanthavone said. LTC reported at the company's annual meeting in February that revenue for 2010 fell short of their target by more than 19 percent. The company received about 733.3 billion kip (almost US$91 million) in revenue before tax last year, which was about a 17 percent decrease compared to 2009.

About 248.16 billion kip (almost US$31 million), or 39 percent of the company's 2010 revenue, was paid in taxes, which was just over 70 percent of the planned figure and a drop of around 8.6 percent compared to 2009. Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao (ETL) reported at its annual meeting that income for 2010 fell by about 8 percent compared to the previous year. It received about 422 billion kip (almost US$53 million), which was about 90 percent of the company's target, and contributed about 72 billion kip to national revenue, or 3.2 percent less than in 2009. The drop in revenue was attributed to growing competition in the telecom sector between the four telecom providers that are jostling for larger market shares by offering reduced service fees, product costs and free call time. Laos's two other telecom companies are Star Telecom and VimpelCom Lao Co Ltd. Posts and Telecommunications Deputy Minister Padapphet Sayakhot said tax contributions to the national coffers by the telecommunications sector were only about 1.6 trillion kip (US$199.2 million) last year, a large decrease from the previous year. Mr Padapphet said tax contributions amounted to over 1.93 trillion kip (almost US$240.3 million) in 2009. As a result, the ministry aims to enforce stricter regulation of the telecom market and ensure fair marketing campaigns are used. The ministry expects taxes paid by telecom companies to exceed 1.8 trillion kip this year. LTC is budgeting for about 839.4 billion kip in revenue this year, of which about 272.9 billion kip will go to tax contributions. ETL expects earnings to reach 453 billion kip (US$56.4 million) this year and to pay over 79 billion kip (almost US$10 million) in tax.


From http://laovoices.com/ 10/13/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Measure Creating ICT Department Approved

A bill seeking to create a Department of Information and Communications Technology to develop a sector that will ensure reliable and cost-efficient communications facilities, infrastructure, and services in the country has been approved on second reading in the House of Representatives. Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Cesar Jalosjos, chairman of the House committee on government reorganization, endorsed the approval of the bill, which will integrate the management of information and communications and technology (ICT) into one department. The bill that aims to develop world-class ICT in the country also gained support from Taguig City Rep. Sigfrido Tinga, chairman of House committee on information and communications and Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of House committee on appropriations. "The measure cites the policy of the State to promote the utilization of ICT as a vital tool for nation-building and economic growth that is government-enabled, private sector-led, citizen-centric and market based," Jalosjos said. Under House Bill No. 4667, the government will prioritize the effective coordination and implementation of its national and local ICT and ICT-enabled services, programs, projects and other related initiatives and revitalize all relevant governmental institutions. The proposed measure also aims to achieve a streamlined and efficient structure that is responsive and attuned to national goals and objectives, according to the bill. The bill also provides for the creation of a Council of Chief of Information Officers composed of 11 members with fixed terms in office with the Secretary of the DICT as chairperson to coordinate the establishment of policies, standards, rules and guidelines for ICT e-governance initiatives.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/27/2011

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THAILAND: The Public to Be Provided with Greater Opportunities to Have Access to Information

The Government has selected 14 model government agencies in a pilot project to set up official information centers, as part of an effort to provide the public with greater opportunities to have access to information. The 14 model agencies are from 13 provinces, namely Nonthaburi, Chon Buri, Surat Thani, Phetchaburi, Yala, Surin, Lamphun, Kamphaeng Phet, Saraburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Sawan, Yasothon, and Uttaradit. Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Kritsana Seehalak on September 30 witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the project between the Office of the Permanent Secretary under the Prime Minister's Office and the 13 provinces. The project was launched by the Office of the Official Information Commission, in accordance with the 1997 Official Information Act, which makes official information available for public inspection. It also aims to encourage each province to develop model agencies in response to the Official Information Act. Under the Act, almost all official information should be revealed to the public, while only some categories of information that the State may keep confidential are exempted from disclosure. In the Government's policy statement delivered to the National Assembly, the Government will promote the people's opportunities to extensively, fairly, and promptly access public and official information, mass media, and all other public media outlets. By so doing, it will promote and improve the people's access to information by utilizing information technology and the latest innovations, as well as promote the exchange of information between ASEAN media organizations and global mass media.

The Government will also promote and improve mass communication technology and network, as well as amend laws that create obstacles to the modern media operations. It will encourage the media to take a leading role in problem-solving and in the country's development by increasing programs with contents that are beneficial to the people, such as education, arts, culture, morality, innovation, disaster warning, or other programs that would be beneficial for the public, through coordination with the public, private, and civic sectors. The Government will promote the freedom and independence of all mass media outlets in presenting news and information with social responsibility and concern for professional ethics. It will also promote the creation of balanced news for impartiality. In other related news, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on October 1 began a weekly radio program "The Yingluck Government Meets the People." The program, which is broadcast on Radio Thailand and relayed to the NBT Television on Saturdays at 08.30 hr, aims to present the operations of the Government. Each minister will also take turns providing information to the general public in the program, as well.


From http://thailand.prd.go.th/ 10/03/2011

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Better Webmasters Needed

The Thailand Webmasters' Association is aiming to raise the standard of Thai webmasters, focusing firstly on its 1,100 members. Siwat Chawareewong, who was elected president of the association just a few weeks ago, said that in his two-year term he wanted to see more Thai webmasters gain skills and qualifications with international standards in four main areas: Web design, Web programming, Web marketing and Web content development. He said that even though there were now more than 20 million Internet users in Thailand, most of the time they spent online was not with Thai websites. The challenge for the Thailand Webmasters' Association is to increase the skills of Thai webmasters, because with higher qualifications, their websites will have higher quality standards and will attract more attention from Thai Internet users. "For other activities, such as Internet security issues or content development, we will collaborate with the other organisations such as journalists, through the Society of Online News Providers and the Information Technology Press Club. We plan to concentrate on this core matter of webmaster quality, and how to be a qualified webmaster," Siwat said.

This year, the association will increase its regular activities called "webpressos" or workshops for members. Moreover, it will continue to create young-blood webmasters at an annual project called "iNet Young Webmasters' Camp", or iYWC. This year's 9th iYWC will recruit 80 university students to take part in the four-day camp. They will be divided into four groups to learn design, programming, marketing and content-development skills. As well as these four areas, they will learn webmasters' ethics. "Every year, we supply these young, qualified webmasters to the Internet industry. Most of the students from camps of the past eight years are now working as webmasters in many giant websites in Thailand," Siwat said. Well-performed webmasters are expected to help Thai websites deal with the challenge of booming foreign sites, especially social networks. "About five to seven years ago, when the Web was a one-way content environment, Thai-language content websites were popular and had a lot of traffic, but now, after the Web industry moved into a user-generated content environment, those websites are no longer as famous as they were," Siwat said. He said the strength of Thai websites was their local content, and this meant local issues or matters of local interest, not simply local language. However, content alone is now not enough to attract people to stay longer at a website. Drawing people to visit and spend time at a site needs several factors other than content, including Web design, Web programming and marketing, he said.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/18/2011

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VIETNAM: 4G Waveband for Vietnam: One Man One Idea

European network operators, who have been pioneering in applying 4G technology, incline towards choosing 1800 MHz waveband, while Vietnamese Viettel believes that the 700 MHz waveband would be more suitable to the current conditions of Vietnam. At the LTE Conference and Exhibition Asia 2011, held recently in Singapore, speakers pointed out that European network operators now incline towards choosing 1800 MHz as the main waveband for their LTE services. The 1800 MHz frequency band has also become popular globally. The European Union (EU) once allocated 900 MHz and 1800 MHz for GSM technology. However, things have changed, while HSPA and LTE technologies have been allowed to use the frequency bands. Most of the countries belonging to the EU have accepted the decision. However, due to the differences in the provisions of the laws and the competition environment, it is likely that the implementation of the new technologies may be delayed. The Netherlands and Switzerland, for example, have decided to delay the implementation of the non-GSM technologies until the current 3G licenses expire.

Meanwhile, some speakers from Asia believe that it would be better to wait and only make decision after China and India decide which wavebands they will use. The two markets alone would have some two billion subscribers; therefore, their decisions would deserve to be considered. At LTE Asia 2011, experts all agreed that it is necessary to reach a common voice about choosing wavebands for LTE technology. In case different countries choose different frequency bands for LTE, the terminal equipments would certainly be more expensive because they need to be designed to fit different bands. Besides, it will be very difficult to implement international roaming if LTE is carried out on too many different wavebands. A Vietnamese telecom expert said that if 1800 MHz is the Europe's choice for LTE, this means that the opportunities for the 2G operators to advance to 4G would be relatively big. The biggest advantage of the waveband is that 2G stations would be maintained, which allows making it cheaper to advance to 4G. This would also be the good news for the four Vietnamese network operators, including Viettel, VinaPhone, MobiFone and Beeline which own the 1800 MHz waveband. Le Van Tuan, a senior official of the Ministry of Information and Communication, said that in case the 1800 MHz is chosen for LTE, there could not be too many operators using the waveband.

The Ministry of Information and Communication has reserved the bands of 2300-2600 MHz for 4G. However, the wavebands have not licensed because the demand for 4G services remain weak. At present, Vietnam is still exploiting the 2G services. Some Vietnamese telecom companies say that in general, Vietnam bears influences from European technologies rather than the US technologies. However, it remains an unknown for LTE waveband. Meanwhile, Viettel, a big network operator, does not applaud the viewpoint of "advancing towards 4G with 1800 MHz waveband." It believes that using the 700 MHz waveband proves to be more reasonable in the conditions of Vietnam. As planned, Vietnam will stop analog TV broadcasting from 2015 in big cities, which will lead to the redundancy of 700 MHz. Meanwhile, the waveband can be used for broadband mobile services, while it allows to have larger coverage for rural areas and allows to reduce the investment costs. According to Viettel, it needs about 70 BTS stations to cover 4G LTE in Hanoi if using the 700 MHz band. Meanwhile, it will need up to 130 BTS if the 4G LTE services are carried out on the 2.6 GHz. As such, low investment costs, good coverage and the readiness of equipment for the waveband, have been cited as the most important factors to persuade the management agency to allocate the 700 MHz for LTE 4G.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/13/2011

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VIETNAM: Finance Ministry Plans 80% Changeover to IT by 2015

A master plan to apply information technology in finance that has been approved by the Ministry of Finance seeks to push 80 per cent of tax-related tasks online by 2015, among other goals. In approving the plan, the ministry regarded IT as the key factor in boosting modernisation and innovation of financial operations, establishing the foundation for an e-public finance sector, and setting up a unified information management system. It researched e-government architecture and developed orientations and plans for IT application in 2011-15. The orientations take into account strategic plans for the finance sector which meet evolving economic requirements, improve processes, and simplify administrative procedures. The master plan gives top priority to IT use at all levels. All ministry agencies and units at the provincial level and upwards would have websites with essential information. Almost a third of public services and 90 per cent of tax declarations will be done online, while 80 per cent of all kinds of taxes will also be paid online.

It will ensure 90 per cent of customs offices in provinces and cities are equipped with IT. IT applications will also enable the ministry to keep closer control over State budget spending. This is because 20 per cent of the ministry's bidding packages for public projects will be done online, including bidding plans, bid invitations, and list of bidders and results. To fulfil this plan, the ministry is making preparations to develop a large, core integrated information system that can serve taxation, customs, budget, treasury, securities, and many other operations. Meanwhile, it will focus on developing information forecasting systems and managing modern information systems to manage risks. National data such as budget revenue and expenditure, financial management of public works, and financial information about State assets, public agencies, and taxpayers will be incorporated in the information systems. Sector insiders said once the IT infrastructure was perfected by 2015, all information about orders issued by department-level managers upwards and all reports by the ministry and its departments would be uploaded on the ministry's websites. All ministry employees would be authorised to use an e-library system for performing their jobs. The finance minister can hook into online meetings held by the Prime Minister and heads of finance sector agencies. Experts said however that the ministry would have to provide intensive training for workers to ensure they could handle the modern IT system.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/22/2011

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New Decree Drafted to Address Changes in Internet Services

The rapid development of the internet in Viet Nam has prompted a new management mechanism, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang has said. "The Party and the Government consider the internet important infrastructure and it thus is important to have as an effective management model," he told a conference held on Tuesday in HCM City reviewing implementation of Decree 97/2008/ND-CP and soliciting contributions for the new decree draft. Thang said after three years of this decree, the number of internet service providers stood around 100, a five-fold increase while the bandwidth had been expanded eight times. There are currently 36,300 internet shops nation-wide. Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy head of the ministry's Communications Department, said the new regulations would intensify the control over the operation of internet shops, particularly those providing online games services to the public. She said a three-hour time limit was proposed for people playing online game from a single game provider. Additionally, the online game services would have to shut down from 11p.m to 8a.m.

The ministry required online game providers to guarantee those limitations be met with technical control. Pham Quoc Ban, director of the Ha Noi Department of Information and Communications, said that based on his own experience of cracking down on 500 internet workshops near schools, technical methods would not succeed because users would find ways to get around them. He said it should begin with an overhaul in the administrative management of internet shops. For example, an internet shop should meet stricter requirements in order to secure a business licence. One additional condition, he suggested, should be the documentation of the neighbourhood consent to the location of internet shops. The minimum space for a shop ranged from 50 to 80 square metres and the operation of the shop would come under close supervision of the local authorities.

Le Hong Minh, general director of the VNG, a major local player of online games, complained about unfair treatment of domestic enterprises, citing that 30 per cent of online game players subscribed to foreign providers who could reap millions of dollars in revenue from Vietnamese markets while not having to pay taxes or abide by local regulations. "Apart from comparatively lower technical capacities, it is these policies that hinder the competitive edges of local players, rendering our loss of the market on our own ground," he said. He said the decree draft still missed out on the management of offline games. To date, as many as 93 online games that have been approved, among them 34 games turned out to be commercial failures and thus exited the market.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/27/2011

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Over US$50 Million for Rural Internet Connection

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to implement an extended project to promote computer usage and public internet access in Vietnam in the 2011-2016 period. The project, worth a total of US$50.5 million, will be carried out in 40 cities and provinces across the country. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide US$30 million in non-refundable aid; Microsoft will grant US$3.6 million; and the remaining funds will be sourced from Vietnam. Under the project, rural people in poor areas will have an opportunity to get updated information through computers connected to the internet at public libraries, communal cultural houses, and post offices. MIC Deputy Minister Tran Duc Lai said that the pilot project, which was already implemented in 99 public places in Thai Nguyen, Nghe An and Tra Vinh provinces, was awarded eWorld 2011 prize for rural management. It helped 2,000 local people get direct access to different events at both the central and grassroots level. Nearly 4,000 people also had a chance to attend training courses, he added.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/12/2011

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BANGLADESH: Enacting New Broadcast Law

Ministry of Information in Bangladesh has recently approved a new law for television channels in the country, which will obstruct all foreign movie channels such as Star Movie, Z Movie, HBO, Warner Brothers, Star Gold, AXN etc from being shown on Bangladeshi cable network, as the law strictly bans showing "any kiss scene" in any of the program contents. Totally ignoring the rights of the religious minorities, this new law stops all television channels in Bangladesh in broadcasting any "promotional" or "advertisement" on Christmas, Buddha Purnima [Buddhist Moonlight Night] and Puja [Hindu festival]. The law says "pre-approval should be taken from the Ministry of Information prior to broadcasting any publicity materials on Puja, Christmas, and Buddha Purnima etc." Imposing a strict censorship on the existing vibrant private television media in Bangladesh, the law contains several clauses, which only is seen in countries governed under dictatorial regimes. Below we are providing details on the law along with our explanations:

[1] Private television channels cannot run direct publicity in favor of any political party [publicity in favor of ruling party is allowed], [2] Misleading information cannot be incorporated in any talk shows [it stops the participants of the talk shows from delivering any comment criticizing the ruling party or its activities], [3] National ideology or characters cannot be criticized, [4] The father of the nation [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] cannot be criticized in any of the programs [any of his mistakes during his governance cannot be anymore mentioned in any of the programs], [5] No individual can be criticized in the programs [this has been initiated as a number of ministers in the ruling government became subject of harsh criticism following their severe failures], [6] No criticism will be allowed on national ideologies and goals [this law will stop the television channels from scrutinizing and criticizing any of the decisions or policies adopted by the ruling party], [7] No defense and government information can be leaked in any of the programs on television channels [this was initiated because a number of private television channels are exposing many of the hidden actions as well as corruptions inside ministries], [8] No program can be aired which would provoke deterioration of law and order situation [this law will stop broadcasting news and contents related to general strikes and demonstration programs of the political opponents of the ruling party.

This law has been incorporated to stop the television channels from exposing corruption as well as brutality of the law enforcing agencies in the country. Especially the ruling party turned uncomfortable when the private television channels exposed the physical assault of an opposition member of the Parliament, who was mercilessly beaten by some police officers. It was disclosed by the private television channels that, those police officers were leaders of the student front of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, during their student life. Television programs containing investigative reports on murder in custody of opposition leader and lawyer Moinuddin Ahmed [M U Ahmed] also caused anger in the minds of the ruling party leaders], [9] No program can be broadcast against any friendly nation [this will stop Bangladeshi channels to broadcast programs criticizing Palestine, Iran and many other nations, with which Bangladesh maintains 'friendly' relations, [10] Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law.

This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues. [11] Broadcasting 'kiss scene' shall be banned under the new law [this will stop all foreign television channels, especially the movie channels from being connected to Bangladeshi cable television network], [12] No program or content on mutiny or demonstration can be broadcast on television channels [this will stop the private television channels from showing any of the contents related to massacre inside the Bangladesh Riffles Headquarters], [13] Programs exposing the activities of criminals as well as their modus-operandi cannot be shown on any television channel, [14] The private television channels shall be 'bound' to broadcast speeches of the Head of the State, Head of the government [Prime Minister], public announcements, press notes as well as any 'program of national interest'. This law will compel the television channels in continuing to broadcast programs containing political agendas of the ruling party. The law shall come into affect within next three months. Criticizing the new law, media personalities in Bangladesh say, this new law will close the door to freedom of expression and freedom of media. Such laws can only be passed in any dictatorial regime. By enacting such law, the current government in Bangladesh has clearly exposed its hidden anti-democracy face to the people.

Bangladesh freely allows more than 180 regional and international channels on country's domestic cable network, which includes HBO, ESPN, NGC, Discovery, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, NDTV, DW, Fox, VOA, France24, MGM, TVC, TNT, Cartoon Network, RAI etc. Currently there are several Bangladeshi channels, which are continuing broadcast mainly via Telstar-10 satellite, while some are also using other satellites. The Bangladeshi channels on satellite are: BTV-World, BTV-Sangshad, Channel-I, ATN-Bangla, ATN-News, Diganta TV, NTV, Boishakhi TV, Bangla Vision, RTV, ETV, DESH TV, Mohona TV, Independent TV, Maasranga TV, My TV, GTV, Channel 9, Shomoy TV, Bijoy TV etc.


From http://www.weeklyblitz.net/ 09/11/2011

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INDIA: Policy Makers Meet, Discuss National Broadband Plan and Bringing ICT Connectivity in Villages

The meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was held to discuss the National Broadband Plan of Department of Telecommunications. The meeting was chaired by Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora, the Ministers of State for Communications and IT were also present in the meeting. Revati Raman Singh, Balbir Punj, Sushila Thapa, Sanjeev Nayak, Vinay Pandey, P.K. Biju and Sanjay Nirupam, MPs who are members of the Consultative Committee attended the meeting.In the meeting, Kapil Sibal emphasized on the urgent need for a nationwide broadband network to enable e-education, e-healthcare, e-banking, e-agriculture and other services to reach all villages electronically at affordable cost. Such a network would truly help in realizing the objective of inclusive growth, the Minister added.

The Minister, however, expressed concern that despite the known benefits of broadband, India had just 12.32 million broadband connections in the country at the end of June 2011 as against the target of 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010, set by the Broadband Policy 2004. The net broadband addition per month is just 0.2 to 0.3 million in contrast to around 18 million mobile connections per month. As per TRAI the total number of broadband connections is expected to be 75 million by 2012 and 160 million by 2014.Provision of Broadband in rural and remote areas will also help in providing "digital opportunities" and the widespread adoption of broadband in rural areas will have a multiplier effect cutting across various sectors of the government over the long-term. It will help create employment and improve productivity in rural areas, help overcome the constraints of an inadequate transport infrastructure and overall improve the quality of life in rural areas. Given the significant economic and social benefits, expanding affordable access to broadband is already a high priority for the Government.

The Minister informed the Committee that the Government, through USOF has formulated various schemes for Broadband which are: Rural Wireline Broadband scheme to provide Broadband connections in the rural and remote areas of the country. A scheme is being formulated for satellite broadband connectivity in areas where terrestrial connectivity is not possible. The USOF is also working on a scheme for providing financial assistance by way of subsidy for the wireless broadband active infrastructure such as BTSs, by utilizing the existing infrastructure available with the Telecom service providers. This scheme would provide broadband coverage to a majority of villages at a speed of 512 kbps. National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN): Broadband service is a high bandwidth service which requires a high bandwidth backhaul network. To meet this, Government is planning to build a National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to provide optical connectivity to all the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats by utilizing the Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) and creating an institutional mechanism for management and operation of the NOFN for ensuring non-discriminatory access to all service providers. A High Level Committee (HLC) has been setup under the Co-Chairmanship of Sam Pitroda, Adviser to PM on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and Nandan Nilekani, Chairman UIDAI consisting of relevant Secretaries to Government of India to steer and coordinate all activities related to the creation, implementation and management of the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN). An Advisory Body consisting of major TSPs (Telecom Service Providers) and experts is also setup to advise on implementation issues and upstream and downstream integration as well as on issues relating to non-discriminatory access of proposed NOFN.


From http://egovonline.net/ 08/25/2011

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IT Policy 2011 Aims to Extend National e-Governance Plan

While unveiling the Draft National Policy on Information Technology, 2011; expansion of the National e-Governance Plan has been recognized as a key thrust area. The policy draft of Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Electronics sector was released by Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Kapil Sibal, here in New Delhi, on 7th of October. Aiming to raise the revenues of IT and ITES industry to rise to $300 billion by 2010 from $88 billion at present, the draft also distinguished to mandate provision of all government services through electronic mode within a fixed time frame by enactment of the Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) Bill. The policy also pondered over one more area of making at least one individual in every household e-literate.

The thrust areas of the policy include: To extend the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and mandate provision of all government services through electronic mode within a fixed time frame by enactment of the electronic delivery of services (EDS) bill; To enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliability and decentralization in government and in particular, in delivery of public services; To increase revenues of IT and ITES Industry from $88 billion to $300 billion by 2020; To make at least one individual in every household e-literate; To formulate fiscal and other policies to attract investment in IT Industry in Tier II and Tier III cities; To promote innovation and R&D in cutting edge technologies and development of applications and solutions in areas like localization, location based services, mobile value added services, cloud computing, social media and utility models; To provide fiscal benefits to SMEs and start-ups in the key industrial sectors for adoption of IT in value creation; To leverage internet, web and mobile technologies for developing new products, technologies and businesses; To integrate internet-based and mobile-based delivery of services onto a common platform to enable seamless, ubiquitous, secure and personalized delivery of government and non-government services throughout the country; To integrate Aadhaar, financial and location-based services into this integrated platform to foster an ecosystem for innovation in services.

To create a pool of 10 million additional skilled manpower in ICT; To leverage ICT for key social sector initiatives like education, health, rural development and financial services to promote equity and quality; To make India global hub for development of language technologies to encourage and facilitate development of content accessible in all Indian languages and thereby help bridge the digital divide; To enable access of content and ICT applications by differently abled people to foster inclusive development; To facilitate adoption of ICTs in key economic and strategic sectors to improve their competitiveness and productivity; and To strengthen regulatory and security framework for ensuring a secure cyberspace ecosystem.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/08/2011

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Telecom Policy 2011 Aims at Free Roaming, Full MNP

Telecom users will be able to avail themselves of free roaming and keep their phone numbers even if they switch service providers anywhere in the country, according to the draft New Telecom Policy unveiled by the Government today. The distinction between local and STD calls would vanish, as the policy aims at a 'one-nation-one-licence' regime. Telecom operators would not require separate licences for operations in various parts of the country and a single licence would suffice. "We will seek TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendations on new licences, migration to new licences and exit policy," the Communications and IT Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, said while releasing the draft policy. In the wake of the 2G scam, the Minister said spectrum allocation would be delinked from licences and radiowaves would be made available at market-determined prices. As the market is crowded with too many players, the government would also bring an exit policy.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 10/10/2011

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India's IT Policy 2011 Assures 28 Million New Jobs

Bangalore: Kapil Sibal, Communications and IT Minister, unveiled a draft national policy on information technology (IT) on Friday. The policy assures to boost India's position as a global IT hub and bring it into play as an engine for speedy, comprehensive and rational growth of the national economy. The policy targets at making at least one person in every household literate within 10 years. The Minister further said the most important objective of the policy is to supplement post-graduate education and produce about 2,500 PhDs annually by 2020 and further added, "For this, we need tie-ups with universities and educational institutions like IITs and IIScs to promote such kind of thing." The draft policy affirms to encourage IT industry in Tier II and Tier III cities and generate a pool of 10 million added skilled IT workers by 2020. Going by the current number, the IT sector employs over 2.5 million skilled people. It has been the chief employment generator over the last two decades. The policy also asserts to promote growth of local demands and market, as well as promoting further capture of the global market. The draft national policy released by Sibal four days ago, anticipates on creating of 28 million jobs by 2020. It's an effort to thwart the country from becoming over dependant on imports for meeting the growing domestic need in the field of electronics.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 10/11/2011

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Delhi Geographical Spatial Data Infrastructure Act 2011 to Come by November 15

All departments and civic agencies in Delhi would be expected to share information on the status of the projects and also update the capital's spatial database on a monthly basis - under the soon to come - Delhi Geographical Spatial Data Infrastructure Act 2011. The government is preparing to implement the act from November 15. The database, an interconnected 3D global information system, captures the demographics of the capital and utilities like storm water drains, sewer lines, roads, infrastructure and urban planning projects through secured communication networks. Geospatial Delhi Limited, with the chief secretary of Delhi as its chairman, will be in charge of maintaining and updating the database. Constituted about two years ago, the company has now sought applications from experts trained in handling the specialized database. It proposes to hire 30 to 40 geo-spatial advisers on contract for one year. Each adviser will be paid Rs 70,000 per month. According to senior officials of the Delhi government, the specialized staff will be required to manage and ensure that the database is updated regularly. The information technology secretary, Rajendra Kumar, said that once the Delhi Geographical Spatial Data Infrastructure (Management, Control, Administration, Security and Safety) Act, 2011, was implemented, all departments would be expected to share information on the status of the projects and also update the database on a monthly basis. Each department and civic agency will have a dedicated section where the database can be accessed and updated. "For instance, if the PWD is making a road, the status of the project must appear on the database and on a monthly basis, the status will have to be updated. This will not only help track a project and prevent delays but also help other agencies planning utilities to coordinate their processes," Kumar said.

The database, covering 1,500 square kilometers, provides ground-based actual information system that details infrastructure and utilities above ground, on the ground and below the ground up to 12 feet with maps. It involves capturing geographical and urban features for systematic and coordinated urban planning, project implementation and overall governance. In a presentation made before urban development minister Kamal Nath in May, the IT department had reflected on the peculiar problems of governance in the capital. It was pointed out that too many agencies and departments make coordination and decision-making cumbersome. The e-governance effort that will link the departments to the database is being seen as an effective way to bridge the gap and cut down red tape. The departments will have direct access to the live data on secured communication networks. The platform will allow users to not only update the database but also make their project plans sitting before their computer itself. It will also allow direct monitoring through the control room at the Delhi secretariat in case of a natural or manmade disaster. For instance, the database shows that there are about 48 lakh buildings in Delhi. Using this data, MCD can track properties that are evading tax and issue notices. Similarly, in case of unauthorized construction, the department will be able to see the building status through the high-resolution maps and check the status of a property on the platform. Verification on the ground will then reveal if any unauthorized construction has been done.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/18/2011

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India Kicks Off Mega-Project to Connect All Villages with Broadband

To enhance inclusive growth in the country and strengthen the economic activity in rural areas, India has decided to take up a mega-project worth $400 million to connect all the villages called the National Optical Fiber Network for Broadband connectivity of Panchayats. The scheme will extend the existing optical fiber network which is available up to district / block HQ's level to the Gram Panchayat level initially by utilizing the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The cost of this initial phase of the NOFN scheme is likely to be about Rs.20, 000 crore. A similar amount of investment is likely to be made by the private sector complementing the NOFN infrastructure while providing services to individual users. In economic terms, the benefits from the scheme are expected through additional employment, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture etc. and reduction in migration of rural population to urban areas.

A recent World Bank study said with every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, there is an increase in GDP growth by 1.4 percent. NOFN will also facilitate implementation of various e-governance initiatives such as e-health, e-banking and e-education, thereby facilitating inclusive growth. It will also provide high bandwidth connectivity for electronic delivery of services to citizens. The proposed NOFN will enable effective and faster implementation of various mission mode e-governance projects amounting to approx. Rs.50,000 crore ($10 billion) initiated by Department of Information Technology as well as delivery of a whole range of electronic services in the above areas by the private sector to citizens in rural areas.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/28/2011

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Optical Fibre Network Plan Gets DoT Nod

Aimed at providing broadband connectivity to Panchayats, the government approved the scheme of creating a national optical fibre network, which will help in offering governance, banking and health services online. "The objective of the scheme is to extend the existing optical fibre network which is available up to district/block headquarter level to the gram panchayat level initially by utilising the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)," DoT Secretary, R Chandrasekhar told media. The cost of this initial phase of the scheme is likely to be about Rs 20,000 crore and the target is to complete it in two years. Initially, the broadband project will be executed by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and other institutions like RailTel. Later on BSNL, Power Grid and Gas Authority of India would also be made partners. According to telecom regulator TRAI, the number of broadband subscribers at the end of August 2011 stood at 12.69 million.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/30/2011

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E-district Project to Be Rolled Out in More Districts

After successfully implementing the success of e-district project in Kannur and Palakkad districts, the Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM) is all set to roll out the project in four more districts shortly. "The idea is to roll-out the project in the remaining 12 districts in three phases split in to four districts each. As the first phase, the project will be introduced in Kasargod, Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Kottayam districts by January-February next year," K.P. Noufal, KSITM mission coordinator. Initially, 41 services in five departments - revenue, Right to Information, local self-government, civil supplies, and election - will be covered in these four districts, he said. So far, 2.17 lakh digital certificates have been issued collectively in Kannur and Palakkad, the highest out of all 640 districts where the e-district pilot project is underway. E-district, a project conceived under the National e-Governance Plan, aims at electronic delivery of public services enabling citizens to avail of the services through citizen service centres or at home using personal internet connection.

The State government is also mulling over waiving its share of the fees collected from people at the time of filing applications under the e-district project through Akshaya centres. Under the pilot project, citizens have to pay Rs. 20 for filing applications, of which Rs. 10 goes to the Akshaya entrepreneur concerned while the remaining Rs. 10 is for the government. However, the government is now considering the possibility of waiving at least part of its share of fee. Meanwhile, the KSITM is all set to incorporate online database verification in to the e-district project later this month. Once introduced the applicants would no longer require to scan four major documents - SSLC, driving license, ration card, and birth certificate - needed in more than 90 per cent of applications, as they can be verified online through data sharing. This will rule out any little possibility of forgery at the time of scanning, Mr. Noufal said. For instance, where licence is to be verified, the applicant only need to enter the licence number as the entire data of the licence holder can be verified online by recalling the database with the motor vehicle department. The online database verification coupled with the adoption of a system based on the unique e-district processing number is set to further simplify the filing of application. Under the system, a citizen who had already been issued a certificate under the e-district project would not have to duplicate the entire verification process all over again.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 11/08/2011

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NEPAL: To Have Education ICT Masterplan

By the end of 2011, Nepal's Ministry of Education is expected to put out an ICT in Education Masterplan with UNESCO's support. This plan seeks to guide the education sector in using ICT as a fundamental tool for effective teaching and learning processes as it is now the right time to introduce initiatives that strengthen the use of ICT in education in Nepal", according to UNESCO. Hence, the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, in collaboration with the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Office in Bangkok, is supporting the masterplan's preparation. This plan is expected to help the country achieve the following objectives:
•Improve policy, planning and management for the development of ICT in education;
•Expand equitable access to, and enhance quality in education;
•Develop knowledge and skills of the policy makers, managers, teachers and other enablers in implementing ICT in education; and
•Contribute to reducing the digital divide.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/17/2011

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: New Guidelines Launched for Dubai Govt Websites

DUBAI - The Dubai e-Government Department has launched the 2011 edition of the Government Websites Guidelines (GWG) for Dubai Government entities. The 2011 GWG was reformulated after rigorous international benchmarking, regional and local government customisation; feedback from key stakeholders in Dubai Government and also builds upon the success of previous Dubai Government websites guidelines and evaluations. Government entities will be able to view or download the new edition via Dubai e-Government's corporate website on www.deg.gov.ae. Ahmed bin Humaidan, Director-General of Dubai e-Government Department, said: "It is very encouraging to see that our government partners in Dubai have responded positively to previous editions of the Government Websites Guidelines. As a result of such a comprehensive GWG standard, the overall Dubai Government websites evaluation results increased from an overall average of 61 per cent in 2006 to 86 per cent in 2010. However, taking the cue from His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who advised us that the path of excellence and distinction does not stop at a certain stage, we have decided to raise the bar even further and have therefore reformulated the GWG to ensure that we remained customer-focused, and abreast with technology and latest website trends."

Bin Humaidan said that the new model and the related guidelines for Dubai Government websites will set a new target and benchmark for the government entities in the continuous journey to excellence. "We sincerely believe that compliance with the new guidelines will enhance the customer experience in our governmental websites leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher usage." Dubai e-Government Department has been evaluating Dubai Government websites since 2006 after providing the required guidelines and standards to ensure a certain level of uniformity and compliance among government websites. The 2011 guidelines are part of this quality initiative and were established after a rigorous international benchmarking exercise including compliance with recommendations laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as taking into account the particularities of the Dubai Government. The newly-formulated GWG is based on a strategic 'Government Websites Excellence Model' (GWEM) which was developed internally by Dubai e-Government Department. The GWEM is built around a customer-focused concept and consists of 46 guidelines around accessibility, usability and design, content and policies. The Dubai e-Government Department will conduct biennial (every two years) evaluations of Dubai Government websites for compliance with the new GWG standards.


From http://www.khaleejtimes.com/ 10/30/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Third State Program on ICT Introduction in Education to Be Adopted

Azerbaijan is actively introducing information and communication technologies in education. The statement came from Education Minister Misir Mardanov, noting that so far the country has implemented a state program for the introduction of ICT in education, while the second one continues. 'In the near future Azerbaijan will approve the third program on ICT in education. This process is carried out in the secondary mainstream facilities. Thus, approximately 70,000 of secondary school teachers attended special courses in which they mastered the basics of ICT as a minimum and got the certificates. In addition, more than a thousand of big schools in the country are connected to the Internet as well. I believe that our achievements in the field of ICT introduction in the education system are very successful, and work in this direction will continue,' he said. Asked about the increase in tuition fees, the Minister noted that no increase is expected in the near future.


From http://www.news.az/ 10/12/2011

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Azerbaijani IT Company Implements E-government Project in Kyrgyzstan

The Azerbaijani IT company SINAM has won a tender to build an e-archive of documents for the Real Estate Cadastre and Registration Department in Kyrgyzstan, the company said on Tuesday. The tender was held by the Kyrgyz government. Within the project, SINAM will conduct the following work: digitization (creating electronic copies) of the cadastre and other documents (about 3.33 million pages) and indexing, as well as saving documents in a database. It is planned that the work will be completed within nine months. SINAM is already implementing an e-government project in Kyrgyzstan.


From http://www.i-policy.org/ 10/13/2011

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Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway to Be Launched by Mid-2013

Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) is expected to be realized by mid-2013. The statement came from head of TASIM working group Ilyas Nayibov. It is planed to prepare for construction of optical fiber cable which will pass through the Caspian seabed, he said.Center for International Relations and Payments at the Communication and Information Technology Ministry of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan's KazTransCom have reached a deal to spend the equal amount of funds on construction of cable highway. "The Caspian segment of the cable highway is an important and integral part of TASIM project because the launch of the highway depends on implementation of the project. The research related to construction of the Caspian segment will start in mid-2012," Naibov added. The 64th session of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on TASIM project on 21 December 2009.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/11/2011

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Azerbaijan, Hungary Define Cooperation Directions in IT Sphere

Azerbaijan and Hungary have defined the main directions of cooperation in ICT sphere. The sides' future cooperation in communication services, outsourcing services, data transmission, system integration, hardware and software developments are consolidated in a protocol signed on Friday following the second meeting of the Azerbaijani-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. A decision was also taken on possible cooperation on the project of construction of transnational information superhighway (TASIM) and the signing interdepartmental agreement on this issue. Also, at the Azerbaijani side's invitation, representatives of the Hungarian Agency for Investment and Trade and Hungarian companies expressed their willingness to participate at the BakuTel-2011international telecommunications exhibition scheduled for Nov. 23-26.In April 2011 representatives of the Hungarian company Magyar Telecom Csoportin visited Azerbaijan. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss the issue of privatization of state-owned operators Aztelekom and "Baku Telephone Communications."


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/12/2011

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Azerbaijan's Mobile Operators Develop Proposals to Launch 4G Network

Mobile operators are developing proposals to launch the 4th generation network (4G), Iltimas Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan, said on Friday at the 3G presentation by Azercell. According to Mammadov, this decision was made at the last meeting of the Board of the Ministry, which took place in early November. "Mobile operators and other concerned organizations will prepare the necessary proposals, which, I suppose, in a short period of time will be estimated and it will contribute to their early implementation," Mammadov said. "All innovations contribute to the increase in the number of services provided by operators." According to Mammadov, an "Electronic Azerbaijan" State Program is under implementation in the country and the availability of modern telecommunications infrastructure will create an opportunity for citizens to gain access to electronic services, and electronic signature everywhere. Mammadov highlighted the importance of the availability of third-generation network in anticipation of the song contest "Eurovision-2012" to be held in Baku. "The Ministry is ready to fully support the company in implementing such innovations." Mammadov said "Providing 3G services by all operators in Azerbaijan will substantially increase the number of Internet users both in the capital and in remote settlements of the country."


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/18/2011

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State Budget to Earmark AZN 10m to Implement Electronic Azerbaijan State Program

Around AZN 10m will be earmarked from 2012 state budget to implement Electronic Azerbaijan state program, according to the draft 2012 state budget. The funds will be earmarked under the State Program on Development of Communications and Information Technologies in Azerbaijan in 2010-2012 (Electronic Azerbaijan) signed by the President to ensure implementation of the National Strategy on Information and Communication Technology in the name of Development of Azerbaijan Republic (2003-2012). The funds will be spent to widely introduce ICT in state bodies and local authorities, to improve official internet resources, telecommunication and postal infrastructure and boost potential of competitive and export-oriented ICT technology in order to promote e-services.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/19/2011

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UZBEKISTAN: President Signs Law "On Exchange of Credit Information"

Uzbek President Islam Karimov signed a law "On exchange of credit information" approved by the Uzbek senate on Aug. 26. The law will enter into force on Jan.1, 2012. The law was developed to further improve the financial-banking infrastructure. The law is directed at creating an effective system of credit information exchange and providing information on the state of credit deals, the execution of responsibilities on them, and other information which will contribute to determine the solvency, financial state, paying capacity, payment discipline and other issues related to credit information. The law includes basis concepts related to credit information exchange, the order of state registration and issuing of licenses, the determining of rights and liabilities of credit bureaus, suppliers, users and subjects of credit information, and the authority of the Central Bank of Uzbekistan on the regulation and supervision of the activities of the credit bureaus.

Based on the law, credit information exchange is based on the interaction of the credit bureau, subject, provider and user of credit information on collection, processing, analysis, storage, delivery, use and protection of this information with a view to build a credit history and credit report. Credit information must contain information about the state of credit transaction, performance of obligations issued by security (collateral, guarantees, risk insurance to repay the loan and others), as well as other information to facilitate the determination of the creditworthiness, financial condition, solvency, payment behavior and other qualities of the subject credit information. Other credit organizations, pawnshops and micro credit organizations, along with leasing companies and insurers and commercial banks should be attracted to the process of credit information exchange.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/07/2011

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OSCE Welcomes Reform of Media Law in Uzbekistan

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, has welcomed the reform of media law in Uzbekistan but commented that the mass media requires more, not less freedom. Mijatović, who was speaking on 8th November in Taskhent at a round table on regulating the broadcast media, said she welcomed Uzbekistan's readiness to reform media legislation. "An effective media legislation framework is a precondition for ensuring media freedom," Mijatović said. Speaking about using new media technology at work, she stressed that "the Internet has to be free," she said. "Only then will a genuine diversity of views be guaranteed." The OSCE press release said that the Uzbek authorities had sent to the OSCE representation in Tashkent its draft laws on television, radio and access to information. Taking into account our expert recommendations would help bring the new legislation in line with the OSCE media freedom commitments and international standards." In Tashkent, Mijatović met with state officials, civil society and media representatives. However, no independent journalists or journalists working for foreign media companies were invited to the meeting. In September, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media criticised some CIS countries, including Uzbekistan, for drafting documents which could potentially restrict the availability of the internet.


From http://uznews.net/ 11/11/2011

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UN Sets Ambitious National Targets for Broadband Affordability and Uptake

The UN's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has set new targets for broadband policy, affordability and uptake that it says countries around the world should strive for in order to ensure their populations fully participate in tomorrow's emerging knowledge societies.
They are that, by 2015:
- all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their universal access / service definitions;
- By 2015 entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than five percent of average monthly income);
- forty percent of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
- Internet user penetration should reach 60 percent worldwide, 50 percent in developing countries and 15 percent in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

ITU secretary-general, and co-vice chair of the Commission, Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦, said: "These targets are ambitious but achievable, given the political will and commitment on the part of governments, working in partnership with the private sector." The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has undertaken to measure each country's progress towards the targets and to produce an annual report that will rank nations by broadband policy, affordability and uptake. The commission's Broadband Challenge recognises communication as 'a human need and a right', and calls on governments and private industry to work together to develop the innovative policy frameworks, business models and financing arrangements needed to facilitate growth in access to broadband worldwide. It urges governments to avoid limiting market entry and taxing ICT services unnecessarily to enable broadband markets to realise their full growth potential, and encourages governments to promote coordinated international standards for interoperability and to address the availability of adequate radio frequency spectrum.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 10/26/2011

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Pacific Nations Reaffirm Support for SPC's Work in Economic Development

Commending the work of SPC in economic development, Pacific Island governments have reaffirmed full support for the continuation of energy, information and communication technology (ICT) and transport services delivered by SPC's Economic Development Division (EDD). The reaffirmation comes from governments that have gathered in New Caledonia this week for the 41st Meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA 41). Members acknowledged the importance of the three key drivers of economic growth - energy, ICT and transport - in enhancing economic development and SPC's efforts to add value to national efforts in these three sectors in the Pacific region. EDD was established in January 2010 under the Regional Institutional Framework (RIF) and consists of three programmes - Energy, Pacific ICT Outreach (PICTO) and Transport. The meeting noted the support provided to Pacific Island countries and territories by the three programmes this year, in particular the verification and development of petroleum product pricing and standards, the ongoing renewable energy project in the North Pacific (North-REP), the construction of energy balances and charts, the improvement of safety in domestic shipping through the Pacific Islands Domestic Ship Safety Project, the conducting of maritime compliance audits, the review and development of national ICT policies, and the provision of ICT training and advice to national parliaments.

The meeting also noted EDD's concerted efforts on data collection; the development of energy, ICT and transport results-based indicators for service delivery; and economic analysis of project performance evaluation. 'The low priority given to data collection, analysis and research is a serious constraint for planning and managing the sectors,' John Hogan, Director of EDD said, outlining the challenges faced by the three sectors. 'The translation of many grant-aid projects into handouts of hardware equipment without considering capacity or expertise to maintain them has not helped to advance the sectors. Economic analysis needs to underpin all future projects.' Solomone Fifita, Deputy Director EDD (Energy), drew attention to the heavy reliance on petroleum products and the related economic and environmental impacts of this. 'When the price of petroleum products goes up, the cost of food production, food transportation and food preservation goes up too. This has an impact on the affordability of food for vulnerable sections of our communities,' he explained. 'Climate change is caused by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, most of which comes from the combustion of fossil fuel. Fuel substitution with renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency must, therefore, be encouraged.' Siaosi Sovaleni, Manager of EDD's PICTO Programme, highlighted the importance of addressing cyber safety issues in light of the growing use of ICT in the region.

'With the growing adoption of ICT in Pacific countries, it is important to have appropriate cyber safety programmes and legislative frameworks in place to minimise the risks and ensure that countries can address emerging issues and threats,' he said. 'Currently, most countries do not have such programmes or frameworks and have identified them as regional priorities. One of PICTO's key deliverables is to support countries in establishing a national cyber safety programme and enacting cybercrime legislation that criminalises the misuse of ICT.' The meeting also noted the continued support provided by EDD's Transport Programme to addressing the shipping issues of small island states (SIS), particularly in improving feeder shipping services. 'Irregular and costly shipping services have affected the socio-economic development of Pacific Islands for many years. This issue is more significant among SIS,' said John Rounds, Acting Deputy Director (Transport). 'As a result of the request from members, SPC, with support from SIS and Kiribati Shipping Services Limited, has implemented an interim shipping agreement to address this issue. The Central Pacific Shipping Commission will be a long-term solution, based on the successful Micronesian Shipping Commission concept.' CRGA 41 endorsed the division's strategic plan for the period 2012 - 2017 and approved the proposed work programme for 2012.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 11/04/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Attorney General Defends Cybercrime Bill

In an opinion piece today in the Sydney Morning Herald, Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, has defended the Cybercrime Bill against accusations that it will jeopardise people's privacy and that private information will not be securely managed. The House of Representative last week passed the Cybercrime Bill. It introduces legislative changes designed to enable Australia to join the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. However the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety report on the bill was highly critical and it has come in for strident criticism from Greens communications spokesman, senator Scott Ludlam. The Bill enables agencies to request the preservation of communications that carriers store and that can be of interest for an investigation; it also fosters cooperation between agencies and overseas partners, and finally it extends the scope of cybercrime offences to fully meet the requirements under the Convention.

"Australia's proposed accession to the Convention on Cybercrime has prompted some commentators to suggest that because Australia does not have a bill of rights, we should not modernise our cybercrime laws because our privacy is not protected," McClelland said. "This is not the case". He stated the changes would not impact on the way in which access to private information would be managed; and he said assertions that the bill would now allow agencies to store information without a warrant were incorrect. "This bill will allow law enforcement agencies to request a service provider not to destroy information about suspected criminal activity while a warrant is sought," he said. "Only when a warrant is granted can the information be accessed. If no warrant is granted, the information will be destroyed. "To suggest that this implies new incursions on people's privacy is also wrong," he said. "Providers already retain data under strict guidelines. It must be managed consistent with the National Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act including a requirement for the information to be managed securely".

He concluded that the bill would operate in accordance with the National Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act. With regards to international cooperation on criminal cases where the death penalty may be imposed, he said Australia had already existing frameworks for sharing information with foreign agencies and that the bill would work accordingly. However Ludlam said the bill had a "series of flaws" which could eventually result in reduced civil liberties for Australians. "We all want to see enhanced collaboration between law enforcement agencies fighting serious crime, but the proposed law goes well beyond the already controversial European convention on which it is based and will encroach on civil liberties," Ludlam stated. Also, Ludlam added that while the Convention did not require ongoing collection and retention of communications, the Australian Bill did. "These are disturbing flaws that must be fixed, but the Government and Opposition have passed this Bill through the House with no acknowledgement of that," he said.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 08/30/2011

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Australia Develops First E-Mental-Health Strategy

Australia's recently established e-mental health expert committee is considering new online initiatives in its development of the nation's first national e-mental health strategy. The expert committee will advise on the rollout of the Australia's first mental health online portal and virtual clinic. Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said in an official statement, "Online mental health services provide an alternative form of support or care for people who don't want to, or don't feel comfortable accessing traditional face-to-face services. Online services have the potential to overcome geographical, attitudinal and financial barriers which we know that young Australians or people living in remote or regional areas often face." The government will provide $48 million in funding over the next 5 years for telephone counselling, self-help and web-based support services to boost efforts in mental health prevention and early intervention. The committee also plans to maximise e-mental health and harness the opportunities presented by the new and emerging technologies including the National Broadband Network. "Continuing advances in technology are revolutionising the way we provide health care, in particular for patients with chronic illnesses and conditions, such as mental illness," Butler added.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/07/2011

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A 'Digital Social Contract' for Online Behaviour

Five federal ministers in Australia are proposing a 'digital social contract' that will guide Australians' cyber lives, reining in offensive online behaviour. Under the Cyber White Paper released on 15 September 2011, a discussion paper call 'Connecting with Confidence' said there is a need to "consider a broadened or updated social contract that takes account of the growing part of our civic experience that occurs online". The paper cited concerns regarding social media use, saying that some popular sites do not have stringent enough rules to protect users from harassment, bullying, misleading or distributing offensive material. Hence, this contract wants to develop a "common understanding of a model of accountable and responsible digital citizenship a digital social contract may need to be part of the debate about Australia's digital future". "It will be necessary to ensure there is a broad awareness of the risk associated with digital technologies so Australians have the tools and knowledge to mitigate these risks and connect with confidence," the paper says. The discussion paper was released as part of the Cyber White Paper draft discussion by Attorney-General Robert McClelland, Defence Minister Stephen Smith, Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/18/2011

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New Code Promises Better Protection for Telecoms Consumers

Communications Alliance has released a draft of a new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code saying it will deliver a host of stronger consumer protections including improved customer service, better information about products and services and improved responses to customer complaints. The new code comes against the background of the ACMA's year long 'Reconnecting the Customer' enquiry into telecoms customer service, which wound up last month giving the industry five months to deliver the new code with provisions that addressed the ACMA's concerns, or face the immediate imposition of ACMA developed standards. The Reconnecting the Customer report was very specific on what provisions the ACMA - which had already seen early versions of the new code - wanted to see in the public draft and the final version. A key feature of the draft code is the proposed creation of a new independent watchdog, Communications Compliance, to monitor service providers' compliance with the provisions of the new code. The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) sees enforcing compliance as the main issue, and is not convinced that Communications Compliance will be an adequate solution, despite having been intimately involved in the revision of the code.

"With a self-regulatory Code governing an industry as vital as telecommunications, the biggest issue is making sure that providers abide by the rules," ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin said. "We're not convinced that this [Communications Compliance] is best practice and will be making further comment about that in our submission." Corbin was a member of the Code review's steering committee and said that consumer representatives had been working alongside industry for the past 15 months to try to improve the self-regulatory Code. "While the draft revised TCP Code falls short of some of the main consumer protections advocates wanted, there are some improvements around notifications for customers and a requirement for telecommunications providers to resolve complaints more quickly," she said.

According to Communications Alliance, the other main features of the new code are:
- Unit Pricing - three unit prices (for calls, text message and data use) to be included in all large print advertisements for post-paid, included value mobile plans, to help consumers compare different plans before they buy;
- Tighter deadlines for phone companies to acknowledge and resolve customer complaints;
- Stronger restrictions on advertising content to ensure ads are clear and do not mislead customers;
- Better pre-sales information, to ensure consumers have all the necessary information about the products and can easily compare offers from different providers;
- Spend management tools, including notifications to tell customers where they stand in comparison to any data usage limits each month;
- Stronger protection for customers concerning credit and debt management;
- New obligations on suppliers in relation to vulnerable customers and meeting customers' needs.

The draft code is open for public comment until 25 November. It is accompanied by an explanatory statement.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 10/25/2011

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New Body to Represent Australia in International Standards Fora

The Federal Government has announced plans to form a new high-level strategic advisory group to contribute to international discussions on ICT standards issues. The committee, the Strategic Advisory Committee on ICT and Digital Economy, will include representation from the Australian Government, state governments, industry, small business, research and academia communities and consumers and will be administered by Standards Australia. It will advise on the strategic direction of ICT standards development at the national level and provide a focal point for industry, government and other stakeholders to discuss and prioritise standards and related issues. It will initially focus on cloud computing, e-health, smart infrastructure including sensor networks and smart grids, and accessibility and will coordinate Australian positions for submission to the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1). The Australian Government will contribute $100,000 (GST inclusive) towards the establishment and operation of the Committee for the first year. John Sheridan, first assistant secretary of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) in the Department of Finance and Deregulation, will chair the Committee and will represent Australia as the head of delegation at the next international JTC1 Plenary in November 2011.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 11/07/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Copyright Law Supports Failing Business Model - TUANZ Head

The head of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand has slammed the new "three strikes" law as an act which "serves only to support a business model that no longer works in the internet age". The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011, which requires internet companies to issue warning notices to customers suspected of illegally downloading copyright content at the request of those who own the rights to it, comes into effect today. In a live chat with nzherald.co.nz readers, TUANZ chief executive Paul Brislen said the legislation is "poorly drafted and serves only to upset end users, alienate ISPs and will do very little to stop those offenders who are at the busy end of the spectrum". "The problem isn't one of copyright infringement, it's one of access to material. This act serves only to support a business model that no longer works in the internet age." Mr Brislen said the solution to the illegal downloading of copyright material was simple - make it easier to obtain and people will pay for it. "Services in the US like Netflix offer content online as the customer wants it for a low monthly fee (about $NZ20) and it's working extremely well. Roughly one third of all US internet traffic is now Netflix and it will hit 50 per cent by the end of the year. It's now bigger than Torrenting and customers love it."

He said the problem was not that people want the content free - it is that they want it now, but a lot of media is released overseas long before it is released in New Zealand. "I'm a Doctor Who fan. I'm also online all the time, so I get spoilers from the marketing machine, from people who've already seen the show and so on. I watch it as soon as possible after it comes out in the UK. That makes me a criminal. I also watch it on TV when it screens here and I'll probably buy the DVDs as well, so there is no commercial loss for the rights holders. If the rights holders don't make the content available, how is it they're making a 'loss' every time someone watches a show online?" Mr Brislen criticised the Government referring to "file sharing" as illegal, which he said showed "they haven't understood how the internet works, how email works, what file sharing actually is or pretty much anything else about this bill". "Plus they've adopted it as a kind of shorthand rather than writing 'those scoundrels who want to watch television and are forced to download copies of TV shows off the internet because our broadcasters have bought the rights to the show and don't know what to do next'."

Mr Brislen was concerned internet providers, such as employers and free wifi providers, will block all file sharing software and torrent clients in a blanket ban. "If that were technically possible it would interrupt all those legitimate uses of file sharing and that would probably include Skype which, I'm told, uses the same ports as Torrent files." He said any organisation that offer internet access will be responsible for any downloading that goes on and believed some organisations will simply shut down their free wifi out of fear of being fined. There are possible ways around the new law, such as changing ISPs after receiving the second warning, or using a proxy from overseas. "Using a proxy from overseas, setting up a secure tunnel and connecting, isn't illegal and would move the problem of downloading copyright material from NZ to wherever you connect - so the US or UK for example," Mr Brislen told readers. "The basic problem still exists - you're infringing on copyright material - but you've moved it from NZ's jurisdiction to another country's and made it potentially tougher to find you."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/01/2011

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New Zealand to Get Cloud Code of Practice

New Zealand's cloud computing industry has announced plans to develop a voluntary Cloud Computing Code of Practice to inform and safeguard the public.

The initiative was the outcome of a workshop that included participants from industry and government as well as observers from the offices of the Privacy Commissioner and Government CIO.

The first phase of the project is to be facilitated independently by the NZ Computer Society (NZCS). NZCS Chief Executive Paul Matthews said: ""Cloud computing offers exciting new opportunities and avenues for New Zealand but with that comes responsibilities for service providers. We're excited that the industry is being proactive in addressing this through the proposed Cloud Code of Practice, ensuring those using Cloud services can continue to have confidence in solutions available in New Zealand."

InternetNZ Chief Executive Vikram Kumar said: "The purpose of this workshop was to discuss the issues facing New Zealand as a result of cloud adoption and to look at what steps could be taken to address these. We're very excited to see this initiative develop into a Code of Practice."

New Zealand Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, attending the workshop as an observer, welcomed the industry-led development. "We've had concerns around cloud computing for some time and a significant survey undertaken by our office earlier this year concluded a clear lack of awareness around Cloud issues. We will watch this development with interest." she said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/02/2011

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National's Plan to Boost Broadband Demand Would Be Run by MED

The National party would put in place a five-point action plan coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Development to promote the benefits of faster broadband, if elected for a second term.

In its broadband and communications policy National announced a plan that will "realise the economic, social, and productivity benefits of much faster broadband". This would take the form of E-education, E-health, E-government, E-business, and E-development initiatives.

"MED has a coordinating role in work on the five-point plan however specific agencies have responsibility for specific projects," Steven Joyce, the current ICT Minister, told Computerworld by email.

"For example the Ministry of Education is responsible for the Network for Learning initiative [which has a budget of $300 to $400 million over the next ten years] and the National Health IT Board is responsible for initiatives in the health sector."

Joyce rejects the idea of setting up a separate ICT Ministry, or department inside the Prime Minister's office - a suggestion put forward by the Labour party in its policy on ICT.

"ICT policy is dealt with by the MED Energy and Communications branch. There is no plan to change that," says Joyce in the email.

Computerworld asked if there are any plans by National to combine the ICT and broadcasting portfolios. Joyce replied "No".

He also reiterated National's promise to release the "4G spectrum" (that is, the 700MHz spectrum that becomes available following the digital switchover) straight away, despite concerns by InternetNZ that the government could be acting too soon and creating a plan that is incompatible with other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

"National is working to make 4G spectrum available to the market as soon as possible and will address InternetNZ's concerns as we go," Joyce says.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/18/2011

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NZ Releases First Open Govt Policy

The New Zealand labour party has released today the first comprehensive Open Government policy which focuses on fostering transparency in political offices and engaging citizens to have more input in policy making. An official statement from Labour said that many New Zealanders feel disconnected from the democratic process and are unable to connect with politicians or the way the government operates. "People deserve to know the democratic process around parliamentary law making is sound. Hence, transparency of political offices is the core principle in the Open Government policy," they said. The policy also commits to producing a comprehensive "Open Government Charter", based on a set of principles developed in consultation with the public. It includes provisions for Cabinet papers and other documents to be publicly available once decisions are made without people having to request them through the Official Information Act. In addition, a review of standing orders will also be initiated in order to ensure that the public is involved in legislative processes, and to also adopt new technologies to better connect with citizens.

Among the matters for consultation included in the Open Government Charter are the following:
ˇń Require Ministers and Government agencies releasing all Cabinet papers and other relevant papers (with some exemptions) onto a dedicated website, in line with the Official Information Act (the Act), once a decision is announced by government.
ˇń Publish the Hansard in a format that can easily be re-used and republished by anybody for any purpose.
ˇń Release appropriate public sector data and information free of charge.
ˇń Work towards publishing or broadcasting all public Parliamentary proceedings over the Internet and digital television.
ˇń Consider the regular use of formal citizen assemblies to help develop policy in areas where public input and consideration can assist in tackling complex problems.
ˇń Develop a trial of online voting in local government and general elections.
ˇń Consider the degree to which other public services can be made available online through an easy-to-use one stop website.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/18/2011

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Implementation of Online E-gov Services Worldwide Could Produce Savings of $114 Billion in 2016 - ABI

Governments worldwide are making "citizen services" available online. Their aim is to achieve a return on investment, increase transparency, and improve access for their citizens. ABI Research forecasts that in 2016, as much as $114 billion could be saved worldwide through implementation of online e-government services. "Investment is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period." "The overall e-government services market will see sharp growth over the next five years," says ABI Research analyst Phil Sealy. "Investment is set to increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $57 billion in 2016, and the number of users will nearly triple over the forecast period."

The market is very fragmented, however, with different regions and countries at different stages of implementation and success. "Initially much of the activity will be in the major industrialized countries," says Sealy, "but rollouts of e-government services will accelerate beginning in about 2014 when online services in developing regions start to become a reality." Governments are looking to offer information and services on many levels. ABI Research is expecting to see mobile services become ever more popular, especially in those countries where providing citizens fixed broadband connections may not be a viable investment option. The aim is to maximize e-inclusion and e-participation of citizen-centric services by providing simplistic and convenient means of access.

It is important to note that the investment required to create, manage, maintain, and market a government-to-citizen service portal is high, and savings are not always seen immediately. Online e-government services are more an investment to create future savings. ABI Research group director John Devlin remains confident: "Countries such as the US that already have well-established e-government services are looking into aligning services onto one portal rather than multiple portals. The same applies for Europe. Aligning services will make it easier for a country's citizens to access all services in one place. This allows a reduction in operating costs, while maintaining service levels." ABI Research's study "e-Government Online Services" (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/1007144) addresses each of the barriers and drivers affecting the planning, deployment, infrastructure, and technological aspects of providing online services through a government portal. The report provides ABI Research's view of the most likely future market changes and developments.


From http://www.businesswire.com/ 09/01/2011

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43 Countries to Join Open Government Partnership

With the only a few days to go before the Sept. 20 launch event, 43 countries have agreed to join the Open Government Partnership. The latest seven to appear on the official list are: the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Latvia, Peru, South Korea, Sweden and Ukraine. The list is: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Peru, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey and Ukraine. The original eight member countries are: the United States and Brazil (co-chairs), South Africa, the United Kingdom, Norway, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines. Seventy-nine countries were eligible under OGP criteria. At 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in New York, U.S. President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff, along with other heads of state, will appear at the kick-off event. The founding eight countries will endorse an Open Government Declaration, still undisclosed, and announce their national action plans, according to information from the State Department. "The founding governments will also welcome the commitment of a large number of governments to join OGP and to deliver their action plans in March 2012 in Brazil." Also that day, a "Power of Open" event is being held, at the New York headquarters of Google, to be attended by 150 invited openness activists and officials. The agenda includes a speech by Philippines President Benigno Aquino, who is under criticism for his still uncertain stance on long-ending freedom of information legislation. The Philippines coalition supporting FOI legislation earlier this week sent a strong letter to Aguino. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)


From http://www.freedominfo.org/ 09/16/2011

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AFRICA: Kenya Leading with Mobile Government Implementation

According to a paper presented at AfricaCom in Cape Town, Kenya has topped the list of African countries, along with South Africa and Egypt, with a robust mobile government implementation. The report says Kenya is leading the quest to realise the benefits to citizens and small businesses of delivering public services using cellular technologies. Over the past few years, the benefits of e-government services have become more and clearer to governments in Africa. Electronic services are a great source of economic, social and political development which encourages engagement and improves service access. "It is striking when looking at e-government strategies in Africa that there is no clear articulation of the role mobile devices can play in the spread of e-government services," said co-author of the report Nick Jotischky. "Given the importance of mobile in Africa's economy and culture over the last decade, this appears strange." Jotischky believes the continuing growth in wireless access ensures a wide audience reach. According to him, Smartphone penetration is accelerating. The report predicts that by 2016 over a third of the mobile connections in South Africa will be via Smartphones. In an effort to raise the transparency in Kenya, it became the second country this year to launch an open data portal, providing large datasets, including census and statistics on government spending at national and county level.


From http://itnewsafrica.com/ 11/11/2011

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SA Ready to Embrace Mobile Government Services

Mobilising public services in Africa, the white paper compiled by Informa Telecoms & Media and available at the AfricaCom event taking place from today, Wednesday, 9 November until Thursday 10 November 2011 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, reveals that South Africa is more ready than Kenya and Egypt in terms of embracing mobile government services. Despite South Africa's appearance at the top of the index, authors Nick Jotischky and Sheridan Nye note that mobile government implementations have been far slower to take off there than in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The East African countries have been quicker to realise the benefits to citizens and small businesses (agricultural advice, payment of utility bills, commodity pricing information) of delivering public services using cellular technologies.

E-government seen as a source
E-government is seen by African governments as a source of economic, social and political development that encourages greater citizen engagement and improves access to services. In a C-level industry survey that Informa recently commissioned, Two-thirds of respondents believe e-government services are still under-developed in Africa. Jotischky notes, "It is striking when looking at e-government strategies in Africa that there is no clear articulation of the role mobile devices can play in the spread of e-government services. Given the importance of mobile in Africa's economy and culture over the last decade, this appears strange. After all, not only does the continuing growth in wireless access ensure a wide audience reach, but messaging and data usage trends suggest many consumers in Africa are already using mobile for a variety of purposes. Furthermore, the mobile device market continues to mature and smartphone penetration is accelerating." Opportunity to enable mobile government Informa forecasts that by 2016 over a third of mobile connections in South Africa will be via smartphones.

The report also notes that many of the mobile government services already implemented are in East and North Africa. Many of these services are directed at citizens and businesses but governments have not used mobile technology as a way of overhauling internal processes and providing more flexibility to their workforces. Nye suggests, "Technology providers in Africa have an opportunity to enable mobile government by encouraging the migration of public sector services to the cloud. Virtualisation of infrastructure and flexible, usage-based pricing would allow government agencies to pay for what they need and flex costs accordingly to match demand. Mobility services should form an integrated part of the public sector's cloud migration." Informa's mobile government readiness index is based on the following indicators: mobile penetration; 3G penetration; mobile broadband penetration forecasts; proportion of population living in rural areas; the size of public sector as a % of GDP; UN's e-Government Readiness Index; fixed broadband penetration and literacy rates. The index excluded countries with a population less than 5 million.


From http://www.bizcommunity.com/ 11/09/2011

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ARAB STATES: Bahrain eGovernment Authority Wins the Global FutureGov Award

The eGovernment Authority has added a new achievement to it records by winning the internationally acclaimed FutureGov Award 2011 as the Public Sector Organisation of the Year in the Middle East recognizing its National Authentication Framework project (NAF). The award is organized for the 5th year to recognize the leading government organizations in eGovernment field. The Award was received by Mr. Feras Ahmed, Director of Service Delivery and Channels Enhancement in the eGovernment Authority at an Awarding Ceremony that took place on the 14th of October 2011 at Putrajaya Conference Center in Malaysia. The award winning project (NAF) aims at facilitating the government services for citizens and residents by saving them time and effort through a single sign on personal unified identity profile. Using a single sign on identity, users can complete all government transactions online quickly and conveniently without the hassle of repeated searching or re-entering of data, particularly with the growing number of government eServices", he explained. "This achievement is an addition to a series of accomplishments that eGA is proud to have achieved by virtue of the unlimited and ongoing support of the wise leadership, the guidance of the Supreme Committee for ICT, well-structured plans and the continuous efforts exerted by the eGA's management and employees, said Mr. Mohammed Al Qaed, Chief Executive Officer of the eGovernment Authority. Mr. Al Qaed has also confirmed that eGA is continuously seeking to keep abreast with the latest in ICT developments while committed to deliver the best of eServices, provided that the Kingdom of Bahrain has already achieved a leading position in reinforcing excellence in its concepts in the field of eServices providers and users demonstrated by the UN Global eGovernment Readiness Report 2010 as 1st in Middle East, 3rd in Asia and 13th worldwide "Through NAF, users will have access to a vast range of government and non-government services via a single digital identity to access and view relevant services utilizing various service delivery channels, namely, the eGovernment portal, mobile portal, and kiosks". Mr. Al Qaed added.

Moreover, the Chief Executive of eGA has pointed out that the new project will provide eServices users with all the necessary information that will be needed such as details of the latest transaction they made, and recently browsed services while saving their time by suggesting other services they may need or want to use, at the same time, maintaining high security and privacy of users' information whether they are citizens, residents, or any government services user. Notably, the FutureGov 2011 has been organized in its 5th version and has been instituted to recognize the leading government organizations in the eGovernance arena. The jury committee comprised globally renowned professionals and senior officials in Public Service chaired by Mr. Laurence Millar, Editor-at-Large of FutureGov Asia Pacific magazine. It is worth mentioning that the winning projects were selected based on their creativity, effectiveness of application, usability, and contribution to productivity and future outlook. The Awards categories included: Government Organization of the Year, Education Organisation of the Year, Healthcare Organisation of the Year, FutureCity of the Year, Technology Leadership, Wireless Government, Connected Government, E-Government, Cloud Computing, Data Centres, Information Security, Digital Inclusion, Service Innovation, Information Management, Green Government, Business Process and Government Transformation of the Year Award. It is worth mentioning that eGA has provided over 211 eServices covering all stages of individual's and business's life cycle through its national portal (Bahrain.bh), Mobile portal, eService center, National Call center, in addition to a number of eKiosks distributed among various commercial complexes and government premises.


From http://www.ega.gov.bh/ 10/24/2011

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Egypt: IT Houses Project Launched

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) recently launched a programme to spread IT houses nationwide. Bringing the MCIT priorities into life, set as a work cycle during the coming period, and in accordance with the directives of the minister of ICT, Mohamed Salem stresses on the importance of providing IT services to be extended to all Egypt's governorates especially in Sinai and Nuba in order to raise awareness and technological development all over Egypt. In this context, the MCIT launched its programme to spread IT houses with focus on the distant and neglected areas especially the Bedouin and desert areas to establish different types of community services centres for the benefit of all segments of the society. All segments of society include woman and child, persons with visual impairment, people with special needs, seniors or elderly people as well as businessmen and young people to be prepared for the labour market. Moreover, IT houses provide e-government services like issuing national ID cards and driving license.

A high-profile expert team of human development department and IT houses programme at the MCIT headed by the Director of Training and Human Resources Sector, Ahmed Adel Darwish and the Executive Director of IT Houses Project Osama Abdel Aziz began a tour in North Sinai Governorate. They visited the cities and residential areas in the governorate for three days to find the best spots to establish new IT houses and hence become real centre for local community services for all segments of society. Such a thing represents a leg up in developing the services provided in what was previously known as IT clubs and now restructured to be known as IT houses. This comes within the Government's framework to develop Sinai in order to be under the national projects umbrella in all governorates through implementing comprehensive development programmes in various fields and in human development for the Sinai citisen in particular. The visit to North of Sinai will be followed by a similar field visit very soon to South Sinai Governorate and it will be headed by another high-level MCIT delegation for the same purpose. The committee established for that purpose by the MCIT will hold a meeting with the Governor of North Sinai, governorates' leaders, district and cities presidents in order to inform them about the MCIT strategy in order to co-ordinate with the governorate leaders to inspect the areas that will be selected to establish the IT houses.

In view of the Government keenness to develop the human and social aspects of Sinai, Mohamed Salem, Minister of ICT, decided to establish about 30 IT houses to cover North and South Sinai taking into account the Bedouin communities in the central area between the two governorates, when there are suitable areas. The project aims to spread IT houses with main focus on distant, marginalised and dense areas all over Egypt's governorates. The priority of this project covers the region of Sinai and Nuba in Upper Egypt, Marsa Matrouh, the New Valley, as well as the Suez Governorate, Sohag and Qena Governorates. Moreover, a group of people working at the IT houses spreading programme at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is currently visiting all Egyptian governorates to verify carefully the suitable places for establishing IT houses. It is worth mentioning that there is a group of programmes was launched to spread the IT houses of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in all Egypt's governorates to examine carefully the suitable places for establishing IT houses.


From Egyptian Gazette 09/17/2011

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Kuwait Central IT Agency Wins Creativity Award of E-Gov't

Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) won an award for design creativity for the official Kuwait E-Government website at the e-Government Web Award, KUWAIT, Oct 16 (KUNA) - Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) won an award for design creativity for the official Kuwait E-Government website at the e-Government Web Award, held under the patronage of the Pan Arab Web Awards Academy and in cooperation with the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) of the Arab League. Head of e-government at the CAIT Dr. Ittihad Al-Bahar said Sunday that the award recognized creative efforts of outstanding merit of Arab governments in the development of creative websites, whether to provide services to citizens and residents or information and transparency as well as to benefit from the global technological revolution to enhance the Arab action towards technology and create a digital environment in the region. The award is dedicated to the official institutions and the governments of Arab countries, where five awards including structural innovation, technical innovation, creative design, visual creativity and the innovation award for interactivity between the official sites governmental institutions in Arab countries, Al-Bahar said. She added that the CAIT, in charge of the e-government website, won the award for "State agencies and governmental websites" for 2011. ARADO held an award ceremony in Egypt last month.


From http://www.kuna.net.kw/ 10/16/2011

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Oman Bags Five Prizes at GCC E-govt Awards

Oman has won five prizes in the GCC e-government awards, announced on the sidelines of the First Gulf E-Government Conference in Kuwait. The 'Cheques Scanning System' of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) won the best e-service award for the business sector, while the Oman Educational Portal of the education ministry took the best e-portal title in the 'development sector' category. The 'e-bidding system' of the Tender Board was adjudged the best government to government project. In the same category, the 'Human Resources Management and Central Employment' project of the civil service ministry was judged the best Gulf e-project. The best Gulf e-project title in the development category went to the higher education admission system of the Higher Education Admission Centre. In all, 85 projects from the GCC countries competed for the top places. Dr Salim bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, Executive President, Information Technology Authority (ITA), commenting on Oman's successes, said the prizes reflected "the great effort made by government organisations in collaboration with ITA to develop and constantly update e-projects". He added that the "continuous recognition for the country's e-government projects in the Gulf, Arab and international arenas clearly mirror the fact that the sultanate's strategy to build e-Oman and e-government is moving forwards steadily". Dr Badr Al Manthri, Information Security Officer at ITA, and a member of the jury panel, said that the award aimed at encouraging government organisations in the GCC countries to use IT to ensure easier, more transparent and cost effective services for the public.


From http://www.khaleejtimes.com/ 11/15/2011

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EUROPE: The Sixth Ministerial E-government Conference Is Taking Place in Poland

The Polish Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission are organising in close co-operation the sixth Ministerial eGovernment Conference, entitled "Borderless eGovernment Services for Europeans". During the conference, key European eGovernment decision makers will meet in Poland to talk about the future of eGovernment.

Key European eGovernment decision makers will meet in Pozna¨˝ (Poland) to talk about the future of eGovernment. European Ministers responsible for eGovernment will hold an Informal Ministerial Meeting, where they will exchange views on the future of Borderless Services, the development of the Large Scale Projects, the Connecting Europe Facility and other key issues related to the development and up-take of eGovernment services in Europe. The "Borderless eGovernment Services for Europeans" conference will be celebrated on 17-18 November 2011. The European Council supports eGovernment services, as it was agreed during its meeting held in May 2011.

Member States will be invited to join one of four smaller debates, each discussing a different topic of high political relevance. The proposed topics to be discussed are the mutual recognition and acceptance of electronic identification (eID), authentication and e-signatures across borders; cross border eGovernment services; the sustainability of the European Large Scale Pilots; and the interoperability strategies in Member States.

The Informal Ministerial Meeting will be a part of the 6th European Ministerial eGovernment Conference, which will attract 900 stakeholders from around the world: ministers from EU Member States, officials from national, regional and local administrations, industry representatives, civil society and experts. 35 Ministers from EU Member States, candidate and EFTA countries will be invited to participate. Mr. Jerzy Miller - Polish Minister of the Interior and Administration will attend the event together with Mrs. Neelie Kroes - Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda and Mr. Maro? ?ef?ovi? - Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration.


From http://euroalert.net/ 11/16/2011

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Digital Agenda: Five New Cross-Border Online Public Services

The European Commission is showcasing a family of five new online public services to the " Borderless eGovernment Services for Europeans " conference of the Polish Presidency in Poznan this week. The five projects have already demonstrated concrete benefits for citizens, businesses and governments during their pilot phases. eGovernment must not stop at national borders , and these five projects prove that it does not have to, making the lives of citizens and businesses easier, while being more efficient and cost effective than existing public services . The Commission provided half the funding for the projects (€62.67 million out of €125.34 million). Poland, currently holding the EU Presidency, participates in a project piloting the use of eDocument, eDelivery, eSafe and eServices for people working in the travel industry, real estate or construction, through its Institute of Logistics and Warehousing in Poznan

STORK - electronic identity for easier access to public services
Several barriers to free movement still exist in the digital Single Market. For example, it is not easy to access online public services while working or living in another country. The STORK (Secure Identity Across Borders Linked) pilot project allows citizens and businesses to access eGovernment services in any Member State they live in or travel to, by making cross-border use of electronic identification possible.

The project implemented six pilot initiatives:
1. Cross-border authentication for online public services via eIDs
2. Cross-border safer Chat application
3. Student Mobility
4. Cross-border eDelivery
5. Change of Address
6. Citizens identification and authentication to access EC applications via national eIDs.

For example, the pilot project gives foreign students access to online services offered by universities (e.g. online enrolment, access to online courses or tutorials, access to computing infrastructures, etc) in five countries (Austria, Estonia, Italy, Portugal and Spain). Another possibility will be to inform all relevant services of an address change, between countries and using a home country eID when moving from one country to another.

32 partners from 17 European countries are taking part in the project. The project started in 2008 and finishes at the end of 2011. STORK 2.0 is planned to start in 2012. Focusing on Four Pilot Applications (strategic eLearning & Academic Qualifications, eBanking, Public Services for Business and eHealth), STORK 2.0 will seek to create common standards and specifications for the EU-wide uptake of eID.

PEPPOL - towards cross-border public eProcurement
Public procurement makes up 19% of EU GDP - or more than €2 trillion each year. eProcurement has allowed Sweden to save 20% on its procurement costs, while saving time and money for businesses and helping them to supply services outside their home country. If other EU member state matched these savings, taxpayers and businesses could save hundreds of billions of euros each year.

To this end the EU-funded PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) project has delivered a range of interoperable eProcurement solutions, such as e-invoices and e-signatures for important documents.
PEPPOL consortium is composed of 17 partners from 11 European countries. The project started in 2008 and runs until April 2012.
SPOCS - next generation Points of Single Contact
The SPOCS (Simple Procedures Online for Cross-border Services) pilot project aims to help businesses expand into other countries by helping them to comply with all the regulations, licenses and permits they need to deal with. SPOCS lets you complete this work through a single online point of contact. SPOCS builds on the work of the STORK (electronic identity) and PEPPOL (electronic procurement) projects. 15 MS and Norway are taking part in the project. It started in 2009 and will end June 2012.

epSOS - patient information online
The epSOS (European Patents Smart Open Services) pilot project sums up patient information, which includes general and medical information about the patient and his current medications. Through use of ePrescription and eMedication systems patients are able to safely obtain their correct medicines in foreign pharmacies, and healthcare professionals have access to the necessary electronic patient data to help patients. Tourists, business travellers, commuters and exchange students will be among the beneficiaries. 20 EU member states and 3 non-EU member states are taking part in the project. It started in 2008 and runs till December 2013.

e-CODEX - judicial information accessible for citizens
The EU funded e-CODEX ( e -Justice C ommunication via O nline D ata Ex change) project will make judicial procedures more transparent, efficient and economic. It will help citizens, companies, administrations, and legal practitioners to get facilitated access to justice, for example if they are a victim of a crime while travelling. This progress will be based on connecting judicial systems through development of common technical standards in the field of e-Identity, e-Signatures, e-Payment and e-Filing.14 EU MS are participating in the project together with Turkey, The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe and The Council of the Notaries of the European Union. The project started in December 2010 and runs until December 2013.


From http://www.iewy.com/ 11/19/2011

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EU Pushes Open eGovernment Services Concept

European digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has warned that the ongoing economic crisis underlines the need for a radical reform of government structures and the creation of so called "eGovernments. Kroes used a speech this week to call for the wide spread adoption of national eGovernments that can offer citizens easy online access to public sector services. "These days, for too many people, dealing with government services can be trying or time-consuming," she said, "First and foremost, governments can and should put these users in control, and in the centre. I want citizens to benefit from services they really want to use, services targeted to their needs, services that are smooth and seamless."

Isolated Projects
Kroes explained that up until now, "National eGovernment systems have developed in isolation, creating new digital borders where physical ones have long since disappeared," said Kroes, "Fragmenting the EU rather than unifying it." She wants public sector online programmes that work across all borders in order to encourage more international business. "We should not be scared of, but embrace the possibilities of open data and joined-up service delivery," she said, before stating that technology can "unlock the potential of these freedoms." She cited the example of European students, who have the legal right to enrol at any university across the EU. She said that often they cannot do this online, because national electronic ID systems are not recognised abroad, even though paper-based ID systems such as passports are.

Barriers To Business
"Isn't that crazy?" she asked, before pointing out that there are similar obstacles for businesses looking to operate cross-border. "They must respond to calls for tender launched miles away in other languages, and very few of them bother," she said, "They must reclaim VAT from foreign administrations, using procedures which are unfamiliar, lengthy or cumbersome. None of this makes sense in the digital age."

Kroes warned that European governments are imposing extra frustrating obligations on citizens, as well as extra barriers on businesses who want to expand within the single market. She also said this was imposing extra costs on public authorities. "Remember that electronic procurement can bring significant savings for governments, while online forms can be processed at a fraction of the cost," she said, "Going online saves public money."

Kroes said that there were three words that national governments needed to adopt as a slogan, "build, connect, grow." "These actions are the three key milestones on the road towards borderless eGovernment," said Kroes, "We have already done the hard part of building systems. Member states have invested considerably in doing so, and it is starting to pay off. Now we need to take the next step, of connecting those systems. Then we can grow them: into other areas, into other countries."

"If we do that, our governments can make the most out of their investment; our people can connect to more opportunity, our economies can benefit," she said, "We can tear down digital barriers and deliver services seamlessly across borders." This is not the first time the EU has called for more openness. In December last year the EC released the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), intended to give governments across Europe guidelines for making public services interoperable. It also released an action plan aimed at improving e-government services, with the aim of seeing 80 percent of businesses using these services by 2015.

British G-Cloud
Meanwhile in the UK, the government here proposed the so-called G-Cloud. This concept of a nationalised government cloud was introduced by the Labour government in December 2009, but there have been concerns this concept has been abandoned by the coalition government. But this August it was revived when a Cabinet Office document proposed a "cloud based Enterprise Resource Platform" for government departments to buy into, as a way to save money.

Meanwhile the British government also made its first attempt to bring all online government services under one roof back in May with the creation of the Alpha.gov.uk pilot project. This came after in Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude announced in November 2010 that public services transactions would increasingly be provided as online-only services. But at the same time the government is conducting a massive cull of so-called "vanity" websites. As of the 1 July 2011, 444 websites are still open, down from 820, according to the Cabinet Office, and Whitehall has committed to closing another 243, adding up to 80 percent of the government's websites. (By Tom Jowitt)


From http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/ 11/19/2011

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Swiss ICT Sector Seeks Indian Solutions

Swiss information and communication technology (ICT) firms are developing closer ties with Indian counterparts to boost trade and plug a skills gap in Switzerland. India's rapidly growing ICT sector presents a potentially lucrative market for Swiss specialists, while Switzerland estimates it will face a shortfall of 32,000 skilled workers in the field by 2017. Companies and experts gathered in Zurich on Monday to explore ways of forging deeper links, with the umbrella bodies from both countries signing a memorandum of understanding to promote bilateral trade. The conference also heard of obstacles standing in the way of closer cooperation between the two countries. In Switzerland, the biggest hurdle is the paucity of work permits handed out to non-European Union workers. This year, the Swiss authorities will hand out just 8,500 visas to non-EU employees who want to work in Switzerland for more than a few months. With most visas restricted to just 90 days, Indian companies face the constant headache of allocating manpower resources to projects in Switzerland.

Search for talent
"It is very difficult to plan projects when you never know how many visas you will get until late into the year and not knowing exactly how long the project will run for," Andreas Kn?pfli, president of the Swiss ICT trade body Swico, told swissinfo.ch. The lack of home-grown resources also creates problems for Swiss companies. One firm at the conference, ITPC, opened up operations in Pune, India, at the beginning of this year precisely to gain access to large numbers of qualified workers."In Switzerland it is difficult to find highly qualified people," chief executive Vincenzo Boesch told swissinfo.ch. "Recruitment companies repeatedly offer workers from Eastern Europe who would need to relocate for only one project." He added: "A second benefit of operating in India is that salaries are lower, which means we can do more projects for a better price." The ITPC website states that clients can save 35 per cent on projects sourced between India and Switzerland and 50 per cent on jobs conducted in India alone through the company.

Too little trade
The issue of foreign workers pouring into Switzerland since its labour market was opened to EU nationals in 2002 has proven a hot potato in election year. Business leaders argue that labour from other countries is necessary to keep the economy forging ahead. But others are concerned at the growing proportion of foreigners in Switzerland - more than 20 per cent of the population are non-Swiss - and the strain on the country's infrastructure. Such constraints have not slowed the rate at which Indian ICT companies operate in Switzerland. The value of such trade rose from SFr350 million ($420 million) in 2009 to SFr450 million last year. But this still represents a tiny percentage of the $73 billion (SFr61 billion) of business conducted by the Indian ICT sector worldwide in 2010.

Jigsaw puzzle
Rajendra Pawar, president of the Indian ICT business federation Nasscom, said the two countries could do more to link small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those that service the financial services, telecoms and healthcare sectors. "There are a lot of highly specialised niche operators that can provide small pieces of ICT solutions for big companies. We have to get these SMEs from both countries interacting so they can get the best out of their innovative products," he told swissinfo.ch. "Matching these competencies is a bit like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw and we still don't have a formula of providing a platform to make this work." Switzerland is busy building an ICT industry with the area between Zurich airport and the city being optimistically labelled a new "Silicon Valley". Although there are 500 firms in the area, backed by research at the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne, Pawar described Switzerland's ICT industry as relatively "stagnant" compared with India.

Breaking down barriers
A lack of competition was one of the reasons Thomas Sebastian, an Indian national, expanded his Indian ICT company PIT Solutions into Switzerland in 2005. Some 90 per cent of the firm's customers are Swiss, serviced by a handful of employees in Switzerland and 200 in India. "Most Indian SMEs are put off from coming to Switzerland because of the high cost of setting up a business [mainly real estate and labour force prices]," Sebastian told swissinfo.ch. "Swiss companies are also quite conservative and not really interested in partnerships because they fear they will lose their clients. But there are more opportunities in Switzerland than in Germany or Britain because there are fewer competitors in the market, which keeps prices buoyant." Nasscom and Swico face the challenge of breaking down such barriers to Swiss-Indian commercial ICT links. "If we fail to attract highly qualified professionals to Switzerland, they will simply go to work elsewhere," said Swico's Andrea Kn?pfli. (By Matthew Allen)


From http://www.swissinfo.ch/ 11/15/2011

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil - Open Governments Must Start at the National Level

As one of the founding partners of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Brazilian government recently co-launched a multilateral initiative aimed at supporting national efforts around the world to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability and empower citizens. In sharp contrast however, the Brazilian government still has not implemented its own national right to information bill. With exactly one week to go before the world marks Right to Know Day (28.09.11), the government must ensure that the Senate makes the passing of the national bill a priority, without further delay or obstacles, or Brazil risks losing its credibility as a OGP right to information champion "Since Brazil is co-leading with the US the Open Government Partnership, it is imperative that the Brazilian government and Senate champions transparency by driving forward its own progressive right to information law, in order to gain more legitimacy at the global level," said Paula Martins, Director South America office ARTICLE 19. Eight nations in the partnership have agreed to an 'Open Government Declaration,' under which they pledge to be more transparent at every level, since more information on government activity should be open, timely and freely available to the people. Although the Brazilian government has overcome some obstacles put forward by the Senate in relation to the approval of a right to information bill, it was not voted in on time for the formal launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), co-chaired by Brazil and the United States, in Washington. Previously, the access to information bill was jeopardised by Senators from the Commission for External Relations and National Defense, chaired by former President Fernando Collor. The government acted to circumvent the Commission in order to vote for the bill before the launch of the OGP. However, the Senate has a series of priority vote bills which cannot be surpassed according to its statute, and expectation within the Senate is that the access to information bill will not be voted on until October 2011. "Although we welcome government efforts to hasten the approval of the right to information bill for the purposes of the Partnership, this bill has been hampered by the Senate's delay in providing a vote," said Paula Martins, director for the South America office of ARTICLE 19. According to the original OGP roadmap, Brazil meets the criteria to participate in the OGP except for the absence of an access to information law. The country improved its budget transparency and some participatory mechanisms but the lack of the right to information law still hampers monitoring and participation in public policies and facilitates a culture of secrecy within public administration. (By São Paulo)


From http://www.article19.org/ 09/19/2011

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US Releases Cloud Roadmap for Comments

The US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released for public comment a draft "roadmap" that is designed to foster federal agencies' adoption of cloud computing, support the private sector, improve the information available to decision makers and facilitate the continued development of the cloud computing model. In February 2011, the government issued the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy with NIST assigned "a central [role] in defining and advancing standards, and collaborating with US government agency CIOs, private-sector experts and international bodies to identify and reach consensus on cloud computing technology and standardization priorities."

NIST has since released the US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap to support the secure and effective adoption of the cloud computing model by federal agencies to reduce costs and improve services. The agency will take public comments from now through 2 December 2011. The draft publication defines high-priority requirements for standards, official guidance and technology developments that need to be met in order for agencies to accelerate their migration of existing IT systems to the cloud computing model.

"A key contribution of the roadmap effort is to focus the discussion to achieve a clear understanding between the government and private sector," said Dawn Leaf, Senior Advisor for Cloud Computing, NIST. "Particularly on the specific technical steps (standards, guidance and technology solutions) needed to move federal IT from its current early-cloud state to a cloud-based foundation, as envisioned in the US Federal Cloud Computing Strategy."

NIST plans to issue the final US Government Cloud Computing Roadmap as a three-volume work. The first two volumes were released on 1 November 2011. The roadmap has undergone a 60-day review exercise through the Federal Cloud Computing Standards and Technology Working Group. This NIST-led group was formed in July 2011 under the auspices of the United States Federal CIO Council and includes representatives from approximately 30 US government agencies.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/05/2011

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U.S.: States Look to Modernize Their Aging Tax Systems

Almost everyone has heard about California's budget woes. Among other things, the state's recently passed $86 billion budget cuts deeply into spending on the state's universities, medical care for the poor, and the state park system. So if any government could benefit from enhancing its revenue collection capability, it is the Golden State.

One of the people tasked with modernizing the state's tax collection systems is Cathy Cleek, CIO and chief of the Technology Services Division of the state's Franchise Tax Board (FTB), which processes more than 15 million personal income tax returns and 1 million business returns every year. Like her counterparts from other states, Cleek is in the process of updating a legacy system with dozens of moving parts, some of which are decades old. "There are pieces of our system that are healthy and we have no need to change," she said, "but there are others that need to be pulled out and modernized." Some applications were designed in an era when the FTB dealt only with paper, but now the agency is taking 80 percent of returns digitally. "Now we will begin using imaging to digitize the paper, so we have one work process, not two," explained Cleek.

Tax system reviews and upgrades are under way across the country. Eight states - Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California and Oregon - listed tax system modernization among their top five technology priorities in the Center for Digital Government's 2010 Digital States Survey. These systems are expensive and they don't go away easily, so their replacement requires a great deal of planning, noted Adam Schaffer, a director with Revenue Solutions Inc., a Massachusetts consultancy specializing in helping government agencies in tax administration.

The systems on the drawing board now will have to last at least 10 years. The movement from stovepiped applications toward integrated tax systems began 20 years ago, Schaffer added, but many states still haven't modernized yet. Those states are now looking at their options, which include commercial off-the-shelf software or legacy system modernization. "If an agency is satisfied with its current functionality but just needs a new technology underpinning, it may choose to replatform and move from legacy programming languages to modern languages and frameworks such as Java and .NET," he said. "The work force turning over is another reason to refresh the technology platform. What we are not seeing is new, custom-built systems."

Many states are looking at creating service-oriented architectures (SOA), which may support shared services with other state agencies. Businesses could do one-stop shopping - so that registering in one place would allow their information to be shared with multiple agency systems. When you see RFPs to modernize tax systems, states are usually eager to do a better job on compliance and revenue collection, Schaffer said. Key improvements they're looking for include integration between departmental software modules, greater customer self-service, and data warehousing tools to identify and recover uncollected revenue from noncompliant taxpayers, as well as to analyze revenue trends and support management reporting.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 11/12/2011

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CHINA: Microblogging Offers New Platform for Officials to Serve the Public

As China's booming microblog services have become a popular way for people to voice their opinions, government departments and officials are encouraged to use the tool to better communicate with the public. China owns the world's largest online population, which has reached 500 million, and the country's most popular microblog service, Sina Weibo, now has more than 200 million registered users. Government departments and officials nationwide have opened more than 40,000 microblog accounts in a bid to release authorized information timely and receive feedback from the people. Among them is the official microblog of the Beijing Emergency Medical Center, which opened in February and gained immediate fame for its quick response to public concern over nuclear radiation following the March 11 Japan earthquake. After the devastating earthquake hit Japan and caused a radiation leak, the center's microblog promptly released information about protection from nuclear radiation. As a result, the number of its microblog followers soared to 60,000, within days. "Besides serving as a window for people to be updated about the center's latest services, the microblog also fosters direct online communication between medical professionals and patients," said Zhang Guixia, a staff member of the center. To many Internet users, the microblogs of authorities bring a relaxed mode of official-to-people communication.

Two years ago, a government microblog would likely have an "official" tone: "If you have any comment or advice, please feel free to submit through the platform. We welcome your opinions, which will help us improve services." Nowadays, government microblogs are becoming service-oriented, innovative and easygoing. In June, several entries on the official microblog of the publicity department of the Chengdu municipal government in southwest Sichuan Province scored major online hits. "If I come across you in Chengdu, I will take you to Mount Qingcheng where you can feel the essence of Taoism;" "If I come across you in Chengdu, I will take you to the historical wide and narrow alleys." The official microblog of Chengdu currently has more than 1.5 million followers, ranking first among "government microblogs" on Sina Weibo, thanks to its casual language style. Cao Guowei, CEO of China's internet portal Sina.com, which runs Weibo, said government microblog accounts on Weibo already cover government departments of public security, tourism, environmental protection, traffic and health care, and have become a platform for authorities to release information and provide public services. "Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of microblogs makes it develop into a platform to promote public welfare causes, knowledge-sharing, regional economic development and supervision by public opinion," Cao added. However, with the rapid growth of the service, some people indulge in spreading fabrications and distorted information to mislead the public.

A prominent case in September was a self-proclaimed "high-profile" female prostitute, under the pseudonym of "Ruoxiaoan1," who was later discovered by police to be a 31-year man seeking online fame. The man posted 401 entries starting in January, inventing stories about working as a sex worker after "accidentally" losing virginity at 22. The microblog account soon attracted more than 250,000 followers. China's Internet watchdog has urged the building of a healthy, orderly environment for microblogging. In a seminar Thursday, Wang Chen, head of China's State Internet Information Office, urged the country's government departments and officials to use microblogs more frequently to release authorized information timely and to step up service-oriented communication with the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/15/2011

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Police Steps Up Hunt for Criminals Through Online Lists

Police departments around China will make strengthened efforts from now to the end of this year to nab criminals at large by using online wanted lists, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Monday. Liu Jinguo, vice minister of the MPS, said in a videophone meeting concerning the "hunting convicts online initiative" on Monday, that the police will wage a "decisive battle" against criminals at large, in a bid to finish the initiative half a year ahead of schedule. The MPS initiated the one-year initiative in May.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/17/2011

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Websites Employed to Facilitate Voter Registration

A variety of new channels, including websites, online discussion groups and instant messages, have been utilized to encourage residents in Beijing to register for electing community people's congress deputies, according to election authorities. Various online communication tools have been adopted to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the registration process, according to a Tuesday statement from the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress. Voters living in the city's Xicheng district now have the option of registering online to vote, as long as their online applications pass a verification process, which allows them to bypass the physical registration stations set up in the district. Election organizers have been using online bulletin boards and instant messaging contact groups to get in touch with relocated households and encourage them to register. The online tools have not only allowed authorities to establish mutual communication channels between voters and election organizers, but also fostered communication among voters themselves, the statement said.

The adoption of online communication platforms is meant to generate a positive social environment and encourage orderly political participation, the statement said. Elections for new deputies to the People's Congress at the district, county and township levels are scheduled to take place on Nov. 8. Most of the constituencies completed their registration and posted public notices by Tuesday, 20 days ahead of the election date as requested by law, the statement said. Across the country, the elections for lawmakers at the county and township levels started on May 7, which granted, for the first time, equal representation in legislative bodies to rural and urban citizens under last year's newly amended Electoral Law. More than two million lawmakers at the county and township levels will be elected during nationwide elections, held every five years, in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, according to the National People's Congress. However, no specific provisions have been created to address the voting rights of China's migrant population. Beijing has promised to grant voting rights to those who can provide valid documents from the election authorities of the regions in which they were originally registered. Beijing has more than seven million migrants.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/18/2011

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Chinese Internet-based Network to Speed Up Publication of Natural Disaster Data

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has launched a new information management network that allows community-level governments to directly report local natural disaster data to higher departments. The system, which currently covers 3,746 villages and towns in the provinces of Hebei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei and Guangdong, is expected to greatly boost information-sharing efficiency, according to a statement released Tuesday by the ministry's National Commission for Disaster Reduction. Generally, data submitted by community-level governments must be handed over to higher departments on a level-by-level basis, creating problems for timeliness and accuracy. The country has now 530,000 "messengers" working to report natural disaster information at the province, city, county and village levels, the statement said, adding that more workers will be employed in the area. According to the statement, more items, including the number of flooded villages and seriously damaged houses, will be included in future disaster data collection.

The move was revealed in the statement as part of a newly revised National Emergency Plan for Natural Disasters that was made public Tuesday. Specifying detailed responsibilities for various government departments, the revised plan stipulates that local governments should first issue emergency responses in the face of a natural disaster. Related central government departments should launch state-level responses if the damage incurred by a disaster exceeds the capacity of local governments. In addition, the National Commission for Disaster Reduction is responsible for communicating with related central and local departments and organizing the evaluation and analysis of disaster situations, as well as rescue and aid work, said the statement. Official statistics show that natural disasters left 1,074 people dead or missing in the country over the first nine months this year, affected480 million people nationwide and resulting in a total of 302.8 billion yuan (47.7 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/02/2011

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Macao Promotes Communication with Public Through Internet

Office of the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) officially launched its website Thursday with information related to Chief Executive (CE) Chui Sai On and spokesman of the SAR government as an effort to promote communication between the SAR government and local residents. The new website, which has both Chinese and Portuguese language version, publishes speeches of Chui Sai On, annual Policy Address, photos and other news of government affairs since Chui became the chief executive, according to Tam Chon Weng, spokesman of the SAR government. Tam, who is also chief-of-staff of the office of Chief Executive, noted that the website sets up an Email box named "opinions and suggestions", open for residents to share their minds with CE on government policies. Chui is expected to make his annual Policy Address next Tuesday at the SAR's Legislative Assembly, which will be broadcast live on the new website. Launching the website is one of the efforts by the SAR to build a government of more transparency, said Tam, who also hoped that the effort would draw more attention and opinion from local youths.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/11/2011

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Beijing City Gov't Shares Info on Weibo

The Beijing municipal government Thursday launched a news release platform on China's popular Twitter-like microblogging service, Weibo.com, on Thursday. The platform called "Beijing Weibo Conference Hall" covers 21 departments under the Beijing municipal government, such as the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics. Wang Hui, director of the information office of Beijing municipal government, said more municipal departments will join the online room by opening their Weibo accounts. All departments involved will release latest policies or regulations through this platform, where the public can have an interaction with concerned spokespersons on various issues, she said. Up to September, Sina, the Nasdaq-listed company that owns Weibo, said there were over 250 million accounts registered on Weibo. Chinese government officials are aware of how powerful social media can be, and have started to communicate using Weibo. Some 9,960 government agencies and 8,628 public servants in China now post on their Weibo accounts, Sina said. "I'm happy I can communicate directly with the government. And I hope my viewpoints and suggestions can get attention," said weibo user 1910060523. Many, however, question the move. "Is it really the case that everything can be said here and the government will read the comments and give responses?" said another user. Wang Hui said, "We are not just making a show. We shall be sincere to answer public's concerns over hot topics."


From Xinhua News Agency 11/18/2011

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China Launches Gov't-sponsored Job Hunting Website

A nationwide, free-of-charge job hunting website was launched Friday by the Chinese authorities. Sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS), the website - www.cjob.gov.cn - titled "China Job Bank," is designed as a nationwide employment information sharing platform for both employers and job seekers, according to Xin Changxing, vice minister of the MHRSS. More than 10,000 employers signed up to the website on the first day, with over 60,000 posts. The number of job seekers registered has reached almost 500,000. The present website is only a beta version and will later be upgraded, said Ming Hong, an official from the Department of Employment Promotion of the ministry. Ming said the information will be strictly filtered and verified to ensure authenticity and quality of information. The website has linked with human resources agencies in 25 provincial-level regions, and it is designed to cover the institutions in provincial and prefectural levels of all the provincial-level regions, except the Tibet Autonomous Region.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/19/2011

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S. KOREA: To Launch Internet Broadcasts on Inter-Korean Relations

South Korea's unification ministry, tasked with overseeing relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), sad Friday it is set to launch an Internet broadcast service. In a move aimed at raising public awareness of the inter-Korean relations, the ministry plans to offer weekly television and daily radio programs on unification issues on its website at http:// uniradio.inlive.co.kr.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/30/2011

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Seoul Mayor's Inauguration Broadcast Online

The Seoul Metropolitan Government showed a live webcast of the inaugural ceremony for the 35th Mayor Park Won-soon on Wednesday morning. It offered a first public glimpse of the interior of the Mayor's Office, which was recently renovated. After the ceremony, Park moved to Deoksu Palace to meet with citizens there. "I want this inaugural ceremony to be symbolic of more participation by the people and the transparency of the administration by holding it together with many citizens," he said. He added he intends to lead a city government that makes citizens feel in charge.


From the Seoul Metropolitan Government 11/16/2011

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LAOS: Telecom Operator to Launch 4G Internet

Lao Telecommunications Company (LTC) will launch its high-speed 4G or WiMAX Internet network by the end of this year, aiming to become the main competitor in the telecom sector. "We are currently installing equipment and carrying out tests, and asking the government for a licence," LTC Deputy Director General Mr Chanthavone Sosamphan said, speaking on Friday at a thank you party for the company's dealers and partners. LTC will initially install additional base stations in Vientiane, to roll out WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) this year, and will follow up with extra base stations in the provinces next year. "WiMAX will be our only new project for next year," Mr Chanthavone said. In Vientiane, LTC will install four new base stations, with each covering 20 square kilometres. "Four base stations will be enough for Vientiane. In the provinces, we'll install mainly in the cities," he said. With its new product and services, the company hopes to attract more than 1,000 Internet customers at launch, including users of USB 3G wireless Internet modems. "Currently we have over 10,000 Internet users," Mr Chanthavone said.

LTC will also expand or install more systems to accommodate the growing number of 3G subscribers. It is spending billions of kip on building 23 additional service centres nationwide this year. "Each centre will cost 400 million to 600 million kip," LTC Deputy Director General Phoukhong Chithoublok said in April at the opening of the 29th service centre at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos. LTC Director General Thongsay Sanexaya reported at the annual meeting recently that the company would invest about 155.4 billion kip (US$19.34 million) in services development and network expansion this year. Developments will include expansion of mobile phone services with an additional 271 base stations, Internet, installation of transmission lines and fixed line facilities. Last year LTC invested over 223 billion kip (US$27.7 million) in its network. LTC hopes to attract a minimum of 400,000 new mobile phone customers this year, adding to its current 1.5 million customers. "At present, we have 493 dealers, 319 partners and 37 bands that play songs exclusively on our mobiles," Mr Chanthavone said.

LTC currently has over 1,500 base stations, including 288 3G stations, up from 900 mobile phone base stations and 58 3G stations in 2009. WiMAX provides fixed and mobile Internet access. It is considered as a wireless backhaul technology for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in both developed and developing nations. It can provide at-home or mobile Internet access across whole cities or countries. LTC was established as a joint venture in 1996, with the Lao government holding a 51 percent share and Shenington Investments Private Company of Thailand holding 49 percent for a pre-defined 25-year term. Laos's other three telecom companies are Enterprise Telecommunications Lao, Star Telecom and VimpelCom Lao Co Ltd.


From http://laovoices.com/ 10/01/2011

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PHILIPPINES: BJMP Launches 'E-Dalaw' for Inmates

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) - Quezon City Jail launched Thursday the "Electronic Dalaw" (e-Dalaw) program to help inmates contact their friends or relatives without leaving the jail. The Quezon City Jail has provided five computers, with software application Skype, enabling inmates to make voice and video calls, as well as chat with their loved ones. Each inmate is allowed only five minutes of Skype use daily. Inmates should line up while waiting for his or her relatives or friends to be on-line before entry to the Internet room. Moreover, inmates can use Skype only from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The "e-Dalaw" is a project of Quezon City Jail Warden Supt. Joseph T. Vela and Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda. Quezon City is the pilot jail of this project and will be introduced to other jail facilities in the country. Vela said that relatives of inmates who want to avail themselves of Skype calls must make a request one week before the intended call and must send an email request at skypemeinjailqc@yahoo.com, indicate the time and date when call will be made, and full name of inmate to be called.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/13/2011

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VIETNAM: Microsoft Helps Promote E-government in Vietnam

The Ministry of Information and Communication and Microsoft Vietnam on October 19 agreed to establish an Information Technology (IT) development fund. The fund aims to support the upgrading of IT applications in state agencies. Accordingly, the two sides will cooperate in increasing the quality of human resources in the Government in the IT field. Besides, Microsoft will help Vietnam deploy e-Government services under projects developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly and other IT projects launched in 17 localities across the country. The focus will be on developing IT management systems, building electronic information portals and improving public services. In addition, both sides were committed to strengthening the capacity of the software industry and the competitiveness of Vietnam in the region and the world.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/20/2011

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BANGLADESH: Starting e-Tender

The government has invited tender electronically for the first time aiming to build a digital Bangladesh by 2021, officials said. The Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning published the tender notice on www.eprocure.gov.bd on Monday for procuring laptop, desktop computers and UPS for the electronic government procurement (e-GP) laboratory at the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU). The bidders who have registered with the system under the goods category have automatically received the message on the publication of the tender notice on the e-GP system. Now the bidders will upload necessary documents from the e-GP portal and they will submit those on the system electronically. The CPTU has developed the national e-GP web portal which was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina on June 2 this year. Since then the e-GP web portal has been open for registration of the bidders and the procuring entities. Until October 3, 2011, a total of 237 bidders, 33 procuring entities and over 300 branches of seven scheduled banks were registered with the system. The first electronic government tender has been invited by Director General of CPTU Amulya Kumar Debnath under the Open Tender Method (OTM). The tender closing date is October 19, 2011. The e-tender is being implemented on a pilot basis among four target agencies-Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Rural Electrification Board (REB). The electronic tender has been invited in line with the present government vision for building a digital Bangladesh by 2021. CPTU is implementing the e-GP system under the Public Procurement Reform Project-II supported by the World Bank.


From http://www.businessnews-bd.com/ 10/11/2011

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Dist Admin Services Go Online Today

Ending the traditional manual and cumbersome methods, all district administration services will go online after launching of the country's 64 district e-service centres today. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the District-Service centre from the Shapla Conference Hall of through video conferencing talking to the people at Jessore district e-Service center. The inaugural programme will be presided over by LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed AshrafulIslam, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend the function at the Prime Ministers office as the special guest. According to the sources, the launching of the Districte-Service centres coincide the first anniversary of establishing 4501 Union Information Service Centres (UISCs) across the country. They said fourteen entrepreneurs and filed administration officers will be awarded for their outstanding contribution for successfully running the UISCS.

"The District e-Service Centre is another milestone development towards the implementation of Digital Bangladesh which will provide online hassle-free service within shortest possible time in a transparent manner," National Project Director of Support to Digital Bangladesh (A2I)Md. Nazrul Islam Khan told BSS yesterday. He said the people of the district will get all public services including land related documents-Parcha, ledger, mouza map from the district e-Service centres and even from the UISCs. Describing the efficacy of District e-Service centre NazrulIslam Khan, who is also the Private secretary to the Prime Minister, said the government has been convinced with the online services provided through thee-service centre in Jessore district giving up the traditional services introduced since British period. "After successfully piloting the e-service centre at Jessore district, the government is now launching the similar e-service centrein all the 64 district headquarters which would offer people in many government services faster than before," he said adding, "people can also have access to services online instead of physically going to the office of their deputy commissioners."

The UNDP-funded Support to Digital Bangladesh (A2I)Programme under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is implementing the project aimed at ensuring the people's access to public services through the Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Nazrul Islam Khan said the Government would also set upe-info centre at all level of administration across the country by 2012 side by side mobile SMS service to provide administrative service to the people. UNDP Assistant Country Director K M Morshed said one of the prime objectives of the ongoing digitalisation process is to ensure transparency and accountability. The setting up of 64 districts would be a major breakthrough towards reaching the public services quickly to the doorsteps of the people ensuring transparency and accountability, he said adding, "The people will be the major beneficiaries as the e-service centre will provide hassle-free service with saving their labour, money and time." People's Perspective Specialist of A2I Naimuzzaman Mukta said, people especially the rural people usually come to the district offices for the services including civic service, particular official services, getting various types of documents and lodging complaints. "The land related documents are one of the most important documents for people. People had to go to the respective offices four to five times to get this sort of documents. But, now people will get the document within two or three days after submitting the e-application," he said.


From http://thenewnationbd.com/ 11/14/2011

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INDIA: E-monitoring for Haryana MLA's

A step ahead in its e-Governance plans, Haryana state is soon to develop new software that it claims would help monitoring legislators and keep an eye on developmental projects and their status online. With the help of this software, works of all Haryana MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) will be uploaded on the state government's website and anybody can easily access to it. Currently similar software is being developed in Andhra Pradesh to access the constituency profile of MLAs and the works done in their respective constituencies. "The software would help to upload details like the developmental projects, their status, funds approved and money already spent on the projects," Haryana Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma said. Besides there would be other information regarding the constituency like number of power connections, ration card holders, population, sex ratio and number of BPL families. Sharma said that each MLA would get its own website and all information will be available there. Relevant information about schools, the number of students and teachers, health institutions, veterinary institutions and staff and other infrastructure would also be available online. "This initiative would bring transparency in the system and keep a check on corruption. MLAs can also check the status of any project online and send their queries to officials concerned through e-mails," Sharma stated.


From http://egovonline.net/ 09/23/2011

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Orissa IT Minister Launches District Website

Helping the common citizens and will help one to get information about their district, Orissa IT, Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi has recently inaugurated a new website for Nabarangpur district. At the inauguration, Mr. Majhi said that the portal will help the common citizens and will help one to get information about the district. Even one can easily obtain forms, data's of the district. Information technology aims to develop human resources, public communication, trade and commerce and reaching technology people's doors. He pledged the new generation to build a digital Orissa. Government will help IT reach the common citizen so as to narrow down the digital divide. Widespread applications of IT would establish a system where the citizens will receive good governance ensuring speed of decisions from a transparent Government through an effective e-Governance System. Collector, Mr. Sibabrata Dash, said that we are proud to launch the ambitious "standardization of district portal" project, in this remote Nabarangpur district first. One can easily access and know about the details of different ongoing programs, and about the district administration. During the inaugural session managing director of Luminus Inforways said displaying the web site that standardized district portal framework, which contains a solution towards e-Government transactions for districts across the country.

The standardization of district portal initiative is based on the content architecture of the National Portal of India (NIC) with implemented agency Orissa computer application centre, (OCAC) the designed technical directorate of information technology department, Govt of Orissa. The contents and formats of the portal include; profile, geography, administrative setup, directory, peoples' representatives and many more. Citizen Services such as acts & rules, e-forms, policies, enquiries, guidelines to get caste and domicile certificate, registration of documents, ration card, land records, Right to Information. "So far, we have completed the websites of this districts with the help of Collector, we are proud to launch the ambitious "standardization of district portal" project, in remote Nabarangpur district which is first district in India also the home district of IT Minister said Mrs. Jayashree Mohanty, Director of Luminus Inforways. Mrs. Further said that in the other districts, data collection and moderation process is under progress "It is more user-friendly. Standardization of district portal would be a one stop source, which delivers information and services through cyberspace," she added. Browsers need not type separate web address to open websites of different districts; rather a single address (www.ordistricts.nic.in) can open a page where names and links of all the districts are available.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/18/2011

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Use of Information Technology to Curb Corruption

Karnataka government is all set to curb corruption, with its new proposal to implement the Citizens' Charter in all government offices, with stringent time limit to deliver various services. The state cabinet on Friday is likely to approve the proposal to implement. The initiative comes as part of the government's assurance to provide responsive and transparent governance. Reacting to the development, a senior minister said, "Using information technology for effective administration and introduction of e-governance to curb corruption has been a long-pending suggestion for administrative reforms in the country and Karnataka is taking a major step with the Citizens' Charter". As part of chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda's plans to turn the administration people-friendly, his office would soon set up an exclusive grievances redressal cell that would work round the clock. It would be equipped with modern facilities and personnel to receive complaints or petitions through e-mail, telephone or personal delivery.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/28/2011

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India Launches E-payment Gateway

Pranab Mukherjee, India's Finance Minister, launched the Government Electronic Payment Gateway (GePG) on Monday, 31 October 2011, a system that will serve as a single window for all transfers and payments from the government. The system, covering all central government departments and ministries, is expected to eliminate almost twenty million cheques. When fully operational, it is expected to cover a total payment of over Rs6,00,000 crore (US$122 billion). GePG will facilitate direct credit of dues from the government into the account of beneficiaries using digitally signed electronic advice (e-advice). "This is likely to impact the working of a large number of government and bank employees involved in the government payments," he said. In the entire process, it will spare valuable human resources, which could be re-deployed to perform other important functions of the organisations. Mukherjee said the e-payment system will reduce the citizen interface by eliminating beneficiary dependency on government office and officials to hand over the cheque since the payments would be effected directly into their accounts. The entire payment process is trackable and delays can be monitored online, he said, adding that it would be a major initiative for reducing corruption and ensuring good governance. The GePG, which could be used for interacting with banks for enabling the payments and payment scroll receipt, is also scalable, capable of handling all government payments. The system has been developed by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Department of Expenditure, and Ministry of Finance. (By Xinghui Guo)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/02/2011

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NIC Deploys Cloud Project for E-governance

India's National Informatics Centre (NIC) has deployed the open source Eucalyptus cloud software in an effort to boost its e-Governance cloud project that NIC claims is delivering IT services to remote districts and villages throughout the country. The Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) software will help NIC, a division of the Department of Information Technology, to provide network backbone and a wide range of information and communication technologies (ICT) services to government organizations across the country. The NIC e-Governance project's major ICT services include improvement in government services, wider transparency of national and local government institutions, and creation of a nationwide communication network for decentralized planning. The high performance architecture is designed to support the basic needs of remote districts and villages through always-on, scalable and affordable compute resources. The new tool will help NIC to provide remotely-provisioned cloud-based services in areas where on-site server infrastructure cannot be deployed as well as tackle downtime in these areas. Applications such as e-procurement, payroll, grievance redressal and integrated drug surveillance will soon be hosted on Eucalyptus clouds on a national level, according to NIC.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 11/17/2011

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SRI LANKA: To Launch Online Health Portal

The Health Education Bureau of the ministry of health launched an online web portal that aims to give health related information 24/7 to the general public. The website which is available in three languages, provides information and as well answers to health queries posted by the public. The answers are given on a one-to-one basis with the help of health experts from the Health Education Bureau and consultant specialists across the country. "It is the first time the country is to have, 'a health service by Sri Lankans for Sri Lankans' said the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena during the launching of the "Suwa Saviya" website. The Minister added that Sri Lanka now faces a speedy development era in modern technology where a tools for information search and dissemination in the health sector is imperative. "This is the first ever website in the country that discusses health related problems facing the general public through various platforms such as: e-mail, skype, SMS, telephone or chat. Meanwhile, Deputy Director General Public Health Services Dr. Sarath Amunugama said the service had been launched as a collective effort involving a great deal of preliminary work done by a team of experts.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/09/2011

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PAKISTAN: Sindh Secretariat, Governor, Chief Minister Houses: IT Department Fails to Start BI System

The Sindh Information Technology (IT) Department has failed to start Biometric Identification System (BIS) in Governor House, Chief Minister House, and all government office buildings of Sindh Secretariat, Business Recorder has learnt. BIS had to start functioning from July 20, 2011 as scheduled, according to documents. The BIS was part of e-Policing project of Information Technology Department. E-Policing had been initiated in July 2010. It had to be completed by June 30, 2011, but the work is still continuing, sources said. Late-coming and leaving the offices at their own wish have become trend in the officials of Sindh secretariat and other institutions of provincial government. The BIS would obligate officers/employees to come and leave their offices on official timing. BIS has been installed in all offices of Sindh Secretariat, while work is underway in Governor House and Chief Minister House, sources said. The officers and employees of government offices would register their attendance and exit timings through eye-retina technology, sources said. The master computer of this system would be installed in the office of Sindh Chief Secretary, wherefrom he could see the ratio of attendance and he can take any kind of action against latecomers, they added. An official of IT Department told Business Recorder that many bigwigs of Sindh government were against installation of this system, and thus installation work faced many hindrances. He said that Secretaries of Sindh government have to come on time after installation of BIS because if they would be late how they would keep check on their subordinates.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 10/18/2011

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SIKKIM: Accenture to Roll Out E-gov Portal

Leading IT consultancy firm Accenture has been awarded a contract by the Sikkim government to create internet access to government services, streamlining efficiency and reducing administrative functions. Accenture will leverage its expertise in technology and leading large-scale implementation efforts to create an Internet-based system - a new communications channel that will enable collaboration by state departments, standardization of information and increased efficiency of service delivery to citizens and businesses. In the contract the completion deadline is 42 months with effect from September. The portal will facilitate improved delivery of information to citizens and businesses and monitoring of services over the internet. Accenture is a global management consulting and technology consulting and outsourcing company. It is the largest consulting firm in the world.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/24/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Taxes Ministry to Start On-line Registration of Legal Entities in Early 2012

On-line registration of legal entities will start in Azerbaijan from the next year, the head of tax declaration reception and processing section of Baku City Tax Department Natig Shirinov told reporters in Shamakhi on Friday. "Azerbaijan has already introduced on-line registration of individuals engaged in entrepreneurial activities, said Shirinov. - The Taxes Ministry is completing preparations for the on-line registration of legal entities, which will become possible after the start of the e-signature in the country." After introduction of on-line registration of business people in the country, getting personal identification number will be possible via Internet. This will promote the "single window" system and improve investment opportunities in Azerbaijan. The "single window" system for registration of business was introduced in early 2008, and it is carried out by the Ministry of Taxes. Since July 1, 2011, the Taxes Ministry of Azerbaijan started online registration of individuals engaged in entrepreneurial activities without establishing a legal entity. According to initial estimates, the introduction of on-line registration of individuals will save about one million manat per year and reduce the registration time from two days to 2-3 minutes, which will increase the efficiency of tax administration.


From http://en.trend.az/ 09/23/2011

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Azerbaijani Ministries and Departments to Fully Transfer to Rendering E-services by 2013

The full transfer of Azerbaijani ministries and departments to rendering electronic services to the public is expected to take place by the end of the late first half of 2013, Azerbaijani Communication and IT Ministry's department representative Elchin Mammadov told journalists on Friday. Mr. Mammadov said the total number of electronic services to be provided by these agencies is 300 units. At present, eight agencies are connected to the e-government portal, which is scheduled to be commissioned by late 2011. This will be a key tool supporting public and private sector work with citizens and enterprises. The X-Road principle designed to pull together the relevant information bases and state institutions created on various platforms, was used when creating the e-government portal. The launch will reduce the number of paper documents due to the fact that different bodies will interact with each other in electronic form.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/04/2011

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Azerbaijani Financial Monitoring Service's Database Expands

The Financial Monitoring Service of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) received 21,398 data on suspicious and current operations in October, the service said on Thursday. In October, this figure increased by 12.3 percent compared to 8.8 percent in September. Since early 2011 the service has received 195, 320 data. In January, the service received 15,369 data, in February - 16,210, in March - 18,143, April - 19,738, May - 19,478, in June 19,713, in July - 22,646, in August 20 ,417 and 22,191 in September. In 2011, the office has sent 60 internal queries and received seven. Also, the service sent four external requests and received nine. The monitoring includes the activities of credit, insurance and reinsurance organizations, pawnshops, investment funds, transactions with precious metals and stones, the activities of nongovernmental and religious organizations, organizers of lotteries, the people providing services to purchase real estate, as well as lawyers, accountants, real estate transactions, client money, securities and property, client bank and deposit accounts. The Financial Monitoring Service under the CBA was established in accordance with the decree of President Aliyev on Feb.23, 2009.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/15/2011

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BAHRAIN: New ICT eGovernance Panel to Reduce Costs

The National ICT eGovernance Committee in Bahrain can save up to 30 percent of the overall government IT cost, the Bahrain National ICT eGovernance Committee said. The committee held its first meeting chaired by Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, chief executive officer of the eGovernment Authority. The committee is made up of professionals and specialists representing a number of government entities, who will be responsible of setting high eGovernance standards for the employment and utilisation of ICT projects in the government entities, review strategies, monitor financial cost of ICT projects and report to the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT) in this respect for necessary action. The Bahrain National ICT eGovernance Committee is commissioned to monitor and follow up action plans for ICT programs and projects in the government entities, decide on contingent and emergent programs and projects, set policies and standards relating to the ICT projects while taking into consideration the government entities' goals from entering in such projects, ensure quality implementation in line with the approved policies and standards. It will also look into comprehensive strategies and plans on the entire level of the Kingdom, develop and control ICT projects within the mandate approved by the SCICT. Furthermore, the committee will follow up any other responsibilities pertaining to its mandate as assigned by the SCICT.

Al Qaed said the formation of the committee represents an advanced step taken by the Kingdom since eGovernance committees have been established only in a few developed countries such as the USA, UK and South Korea. He added: "Research in this field proves that a governance committee in the country can save 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the ICT budget by preventing duplication in implementing ICT projects in government entities. Moreover, the committee will facilitate the procedures for ICT providers in the private sector by ensuring that all government ministries and entities conform to unified ICT standards which will facilitate tendering processes and dealing with the government entities. Al Qaed pointed out that the committee will conduct workshops with various government entities in Bahrain to elucidate the mechanisms of work and communication with the committee, in addition to working jointly with government entities to raise the eMaturity to globally recognized standards. Members of the committee are: Shaikh Salman bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, director of the General Directorate of Information Technology, Central Informatics Organization (CIO); Hameed Yousif Rahma, assistant undersecretary for domestic trade, Ministry of Industry and Commerce; Ismail Abdulnabi Al Marhoon, assistant undersecretary for resources and information, Ministry of Finance; Zahir Mohammad Al Awadhi, assistant undersecretary for planning and information, Ministry of Education; Heyam Al Awadhi, executive director - administration , finance and IT, The Economic Development Board (EDB); Dr Zakareya Ahmed Al-Khaja, director of policies and BPR, eGovernment Authority; Dr Arif Abdul Rahman Abdulkarim, the information advisor of the Deputy Prime Minister's Office; and Dr Ali Al Soufi, University of Bahrain. The secretary of the Committee is Aref Murad from the eGovernment Authority.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 11/08/2011

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KYRGYZSTAN: We Hope to Create E-government - Alexander Avanesov

"We hope to create e-government in Kyrgyzstan," the UNDP Resident Representative in the KRG Alexander Avanesov stated at today's welcome ceremony of the Citizen Service Center of the State Registration Service (SRS) in Osh city. According to him, the creation of the SRS Service Center, which will work on the principle of "single window" using modern information technology - is the way in the development of electronic government in the Kyrgyz Republic. "Information is a primary resource in modern society that is the engine of progress. But more important is that IT works for the good of the population. We work to improve the activities of government agencies and hope to build e-government, which should create the conditions for transparency and combating corruption," said Alexander Avanesov.


From http://eng.24.kg/ 10/17/2011

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KAZAKHSTAN: Appoints New Deputy Communications and Information Minister

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov has appointed well-known TV presenter Lazzat Tanysbay as Deputy Minister of Communications and Information, Novosti-Kazakhstan reported. Massimov wrote about it in his twitter-account on Friday. Tanysbay has worked on the Kazakh television since 1993 as a presenter at the National Corporation "Television and Radio of Kazakhstan", a presenter and executive producer at the "Khabar" Agency, as well as in the Kazakh presidential press service. Since 2008 she has been the first deputy board chairman of the Republican Broadcasting Corporation "Kazakhstan". Tanysbay will replace Nuray Urazov on the post of Deputy Communications and Information Minister.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/05/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Broadband Release Sites Unveiled

Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has revealed the first five Australian locations to receive a high-speed wireless connection as part of the Federal Government's flagship National Broadband Network (NBN) scheme. The first regions that will receive NBN's 12Mbps fixed wireless service are Ballarat, Victoria, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Geraldton, Western Australia, Tamworth in New South Wales and Toowoomba, Queensland. "The early rollout of next generation fixed wireless technologies to communities in regional Australia is an important milestone in the delivery of affordable, high-speed broadband," Conroy said in a statement. The fixed wireless service is intended to cover four per cent of premises that won't have access to NBN's fibre. The other three per cent of premises that won't have fibre will have access to satellite services. The NBN initiative aims to deliver high-speed broadband to all Australians. The NBN is a new, wholesale-only, open access, high-speed broadband network. The project seeks to connect 93 per cent of Australian homes, schools and businesses to a high-speed fibre network, capable of providing broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second. The remaining premises will be connected through a combination of next-generation fixed wireless and satellite technologies providing peak speeds of 12 Mbps.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/03/2011

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AU Govt Invites Discussion on Cyber White Paper

Today, the Australia government has invited members of the public and businesses to have their say on Australia's first ever Cyber White Paper meant to outline a vision for Australia's digital future based on Australian values. For the next two months (until 15 November 2011), Australia citizens can contribute to the white paper on issues regarding the importance of cyberspace to Australia's social well-being, economic prosperity and broader national interests on a public discussion paper is hosted on a blog run by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Apart from informing the public, the blog professed: "More importantly, we want to hear from you on how we can enable individuals and businesses to fully optimise the benefits of cyberspace for all Australians. The result of these conversations will inform the key judgements of Australia's first ever Cyber White Paper." This white paper will examine how governments, businesses and individuals can realise the full benefits of cyberspace while at the same time ensuring current and emerging risks can be managed. This will be done by coverage of areas including consumer protection, cyber safety, cyber crime, cyber security and cyber defence. The development of the paper is lead by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and it is expected to be ready in the first half of 2012.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/15/2011

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AUS to Test Census 2011 Data Processing

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released a tender request for a contractor to test the performance of five in-house Census data dissemination systems. The service aims to ensure that the 2011 Census Dissemination solutions are capable of processing the anticipated load while maintaining acceptable response times, particularly for the First Data Release due June 2012. With an initial contract of 12 months, the provider will: a) provide an understanding as to the maximum capacity of each component of the system, b) provide an understanding as to the capacity of the system under combinations of load and products, in line with expectations of products to be released on 2011 Census Release Day, c) ensure the 2011 Census Dissemination solution is capable of processing the specified maximum load for each system, d) ensure the 2011 Dissemination solution is capable of achieving acceptable response times under the predicted maximum peak load for each sub system, and e) ensure the 2011 Dissemination solution is capable of handling the predicted maximum peak load on Census First Data Release day. The ABS estimates that its website will experience 30 million page views on the Census Data Release Day based on 2006 statistics, with 750,000 hits expected in the first hour alone. The successful tender should also provide consultancy services, to advise on tuning the system for optimal performance, as well as to provide assistance with the creation of load test scenarios.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/22/2011

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AUS Revampes Emergency Services Website

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, recently launched a new website and social media accounts for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Emergency Services Agency as a new way for citizens to access information during emergencies. The new ESA website is hosted on robust architecture in both Canberra and Sydney to maximise the availability of the website in high demand emergency situations which was a key learning out of several recent major emergencies in Australia including the Queensland Floods and Victorian Bushfires. "The new ACT Emergency Services Agency website has been created to provide access to emergency information, updates and warnings as a key priority. Canberrans will now be able to easily find out information about these fires and other emergency incidents through the new ESA website and social media accounts in addition to local media outlets," Corbell said in an official statement. The new ESA website is hosted on robust architecture in both Canberra and Sydney to maximise the availability of the website in high demand emergency situations which was a key learning out of several recent major emergencies in Australia. ESA News Alerts are published 24 hours a day and News Alerts will also be published simultaneously on the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts. Citizens can also subscribe to this information directly to their own computer or hand-held device via an RSS feed of ESA News Alerts and a GeoRSS feed of the ESA Current Incidents.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/07/2011

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AUSTRALIA: NSW Government Backs Digital Economy with Taskforce & $3m

The NSW Government has set up an Industry Taskforce to develop a Digital Economy Industry Action Plan for the state and has allocated $3 million over two years to support creative digital content projects. The taskforce will be chaired by Glenn Wightwick, director of IBM Research and Development Australia. Other members are:
- Tom Kennedy, executive director, group digital services at Omnilab;
- Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com;
- Deena Shiff, group managing director of Telstra Applications & Ventures Group;
- Peter Birk, executive general manager of Ausgrid;
- Jennifer Wilson, director of The Project Factory;
- Dr Michelle Deaker, managing director and managing partner of OneVentures;
- Dr Alex Zelinsky, group executive of information services at the CSIRO;
- Robyn Elliott, chief information officer for Foxtel.

Formation of the taskforce follows that earlier this month of the ICT Industry Advisory Panel designed to advise government and government agencies on their use of ICT. The latest initiatives were announced by deputy premier and minister for trade and investment, Andrew Stoner, at the 2011 NSW Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He said: "The Digital Economy Industry Action Plan will provide a strategic long-term vision for our digital economy, including regional perspectives, to identify and harness future growth opportunities while addressing identified challenges...It will focus on subsectors expected to support long term productivity and innovation growth and export opportunities including digital content and applications, information services and analytics, and smart networks and intelligent technologies." The taskforce plans to seek industry and public input to help it develop the Digital Economy Industry Action Plan through metropolitan and regional forums, online consultations and a formal request for submissions.

Industry members and the public are invited to register their interest at www.business.nsw.gov.au to communicate via Twitter and Facebook. The $3 million follows funding announced in May for 20 creative digital content projects under the Digital Media Initiative. Stoner said the money available under this fund would be increased from $100,000 to $250,000 "to better help expanding companies bring in specialist skills to work across complex projects." He added: "We are refining the Digital Media Initiative to reflect its alignment with industry priorities and have invested $3 million in the new Interactive Media Fund...[which] represents a renewed focus on interactive content, a key element in digital innovation with the ability to benefit other sectors such as health, finance and education."


From http://www.itwire.com/ 10/13/2011

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Australia Signs Up for Six-Year Govt Search Service

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has finalised work on arrangements for the provision of Government Search Services, blogged Marcel Gabriel, Assistant Secretary, Online Services Branch, AGIMO. The contract with Funnelback, CSIRO's former search engine technology business, has an initial term of three years which may be extended by the Department of Finance and Deregulation for a further three, twelve-month periods. This Government Search Service will let people locate information on public-facing government web sites using keywords and other refinements to a search pattern and is administered by AGIMO for use by any Australian government agency. "Funnelback will be responsible for the procurement, development and operation of the service; Finance and the user agencies will only be responsible for making the functionality of the service available to users," explained Gabriel.

The Government Search Service is broadly composed of the following functions:
# Harvesting and indexing
# Web search
# Subscriptions to search results (email/RSS updates)
# Administration and maintenance
Funnelback was developed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian National University, originally under the name of P@noptic and the company was selected by AGIMO after a tender process initiated in May 2011.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/19/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Government Websites Back Up and Running

Most of the 15 Government websites caught up in a four-day outage went back online yesterday afternoon. A fault in the Ministry of Economic Development's Auckland IT systems knocked out a number of its services on Saturday night, including the Companies Office, Personal Property Securities Register and Intellectual Property Office websites. The Companies Office website allows users to register companies and file annual returns, while the Personal Property Securities Register lets users check who has a legal interest in items such as a car or a house. The Intellectual Property Office website allows users to apply for patents or trademarks. Although it was operational, the MED said the Intellectual Property Office would stay closed until today to ensure no one would be disadvantaged in terms of filing dates and deadlines. Intellectual property consultant Murray Stott said on Tuesday that the outage was unacceptable and someone needed to be held accountable for the fault. The MED apologised for the outage and said upgrades to its servers in the next fortnight would give the services "increased integrity and stability". "We also have on order a high-speed back-up and restore system, which, in the rare event of another outage, will allow us to restore services at a much faster pace," a ministry spokesperson said. Commerce Minister Simon Power said although the outage was "an operational matter" there would be an investigation into its cause.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/29/2011

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Celebrating APAC E-govt Efforts in APAC

Loh Sin Yong, Senior Director, Regional HQ - South East Asia & Rest of World, CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd, shares about the importance of e-government in government-to-citizen relations and the e-government projects CrimsonLogic has worked on in the Asia Pacific region. For over 20 years, CrimsonLogic has worked with governments around the world to design and build end-to-end e-government solutions. CrimsonLogic is well aware that e-government initiatives require constant rethinking of how government and public should work together through the positive usage of technology to deliver changes, especially when these initiatives are significant investments for any country. Through this award, CrimsonLogic hopes to give recognition to governments' efforts to improve the way services are delivered to citizens. The winning nomination of the e-government of the year award has to effectively address the government's challenges and overcoming them to streamline processes and enhance better government-to-citizen relations. The winning nomination also has to ensure accountability of the government agencies providing a comprehensive framework and methodology to assess the progress made, as these agencies transit towards e-government. In the end, the winning nomination has to be adoptable and reduce costs while delivering services effectively.

An increasing number of government agencies, both locally and abroad, have begun to adopt Cloud-based services and are also leveraging on new technologies to engage citizens, such as setting up online communities, collaboration on service-oriented architecture and data-sharing initiatives, are just a few new areas that can be explored. One good example is www.data.gov.sg, an online portal that citizens can search and access publicly-available data published by the Singapore government. As an industry leader, CrimsonLogic has provided many ground-breaking solutions to governments. One example is SingPass, a secure and user-friendly e-identity and password authentication platform which allows Singapore citizens and other eligible users to access more than 200 e-services offered by over 60 government agencies with just a single personal e-identity and password. Beyond Singapore, the Citizen Data Vault (CDV) in Uttarakhand, India was created by CrimsonLogic to do a statewide consolidation and standardisation of citizen data. The standardisation of data enabled quick capture of citizen information, even in remote parts of the country. At the same time, CDV linked up the database of the 109 government agencies, enabling government agencies to implement social and general services more efficiently. As a result, cycle time of processes were reduced from months to less than 10 days and an efficiency gain of 20 per cent was achieved with less time and resources spent in e-service deliveries.

Another example, the TTBizLink, was a single electronic window developed by CrimsonLogic for Trinidad and Tobago government agencies to collaborate with private stakeholders to process permits and approvals online seamlessly and efficiently. With e-government, governments can also reach out across the digital divide to connect with the grassroots communities. For example in Sri Lanka, with 20 million citizens to serve in more than 300 e-Divisional Districts across 25 districts, providing government-to-citizen services via paper documentation was tedious and labour intensive for the government. CrimsonLogic helped develop the e-Divisional Secretariat - a single window application that enables citizens to submit and complete online service requests to various divisional secretariats. The application gives citizens from different walks of life a single form of access to government services across different agencies.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/19/2011

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Public Cloud Services Market in Asia-Pacific to Hit Revenues of US$12 Billion

The Asia-Pacific (AP) public cloud services market will increase five fold over the next five years with revenues of US$12billion in 2016, according to Ovum. In a new forecast*, the independent technology analyst finds the market will see compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34 per cent from the US$2.89 billion it will reach at the end of 2011. Asia-Pacific will increase its share from 16 per cent in 2011, to 18.8 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, Europe, the Middle East and Africa will remain the second-largest market over the forecast period. The region's share will increase from 27 per cent in 2011 to 29 per cent in 2016. Western Europe will grow at a CAGR of 31.2 per cent from 2011 to 2016 to reach $17.2 billion, up from $4.4 billion in 2011. Eastern Europe will grow at a CAGR of 30.7 per cent from 2011 to 2016 to reach $1.5 billion, up from $396 million in 2011. The Middle East and Africa will increase at a CAGR of 31.7 per cent from 2011 to 2016, rising from $114 million to $451 million. Saurabh Sharma, Senior Analyst for Market Intelligence commented: "AP public cloud services market will grow at the fastest rate amongst all the regions, growth will be driven by the rapid uptake in SME segment as these enterprises continue to realize the strategic gains associated with the shift to cloud.

Increasingly favorable economic conditions and the fast improving infrastructure environment will serve as a major enabler for uptake of cloud services in this region. In AP, Australia, New Zealand, China and India will grow at faster rates while Japan remains the top contributor to regional cloud services market. "Recent moves by the major cloud service providers to set up datacenters in AP further underline the increasing strategic importance of the region in the global cloud services market", added Sharma based in Hyderabad. In terms of the cloud computing service lines globally, SaaS will shrink from 87 per cent of the market in 2011, to 62 per cent in 2016, due to the rise of IaaS and PaaS, which will grow from nine per cent and five per cent, respectively, to 23 per cent and 16 per cent, at the end of the forecast period. According to Laurent Lachal, Ovum's cloud computing Senior Analyst, while the market is growing at a fast pace and players such as Amazon and Google are making much progress, the impact of public clouds will not be to render IT departments obsolete, but rather to shift their focus. He commented: 'Shifts will include taking a more holistic approach to connecting networks, hardware and software. IT departments will also reduce their emphasis on maintenance and increase their innovation, while being encouraged to take more risks, by giving employees the capacity to tackle high-reward ventures. "But as ever, preparation is the key to ensuring that cloud computing delivers a positive outcome."


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 09/30/2011

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E-commerce Brings Pollution Rise

E-commerce is fueling pollution by putting more commercial delivery vehicles on the road, but hybrid trucks could solve that problem, U.S. researchers say. "Buses and trucks, particularly vehicles used to transport goods, represent a huge percentage of global fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions," Gregory Shaver, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, said. "Growth in e-commerce is one phenomenon leading to significant increases in the number of trucks needed to transport goods." E-commerce spending grew dramatically in 2010 adding to increasing fuel consumption for commercial vehicles, he said in a Purdue release Wednesday. Perfecting hybrid trucks could help control emissions and cut fuel consumption in half, he said. Shaver is principal investigator of the new Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Center of Excellence, funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to research ways of reducing fuel consumption for commercial vehicles by perfecting hybrid technologies for the world's burgeoning bus and truck fleets. The United States is the world's largest oil user, consuming nearly 20.7 million barrels per day.


From http://www.upi.com/ 11/09/2011

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ASIA AND PACIFIC: To Become Largest M2M Market in 2013

Asia-Pacific is forecast to become the largest market for machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions in volume terms in 2013, and in 2016 is expected to account for 37 percent of the total market, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. "China is the key market in the region, where the government is driving the adoption of smart meters in order to better manage the growth in demand for energy," says Pyramid Research Analyst at Large, Jan ten Sythoff. However, adoption in most other large, emerging countries in the region is more limited, with operators focused on cost reduction, capacity management and subscription acquisition. "Total subscriptions are expected to increase from 18.4 million in 2010 to 104.8 million in 2016. During this time, revenues are expected to increase from $423 million to $1.80 billion, representing a CAGR of 27.3 percent," he notes. (By: Ian Mansfield)


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/03/2011

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Toronto Dominates Top 20 List of Canada's 'Most Innovative' Tech Firms

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) unveiled its top 20 list of Canada's most innovative technology companies today at the opening bell of the Toronto Stock Exchange. The 2011 list features 10 companies from the Toronto region, four from Montreal, two from Vancouver, and one each from Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo, and St. John's. Divided evenly into digital media and information and communication technologies (ICT) categories, the judge-curated list of firms is testament to Canada's ability to foster innovation, says Robert Montgomery, CEO of Achilles Partners LLC and a CIX co-chair.

"Canada is a hot bed of innovation. It's a great place to start a company, it's a great place to scale a company," he says. "We now have a very experienced management cadre in this country that is able to develop and scale businesses on a global basis." It wasn't easy picking out the 20 companies to be featured on the list for the judges, Montgomery adds. There were more entries than ever this year. The entrants all compete on a global scale and range from startup phase firms to more mature outfits.

Technicity - technology as an engine of economic growth
Toronto-based Arcestra Inc. is a commercial real-estate Web-based technology that allows prospective tenants to see office floor plans in an interactive 3D format. Businesses can get a sense of what working in a space will be like before leasing it thanks to a graphical floor plan that supports embedded images or video walk-throughs. "For most tenants, office space is the second-most expensive line item in their budget," says Colin Graham, president and CEO of Arcestra. The tool they're typically given to do this is an inadequate paper schematic. An interactive 3D tool makes those schematics more accessible.

Launching in May 2010, Arcestra has generated $1.5 million in revenue, and works with more than 50 customers, mapping over 400 million square feet of rental space. Graham says he's looking forward to pitching to investors at the upcoming CIX event. "It's time to build awareness. We're quite well known in the real estate community in the GTA. But we're not known by everybody, so now is the time to get out there and look for every opportunity possible."


From http://www.itbusiness.ca/ 11/10/2011

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Top Canadian Digital Media, ICT Companies Named in CIX Top 20

Representing a balanced mix of digital media and information and communication technology (ICT) companies, this year's Top 20 list of Canada's most innovative Canadian technology companies has been announced by the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced. The 2011 list features 10 companies from the Toronto region, four from Montreal, two from Vancouver, and one each from Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo and St. John's.

The companies will be invited to present at an industry event on Dec. 1, at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. The Canadian Innovation Exchange will also host meetings between innovation leaders, plus a full day of informative panels, sessions and keynote presentations. Hundreds of applications were received from across the country, and the entrants were evaluated based on a variety of factors, including the product or service offered, the depth of management, market opportunity and business model. The selection committee was made up of experts from corporations, as well as entrepreneurs and investors.

The Dec. 1 event gives each business the opportunity to showcase their innovative concepts to a CIX audience of Canadian and international venture capital firms and corporate investors. A winner from each of the two categories will be chosen on a 'virtual stock exchange,' where attendees at the event can buy, sell and trade virtual shares.


From http://www.mediacastermagazine.com/ 11/16/2011

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CHINA: Vice Premier Calls for Development of IT Industry

China's Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday called for intensified efforts in promoting the "three networks integration" program and pushing forward the development of the new generation of the information technology (IT) industry. Zhang made the remarks during his visit to the PT/Expo Comm China 2011, which runs from Monday to Friday. The IT industry is one of the country's strategic emerging industries. The government will increase support for the sector, and communications companies should enhance their abilities to self-innovate and strive to make new breakthroughs in key technologies, Zhang said. The government will continue to push forward the development of TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE technologies as well as promote research in, and the application of the Internet of Things and cloud computing, he said. Zhang also called for expanding the "three networks integration" pilot program. The program aims to make TV, telecommunications and Internet systems compatible, allowing users to watch TV, make telephone calls and surf the Internet through one cable or wireless device. The expo, which is hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, is one of the world's biggest communications expos.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/28/2011

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China's Electronics and IT Sector Continues to Grow in Jan.-Aug.

China's electronics and information technology (IT) sector continued to expand in the first eight months of this year but companies faced growing pressure from higher costs and slower income, according to latest official data. The value-added output of manufacturers in the sector rose 15.5 percent year-on-year in the Jan.-Aug. period and sales value increased 22.3 percent year-on-year, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). During that period, exports of electronics and IT products climbed 15.5 percent year-on-year to 420.9 billion U.S. dollars, said the MIIT. Meanwhile, 21.8 percent of the sector's companies were in the red in the Jan.-July period, with their combined losses surging 73.7 percent year-on-year, according to the MIIT. The electronics and IT companies were facing increasing costs, said the ministry. In July, the sector's revenues grew 18.3 percent year-on-year, down 5.5 percentage points from June, according to the statistics.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/06/2011

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Taobao Works to Bring Order to Booming E-market

The millions of online stores that have opened their doors in recent years have been both a boon and a curse for many Chinese consumers. Although online shopping has proven to be convenient, product quality is rarely guaranteed. As complaints start to pile up, one company is working to reverse the trend and offer better service for its customers. Taobao, China's largest business-to-consumer online marketplace by transaction value, announced on Monday that it will improve its management system and introduce new regulations designed to bring order to the country's growing e-commerce sector. The company said it will regulate entry into its online marketplace by increasing annual service fees for businesses from 6,000 yuan ($ 944.88) to 30,000 or 60,000 yuan, depending on the scale of the companies that apply for entry. The fees will be fully or partially returned to the traders on the condition that their scale and service quality meet the target set by Taobao. Under the new policy, larger businesses will barely be affected, as the fees take up only a small part of their sales, while medium and small traders might feel a financial pinch. However, Taobao said that as long as they adhere to the company's business standards, they can get their money back eventually. "We hope to use this plan to spur businesses who fail to meet our standard and encourage them to conduct self-inspections to improve their services. Otherwise, they will be deserted by the market," said Zhang Yong, president of Taobao, in an open letter to the businesses, adding that the sales commissions rate will remain unchanged. Taobao has also promised zero tolerance for counterfeit products. Companies selling fake products will face an immediate shutdown, with their default payments confiscated.

Taobao, a unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, mainly hosts stores selling retail brands. The company's efforts to fight fraud and counterfeiting are largely the result of frequent cases of fraud that have been reported amid China's e-commerce boom. Alibaba made huge waves in February, when an investigation showed that 1,219 of the company's suppliers in 2009 and 1,107 of its suppliers in 2010, respectively accounting for 1.1 percent and 0.8 percent of its total suppliers during the two years, had acted fraudulently. The case led to the resignation of Alibaba's chief executive officer and chief operating officer. Since then, the group has created a series of regulations in a bid to restore trust, including the creation of a fund to cover fraud disputes between suppliers and buyers and the introduction of a seven-day compensation system. The company's efforts have paid off. According to a report released by Alibaba, reported cases of fraud during the first half of the year dropped 80 percent over the same period last year. The company's decision to focus more on quality mirrors the increasingly competitive landscape of China's e-commerce sector, as companies struggle to catch the attention of the country's 485 million Internet users. Statistics from IT consulting firm Analysys International showed that the total transaction volume for China's business-to-consumer (B2C) market reached 54.26 billion yuan during the second quarter, up 172.6 percent year-on-year. "The improvement of service quality is not only an effective measure to attract and hold users, but also provides an edge for future competition. Only in this way can the B2C market head in a healthy direction," said Su Huiyan, a senior analyst with the IResearch Consulting Group.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/12/2011

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New Service to Boost Mobile Shopping

Scan a product's barcode and your mobile phone will immediately present you with a website where you can order the product, with no need to type in the name or search. It may sound futuristic, but the technology is already in place in three major Chinese cities, with commuters now able to order snacks and daily commodities with a special application installed on their mobile phones. Yihaodian.com, an online shopping company that offers the service, has posted pictures of its products in 25 subway stations and set up nearly 300 billboards in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to Liang Yan, an employee in the company's marketing department. "The virtual store targets urban white-collars who don't have much time to shop in traditional supermarkets," Liang said. "Most importantly, they are savvy smartphone users." About 16.81 million smart phones were sold in China in the second quarter of the year, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based IT consulting firm. "With the increasing number of mobile phone subscribers, mobile e-commence can expect more market demand and see positive development prospects," said Zhang Ning, director of Peking University's e-commerce and "Internet of Things" research center. The total value of online retail sales in China reached 515.1 billion yuan ($80.7 billion) in 2010, three percent of the total volume of retail sales and nearly doubling that of 2009, according to a report released by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba last month. Despite analysts' bright forecasts for the future of virtual stores, many customers have been reluctant to try Yihaodian's new service and few said they would bother downloading a special app to purchase the company's products. "China still has a long way to go in developing the technology needed to ensure payment security and protect consumers' interests," Zhang added. Other countries have seen success with their own mobile phone shopping sites. The Cannes Lions 2011 Media Lions winner "Homeplus Subway Virtual Store" introduced mobile phone retail to Korean customers. The yihaodian.com virtual store identified itself as the first to provide such a service to customers on the Chinese mainland. Its mobile app is currently available in Chinese for the iOS and Android operating systems.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/21/2011

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Chinese Online Sales, Especially of Electronics, Stall

Sales of computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C) products by China's online retailers in the third quarter of 2011 showed a decline for the first time in three years, according to new statistics released Thursday. China's total online retail sales by all sectors also remained level in quarter three. The 3C sales value amounted to 36.84 billion yuan (about 5.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the third quarter, one percent lower than the figure for the second quarter, said the report by Analysis International, a provider of information for China's Internet market. However, the value of 3C sales by Chinese online retailers was still 61.6 percent higher than for the same period in 2010, said the report. In the third quarter, China's total online retail sales by all sectors stood at 211.77 billion yuan, no apparent increase compared with the second quarter, according to Analysis International. Many e-shops will pick up sales in quarter four as year-end price cuts lure buyers. In contrast, the third quarter typically provides few opportunities for promotions, leading to slow business, said the report. Competitive pricing will be key for E-shops to realize their annual business targets, it added.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/10/2011

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New Study Offers a Roadmap for E-commerce in China

The biggest areas of opportunity for companies hoping to set up a digital shop for Chinese consumers? Price comparison, trust, and a solid returns policy. For foreign companies looking to dip a toe in the fresh pool of Chinese e-commerce space, the waters are warm and inviting. After all, China's middle class will swell to about 800 million people in the next 20 years, according to Acquity Group, a brand e-commerce and digital marketing firm that just released a new report on the Chinese digital market. Chinese online consumers have a total spending income of more than $2.7 trillion. The population is widely distributed, the report finds, but the Internet and mobile penetration rates are growing, reaching 34% in January 2011 with about 457 million users. Acquity surveyed more than 1,000 people across 150 cities to report on the motivations and preferences that guide online shoppers in the country. Filling a gap they found in other studies about shopping trends in China, Acquity Group wanted to focus specifically on the online space. "What we felt was missing was a specific set of analytics around online shopping and specifically online shopping behavior," Jeff Neville, VP of retail channel management and leader of the team that conducted the study, tells Fast Company. Acquity observed all kinds of companies being stumped by the unique challenges to setting up business in the country, but it's a space that can be tackled with the right approach. "We feel very strongly that digital is a far more efficient and powerful means of reaching this consumer base," Acquity Group president and CEO Chris Dalton says. "In some cases even more than physical instances than you may see." According to the report, people in China choose to shop on the Internet most often for one of three reasons: There's more choice in products; they get a chance to compare prices from different vendors; and, they enjoy its convenience.

Price comparison is big - 65% of the survey respondents said they first compared retailers, rather than heading straight to a retailer they knew they wanted to buy from. Neville, who led the study, was surprised by the low cash amounts that people in China were spending, but he explained that part of this has to do with the fact that there's yet to be a culture of reliability established in the online shopping space, with the existing e-commerce retailers. As a young e-commerce economy, shoppers still lack the complete trust in products that people have when buying expensive things on Amazon.com or Zappos in the U.S. As a manifestation of that, the cash amounts that people spend online tend to be far lower than sums people in the U.S. would spend. There's also the returns policy, or lack of it. In Aquity's study, 59% of the responders said it wasn't easier to return unsuitable goods to online stores - the lack of infrastructure is another symptom of how young e-commerce in China really is, despite how quickly it's growing. But that's appropriate for where China is in terms of growing into the online retail space. There's still a suspicion about using credit cards online with online security still shaping up, and a vast majority of transactions are carried through by cash on delivery. Then of course, customers are still wary about the authenticity of the items they're buying online. "They're attentive to the fact that if they're going to buy an authentic pair of Levi jeans, that they're going to get a pair of Levi jeans," Dalton explains.

China's delivery supply chain is also in want of growth in the cities outside the bustling business centers. "Literally thousands of Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities do not have the logistics or supply chains to make products easily available locally," Simon Cousins, the CEO of a Being PR firm called Illuminant, said in the report. Even so, when customers in China choose between retailers, they choose for reputation of a brand as well as for quality of product and price, more so than a U.S. consumer would. So, their name and quality of service and product is something a foreign brand could do well to capitalize on. Ultimately, the biggest takeaway from the study is this: Anyone looking to market their brand in China has to be sensitive to where online shopping is in its evolution. "In some ways it's evolving faster than in the U.S.," Neville says. "In some respects it's where we were in 2002."


From http://www.fastcompany.com/ 11/14/2011

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JAPAN: E-commerce Soars in Japan, Smartphones the Cause?

The Nikkei reported this week that Japan's e-commerce sales increased 16.9 percent during fiscal 2010. This brings online shopping sales to a total of 1.59 trillion yen (approximately $20 billion). The newspaper credits the surge to traditional retailers upping their presence online. The Nikkei also suggests that e-commerce growth is linked to the growth of smartphone use. I am a fan of the Nikkei; I read it every single day. But this smartphone theory makes me skeptical. After all, Japan has arguably the most advanced mobile environment in the world, with 3G Internet use on phones for the last ten years. Surely online shopping was prevalent before the recent introduction of smartphones. It turns out it was.


From http://www.penn-olson.com/ 09/01/2011

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S. KOREA: Top World Internet Economy Last Year

South Korea was the world's most advanced Internet and telecommunications economy in 2010, with high levels of access, usage and skills, while high-speed Web access remained unaffordable in many low-income countries, the United Nations said on Thursday. Mobile subscriptions grew 20% over the past year to more than 5 billion, with penetration of over 100%, or more than one mobile device per person, in developed countries and 70% in developing countries at the end of 2010. Mobile broadband Internet access mushroomed, especially in developing countries where fixed broadband access is scarce, the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) found in its annual information and communication technology report. But with mobile broadband prices for a monthly subscription of 1 gigabyte costing more than 10% of monthly income in countries such as India, Mali, Kenya and Brazil, high-speed Internet access remained unattainable for many. The Internet was used by just 21% of the population in the developing world, compared with almost 70% in developed countries, the ITU said.


From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 09/17/2011

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Mobile Ad Market Growing Strong

With the number of smartphone users in Korea on the rise, the mobile ad market is expanding amid signs of a broader shift in the advertising industry toward portable devices. While conventional ad markets for newspapers, magazines and TVs remain sluggish, smartphone users here are now exposed to 1,000 ads per month, promising new territory for advertisers and media firms. The number of Korean smartphone users recently topped 20 million, largely sparked by the introduction of Apple's iPhone two years ago. The growing user base is giving fresh energy to the hitherto fledgling mobile ad market. Portals, wireless carriers and ad agencies are now scrambling to grab a share in the segment, whose potential is deemed promising as more people use such devices over TVs and newspapers for information on new products and services. Daum Communications Inc., which runs a major portal, and Google, the world's biggest search engine, are racing to stay ahead in the market while Korean mobile carriers are also keen to join the bandwagon. These firms run mobile ad platforms and attract advertisers while feeding ads to applications on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Just like the PC-based ad market, the platform providers share profits with application developers when an ad is clicked on. Daum is currently staging the most aggressive move. It has signed on 1,900 advertisers for its mobile platform "Adam," and its monthly page views total 10 billion.

Google's AdMob platform has surpassed 4 billion page views per month, trailing behind Daum. Google's strength lies in its broader coverage, as its mobile platform supports both Android and iPhone operating systems. About 50,000 applications in Korea have adopted AdMob as their mobile ad platform of choice. Amid intensifying competition, a local venture firm stands out. Future Stream Networks provides a mobile ad platform whose monthly page views have reached 3 billion. It started the mobile ad service in October last year and recently took steps to expand the system capacity to meet surging demand. Mobile carriers, meanwhile, approach the mobile ad platform business with a different perspective. As smartphones disrupted the monopolistic profit structure bolstered by the closed mobile Internet business amid declining revenues from voice telephony services, SK Telecom and KT are interested in finding new segments for growth, one of which is mobile advertising. SK Telecom launched T Ad platform, which supports not only mobile but other value added platforms such as IPTV. Application developers can freely put the T Ad platform into their software to share profits. SK Telecom has so far attracted 600 applications, whose monthly page views are estimated at 1.5 billion. LG Uplus is offering a similar mobile ad solution that is also capable of handling different platforms. It has secured 3,000 advertisers with the help of its LG Group affiliates. The company's monthly page views on its platform reached 500 million. KT, which competes with SK Telecom and LG Uplus in mobile phone and broadband service markets, is running a pilot version of its mobile ad platform titled "Olleh Ad." NHN, whose Naver.com is the country's biggest online portal, is also preparing to jump into the mobile ad platform business. Mobile ad solutions for smartphones and tablet computers are also advancing by leaps and bounds, particularly concerning interactive combinations with location services and personalized recommendations.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 11/06/2011

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MALAYSIA: Brocade Unveils Network Subscription Model

Datacentre networking solutions company Brocade Communications has announced its latest network subscription model, which allows companies to pay for their network infrastructure according to their business needs. "The Brocade network subscription model works on a infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model," said Gina Tan, Brocade Communications Singapore Pte Ltd regional director of sales for South-East Asia. "With this model, companies can align their network capacity with the actual usage thereby reducing costs and mitigating capital risk," she added. Tan said the pay-as-you-grow aspect of the Brocade network subscription model is suited for the migration to cloud IT architectures. Some of the targeted markets include managed-service providers, government, cloud/hosting providers and large enterprises. The Brocade network subscription is rolling out in Hong Kong but there is no specific target date for Malaysia. However, Brocade will respond to customer interest to access it in Malaysia, Tan said. During the event, the company unveiled two switches namely the VDX 6730 Data Centre Switch and VDX 6710 Data Centre Switch. The Brocade VDX switches support virtual cluster switching (VCS) fabric technology, which enables companies to evolve their traditional network architectures to an Ethernet fabric in order to better support virtualised and cloud-optimised datacentres, the company said. The VDX 6730 Data Centre Switch is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch while the VDX 6710 Data Centre Switch is a 1/10 GbE switch. The VDX 6730 and VDX 6710 will be available by end of next month.


From http://techcentral.my/ 09/26/2011

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Making Cloud Adoption a Breeze for SMEs

The Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) launched a set of incentives aimed at increasing the adoption of cloud computing among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as to encourage the development of cloud-computing applications. This set of incentives will enable independent software vendors (ISVs) to deploy cloud software and services as a utility, while creating a demand by local enterprises for locally-developed cloud software and services. MDeC chief executive officer Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said its MSC Malaysia Cloud Initiative is set to be a boon for Malaysian businesses, 99% of which are SMEs. "Businesses don't want to worry about IT issues and want to see these services as a utility, with benefits you can enjoy at the flip of a switch," he said at the launch of the incentives here. The initiative will also enable local companies to participate in the global cloud-computing market, according to him. "Analysts predict that by 2020, the global cloud-computing spending would be at the US$160bil (RM480bil) mark, from the US$3bil (RM9bil) point recorded in 2008," Badlisham said.

Through its initiative, MDeC hopes to enable a total of 60 ISVs, via an on-boarding programme and stimulus package to develop and promote Malaysian-made cloud applications and services. Badlisham said RM30,000 worth of disbursements has been set aside for the ISV development move. MSC Malaysia will collaborate with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) partners to identify industry applications that are in demand and will then select MSC Malaysia ISVs to participate in the initiative. There is also MSC Malaysia's Cloud On-boarding Programme (COP) which is designed in collaboration with leading PaaS providers to cover comprehensive cloud training programmes, trial and proof-of-concepts, hands-on to cloud software and tools, and guidance from expert technical consultants. MDeC will be sharing the cost that the ISVs incur when deploying the COP on an equal ratio.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/13/2011

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VIETNAM: E-commerce - High Hopes Put on the Market After 60-million-dollar Affair

The agreement on investing 60 million dollars on MJ Group by IDG Ventures, Rebate Networks and ru-Net is considered the biggest investment deal in the e-commerce sector. It is still too early to say about the success of MJ, but the presence of many investors in the market has brought new rays of hopes. MJ Group has been set up on the merging of online service providers including diadiem.com (online map), nhommua.com (group purchasing), two.vn (apps for mobile phones) and Two Media, the company specializing in digital technique services. Tom Tran, General Director of MJ Group, said that the investment agreement allows the group to have better financial capability, which helps consolidate the leading position of the market and expand the business in the time to come. The immediate goal of MJ Group is to double the staff to 1000 workers by 2012, upgrade the infrastructure conditions to provide online services, and develop new services in order to expand the connection network. The investors all have committed to increase the investment capital in the future, if MJ group prospers.

While IDG Ventures has been well-known in Vietnam as the venture fund which began injecting money in technology firms in Vietnam in 2003, which now has the ownership at 45 different companies, the other two remain unfamiliar in Vietnam. This is for the first time the three investors join forces in an investment deal which is higher than the average capital they poured into online service companies, about 2-5 million dollars for each deal. Leonid Boguslavsky, Managing Director of ru-Net, said that this is the first investment deal of the company in Vietnam. However, ru-Net plans to expand its investment in Vietnam in the time to come, which would focus on e-commerce and online entertainment services. Prior to the investment in MJ Group, ru-Net remained a quite unfamiliar name in Vietnam, though the company has been succeeding on the global market with the biggest Russian search portal - Yandex, which became the biggest dotcom company with the highest IPO value on Nasdaq in mid 2011.

Meanwhile, prior to the investment in MJ Group, German Rebate Networks once invested in nhommua.com, which is now leading the Vietnamese market in the field. Rebate Networks specializes in making investment in group buying and online services with its network now present in 30 countries. Michael Brehm, Managing Director of Rebate Networks, said that it wants to penetrate with IDG, because IDG proves to be the partner who well understands the Vietnamese market. It is too early to say if MJ Group can succeed in Vietnam and if it can lead the Vietnamese market. However, it is clear that MJ is cherishing a plan to create a powerful community connection network, thanks with the combination of a lot of different services. The interests of many investment funds in the Vietnamese market have raised high hopes on the development of the online service market which has been going more slowly than previously expected. Experts believe that it is now the right time to make investments in the e-commerce market in Vietnam, when the market's scale has become much bigger than that of five or seven years ago.

The e-commerce market has experienced the initial development period, which was called the "filtration" period, after which only high quality applications can exist. A lot of kinds of services have been provided on the market, while the "big guys" who can lead the fields, have appeared. Many Vietnamese websites have been listed in the top 100 global websites, while supporting services and e-payment services have also developed accordingly. According to Le Hong Minh, General Director of VNG, a company which has been developing with the capital from investment funds, Internet services have made a big leap in comparison with 2005 it started business. This has been explained by the joining and the competition of many service providers and the rapidly developed of the infrastructure which has helped create a big community of nearly 30 million people.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/14/2011

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Foreign Investments Serve as New Propulsive Force for Online Commerce

The growth of the community using Internet-based and mobile services has made the competition for providing content apps and online commerce service stiffer. More and more investment funds have announced the plans to pour money into the sector. Japanese NTT Docomo, when deciding to inject 19 million dollars in VMG, a mobile phone-based app service provider, stated that the affair is a part of the telecom group's plan to expand the Asian market. The investment will help VMG focus on developing the solutions in payment, e-commerce and app services on 3G networks. Docomo has been well known in Vietnam as the telecom network consultant which has been cooperating with VinaPhone for the last many years, helping the telecom network operator develop content services on 3G. Other subsidiaries of NTT group are also owning some companies in Vietnam which operate in the fields of online services and communication. The agreement of the three investment funds IDG Ventures, Rebate Networks and ru-Net on investing 60 million dollars on MJ Group announced late last week, has provided a new lease of life to the online commerce market. This is the biggest investment affair in e-commerce reported so far.

The new investment projects clearly have the investment capital much higher than the average investment capital in the projects Vietnam saw in the past. However, analysts have commented that the projects not only target profits, but also aim to create an ecosystem of services and establish a large community of users. IDG Ventures has been well known in Vietnam as the pioneer in exploring the technology service market. It has pour money into 45 companies in Vietnam since it made the first investment deal in 2005. DFJ VinaCapital has invested in over 10 companies, while Japanese CyberAgent Ventures has contributed capital to seven companies. Ru-Net is continuing seeking other projects in South East Asia. Meanwhile, analysts believe that the deal announced late last week by Rebate Networks will not be its last investment deal in Vietnam. Rachan Reedy, Deputy General Director of IDG Ventures, said that IDG is seeking new investors to expand the network of investors in Vietnam.

The scale of the online market has become much bigger than that of seven years ago. The number of Internet users rose from 5 million in early 2000 to 30 million now. The mobile market now has more than 100 million subscribers, while the number of smart devices has been increasing rapidly, which creates a more perfect connection market. The fact that 22 million households are using TVs, can be seen as a fertile land for online services to develop. General Director of FPT, Truong Dinh Anh, said that the content industry proves to have great potentials to develop, when the connection tendency is growing. "When the market can have such a scale, it is the right time for online services to make a breakthrough," Anh said. Than Trong Phuc, Managing Director of DJFV, said that investors should think carefully about when they should "join the games". If investors come too early, they have to spend time to wait for value chains to develop. And if they come too late, they would miss the best opportunities. Phuc believes that the community of users is now big enough to develop rapidly. However, the market also needs other conditions to develop. Especially, it is necessary to create customers' habits and confidence in using the services, which will take most of the time. Besides, the supply system and payment network have also developed, but the number of credit card and e-wallet users is still not big enough.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/21/2011

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3D Smart Phones Meeting Great Challenges in Vietnam

Manufacturers have begun launching 3D smart phones into the Vietnamese market. However, with the limitations in technology and the poor 3D content, the products are still far from becoming a growing tendency in 2011. After TVs, laptops and game players, smart phone is the next electronic product which joins the 3D technology trend. On the 4-inch screens, users can enjoy 3D film scripts, pictures, and game apps with their naked eyes, without glasses. Together with the dual core mobile phones, 3D smart phones are expected to create a new tendency among hi-tech users in Vietnam. LG has put Optimus 3D to the shelf which is priced at 13.8 million dong. Meanwhile, HTC is planning to introduce EVO 3D with the manufacturer's suggested retail price of between 14 and 15 million dong. These are considered the two genuine mobile phone models which have officially joined the domestic market. Prior to that, a lot of models of 3D smart phones, sourced from Japan, had also hit the market. The products have been carried to Vietnam across the borders by travelers to Vietnam, or imported through unofficial channels. Thien Vien, 40, who was seen testing an LG's smart phone at Vien Thong A Supermarket on February 3 Road in HCM City, said he once intended to buy a 3D smart phone of LG, but has given up the idea. "The phone is well designed with a large screen. The 3D technology is attractive. However, I still think that the technology used for the smart phone is not very good." "You may easily get eyestrain with small screens. And though you can look at the screen without glasses, but the visibility will be bad with just a minor eccentric look," he said.

A salesman here admitted that 3D smart phones have caught the special attention from the public. However, the sales have been going more slowly than other normal smart phone products. Tran Manh Cuong, an executive of LG Vietnam, said that problems still exist in 3D smart phones. Users need to look into the screens from a certain angle, which is considered a weak point if comparing with TVs or the devices with large screens. Cuong also said that it is too early to say that 3D smart phone is the tendency of the year. It is more likely happen that manufacturers would introduce the next generations of 3D smart phones, with the improvement in the angles, by the end of the first quarter of 2012. Sharing the same view, Nguyen Hong Chau, Chief Representative of HTC Vietnam, said that HTC launched EVO 3D as an introduction of the new technology, while whether 3D-technology smart phones can develop will still depend on the convenience level in the eyes of users. Chau also does not think that 3D smart phone is the new tendency of the smart phone's community in 2011.

One of the other problems of 3D smart phones lies in the associated entertainment content. Nowadays, producers sell smart phones with associated demo film scripts, HTC products, for example, has three 3D games ready with the phones, while LG's have 10 games. However, users believe that they quickly feel eye-stains when playing games on 3D smart phones. The South Korean manufacturer provides the feature of converting from 2D to 3D, but the pictures are not as lively as real 3D films. The representatives from HTC and LG both say that they introduced 3D smart phone partially because they want users to generate content themselves. Both EVO 3D and Optimus 3D have two cameras on the backs which allow to take pictures, make 3D videos on HD 720p. LG's products allow users to upload scripts to YouTube 3D for storage. According to Vu Hai, a manager of a mobile phone shop on February 3 Road in HCM City, the high prices of 3D smart phones are also a big problem which prevents the 3D technology from becoming popular. "3D needs powerful configuration, dual core at least. Therefore, it is impossible to equip the feature for low-class series," he said.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/23/2011

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Mobile Internet Ads to Explode

Advertising in Viet Nam is trending toward mobile devices, with the country becoming a member of the club of nations with one billion mobile internet advertisements a quarter, according to BuzzCity, a Singapore-based mobile media company. Last year mobile internet advertising grew at nearly 5,000 per cent in the country. It entered the list of top 10 mobile internet ad markets earlier this year, driven by increased mobile internet traffic on both Viettel and Vinaphone. Viet Nam, India, Indonesia, the US, and Brazil are the five strongest growth markets globally, with all of them also being in the one-billion club. "Viet Nam has joined the 'Billion Club,' an elite group of countries with massive flows of consumer activity on the mobile internet," Dr K.F. Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, said. It is obvious that the Vietnamese are fully engaged with the Internet on their mobile phones and devices, he said. "What this means is that marketers in the country must begin thinking hard about how they are going to engage mobile-phone users. "We recognise that TVC and traditional media still hold a lot of favour with advertisers in Viet Nam, but the trend is moving towards mobile devices in a very significant way." The global mobile advertising market shows no sign of slowing down, with BuzzCity reporting 87.1 billion ads so far, a 60 per cent increase on the whole of 2010. Southeast Asian markets delivered more than 21 per cent of global advertising last quarter. While Indonesia tops the markets in the region, Viet Nam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore continue to post triple-digit growths.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/23/2011

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B2B Trading Floors Contrive to Live on Small Income

Like many other businesses, B2B (business to business) electronic trade floors are facing big problems in terms of capital, revenue and labor force. Some B2B floors have to set up new strategies for their development, or they won't survive the current difficult period. The dissolution of Gophatdat.com after a prosperous period (had 17,000 members, 9000 types of products in 23 fields in its golden time), and the current inaccessibility to other websites such as vietgo.com, b2bvietnam.com, vietnamb2b.com, vnemart.com, daugia247.com, marofin.com can partially say about the current difficulties of B2B online trade floors in Vietnam. Most of the online trade floors, that had to leave the market, did not have many clients, while they could not collect membership fee, thus leading to the low income which could not ensure the existence of the websites.

A senior executive of the Saigon Thuong Tin Merchandize Trading floor (Sacom-STE), said that the number of clients joining the trading floor has increased by 30 percent over the same period of the last year, especially in the steel sector. Meanwhile, fertilizer transactions have only attracted some 50 businesses so far, since the trading activities just kicked off in last August. Sacom-STE plans to arrange transactions in many other fields in the time to come, instead of focusing on farm produce, seafood or industrial goods as currently. Sacom-STE will not only connect sellers and buyers, but also plans to provide credit services to buyers. For examples, buyers will only have to pay a deposit of 30 percent of the contracts' value; while they can borrow the other 70 percent from Sacombank which will disburse through the trading floor. Ha Tuan Anh from Vinametal.com, a steel trading floor, said that the number of clients has increased by 50 percent over the same period of the last year, but the revenue growth rate remains very modest. Anh said that in order to ease the current difficulties, he would still allow Vietnamese businesses to post information about merchandise prices free of charge, but may consider collecting fees from providing "hot news", such as the information about the prices, the demand and supply of some big markets in the world, or the reports of market survey firms. By providing hot and timely information, Vinametal hopes it can help enterprises to flexibly build up their business strategies that can satisfy the market demand and make timely decisions. The trading floor is also considering strengthening its media activities. Especially, it plans to set up the English version of the bulletins in order to attract foreign enterprises.

Tran Dinh Toan, Deputy General Director of OSB, an investment and technology company, the representative of Alibaba.com in Vietnam, said that the trade floor has launched new services into the market to help import-export companies more easily find and access partners, including "sub account", "Biz trends" or "sub webs." As for the "Sub account" function, besides the main account, businesses would have five auxiliary accounts which help businesses easily allocate the labor force for taking care for customers. Meanwhile, the "biz trends" function allows businesses to realize which keywords buyers usually use when searching for products. This will help exporters select suitable keywords when posting information about their product . Vu Thi Hang, Public Relations Director of Globalsources.com, said that her trading floor would step up the marketing activities in order attract more businesses that use services, usually organize trade fairs which serve as the places for Vietnamese businesses to display their goods in big import markets such as Hong Kong, India, Brazil. The trade floor would cooperate with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Center ITPC to create favorable conditions for small and medium enterprises to join the trade floor at lower expenses.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/02/2011

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BANGLADESH: Uncovering World's Cheapest Laptop

Laptop costing $130 is the cheapest one across the world, claim officials in Bangladesh during the launch of the capital at a ceremony in the capital Dhaka on 9th of October. The most basic model of the Laptop (named as Deol) is priced at 10,000 taka ($130/£83). The state-owned telecoms company Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS) is producing four models of the laptop. "This is a big step towards building a digital Bangladesh. When villages get laptops at a cheaper price they will be connected to the internet and that will bring lots of benefits," TSS managing director Mohammad Ismail told the BBC. Initially, the laptop will be distributed to various government departments. But later on they will be made available to the public and to tens of millions of students. Mr Ismail said that at the moment Bangladesh is producing 10% of the components for the laptop and the rest are imported. "But within six months we will be able to produce 60% of the components," he said. However, the country's internet connectivity remains poor and critics have raised doubts whether the distribution of laptops alone will help the country to connect digitally. The government has launched an ambitious plan, known as Digital Bangladesh, with the aim of digitally connecting the country by 2021. "Every part of the country will be brought under e-governance, while the telecommunication system is being modernized to cut the digital divide," Sheikh Hasina said during the inauguration.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/12/2011

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INDIA: E-commerce Not Taken Off as Expected

Web portal Rediff said that e-commerce in India has not yet taken off in as big a way as it expected, but it hopes the government's commitment to creation of "back-hall" broadband infrastructure would give a fillip to online shopping in the country. The reasons for online shopping not catching on in the country are low credit card penetration and the high failure rate of 50 per cent in the case of debit card transactions, Rediff Founder and CEO Ajit Balakrishnan said. "Debit card-based e-commerce is possible, though there are challenges. Broadband connectivity between banks is just building in India. Unless the banks' telecom infrastructure is super, it can't be pulled off. There are 120 million Indians with debit-plus-ATM cards," he told PTI.

With e-commerce, the challenge is margins and so, there has to be a payment system where it is no more than 3 per cent. "If the operator keeps 50 per cent it is not worth business," Balakrishnan said. He rued that telecom companies did not make timely investments on broadband, as returns only started to accrue after 20 years, unlike cellular phones, where valuation was based on the number of subscribers. "In every country, you find when broadband picks up, that's when e-commerce picks up. When e-commerce picks up, then advertisement picks up... This is not happening in India," he said. Nevertheless, expressing confidence that e-commerce would pick up momentum in the near future, Balakrishnan said he was certain the government would make the necessary investments to create back-hall infrastructure for broadband. "There's also a TRAI plan to spend Rs 35,000 crore. I think we need to put weight behind it," he said.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 09/18/2011

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Indian Insurers to Spend $1.8 Billion on IT

New Delhi: Indian insurance companies will spend $1.8 billion on IT products and services this fiscal, an increase of 11.7 per cent from last year, according to market analyst firm Gartner. The companies had spent $1.6 billion on the related services in 2010-11."External factors such as regulatory changes, uncertain economic conditions and the increasing frequency of catastrophic events are forcing insurers to reassess their approaches to business processes," Derry Finkeldey, principal analyst at Gartner said in a statement. She added that IT applications enable them to derive greater efficiency and achieve more with less. The forecast includes spending by insurers on internal IT (including personnel), hardware, software, external IT services and telecommunications. Telecommunications represents the biggest spending category, and it is forecast to reach $566 million in 2012, up from $512 million in 2011. However, spending on IT services is expected to grow fastest in 2012, with revenue totalling $447 million in 2012, up by 15.8 per cent over 2011 revenue of $386 million. Indian insurers are faced with an opportunity to transform significant aspects of their operations via technology, right across the entire insurance business value chain, the statement said. "Insurers are looking for ways to streamline their processes from the front office to the back office, and are investing in the next generation of core solutions to help them do that," Finkeldey said.


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

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India Launches World's Cheapest Tablet Computer

India has unveiled world's cheapest touch screen tablet computer worth $35 that will provide inexpensive internet access to 10 million students living in remote areas. Costing a fraction of Apple's iPad, the subsidised Aakash is aimed at students. It supports web browsing and video conferencing, has a three-hour battery life and two USB ports, but questions remain over how it will perform. Millions of students will have access to the tablets, officials hope/ Photo credit: AFP Officials hope the computer will give digital access to students in small towns and villages across India, which lags behind its rivals in connectivity. At the launch in the Indian capital, Delhi, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal handed out 500 Aakash (meaning sky) tablets to students who will test them. He said the government planned to buy 100,000 of the tablets. It hopes to distribute 10 million of the devices to students over the next few years. "The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide," Mr Sibal said. The Aakash has been developed by UK-based company DataWind and Indian Institute of Technology (Rajasthan). It is due to be assembled in India, at DataWind's new production centre in the southern city of Hyderabad. "Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access," DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said.

"We've created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses." The company says it will also offer a commercial version of the tablet, called UbiSlate. It is expected to hit the shelves later this year, retailing for about $60. Usability questions Mr Sibal says the device will enhance learning in India. Experts say it does have the potential to make a huge difference to the country's education, particularly in rural areas where schools and students do not have access to libraries and up-to-date information. But critics say it is too early to say how the Aakash will be received as most cheap tablets in the past have turned out to be painfully slow. "The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable," Rajat Agrawal of technology reviewers BGR India told Reuters news agency. "They don't have a very good touch screen, and they are usually very slow." Critics also point out that an earlier cheap laptop plan by the same ministry came to nothing. In 2009, it announced plans for a laptop priced as low as $10, raising eyebrows and triggering worldwide media interest. But there was disappointment after the "Sakshat" turned out to be a prototype of a hand-held device, with an unspecified price tag, that never materialised.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 10/07/2011

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IT Sector High on PC Sales

The apex body representing India's IT hardware found that in the second successive quarter, the PC sales has seen a double-digit growth of 16%, Netbooks pegged 0.3 million sales for the first time and printer sales recorded double digit growth of 15%. Some salient findings of the study are given below: The Notebook Market: The Notebook sales, which posted a remarkable growth, last year (61%), went in to the consolidation mood by posting a healthy growth rate of 31% over 2010-11. This growth was primarily driven by the Household segment, which accounted for about 57% of the total Notebook sales and registered a growth of 32% during 2010-11 over the previous year. Similar to the last year, the contribution among lower SEC's (SEC B and SEC C) was on the increase contributing around 44%, but this it has mainly come from SEC C which is an encouraging sign among hardware makers. But SEC A still leads the contribution pack with 56%. Notebook sales among Establishments during 2010-11 ended with a growth of 27%.The growth has mainly come from Large Establishments posting a significant growth rate of 56% and contributing around 54% of Notebook sales. Netbook sales crossed the 3 lakh unit mark for the first time, registering an impressive growth of 80% over the same period last year. The Netbook sales were largely driven by the Household segment which accounted for almost 3/4th of total netbook sales during 2010-11.

The Desktop Market: Market segmentation by businesses vs. household consumption: For the first time in the market, the market size of Desktop PC has been exactly split-up in two pies as both Household and Establishment contributed 50% to the total Desktop PC sale Households' contribution to the Desktop market increased to Fifty per cent of the total desktop market during 2010-11 from about a 42% during the previous year. With this, households also registered a growth of 30% during 2010-11 over the previous year. Market segmentation by town-class: The top four metros, accounted around 30% of the total desktops purchased, while the Class B cities accounted for thirteen per cent of the market. Consumption in top four metros grew by a meagre 6 per cent, while that in Class B cities it grew remarkably by seventy-six per cent. Smaller cities, contribution has decreased from 61% to 57% but still managed to post a flat growth of 2%. The Servers Market: During the year 2010-11, sales of Servers registered a decline of fourteen per cent over the last financial year. The decline is mainly accounted to the sharp decline of contribution from Medium scaled Establishments going down from 42% to 15%. The Peripherals Market: Overall printer sales grew by fifteen per cent during 2010-11 over the last fiscal to reach 2.87 million (28.7 lakh) units. Laser printers led the growth with a consumption of 1.13 million (11.3 lakh) units and a growth of 16% over the last year. This growth was driven by the Small and Large Establihsments which accounted for 3/4th of the sales, and registered a growth of 110% and 168% respectively. Consumption of inkjet printers at 1.35 million (13.5 lakh) units grew by nineteen per cent.

Consumption in the business segment remained flat and didn't post any growth while those in Households registered a noticeable growth of twenty two per cent over the previous year. Dot-matrix printers was the only printer category that registered a decline, the sales of DMP at 0.35 million (3.5 lakh) units in 2010-11 declined by three per cent over the previous year. This decline was largely driven by the Establishment segment which registered a decline of three per cent during this period. The Household segment put an impressive growth of 61% percent. The UPS market, is again led by the households, registered a growth of ten per cent in 2010-11 over 2009-10 with 2.38 million (23.8 lakh) units in sales. Households accounted for nearly seventy five per cent of the market, whereas the Establishment accounted for the remaining twenty-five per cent. The Internet Entities: The number of active Internet entities crossed the thirteen million mark in March 2011, (growth of thirty six per cent over March 2010.) Internet penetration in the 22 cities was fifty nine per cent among businesses and twenty eight per cent among households. Dial up contributed around 47% of the total internet connection i Establishment while ISBN, Leased Line, Data card contributed around 16%,12% and 9% respectively in 2010-11. The annual MAIT Industry Performance Review is a syndicated end-user based study on the IT hardware market conducted by the eTechnology Group of IMRB International since 1996-97. The study is based on over 15,000 face-to-face interviews with end-users spread over 17 cities, with data projected to the 'all India urban market'.


From http://egovonline.net/ 10/12/2011

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Uttar Pradesh Launches Online Payment Portal for Industrialists, Investors

In a step ahead in making public transactions paperless, Uttar Pradesh government has recently launched its ambitious online payment portal for entrepreneurs - 'Nivesh Mitra'. The interface combines online payment facility and several unique features for facilitating quicker processing of matters relating to industrialists and investors. The state industries department had roped in professionals to refurbish it and make it more investor-friendly and add features to brace for future challenges on e-governance highway. State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner (IIDC) V N Garg launched the web portal, which is touted as an innovative e-governance model for UP. With this launch, the entrepreneurs can avail of the facility of online payments, which is being offered in association with Punjab National Bank, while State Bank of India, also state-owned would come on board soon. Nivesh Mitra is currently functional in 18 districts and it would cover the entire state in near future. It would also facilitate entrepreneurs for getting clearances from 12 government departments through a user-friendly interface. Emphasizing the importance of e-governance, Garg said it could only be made successful on the premise of good governance and has the ability to reduce transaction cost in terms of money and time. Industrial development department special secretary and Udyog Bandhu joint executive director Anamika Singh gave a detailed demonstration-cum-presentation to elucidate the unique functionalities of the web portal of Nivesh Mitra (www.udyogbandhu.org). Meanwhile, Garg asked industry bodies to play their vital role in using the web portal and spreading awareness amongst general public. He also urged the government departments and district magistrates to take active part in making this initiative effective.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/18/2011

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Indian State Unveils e-Payment Portal for Entrepreneurs

The government of Uttar Pradesh, a northern state in India, has launched an online payment portal in a bid to make public transactions paperless. State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner V N Garg launched the portal, called Nivesh Mitra, which has a user-friendly interface with online payment facility and other unique features for facilitating quicker processing of matters relating to entrepreneurs and investors. The e-payment portal accessible at www.udyogbandhu.org also assists entrepreneurs for getting clearances from 12 government departments. With the project, the entrepreneurs can avail of the facility of online payments, which is being offered in association with Punjab National Bank. Nivesh Mitra is currently functional in 18 districts and is expected to go live in the whole state in the future. Stressing the importance of e-governance, Garg said it could only be made successful on the premise of good governance and has the ability to reduce transaction cost in terms of money and time. Industrial development department special secretary and Udyog Bandhu joint executive director Anamika Singh gave a detailed demonstration to show the unique functionalities of the web portal. Meanwhile, Garg asked industry bodies to use the web portal and spread awareness amongst general public. He also urged the government departments and district magistrates to take active part in making this initiative effective.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/20/2011

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India: Bangalore to Launch Mobile Payment Services

Once the draft policy on mobile platform is approved, Bangaloreans will soon find themselves paying for their utility bills and availing of selected citizen services through their mobile devices. According to M N Vidyashankar, Karnataka IT, BT, Science and Technology and e-Governance Secretary, the draft policy is ready and would soon be studied and finalised by the core group on e-governance. "Whatever services you are today getting through (state-run) Bangalore One (B1), we will be able to launch these services on mobile platform", Vidyashankar said in an official statement. B1 is a G2C (Government to Citizens) and G2B (Government to Business) one-stop services and information portal that aims to provide the citizens of Karnataka relevant information on Government departments, and agencies of Central, State, and Local Governments. "Lakhs of residents pay their bills such as water, electricity and telephone and avail various services at 79 B1 centres in the city every day," he said. "Once the core group comprising of industry and Government experts, chaired by the Director of International Institute of Information Technology and Prof S Sadagopan, clears the policy after fine-tuning it, it would be taken to the State Cabinet for approval."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/10/2011

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SRI LANKA: Ports to Offer E-payments by 2012

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority will introduce its online billing and payment system by January 2012 as part of its investment drive to improve port productivity and efficiency. According to an official statement, the system will allow clients of the port to log-in via the internet and make payments with information being updated at the port system and customs along with the facilitating bank. Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Customs introduced its latest electronic payment system software called 'ASYCUDA World', which will be fully implemented once it has undergone several test runs with clients. "Hopefully by January, there would be lesser people going to the port to make payments. Since it is web-based, payments can be done from the convenience of their own homes and from any part of the island," said Priyath Wickrama, chairman of SLPA. At present, State-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has been working with customs and SLPA in upgrading their financial software. BOC is the first bank to introduce the e-portal with customs which will then be extended to other banks.


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

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PAKISTAN: Top IT Companies Keen to Invest in the Country

Chairman Standing Committee on Communication, FPCCI, Former Minister IT Muhammad Noman Saigal said Pakistan is one of the most lucrative country in the region as far as information technology development is concern. There is a great scope of technology sector in Pakistan and it has been observed that various sectors are losing business in Pakistan due to the sensitive and political situation but IT sector is leading in business to the highest level as compared to other business sectors in Pakistan. Top IT companies from China, Korea, USA and Europe are bringing in investments to the tune of billions of dollars. These companies are focusing on analytical equipments and solution, surveillance and security equipments and solution, data processing, scanning facilities, telecommunication system connectivity as well as other modern software for the future. Automation has become a priority, especially private sectors have upgraded its facilities. The IT investment countries arc competing on a very low bid insuring best quality to get maximum business in Pakistan. Though specific brands are given edge as per the rules of the business of tenders but still many companies are trying to break the ice including various Chinese, companies. Pakistan government has also developed various projects in IT sectors including health, education, policing and excise portfolios. These investors in IT are also offering BOT projects in all the sectors.

Banking sectors has room for business and the foreign investors are keenly interested to develop at large. The companies who are the leading players from Far East have an annual turnover of approximately 15 billion US dollars. Other companies who are planning to enter Pakistan from Europe and USA also worth billions of US dollars per annum. These companies are willing to manage financial support as well as technical assistance and transfer of technology in Pakistan due to the tremendous growth rate in technology sector in Pakistan. Why the development of IT sector has reached to a level which will create thousand or jobs, social financial strength and high tech trading in the country. Local companies in Pakistan are also moving fast in various IT sectors in Pakistan. Telecom sector a branch of IT has develop tremendous business having over 100 million cell phones in Pakistan connecting people from one another.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 10/19/2011

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ARMENIA: ArmenTel to Offer Customers 'Alternative' Fixed Line Tariffs from Next Year

ARKA News Agency reports that Armenian incumbent fixed line operator ArmenTel will offer its subscribers 'new alternative packages' of voice telephony services from 12 January 2012. The new tariff plans were approved on Wednesday in the meeting of the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) - the telecoms regulator. The packages include monthly subscriber payment, services for local and international calls, as well as calls to mobile networks. ArmenTel is said to be looking to reduce the tariffs of international calls and calls to mobile networks, which will be compensated by a reduction in free minutes or an increase in the subscriber's monthly payment. 'The proposed alternative packages expand the range of operating tariff packages and can be applied only upon the wish of the subscriber on the basis of written application', a spokesman for the PSRC said. ArmenTel's new residential plans range from AMD1,100 (USD2.86) per month with 260 free minutes for internal intranet calls (including internet call capability). International calls will be AMD10 per minute (instead of the current AMD20), and calls terminating on mobile networks will come down to AMD36 (instead of the current AMD70 [day tariff] and AMD49 [night tariff]). A second tariff plan will cost AMD4,000 per month with 600 free minutes for internal and inter-city intranet calls (including IP voice calls). The cost of international calls charged at AMD7 and calls to mobile operators costing AMD36. Business users will also be offered a new alternative tariff plan costing AMD4,800 per month with 360 minutes for local intranet calls (including IP calls), AMD15 for inter-city calls and AMD36 to mobile numbers.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/17/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Some $1.8 Billion Invested in ICT Sector

Roughly $1.8 billion has been invested in Azerbaijan's ICT sector over the past 20 years, Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov wrote in a recent article published in the official press. The article states that the income in the ICT sector increased 140 times in the past 20 years. The annual rate of development of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan amounted to 30-32 percent in 2004-2010. Over the years, the volume of the IT sector has extended six times with exports growing five times. Thanks to support for the ICT sector in 1991-2011, new fixed and mobile operators and ICT manufacturers have appeared on the market. The necessary steps have also been carried out to ensure healthy competition. Over the past 20 years the private sector's volume in the ICT market reached 80 percent as a result. In 1991-2011, the country adopted new legislation and legal documents, started large-scale e-government projects, and also launched a TASIM fiber-optic backbone, while developing heavily the space industry and education. The number of Internet users, subscribers of mobile and fixed communications increased. basEd on the ministry's statistics, Internet penetration in Azerbaijan reached 60 percent, half of whom are users of broadband Internet, which exceeds the average global rate by 2.5 times. Today, the volume of incoming traffic in Azerbaijan is 40 Gbps, which allows the country to act as an Internet exporter to neighboring countries.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/18/2011

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Azerbaijan Posts 33.3% Rise in Mobile Phones Market

Over 102,869 mobile phones worth over $6.1m were imported to Azerbaijan in January-September. It was announced by the State Statistics Committee. The imports of mobile phones grew 33.3% or 24.3% in monetary terms over the same period last year. A total of 10,000 mobile phones on average are imported to the country every month. This makes up $600,000-$650,000 in monetary terms.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/16/2011

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KAZAKHSTAN: Alca-Lu Completes USD100m Transtelecom Fibre Upgrade

Kazakh long-distance operator Transtelecom has confirmed that French equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent has completed work on the modernisation of the communications infrastructure that supports Kazakhstan's national railway network, Kazakhstan Temir Zholi (KTZ). As part of the USD100 million project - first announced in December 2009 - Alca-Lu has extended Transtelecom's fibre-optic network to 4,000km, whilst upgrading a further 2,000km of existing lines. The vendor confirmed that it has deployed its innovative long-haul optical transport network, which is able to transport huge amounts of information quickly and cost-effectively. The improved network will support advanced on-board and in-station passenger information systems as well as a variety of new broadband services. The work coincides with KZT's ongoing improvements of rail links across Kazakhstan, with an additional focus on cross-border connections to neighbouring countries such as Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Mirbolat Ayupov, president of Transtelecom, commented: 'This project provides KTZ and its subsidiaries with a comprehensive, automated system to connect all rail transport lines. This will enable efficiencies across the network to ensure all of our customers have a safe and enjoyable experience as we help to enhance the competitiveness of Kazakhstan's international freight exports'. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Transtelecom was an early entrant into Kazakhstan's long-distance sector, first establishing its presence in 2005. The telco is also a provider of corporate telecoms services via an exclusive contract with its parent, national rail operator KZT, which allowed it to deploy a national fibre network alongside its transport links. It also offers a range of residential voice and data services to limited parts of towns along the railway routes including Astana, Almaty, Kostanai, Uralsk, Atyrau, Kyzylorda, Shymkent, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Aktobe, Kokchetav, Pavlodar, Karaganda, Semipalatinsk and Dzhambul.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 09/20/2011

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SAUDI ARABIA: Mobily Launches LTE: Becomes First Operator in MENA to Introduce 4G Services

Mobily, Saudi Arabia's second largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has announced the launch of its long-awaited Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which it claims represents the first commercial LTE service to be launched in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The first phase of coverage includes the cities of Najran, Jazan, Al Kharj, Ras tanoura, Algurayat and Aldudamy, whilst the network will be extended to Hail, Al Baha, Al Mujamaaa and Wadi Al Dawasir within the next fortnight. The third phase of rollout - mooted for mid-October - will see the fourth-generation network extended to Riyadh, Jeddah and Damamm. Upon completion, the network will cover 32 cities and towns, representing around 85% of the populated areas in Saudi Arabia. Mobily CEO Khaled Al Kaf has described the launch as 'a historical moment and a turning point in the world of communication technology'.

According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Mobily reported the successful completion of LTE trials in the first trimester of 2010. Following the trials Mobily announced that it had awarded equipment manufacturers Huawei and Samsung two contracts each, for the deployment of a nationwide LTE network and also the upgrade of Bayanat Al Oula's WiMAX sites, from Wave 1 to Wave 2 technology. The operator said that the LTE contract involved the commissioning of 2,400 towers in 33 cities across Saudi Arabia. Al Kaf indicated that Mobily's overarching five-year strategy will see the operator 'position itself around data'. The company reportedly doubled its 'high volume' mobile broadband subscriber base to 2.3 million customers in 2010, and generated some 18% of its revenues from data services.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 09/14/2011

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TAJIKISTAN: Reportedly Charges Excise Tax on Internet Providers' Services

Tajikistan has imposed a 3 percent excise tax on Internet-providers' services, Ms. Parvina Ibodova, the chairperson of the Association of Internet-Providers of Tajikistan, said in an interview with Asia-Plus. "We knew recently that the instruction of the Tax Committee under the Government of Tajikistan provides for charging excise tax on mobile communications that include Internet, IP-telephony and so forth," said Ibodova, "It turned out that this instruction about which we learned just recently was approved as long ago as January 1, 2011." According to her, the Association of Internet-Providers of Tajikistan is currently waiting for an official reply from the Tax Committee. "We hope to receive the reply this week," said Ibodova, "If it turns out that Internet-providers must pay this tax, we will conduct a legal analysis of this instruction." We will recall that Tajikistan imposed a 3 percent excise tax on mobile phone services on January 1, 2011. Tajikistan also already charges excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco and tobacco substitutes, fuel, tires and vehicles.


From http://news.tj/ 11/11/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Broadband Lab for Businesses Unveiled

The Australian government has launched a broadband laboratory at the University of Melbourne to help businesses explore online opportunities and test new service offerings over the National Broadband Network (NBN). Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy (pictured) opened the Australian Broadband Applications Laboratory (ABAL) which also provides businesses a one-stop-shop to assess end-user reactions to new services and applications. ABAL is available for all Australian businesses to use for a fee for service. Initially employing two employees, it is expected that ABAL's staff will grow to around 10 employees by 2014. According to State Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips, the launch of ABAL is a great outcome for Victoria as it will encourage broadband innovation by Australian businesses. By replicating the high-speed NBN set-up, businesses will also be able to test new service offerings over the NBN, he said. The US$34.8 billion NBN initiative seeks to connect 93 per cent of Australian homes, schools and businesses to a high-speed fibre network, capable of providing broadband speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Gillard said the roll out of NBN will encourage more people to work from home and make it easier to live and work in rural and regional Australia. She noted that IT drives 78 per cent of productivity gains in services businesses and 85 per cent in manufacturing. "The NBN will make Australia the most connected continent on the planet," Gillard remarked.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/06/2011

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Australia Invests A$100 Million in Broadband Infrastructure

The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has awarded a contract to design, supply, install, and commission ten network facilities centers across Australia as part of the rollout of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). The plan is to connect businesses and homes across Australia with a "super-fast broadband network", in a project spanning ten years. "Current target is to complete all 10 network facilities centres by mid-2012," explained Russell Perry, Director, Marketing & Customer Insight, Emerson Network Power, the company that has been awarded the contract. According to Perry, the three key areas of focus for the coming year are: rapid roll-out of network facilities centres, ultra-high availability, and optimised energy efficiency. The contract is a part of Australia's long-term vision to provide high-speed connectivity to the nation: a task made challenging by its vast and varied landscape and low population density. The NBN Co has released a 12-month fibre rollout schedule and the precise locations across the country that will be involved in the construction. While some parts of Australia already have fibre optic connectivity, "the schedule includes 28 newly-released sites across the country as well as extensions to existing fibre footprints," according to the NBN website. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, declared on 18th of October: "Over the next year, NBN Co will have commenced construction of a high-speed fibre broadband network to a further 485,100 homes across Australia. All Australians deserve the benefits that will be delivered by our world class NBN." 81,700 premises are already connected to theNBN or are undergoing connectivity construction. "The NBN deployment project is the largest in Australian history," commented Perry.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/27/2011

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AU Saves US$12M with National Telepresence System

The National Telepresence System (NTS) was established in 2009 in order to reduce the travel and consequent carbon emissions, fiscal costs and productivity losses associated with meetings of the Council of Australian Governments, Ministerial Council officials and other intergovernmental-related interactions. After investing AU$24 million (US$ 25 million) on the NTS, Special Minister of State, Gary Gray said that the system was returning on the government's investment much more rapidly than previously thought. With the NTS in place, the Federal Government of Australia was able to achieve savings of AU$12 million (US$12.8 million) worth of travel costs, and has also been able to reduce carbon emissions by not having government officials travel to meetings in Canberra. "We're well ahead of where we thought we would be and that's allowing us to think optimistically and expansively about the future of the system," Special Minister Gray said in an official statement. The system was capable of preserving the robust political discussion of face-to-face contact between officials. The capability allows a conversation which is not only clear, audible and engaging but it allows emotion to be brought into the room as well. You can have an argument over these things," Gray said. The telepresence system, uses Cisco's telepresence video conferencing technology and runs over Telstra's Next Internet Protocol network platform. It is currently installed across 36 sites in seven commonwealth offices around Australia.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/31/2011

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$85 Million Govt Plan to Support Victoria's ICT Industry

The Victorian Government has unveiled its new $85 million plan to support continuing growth, development and global competitiveness in Victoria's ICT sector, and promote ICT-enabled innovation across the state's economy. Speaking at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Symposium in Melbourne today, the Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips said the ICT plan aimed to build Victoria's capability to support the application of ICT in other industries. A key component of the ICT plan is the $11 million Digital Futures Fund which supports collaborative projects in the ICT sector and with other partners to develop emerging ICT capabilities in Victoria. The Minister said the plan fulfils the coalition government's election commitment to implement a new ICT plan in collaboration with industry, and establish firm targets for ICT skills development, investment and export and the development of ICT infrastructure in Victoria. Detailing other key planks of the plan, Mr Rich-Phillips said the Technology Trade and International Partnering Program would provide assistance for export-ready Victorian companies to attend recognised overseas ICT trade fairs and participate in trade missions. He also said the $18 million Broadband Enabled-Innovation Program would provide grants to innovative projects to develop new ways of working and improving service delivery in business, government and the community through the use of high-capacity broadband, and an investment of around $2 million in a suite of ICT skills initiatives, in partnership with industry and the education sector, would deliver targeted programs for the continued growth of ICT in Victoria.

"The Coalition Government recognises the key role ICT plays in contributing to a competitive, productive and growing Victorian economy, building on Victoria's reputation as a leading centre for ICT," the Minister said. "The ICT plan will support the sector in overcoming current and future challenges, while promoting ICT-enabled innovation more broadly across Victorian industry and generating opportunities from technology convergence." Mr Rich-Phillips said it was the coalition government's vision for the future is to bring together the "transformative power of the major technology platforms - biotechnology, ICT and small technologies - to unleash greater innovation and wider economic benefits." "It is this approach which will not only propel results for our ICT sector, but also help to drive and enable growth, productivity and competitiveness in other industries through the adoption of technology," Mr Rich-Phillips said. The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Victoria Chair, Russell Yardley said Victoria was "wonderfully placed to be a major participant in the digitised economy." "We have the research capacity, skills base and digital-ready companies to innovate and collaborate to maximise the economic value necessary to provide a higher standard of living for all Victorians. This plan with its strong focus on capability development and ICT-enabled innovation will benefit all Victorians, but importantly the ICT industry in Victoria," Yardley said.

Commenting on the government's plan, the director of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Industry Group, Tim Piper said the plan looked to provide the key impetus to deliver industry-wide benefits, particularly over new ubiquitous broadband infrastructure. "As Victoria is a recognised leader in developing technologies in key fields of excellence, the real benefit is the extent to which industry has the capacity to adopt and adapt technology for productivity gains and to enable innovation. This can particularly assist non high-tech industries which need assistance in utilising new infrastructure." The Australian Computer Society ACS) Victoria chairman, Ian Dennis said it was pleasing to see the Victorian Government recognised the economic significance of the 140,000-strong Victorian ICT workforce, and he noted the positive support of the government for the "NBN roll-out, supporting both new, and the 2.7 million-plus existing, internet subscribers in Victoria." The $85 million plan announced today brings the government's commitment to developing Victoria's technology sector to $150 million.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 11/11/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Businesses to Spend $6.2 Billion on IT

IDC expects New Zealand's business IT market to grow from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $6.2 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 percent per annum. IDC has lowered slightly last year's spending forecast based on several factors, specifically the Canterbury earthquakes and recent upheavals in the global financial markets. "2011 will mark the end of a spending drought for many industries, though we expect the recovery to be patchy and fragile," says Louise Francis, senior market analyst, IDC New Zealand. "The continued volatility of global financial markets means that many vertical markets will not be putting their foot on the investment accelerator in the short term. Already many large multinationals are already moving towards budget freezes or a stringent approach to budget approval and it is unlikely that IT budgets will escape unscathed." IDC NZ's report, 'New Zealand Vertical Markets IT Spending: 2010-2015 Forecast and Analysis', details IDC's analysis of the opportunities that exist within 12 industries in the New Zealand IT market and how industry dynamics will shape the adoption of innovation. In general it is the larger verticals that will have the momentum in terms of IT spending over the forecast period. Two verticals that stand out in terms of sustained growth are banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), and utilities. These markets are expected to grow by a CAGR of over 5 percent through to 2015. "While these industries appear to be quite different, both are experiencing growth due to remarkably similar business needs", says Louise Francis. "These include continually changing regulatory compliance structures, productivity drivers and managing the data deluge."


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/11/2011

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Mobile Broadband Device Market to Hit 525 Million by 2016

The Mobile Broadband Device market will claim a global installed base of over 525 million units by 2016, according to just released research from analyst firm Strategy Analytics. The report shows steady growth for external modems over the forecast period. This expansion will be driven by device costs, more flexible tariffs, a shift to LTE and growth in mobile hotspots for multiple devices, such as tablets and other consumer electronics. Embedded modems, however, will experience slower growth due to the higher cost of embedding cellular capabilities and the need for additional data services. "Strategy Analytics anticipates continued growth in mobile broadband devices as operators improve user segmentation, such as flexible plans and content bundling all underpinned by LTE," commented Andrew Brown, Director, Wireless Enterprise Strategies and author of the report. "Mobile hotspots have been a highlight in this sector, typically enabling up to five devices at a time to connect anywhere on one data plan. The growth in the number and variety of Wi-Fi enabled devices, has considerably increased the value proposition of these mobile hotspot devices," he added.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/16/2011

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Public Wi-Fi Hotspots to Grow 4-fold by 2015: Study

The amount of public Internet hotspots (Wi-Fi) globally will grow more than fourfold to 5.8 million by 2015, boosted by consumers increasing demand for connections on smartphones and tablets, an industry study showed on Wednesday. Telecom operators see Internet hotspots crucial for offloading wireless data traffic, which is expected to grow 26-fold in the next five years, according to Cisco, as usage of video on mobile devices surges. The study by research firm Informa was commissioned by telecom industry lobby The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, plans to deploy a million hotspots and Japan's second largest mobile carrier KDDI plans to grow its 10,000 Wi-FI hotspots to 100,000 within six months. (Reuters)


From http://www.ejc.net/ 11/09/2011

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ASIA AND PACIFIC: Asia Tops for Subway Internet Access

If you're a commuter who needs to be permanently connected while on the go, the cities of Asia are for you. That's the finding of a new report from the New Cities Foundation, which surveyed subway systems around the world for mobile internet access and found that to be online, it's best to be in Asia. Commuters in South Korea and China could log on while riding 100 percent of the subway systems surveyed in those cities, the New Cities Foundation said, with Asian commuters in general able to go online in 84 percent of major subways. That compares to a global average of just under 60 percent in the 121 cities of more then 750,000 people surveyed. By comparison, if you live in North America, there's just a 41 percent chance that you'll be able to log on while rattling through the tunnels, the second lowest figure in the world, behind Eastern Europe and Central Asia at 25 percent. In the European Union, 56 percent of commuters can check their emails underground - in Latin America, the figure was 57 percent and in the Middle East, just under 67 percent.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 11/04/2011

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Mexico - Internet Becomes a New Battleground in Drug Wars

An internet assault inspired by Anonymous, the hacking activist network that promised to expose collaborators with the Zeta drug cartel, has targeted a former senior law enforcement official from the Mexican southern state of Tabasco. Hackers blocked a website dedicated to promoting Gustavo Rosario, the former Tabasco attorney general, with the words "Gustavo Rosario is a Zeta" against a background of pumpkin Halloween candles and signed by Anonymous Mexico. The internet has become a new battleground in Mexico's drug wars, in which different cartels are fighting both each other and a military-led offensive launched by President Felipe Caldero'n in December 2006, in which more than 40,000 people have been killed. In some areas, the mainstream regional media is too frightened to cover the violence, leaving anonymous contributors to social media to fill the vacuum partially. The Anonymous threat to expose Zeta collaborators was launched in a video in early October featuring a man wearing the movement's trademark Guy Fawkes mask. A voiceover claims the operation is aimed at forcing the Zetas to liberate an unnamed Anonymous participant it says was kidnapped in the state of Veracruz. "You have made a great mistake by taking one of us," it says. The video created few waves until it was picked up by the mainstream press over the weekend, prompting a frenzied debate on Twitter about the risks involved. (The Guardian)


From http://www.ejc.net/ 11/01/2011

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Wind Mobile Continues Expansion Across the Country

Carrier will add Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Halifax next year. Meanwhile it might resume public lobbying for a decision on the rules for the 700 MHz auction. Startup Wind Mobile plans to end the year expanding its cellular network in Ontario and continue in 2012 by adding service in three more provinces. Chairman and CEO Anthony Lacavera disclosed the plans Friday as the company announced a three-year deal with Manitoba-based Allstream to provide backhaul IP connectivity for Wind in southwestern Ontario and the Toronto area.

"Allstream's fibre network is very well suited to our large data requirements" that stem from the unlimited data plans Wind offers, Lacavera said. After starting wireless service in Welland and St. Catherines in Ontario's Niagara region last month, Wind will open stores in Guelph and Cambridge, Ont., this month and London, Ont., before Christmas. It will also continue to expand along Highway 401 east of Toronto this year and next.

Next year will see Wind start service in Nova Scotia (Halifax), Manitoba (Winnipeg) and Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and expand its Vancouver beachhead to cover the lower B.C. mainland. As for Alberta, Lacavera said that Wind's networks have gone as far as they can go in Calgary and Edmonton with the higher band AWS spectrum it has. To go farther outside the suburbs will require the lower band 700 MHz spectrum Industry Canada will auction off next. Without spectrum in the 700 MHz band, Lacavera said, Wind can't shift its network to the fastest wireless data technology, LTE. That auction had been expected in 2012, perhaps along with spectrum in the 2500 MHz band, but the government has yet to set the rules and conditions of eligibility for bidders.

As a result, Lacavera's thinking of mounting a publicity campaign to remind the Harper government of how important it is that Ottawa again set aside spectrum that only new entrants can buy and incumbents with huge finances - like BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada [TSX, NYSE: BCE], Rogers Communications Inc. [TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B] and Telus Communications - cannot. In making this move, Wind would be joining other carriers in trying to urge Ottawa to hasten its decision. For example, in the summer Rogers set up a Web site telling Canadians that the government shouldn't limit some carriers from buying 700 MHz spectrum. The site includes a link people can use to send an email to politicians.

The lobbying has been going on in earnest since last December, but quieted down after the election. "That seems to have fallen off the government's radar to a certain extent," Lacavera said, "and we want to make sure it's front and centre." The Harper government has tied the auction rules to a decision on possibly relaxing the rules on foreign ownership of telecommunications carriers. New entrants like Wind want to ensure they'll be able to raise enough money to buy 700 MHz spectrum, which is expected to be at least as expensive as the AWS spectrum auctioned in 2008. Carriers - including newcomers Wind, Mobilicity, Public Mobile, Quebec cable company Videotron and Halifax-based cableco Eastlink - $4.2 billion then. (By Howard Solomon)


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 11/06/2011

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U.S.: The Top 20 Green-Powered Cities

Houston took the top rank this quarter in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's and Green Power Partnership's top 20 list of local governments that purchase the most green power. The rankings represent the largest purchasers among local government partners within the Green Power Partnership. According to the official website, the Green Power Partnership is a "voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources." The organization works with both the private and public sectors.

While Houston topped the list with 438 million kilowatt-hours of annual green power usage generated from wind energy, Austin, Texas, was a close second with 406 million kilowatt-hours. Austin recently moved to 100 percent clean and renewable energy as a product of wind farms. According to Green Power Partnership, purchasing figures for the top 20 rankings are based on annualized partner contract amounts (in kilowatt-hours), and not calendar year totals. Rankings are also determined on a quarterly basis. The top 20 are as follows:

City - Annual Green Power Usage (kilowatt-hours)
1. Houston - 438,000,000
2. Austin, Texas - 406,000,000
3. Dallas - 302,880,000
4. District of Columbia - 244,267,000
5. Chicago - 215,000,000
6. Montgomery County, Md., Clean Energy Buyers Group - 134,599,000
7. Philadelphia - 127,300,000
8. Suffolk County, N.Y. - 117,000,000
9. Chicago Public Schools - 107,709,620
10. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - 87,000,000
11. Austin, Texas, Independent School District - 65,640,000
12. Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission - 59,637,000
13. Forest County, Wis., Potawatomi Community - 54,677,205
14. Los Angeles World Airports - 35,827,829
15. San Jose, Calif. - 31,854,279
16. San Francisco - 31,593,977
17. Chicago Park District - 31,072,406
18. Montgomery County, Pa. - 29,391,000
19. Nassau County, N.Y. - 29,121,457
20. Santa Monica, Calif. - 28,000,000


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/31/2011

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Report: Broadband Access Up Slightly in U.S. Homes

American households with broadband Internet access increased to 68 percent in 2010 from 64 percent in 2009, according to a report from the Department of Commerce released Wednesday, Nov. 9. However, the digital divide remains: Lower-income, rural and less educated households were less likely to have Internet access in the home.

The Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Wednesday, Nov. 9, released "Exploring the Digital Nation," a statistical analysis of broadband adoption in the U.S. According to the report, only 57 percent of rural households have broadband Internet access, compared to 70 percent of urban households.

Low-income residences fared even worse than rural households. Of households with annual incomes of $25,000 or lower, only 43 percent had access to broadband. By comparison, 93 percent of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or higher had access. Numbers also differed along race and ethnicity: Asian households (81 percent) white (72 percent), Hispanic (57 percent) and black (55 percent).

"Closing the broadband adoption gap is a priority because Americans increasingly need 21st century skills to succeed in today's economy," said Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in the report. "Today's report provides a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of broadband adoption that will inform efforts to close the gap and promote America's competitiveness in the global economy."

Of respondents without Internet access in their home, 47 percent said the top reason for not having Internet access was a lack of interest or need; 24 percent cited the cost; and 15 percent cited the lack of an adequate computer. Data from the report was gathered from an Internet use supplement to the Current Population Survey of nearly 54,300 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2010.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 11/09/2011

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US: FCC Plans Cheap Internet Service and Computers to Connect Poor Americans

The Federal Communications Commission and cable and computer firms will announce Wednesday a program to provide low-income homes with $10 monthly broadband Internet service and $150 computers. The plan aims to solve one of the more vexing problems in the government's quest to connect all Americans to the Internet: Even when people have the ability to subscribe to high-speed service, 100 million households don't choose to do so. Experts say that's largely because of cost. The price of high-speed Internet averages $40 a month, and computers can cost several hundred dollars. But beginning in the spring, cable Internet service providers such as Bright House, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner will offer families that are eligible for federal school-lunch programs - 25 million Americans - the discounted monthly service. The service will include free installation and modem rental for two years. The plan is part of the FCC's drive to get all Americans onto high-speed Internet networks. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has warned that other countries are surpassing the United States in broadband Internet adoption - a trend that could hurt the economy in the long run. Americans who aren't connected, however, cite several reasons for not signing up for broadband. They say they need more training on computers and on the Internet, and some say the Internet isn't important to their lives, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.


From Washington Post 11/09/2011

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CHINA: Having 929.84 Million Mobile Phone Users

More Chinese citizens are relying on their mobile phones as their primary method of communication, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Monday. China's mobile phone operators added 70.83 million new subscribers in the first seven months of this year, bringing the country's total number of cell phone users to 929.84 million, the MIIT said in a statement on its website. Fixed-line telecommunication companies, however, lost 4.89 million subscribers during the January-July period. The total number of third-generation (3G) mobile phone service subscribers expanded to 87.2 million by the end of July, according to the MIIT. The entire telecommunications industry collected 559.46 billion yuan (87.6 billion U.S. dollars) in business revenues during the January-July period, up 10.1 percent year-on-year, according to the MIIT.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/29/2011

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Active Online Exchange "Major Feature" of China's Internet, Says Senior Official

A senior Chinese official said Thursday that active online exchange is a major feature of China's Internet. Wang Chen, chief of the Information Office of the State Council, made the remarks, when addressing the fourth UK-China Internet Roundtable meeting. "Chinese citizens have voiced their opinions over the Internet in various forms, and new Internet applications and services have provided wide space for them to interact and exchange views," Wang said. China currently has over 300 million microbloggers, he said. The Internet has helped government know public opinions, meet people's demands and safeguard the people's interests, he added. "It is imperative to emphasize relevant social responsibilities so as to maintain the normal order of Internet information transmission. All stakeholders should consciously safeguard the solemnity of laws and the norms of social morality," Wang said. "We must coordinate the safe flow and the free flow of Internet information," he said. Over 100 representatives from governmental departments, renowned Internet enterprises and research institutes of the two countries, have gathered at the two-day roundtable meeting that will end Friday.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/29/2011

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Social Network Websites "Pose a Challenge"

A senior official highlighted, and condemned, the abuse of social network websites, admitting that managing them posed a challenge for the government. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter pose new problems for social management, Wang Chen, minister of the State Internet Information Office, said in a keynote speech at the 4th UK-China Internet Roundtable. "Many people are considering how to prevent the abuse of these networks following violent crimes that took place in some parts of the world this year," he said. Parts of Britain were rocked by riots in August, many of them organized by utilizing social network sites. China has more than 500 million netizens, of which 300 million are users of Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, he said. "Everyone involved should observe the law and safeguard the norms of social morality. The Internet should not be used to jeopardize the national or public interest, or the legitimate rights and interests of other citizens," Wang, also minister of the State Council Information Office, said. As more people, especially the young, get involved in online and virtual worlds, the greater the chance that this could have a negative impact on real life, said Xie Yungeng, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Teenagers can easily be addicted to the Internet. According to a survey conducted by Tianjin-based Nankai University, 68 percent of young people spent more than six hours a day surfing the Internet during their summer holidays. Zhuan Zhuan, 22, from Qingdao, Shandong province, with about 4,000 fans on Sina Weibo, told China Daily that she always checks her Weibo account whenever she accesses the Internet. "It's convenient to chat with friends from China or other countries," she said. "But it's very annoying to frequently receive spam massages and rumors." On Wednesday, a "prostitute" who had more than 250,000 followers, including several prominent Chinese Internet celebrities, on "her" micro blog account, turned out to be a 31-year-old man. Using the pseudonym "Ruoxiaoan1", the man, surnamed Lin, posted 401 entries on his Sina Weibo account, starting from January, fabricating stories about working as a 22-year-old sex worker who "accidentally" lost her virginity, in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province. Some of his entries were re-posted as many as 10,000 times. However, Lin is actually employed as an editor. He craved fame and made up stories on his Weibo account. He was fined 500 yuan ($78) for disturbing public order and his micro blog account was permanently deleted. Xie Yungeng said that young people are easily influenced by information on social networks, as it is very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. There are 212 million Chinese teenager Internet users, accounting for 46 percent of netizens, according to Xie. "Fraud, porn and violence are easily found on social network websites. All of this can be seen by teenagers, which places them in potential danger," he said. The professor suggested establishing a law protecting online rights and interests of teenagers.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/30/2011

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China Sees Rapid Popularization of Smartphones

China's smartphone adoption rate ranks among the world's top five due to a rapid expansion of smartphone use in cities, said a survey released in Beijing on Tuesday. About 35 percent of urban Chinese consumers have smartphones, the third-highest level in the world. China ranks behind Singapore and Australia, with 62 percent and 37 percent respectively, according to a survey jointly conducted by Google Inc. and research service company Ipsos. The survey is based on interviews with over 30,000 people from 30 countries and regions, including 1,000 interviewees in China. According to the survey, smartphone users in China use their devices to surf the Internet (50 percent), listen to music (43 percent), send e-mails (41 percent) and search for information (37 percent). Compared to those surveyed in the United States, urban Chinese interviewees were more likely to use smartphones to access the Internet, listen to music and download programs from an application database. They use their smartphones at home, on vacation and on public transportation. One in every three people interviewed has one or two mobile phones, and the mobile phone adoption rate among urban Chinese is 97 percent, according to the survey. Statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) show that the number of Chinese mobile phone users hit 952.31 million by the end of September, 102.46 million of whom were third-generation (3G) network users. According to the China Internet Networks Information Center (CNNIC), China's population of Internet users hit 485 million by the end of June this year. As of the end of 2010, the number of people accessing the Internet through mobile phones had already reached 303 million.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/08/2011

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Open Courses of Top Chinese Universities to Go Online

Video classes of 20 courses from top Chinese universities will be available free of charge through the Internet starting Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Education. Similar to Harvard open courses, the video classes will be provided on www.icourse.edu.cn, China Network Television and the web portal Netease for free. The open courses of China's universities, feature 20 scientific and cultural subjects or lectures given by speakers and professors from high-profile universities across China, including Zhejiang University, Nankai University and Wuhan University. The online open courses will focus on Chinese traditional culture and will mainly target college students, said Liu Ju, the deputy head of the Department of Higher Education. The courses also include the rise and fall of ancient Greek civilization and a brief introduction of aeronautics and astronautics. Liu said the launch of open courses will help spread traditional and modern Chinese culture and is conducive to enhancing China's cultural soft power and international influence. The MOE will provide more online public courses with "high quality" and "enriched contents," Liu said. Online open courses of top U.S. universities have become a hit among young Chinese, who find them beneficial. According to a survey conducted in August by Sina.com, a major Chinese Internet portal, 94.5 percent of the 1,600 people surveyed were interested in online open courses of universities home and abroad. In the next five years, universities and colleges in China will contribute 1,000 online open courses, with each being allocated a budget of 150,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan, according to a report from the Wuhan-based Changjiang Daily.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/08/2011

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China Expands Online Service of Train Tickets

China expanded online purchase service of train tickets Sunday by including Z nonstop express trains nationwide into the service, to save passengers from long-time queuing. Passengers can log on at www.12306.cn, the ministry's official online ticket-booking website, to buy train tickets, China Daily reported Sunday. The website initiated the online service in June, but only for high-speed trains like G and D fast trains, and the C intercity express trains, the report said. Tickets for the T express trains will be available online from Dec. 10, the report said, citing the Ministry of Railways. Compared with the better equipped and more expensive high-speed trains, Z and T trains run at a top speed of 160 kilometers an hour, much slower than the high-speed trains. The People's Daily reported earlier that railway minister Sheng Guangzu said all trains, including the slow trains, will have tickets sold online by the end of this year. The move will help eliminate the aggravation of waiting in line at railway stations and ticket outlets and may also help curb ticket scalping, according to the report.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/20/2011

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JAPAN: World's Biggest Blog Obsession

Internet users in Japan spend more time reading blogs than any other country in the world, according to a recent study from comScore, a research company measuring the digital world. The average Japanese user spent 62.6 minutes reading blogs during June of this year, when the survey was conducted. That was far more than second-place South Korea with an average of 49.6 minutes and third-place Poland with 47.7 minutes. Japanese may appear busy and overworked, but they manage to squeeze in a lot of blog time. The survey also found that 80 percent of Japan's entire Internet population, 59 million people, visited a blog site sometime during June. More startling perhaps is that these figures do not even include blog readers from Internet cafes, mobile phones or PDAs; they are only for home and work computers. With those other sources included, the blogging numbers would be even higher. Japan is not alone among Asian countries in its blog obsession. Of the top 10 countries for blog time, six were from Asia: Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. The reasons for reading blogs are as varied as readers' interests, but the chance to interact anonymously at a safe distance must rank near the top. Blogs offer a sense of community, long important in Asian cultures, by allowing anyone into ongoing discussions. They also offer the chance to rant or rave on highly specialized topics.

In the 15 or so years since their inception, blogs have become so varied that the term itself covers as much diversity as the term "novel" or "film." Blogs run the gamut from political commentary to diaries of a pet, photos of desserts, complaints about work, and exchanges about scientific research. Whatever their focus, blogs allow a degree of self-expression and exchange unimaginable even a few years ago. They supplement traditional media and text formats like newspapers, magazines, journals or books, by expanding and detailing important, and sometimes not-so-important parts of life. Their influence and effect have expanded tremendously. Blogs are an important means for Japanese to make sense of their lives and the world. The good side of blogs' popularity is that reading is clearly just as important as ever. The downside is that blogs lack immediacy and face-to-face interaction. Are blogs a powerful enough force to change Japan or are they just a way to kill time? Time will tell, but you may have to read a blog to find the answer.


From http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ 09/05/2011

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Digital Habits Slow to Catch on in Japan

Consumers in Japan appear to be "distinctly unenthusiastic" about a range of digital habits when compared with their peers in the US, Spain and South Korea, according to a study. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed 5,000 people in eight markets. It found Japanese respondents spent 136 minutes a day using a PC, ahead of 64 minutes in India, but behind 308 minutes in the US, 375 minutes in Spain and 395 minutes in South Korea. Similarly, South Koreans dedicated 39 minutes to instant messaging per day, versus Japan's eight minutes. German web users also utilised email for 37 minutes daily, falling to 13 minutes in Japan. Moreover, while members of Spain's internet audience were active on social networks for 68 minutes a day, their Japanese counterparts committed a modest seven minutes to this pastime. Equally, just 30% of the Japanese digital population had visited a social network in the six months before the poll. Germany posted 40% here, and the remaining featured nations logged at least 60%. "Japan has a well-deserved reputation for loving technology," McKinsey said. "But one of the most surprising findings of our research is that Japanese consumers are not nearly as much in love with their gadgets as those in many other countries."

When it comes to video-on-demand, the Japanese sample streamed such material for eight minutes a day, half the total of Germany, the UK and US, and dwarfed by South Korea's 63 minutes. Linear TV is more popular in Japan. Viewers tune in for 170 minutes a day, trailing the US on 188 minutes, but topping South Korea's 118 minutes, Spain's 125 minutes, Germany's 137 minutes and the UK's 163 minutes. Tablets are also proving a hard sell in Japan, where around 4% of people already own a slate and an additional 3% wished to do so. These figures stood at 9% and 18% respectively in South Korea. "Compared to Korean and American users, Japanese ones are much less likely to tap into the tablet's more interesting capabilities, such as reading books, playing games, or reading newspapers and magazines," McKinsey added. Regarding purchase intent for devices like the iPad, the US and Spain were on 9%, the UK on 5% and Germany on 4%. The lack of widespread free content was a key reason for the low level of interest in slates among Japanese interviewees, the study argued.


From http://www.warc.com/ 10/17/2011

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DPRK Establishes National Online Medical Service System

A nationwide online system of medical service has been established in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the country's official news agency KCNA reported Wednesday. According to the KCNA, scientists of the Academy of Koryo Medical Science and the Korean Computer Center established relevant database by analyzing and assorting a huge amount of information in an orderly way. The scientists developed the program "Koryo Medicine" for diagnosis, prescription and consultation and opened up a homepage "Koryo Medicine," said the report. The homepage has special medical service assistance system for displaying the diagnosis of hundreds of diseases, their treatment and prescription, service system for the promotion of health of people, system for access to Koryo medical vocabulary and medicines and online consultation system, said the report. The server works 24 hours a day to ensure prompt and convenient provision of information to subscribers, it added.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/31/2011

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S. KOREA: Smartphone Users Likely to Top 20 Mln in Nov.

The number of smartphone users in South Korea is set to surpass the 20 million mark in November as local handset makers roll out new smartphone models, data showed Sunday. As of the end of September, the total number of smartphone users in South Korea reached 18.8 million, according to data compiled by three major mobile operators including SK Telecom. Market watchers said given that the number of users is growing by around 40,000 to 50,000 per day, the number of smartphone users is expected to breach the 20 million mark no later than next month. In March, the number of smartphone users passed the 10 million milestone. The popularity of smartphones has been heating up since Apple Inc.'s iconic iPhone was introduced in the Korean market in November 2009, bringing a seismic change to the local smartphone markets. The number of mobile phone users in Korea reached 52 million as of the end of August, indicating that four out of 10 Koreans are using smartphones. The smartphone market in South Korea is likely to become increasingly bullish as smartphones using fourth-generation (4G) network will be on the market, market watchers say. SK Telecom Co., South Korea's largest mobile operator, plans to offer seven smartphones and one tablet PC that use its new 4G service based on the long-term evolution (LTE) technology this year in a bid to meet surging demand for video and other data-guzzling services.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/09/2011

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English Weather Info Available via Mobile Web

Smartphone users can now receive Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) weather information in English. The KMA announced Monday that the English weather information service was made available on the mobile web from Sept. 30. "Foreign residents and visitors will be able to receive a quick and accurate weather information service whenever and wherever through the English mobile web service," a KMA spokesman said. Through the service, the state weather agency will provide current weather, neighborhood forecast, weekly forecast, world weather, satellite images and radar images as well as weather for leisure such as sea and mountain weather services. It also gives emergency forecasts on typhoons, yellow dust, and earthquakes. The service came amid concerns that non-Korean speaking foreigners could be left at risk in emergency situations due to the lack of information in English. "There are about 10 million foreign tourists today and about 600,000 foreign residents in Korea. Also the number of smartphone users will reach 20 million by the end of the year. We aim to provide an easy-to-use and efficient weather forecast service for these target users in the globalized and digitalized age," said the KMA spokesman. Regardless of the smartphone type, users can check out the English mobile weather information service on the mobile website by typing the URL, m.kma.go.kr/eng, or by scanning the Quick Response Code (QR Code) on the KMA website which will direct users to the English mobile weather service webpage. The weather agency's webpage is currently available in English, Chinese, and Japanese and the mobile web service in Chinese and Japanese will be available in the coming months.


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 10/10/2011

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Mobile Web Surfing Gains Momentum Among Korean Users

The red-hot boom of smartphones in South Korea is reshaping the way people surf the Web, heralding changes in the cyberspace in favor of greater mobile access rather than conventional media such as desktop and laptop computers. The proportion of those accessing major Korean portals and social networking sites using mobile devices has jumped by more than 50 percent, aided by the spread of smartphones, industry data showed Sunday. Korea's smartphone industry, which was in its infancy just two years ago, is growing at a rapid pace thanks to the sweeping changes brought by the introduction of Apple's iPhone. The U.S. tech giant's device sparked heated competition in the domestic high-end phone market, particularly with Samsung Electronics, resulting in a faster adoption of smartphones by local subscribers. This is now leading to a hike in mobile access to major portals, which find its longstanding strategy based on the user interaction with desktop and laptop computers. According to industry sources, more than half of unique visitors at leading Korean portal sites such as Naver and Daum accessed the sites via their mobile handsets enabled with Web browser programs during the second quarter of the year. In the final quarter of last year, 30 percent of Naver's unique visitors accessed the portal using mobile devices.

The figure then rose to 40 percent in the first quarter of this year, and then to over 50 percent in the following quarter. Similar changes were seen in Daum's unique visitor composition. According to Daum, unique visitors visiting the website from mobile devices accounted for 35 percent of the total in the first quarter of the year, but the figure rose to 50 percent during the second quarter of the year. The country's biggest social network site Cyworld also saw the daily average of unique visitors from mobile phones rise above 50 percent in August. According to SK Communications, which operates Cyworld, the proportion of unique visitors using mobile phones on a daily basis came in at 51 percent in August. The figure was compared to 22 percent in February. The Internet industry is attributing the changes to the increase in the number of smartphones in use. At the end of last month, about 18 million people were using smartphones, and the telecom industry projects the number to break the 20 million mark next month. In addition, with the launch of smartphones supporting the next generation long-term evolution telecom technology, the proportion of Korean phone users accessing portal sites from mobile phones is expected to surge further. With mobile surfing becoming increasingly popular, portal site operators have been looking to develop new profit models including search and banner advertisements, and device-specific applications.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/16/2011

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Experts Discuss Impact of Information Technology

Information technology has created a digital culture online and some negative aspects, such as Internet addiction and cyber bullying, should be dealt with professionally, said experts at the 2011 Digital Culture Conference organized by the Public Administration Ministry on Thursday. "Digital culture will be a barometer for civility and dignity in cyberspace and a foundation for social development in the future," said Kim Nam-seok, public administration vice minister, at the conference. The international conference was held so domestic and international experts and government officials could share experiences in information technology and the latest trends in the industry. Kimberly Young, a professor at St. Bonaventure and well-known expert on Internet addiction and online behavior, discussed effective ways to use the Internet without falling into addiction in her keynote speech. Min Byoung-chul, president of a nationwide drive to spread positive online comments and a goodwill ambassador on digital culture for the ministry, introduced his efforts to encourage positive online communication and how to protect Internet users from cyber bullying. The former policy advisor for the U.S. National Council on Disability, Kang Young-woo, who helped close the information divide for the disabled in the U.S., talked about his life as a visually impaired man who earned a Ph.D. and worked for the disabled as the vice chair of the World Committee on Disability. "The Korean government plans to invest 24 billion won ($21 million) in a favorable and friendly digital culture next year and begin projects to tackle Internet addiction, improve online accessibility for the underprivileged and design IT education for those with different needs," said Vice Minister Kim.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/20/2011

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Five New Online Universities to Open Next Year

The Education Ministry has authorized five new online universities, which are expected to open next year, officials said Wednesday. Konyang University in South Chungcheong Province has been approved by the ministry to provide undergraduate online courses, which will be available next March. For graduate courses, four universities, Daegu, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Sejong and Hanyang, were given permission to open special purpose online graduate schools. The Konyang online university will provide six courses including psychological counseling, multi-culture and Korean language, finance and real estate to about 900 freshmen. Four other online graduate schools will provide their traditional special majors online. HUFS is expected to offer courses on Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Hanyang University education technology. The authorization of the five online universities came after seven months of written and on-site evaluation, followed by evaluation review meetings of a committee for online university evaluation organized by the Education Ministry, officials said. "The ministry will review performance of online universities thoroughly and increase support for excellent online universities," said Huh Jae-yong, director of E-learning division at the ministry.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/26/2011

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Online Social Networks Becoming Rumor Mill

Twitter and other social networking service (SNS) tools have enabled young people and others marginalized by mainstream media outlets to express their opinions on various social issues. SNS users have brought a great deal of political and social change here by pressuring politicians and other decision makers to reflect their views. But this newly-emerging media tool is increasingly turning into a hotbed for rumormongers who spread unfounded and malicious stories about entertainers, businessmen and celebrities. Some SNS users have also circulated groundless rumors about the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) and government policies, compromising Korea's national interest. There are growing calls for the administration to take a tougher stance against those who spread ill-natured rumors via SNS and other Internet media to defame someone else's reputation and derail government policies. They say this trend shows many adolescents and young people here don't have a clear sense of morality, stressing that rumormongers should be held legally accountable for their actions in order to create a sound cyberspace environment. On Wednesday, one Twitter user posted a message that read "Breaking news: (comedian) Kang Ho-dong found breathing in his house." This posting fooled many people who thought the popular comedian was found dead in his house by mistaking "breathing" for "dead." The rumor of Kang's death spread rapidly in cyberspace and became the day's most searched phrase. Kang has disappeared from the public eye since he temporarily retired from show business following a tax-evasion scandal.

Several other celebrities have also been victims of "death rumors" this month, including popular singer Lee Hyo-ri, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee. SNS rumormongers also targeted North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Nov. 8 by spreading rumors that he was dead. Not only celebrities but also government policies have been negatively affected by unfounded gossip circulating on SNS. Opponents of the KORUS FTA have posted a series of messages about what would happen if the accord goes into effect, which experts say are not true. One recent post claimed that electricity, tap water and other public service sectors would be privatized. Others argued the trade pact would destroy Korea's rice industry and make it easier to own firearms. "Some Twitter users intentionally spread malicious rumors in cyberspace to attract attention from followers. But this shows how ethically insensitive they have become," said professor Kang Du-ho at the Department of Ethics Education at Chonbuk National University. "To make adolescents abide by basic social rules and respect others, we should reinforce ethics education for the young generation in schools." Kang urged law enforcement authorities to mobilize all possible resources to hold members of the online community accountable for their actions.


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 11/17/2011

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Digital Hospitals to Bolster Growth

Digital hospitals may be new to some people, but they are the next growth engine for Korea following the semiconductor and shipbuilding industries, according to first-generation venture icon Lee Min-hwa. Lee, who is serving as the chief of the Korea Digital Hospital Export Agency, told The Korea Herald that the agency has set an ambitious target - raising $100 million in digital hospital exports by 2015. Since this March, Lee has been spearheading a group composed of a total of 74 members, including hospitals, medical device makers, medical IT system manufacturers and construction firms. Samsung Medison, Vatech, Seoul National University Hospital, BIT Computer and Dasan Networks. Exports of Korean hospitals to developing countries have high potential thanks to the country's advanced information technology, he said. "The Korean doctors are highly skilled, the nation's IT sector is well-advanced and country is equipped with good medical skills," Lee said. "This indicates that the convergence of medical skills and IT makes a good picture. But Korean doctors are expensive, so it cuts down on their competitiveness in other countries." Lee's description points to the introduction of a digital hospital, an IT-based hospital which collects and stores all medical information such as patients' medical records and doctors' instructions electronically for communication. "The building of such a hospital is 15 percent more expensive, but 30 percent more efficient when looking closely into local hospitals," said Lee.

He elaborated that the digital hospital could treat 30 percent more patients compared to hospitals of same size since its IT infrastructure enables transmission of digitalized files and images. Doctors and nurses do not have to either write or read handwritten prescription clips because the doctors could submit their treatment instructions directly into a computerized system. "If it took years to learn the knowledge on how to treat certain patients, this new system supports the rather inexperienced doctors to make critical decisions on the treatment," said Lee. "With the converged system, doctors in Ecuador could give their patients the same treatments that Korean doctors offer to their own patients." The agency was recently successful in winning 10 different contracts in Ecuador and Peru after its officials paid several visits, which includes launching an $18 million project by the end of this year to build a national digital hospital in Ecuador. It also signed an agreement with the Peru Army Hospital to construct a 400-bed digital hospital and 100-bed digital hospitals in three different regions and a total of 16 mobile digital hospitals, which was approved by the country's defense minister. The KOHEA's project in Peru is estimated to cost $145 million in total and the agency will submit the results of a feasibility test to the Peru government.

The plan will be reviewed by the Peru government on Dec. 15, according to a KOHEA official. "Many of the markets overseas are showing great attention to digital hospital exports," Lee said. "The markets are not a problem but the problem lies in our own capabilities." In order to put life into digital hospital exports, the country must make advanced investment in feasibility tests, which take up 1 percent of the total hospital construction fees, and systemize the feasibility tests - transforming it into a research development project - so that the know-how can be accumulated, said Lee. Support funds for the hospital construction should be actively given because it will open up ways to export the country's medical devices and the service sector that includes education and training, he added. "We're targeting a big market. We're starting with the developing countries, but we plan to move onto the advanced nations in the future," he said. "We plan to develop this market to get larger than the shipbuilding market, which currently amounts to $50 billion."


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 11/18/2011

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MALAYSIA: Education Savings Scheme to Go Online

The National Education Savings Scheme (SPPN) will conduct online registration and transactions through appointed agents from next year. National Higher Education Fund Corporation senior manager Tuan Din Mat said the move would help those who wanted to become members through bank-appointed agents throughout the country. Among the financial institutions involved in the scheme that has collected about RM500mil since it was launched seven years ago, are Maybank, Bank Simpanan Nasional, Bank Rakyat, Agro Bank, CIMB Bank and Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad. "This step is towards value-added services of the scheme and thereby attracting more investors to participate in the fund since it was launched in 2004," he said here yesterday. He added that the scheme, a facility for students pursuing higher education, promised reasonable dividends with the savings being exempted from income tax. Tuan Din said through the setting up of SSPN, parents would no longer face loan problems with the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).


From http://thestar.com.my/ 09/02/2011

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MDeC Readies Cloud-computing Push

MSC Malaysia caretaker the Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) is moving on a cloud-computing initiative that will further drive the technology in the country. This initiative will encourage greater adoption of ICT (information and communications technology), especially among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here. It will also help create an ecosystem for software developers in the country to create new and innovative products that can be delivered to the world market. Dinesh Nair, infotech division director at MDeC, said cloud computing is a critical enabler for Malaysia's economy. MDeC, he said, believes the country has the strength and capabilities to enter and capture a share of the cloud-computing solutions global market, which analysts say will be worth US$241bil (RM723bil) by 2020. "Cloud computing will open up many opportunities for everyone, both citizens and businesses," Dinesh said on the sidelines of the 2011 Red Hat Forum in Petaling Jaya. The technology enables computing resources to be delivered and shared via the Internet. He believes cloud computing's pay-as-you-go model, which turns a business' capital expenditure into operational expenditure, is a good reason for SMEs that are accustomed to doing business the conventional way to adopt IT. "As opposed to taking a risk and investing in one particular application, SMEs will have a choice of selecting business applications that are available on the cloud, that can help them in their business processes," he said.

Besides helping with business processes, cloud computing can open up new revenue streams for local software developers and the nation. The Internet-driven nature of cloud computing provides these applications developers with longer market reach, with which to promote their products, according to Dinesh. "We are in the middle of South-East Asia. Our neighbouring countries, such as China, Indonesia and India, are experiencing booming economies and are looking to us for technology leadership," he said. He said innovative minds in the Malaysian technology industry should be aiming their cloud solutions at the regional market instead of concentrating on the domestic market which is limited and small. The cloud-computing initiative is ready to launch but Dinesh declined to reveal the date. The MSC Malaysia initiative is tasked with developing the nation's knowledge-based economy. Red Hat's forum discussed ways that businesses can participate in the cloud-computing market, as well as how they can make the most of investments in the technology. According to its website, Red Hat is the leader in enterprise Linux and is the most recognised open-source brand in the world.


From http://techcentral.my/ 09/09/2011

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Use 3D Software to Plan Disaster Recovery

Disaster management isn't something one would normally associate with a 3D design software company, but Autodesk Inc claims its solutions can help simulate natural disasters to help governments be better prepared. Such disasters cannot be prevented but countries can train to overcome their effects, according to Geoff Zeiss, director of utility industry programs at Autodesk. He said Autodesk has software tools - such as Civil 3D, Revit, AutoCAD Map 3D and 3DS Max - that can help simulate and enable civil planners to visualise the effects of disasters on various levels of intensity. This would also lead to better building and other infrastructure designs. "A lack of effective town planning could mean yearly flash floods that damage roads, buildings and public infrastructure," said Geoff. "There is a need to change the ways buildings and infrastructure are designed, to better withstand the consequences of natural disasters, such as floods." By combining the solutions developed by Autodesk, he said, architects and engineers can more easily design buildings and other infrastructure to withstand disasters. "We are working to streamline the use of geospatial data, building information modelling and 3D design software to simulate real-life situations on a 3D model, which will help us more accurately visualise how these structures respond to the effects of a disaster," he said. "Such 3D simulations can also enable town planners to more accurately and efficiently estimate the cost of disaster recovery." For instance, the use of a smart-grid electrical system would give infrastructure planners greater oversight on how to restore power to any affected areas, as well as better manage power distribution under normal circumstances. Governments can also then set standards for new buildings to withstand different patterns and intensities of natural disasters; power and nuclear plants, in particular. "Given that with all the available tools and leveraging on intelligent models of urban environments, governments would be better able to install a clear action plan that would be activated in the event of a disaster," Geoff added.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/19/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Digital Technology Aids Disaster Relief

Recognizing the need for quicker and more efficient emergency response when calamities strike the country, a church-based, Jesuit-led organization and one of the country's telecommunications networks launched a disaster management system using the convergence of mobile and Internet capabilities. The E-Ugnay Disaster Management System of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB) and Globe Telecom aims to take advantage of the digital age in consolidating information from all over the country to allow on-ground personnel to act immediately during natural disasters. Erik John J. Gerilla, SJ, acting director of SLB revealed the importance of using digital capabilities in times of need. "The potential of the Internet in this field of disaster relief is largely underutilized. On the side, the utilization of mobile phones for communication is heavy during disasters. But without a web portal to consolidate these vital information being exchanged through the mobile phones, coordination for timely action is not possible," he said. He expressed confidence that the system will enhance coordination among volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries. "With this innovation, we are confident in our ability to respond to emergency situations anywhere in the country. The system will become our main vehicle to disseminate information to our volunteers and potential donors, thereby maximizing our limited resources during calamities and disasters. It is also an effective way of preventing or lessening duplicate efforts among the response groups," Gerilla said.

E-Ugnay, an imperative to "connect" donors and beneficiaries, is the new portal for the Filipino spirit of "bayanihan" in the digital age since it allows partner organizations to send disaster assessment forms, request for relief goods, and other data through a mobile phone application which will be consolidated by web-based application accessible online. The same data, tagged with the geographic location of the user, can also be sent to the E-Ugnay server via a mobile application. The system would then save the data, organize the information geographically and display it on a map. The E-Ugnay is developed by students from the Department of Information System and Computer Science of Ateneo de Manila University and later on taken over by the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center under Fr. Charlie Cenzon, SJ. The system involves processing the information received through an E-Ugnay-powered mobile phone and tracking in real time the number of relief goods needed in a particular location as well as facilitate their timely delivery to affected areas. Rob I. Nazal, head for Corporate Social Responsibility of Globe said this initiative can connect people at the forefront in disaster relief. "We are very glad to share our ICT competencies to a civil society initiative that increases disaster resilience by improving the coordination and communication of real-time disaster information, expanding donation channels, and connecting volunteers. Through this partnership, Globe and its employees hope to be more proactive in disaster relief efforts nationwide and at the same time showcase its network resiliency and innovative ICT solutions for disaster risk reduction and management," he said.

Nazal reported that Globe has provided food packages consisting of canned goods, instant noodles, rice, coffee, sugar and milk to some 400 families seeking temporary refuge at one of the hardest hit areas by typhoon "Pedring," Daanghari Elementary School in Navotas, during the September 28 on-line disaster monitoring map of SLB. As the official technology partner for E-Ugnay, Nazal disclosed that Globe will provide infrastructure support that will enable E-Ugnay to run on the network consisting of a postpaid mobile account; cellphone units for the E-Ugnay team, nationwide institutional hubs, and community-based partners; specialized SIM cards with discounted rates; and a P240,000 grant for SLB to implement its planned training activities for 2011-2012. Globe also pledged to donate its services during disaster relief operations through employee volunteer mobilization, fund raising support and GCASH services, Libreng Tawag for victims and families of affected communities, and Libreng Internet for E-Ugnay authorized field reporters.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/11/2011

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Pasig to Field More E-jeepneys

The Pasig City government will deploy three more e-jeepneys as part of its efforts to promote the use of environment-friendly vehicles. Pasig Mayor Robert C. Eusebio has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the e-Jeepney Transport Inc. that will pave the way for the deployment of three e-jeepneys which runs electricity generated by biodegradable waste. The first public transport system of its kind in Southeast Asia, the e-jeepney can be charged by plugging into an electric socket, using power from biodegradable waste. In a statement, the local city government said the e-jeepneys are part of their initiative to shift to a mode of public transport that does not pollute the environment. "The e-jeepney is a viable project that addresses the need for an environment-friendly public transport system under the Pasig Green City Program that won the Galing Pook Award for sustainable environment protection programs," the Pasig government said. The e-jeepney, which is expected to ply Pasig's streets in week's time, is a pioneering partnership between the private sector and the city government that promotes the use of alternative energy to help mitigate climate change and make communities more resilient to the impacts of global warming. Other cities like Makati also have e-jeepneys plying their streets. The shift to vehicles using renewable energy is considered as crucial towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/21/2011

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THAILAND: Smart Phones Lift Bank ATM Service

Krung Thai Bank has been able to improve ATM services for its customers around the country, guaranteeing ATM availability with only three hours of down time, thanks to the full-scale deployment of a new system called mobile-device management solution. Krung Thai General Business Service, a bank subsidiary and a cash-transit service provider, rolled out the solution in April to monitor Krung Thai's 6,000 ATM machines with an electronic system replacing a manual one. Krung Thai General Business Service's managing director Damrong Kaewprasit said his company invested about Bt1 million to developing the mobile-device management solution, which has transformed the bank's ATM checking and repair system from "manual record and key in" to "electronic record and real-time report". The mobile-device solution is designed to allow maintenance staff who carry out ATM-service monitoring and checking to download details of routine jobs assigned by the company's system, including ATM machines, repair situation, and the route they will take, in both text and map format. Then, out in the field, they check and correct the status of ATM machines and repair broken ones, moving through the job routes with more productivity. They can electronically record all data and take photos of the ATM machines and send them back to the office's database instantly. This creates greater efficiency. "We developed the mobile application to add on to our existing core system. We chose Android-based smart phones because they were open-platform. This is the future. Our maintenance staff use the smart phones as mobile computers, recording all information in text and photo and sending it back to the central system," Damrong said. He said that all 700 units of HTC Wildfire smart phones used in the project were registered with the office's system and would be locked if they were lost. Anyone picking the phones up would be unable to access the information inside.

The beauty of the mobile-device management solution is that it helps Krung Thai Bank to provider better ATM services to its own cardholders as well as those from other banks. Revenue is also increased, since Krung Thai's ATM machines are more available and more accessible. They are allowed to be down for no more than three hours. "We began this solution in October last year in some ATM machines, and rolled it out to all of our 6,000 ATM machines around the country in April. We have found that revenue is increased because we have less down time. Executives can get a report on ATM status in only a few minutes, rather than the 20 days it took in the past," Damrong said. Local software developer IT Beam designed and developed the solution for Krung Thai General Business Services. The company is now planning to extend the solution to the bank's cash-transit service. It will be trialled before the end of the year and is expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2012. HTC Thailand's country manager Nattawat Woranopakul said this was the first business application for an HTC Android phone in Thailand. HTC's role in Krung Thai Bank's new set-up is to provide support for the devices. This solution, with HTC's products, is able to improve productivity and speed up services while reducing costs. He said the Thai market for smart phones would grow to about 3.8 million units this year. Of these, about 40 per cent will use an Android platform. Globally, Android phones represent 38 per cent of the smart-phone market and HTC is the world's second-largest Android manufacturer. In the past two years, about 290,000 Android applications have reached the market, with more than six billion downloads. More than 2,000 new applications are uploaded to the Android market store every month, Nattawat said.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/11/2011

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VIETNAM: Only 8% of Homes Have Internet

A survey published by the Ministry of Information and Communications yesterday reveals that the rate of households nationwide connected to the internet is a low 8.2 per cent. This means more than 1.6 million of the 20.1 million homes surveyed have internet access, 4.4 per cent less than the number of home computers. The survey on the provision of telephone, internet and audio-visual services was made by the ministry in June last year in 11,000 communes, towns and wards across the country. It was also conducted at 14 telecom businesses and 67 radio and television stations nationwide. The survey showed that the number of households connected to the Internet in many provinces stood at between 2 to 4 per cent - and most of the connections were in urban areas. The number of households using the internet regularly in urban areas is 33 per cent while the figure for rural areas it is 7.2 per cent. On the use of television, the survey showed that an average of 90.4 per cent of households nationwide were serviced, but in mountainous provinces such as Lai Chau, Dien Bien and Ha Giang, nearly 40 per cent of households were too poor to own a set.

Mobile phone ownership is led by southern Binh Duong Province with 57 per cent of its population, followed by HCM City with 54 per cent and central Da Nang City, 47 per cent. Meanwhile, Ha Noi leads the country in terms of the number of fixed telephone subscribers with 32.3 per cent of households while the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta An Giang Province has the lowest rate of 8.4 per cent. Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said this was the biggest and most comprehensive survey ever made by the sector. Figures collected from the survey would be used for the construction of an information and technology project for the 2011-15 period and up to 2020. The results of the survey would help map out plans to apply information technology in socio-economic development in surveyed areas, he said. It would also help form an information data basis, contributing to the construction and operation of the e-Government.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/12/2011

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BANGLADESH: To Introduce Mobile Banking at Post Offices

The Directorate of Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) will introduce a banking service that allows people to make transactions over a cell phone. The service, titled post e-pay, will be launched in all the 9,800 branches of the post office in phases with the help of the mobile operators' countrywide network. This is not the first time that mobile money services have been launched in the country. However, this new service introduces a person to person transaction. Clients can get the service without going to a post office and the charge for each transaction is three takas. The service can be utilised for the payment of bills. The government can also pay salaries to employees through the service. Initially, 50 post offices in the capital, Dhaka, have been developed for the service and four new districts will be prepared each month for the service. According to M Mobasherur Rahman, director general, BPO, the directorate is targeting 30 lakh clients in the first year and one crore in the second. Two types of technologies will be used for the service: SMS and internet.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/12/2011

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Govt. Firm to Reach Health Facilities to Doorsill of People Thru' ICT

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Captain (Retd) Majibur Rahman Fakir said the government will extend health facilities to the doorstep of the people by utilizing information and communication technology (ICT). He said steps will be taken to provide laptops in community clinics throughout the country in order to ensure people's access to ICT-based health-care. The State Minister was speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural function of the 25th and 26th special orientation training course for BCS (health) cadre at the auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM) on Sunday. Health Secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir and Director General of Health Department Professor Dr. Khandakar Mohammad Sifayet Ullah, among others, spoke at the function. Khandakar Mohammad Iftekhar Hasan, DG of BIAM, chaired the program. "Bangladesh has earned international reputation and its health sector is well known to the world for the rare feat it achieved in reducing maternal and child morality rates to achieve the MDG goal", State Minister Fakir said. He mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received South South Award for her outstanding contribution to develop Bangladesh's health sector by using the Information Communication Technology (ICT).


From http://www.unbconnect.com/ 09/25/2011

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INDIA: E-solution for Public Complaints

The Indian state government of Orissa has launched a new technology platform to solve the grievances of its citizens. Supported by the UN Millennium Campaign, 'Samadhan' will send real-time feedback to people on government service delivery to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs. Bhubaneswar: Honorable Chief Minister of Orissa, Mr. Naveen Patnaik inaugurated an Internet-based technology platform called "Samadhan: Citizens Action for Governance" on Friday 26 August 2011 at the Hotel Swosti Premium. Samadhan will allow citizens to directly track and monitor their entitlements under various national and state government schemes. Your NREGA wage has not been fully paid, a mother has not received her Janani Suraksha Yojana money, an Anganwaadi worker is not opening the nutrition center everyday - citizens can take any such problem they are facing and send a simple text message, call in at a toll-free number or visit the District Collector's Office to demand or file complaints through Samadhan.

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik making a speech at the inauguration of the Samadan platform/ Photo credit: Samadhan A joint initiative of District Collectorate of Koraput, the United Nations Millennium Campaign, and civil society organizations South Orissa Voluntary Action (SOVA) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Samadhan is also a tool to support the government in delivering the services to citizens in a more efficient, accountable and transparent manner. Once complaints are registered in Samadhan through facilitation by CSO partners, local administration will process the complaints and respond with appropriate actions to resolve them.

After witnessing how the first case has been acknowledged and will be monitored on a user-friendly online platform, Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik said, "The Government of Orissa is committed to addressing grievances of the people of Orissa in a time bound and transparent manner. Today, I am delighted to launch the Samadhan platform, which will certainly strengthen our existing efforts to respond to citizens' grievances and concerns with the active engagement of the UN in India and civil society partners." "With only less than five years left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, it is very encouraging to witness that the District Government itself, with the full support of State Government, is initiating such a participatory tool for citizens to monitor and track their MDG entitlements and for improving service delivery." said Ms. Corinne Woods, Global Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, who travelled from New York to attend the launch.

Responsible government officials in Koraput have been assigned as the focal point for responding to Samadhan complaints and taking timely actions, and they are expected to provide updates on the progress in resolving each case. On the other hand, citizens who have submitted complaints can log into the Samadhan website to keep track of their own case and see the progress themselves. In the meantime, media and public can also view a summary report showing what types of issues are being raised and how those are resolved. In the medium- and long-term, Samadhan will also help the government identify persistent bottlenecks, systematic constraints and other outstanding issues by analyzing the data and information about the submitted complaints and the processes of resolving those issues. Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP who represented the UN system in India said: "The unique community monitoring tool 'Paheli' piloted by the Government of Orissa with support from UNDP and other UN agencies is one such example of empowering communities through an easy-to-understand survey of people's own perception of delivery of critical public services in health, education and livelihood. Such real-time feedback can help bring governance closer to the people."

Mr. Sanjit Patnayak, Secretary of SOVA - one of the primary civil society organizations who coordinate this initiative in Orissa - shared his excitement by saying: "We believe that today's launch of Samadhan is the beginning of a strategic partnership between the government and citizens backed up by civil society organizations and facilitated by the UN, to ensure that people of Orissa, especially the tribal and the most marginalized, will receive the services they are entitled to under various government schemes." Ms. Shairose Mawji, Chief of UNICEF Orissa, said, "I congratulate the Government of Orissa in launching this excellent initiative which we hope will empower mothers, families and care-givers to seek those entitlements that will make a real difference to the lives of children in Koraput."

The MDGs are eight goals that world leaders committed to achieving by 2015 during the MDG Summit in New York in 2000. The MDGs contain concrete, specific, and time-bound targets on improving the lives of the world's poorest people. These goals are: 1) end extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieve universal primary education; 3) promote gender equality and empower women; 4) reduce child mortality; 5) improve maternal health; 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) ensure environmental sustainability; and 8) develop a global partnership for development.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 08/31/2011

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E-deals for Land in Indian State

Under the e-Zameen project, the state government of Gujarat has created an electronic database of land holdings which can authenticate land deals online. This has helped expedite the otherwise cumbersome process of procedural formalities. Gujarat government will soon be introducing its e-Zameen project, which authenticates sale of immovable property and reduces time for registration of a sale deed, in the urban parts of the state soon. Presently, the model is available only in the rural areas of the state. "We would be switching over to implement the model of e-Zameen for transaction of immovable property in the urban areas too. This IT driven model was so far available for rural areas of the state," Gujarat Chief Secretary A K Joti said. "For extending this model to urban localities, a database is being created through the city centric offices, functioning under the state's revenue department," he said.The model was first introduced by the state in July last year as part of its e-governance project and all the rural areas got covered under it by March this year. According to the state government estimates, close to two lakh mutations (a process post execution of a sale deed) for agricultural land take place annually, out of the total 10-12 lakh. The model has reduced time for registration of a sale deed and has also got rid of the middlemen hanging around the offices of mamlatdars (block officers).

"We could do this project, because we have a centrally located database, which has all the data of the holdings of farmers of the state. It is unique, because through it, we have been able to do business process re-engineering," Joti said. Under the e-Zameen project, the state government has created database of land holdings in electronic form, which can authenticate land deals intranet. Consequently, the system performs major procedural formalities automatically, like mutation, which used to be earlier done on paper and hence, were time-consuming and cumbersome. "With this model in place, the number of intermediaries, who used to hang around the offices of mamlatdar, misguiding people, has come down substantially," Joti said. The time taken to register a sale deed has come down to around 15-20 minutes, while earlier, the time taken for this used to be around 2-3 months, he said, adding that time consumed to get a final copy of the registered sale deed was 3 to 4 months. Gujarat is amongst one the few states, where rapid urbanisation is taking place."With 43% population of the state in urban areas, Gujarat is one the few states where rapid urbanisation has taken place in last few decades," Joti said. "Between 2001-2011 we have seen very rapid urbanisation," he said.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 09/13/2011

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Online System to Protect Migrant Indian Workers

A web-based information sharing system for overseas Indian workers will be trialled in the United Arab Emirates. The scheme by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will allow attestation of employment contracts thus preventing abuses of worker's rights. Manglore: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will launch a web-based attestation system of employment contracts for workers in United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month. Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs and Aviation/ Photo credit: AFP The new system will help ensure that same documents and job contracts are submitted to authorities on both sides. Through the initiative, the ministry wants to make sure that terms of contracts between an employer and employee are determined before the worker leaves India. With the UAE government already agreeing to the system, the ministry is now looking forward to a similar arrangement with other countries in the Middle East, Vayalar Ravi, minister for overseas Indian affairs, told Times of India. "The attestation system will be largely beneficial to Indian workforce who land up in the Middle East chasing their dreams of a job, and most of them end up getting cheated by agents and their prospective employers," he said. Web attestation of contracts, Ravi said, would help the ministry enforce contract conditions. Noting that Indian workers often face difficulties in Gulf countries as their contract conditions are changed by their foreign employer, he added that the new attestation system would change the condition. "There are nearly 7.5 million overseas Indian workers in the Gulf region. They migrate for economic reasons and send back remittances. We will have to support them on their return. We have also tightened the screws on overseas job agents who take unscrupulous youths for a ride. The office of Persons of Indian Origin will attest such job contracts and will ensure that the contractual obligations are adhered to," he said.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 10/03/2011

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Giving Citizens Right to Public Services Through ICT

The Right to Public Services Act in the Indian state of Bihar utilises ICT tools to enable the citizens to demand time-bound services from public servants ensuring corruption-free public service delivery. In national as well as international policy circles, there is an increasing emphasis on good governance and government's critical role in development processes. Passed in April 2011 and implemented on August 15, 2011, the RTPS in Bihar is first such law in the country directed at tackling corruption, inefficiency and lack of transparency in the conduct of government affairs. The RTPS in Bihar is an exemplary initiative by the state government to check corruption in public service delivery/ Photo credit: GKC The Right to Service Act 2011, implemented on August 15, 2011, had made it mandatory for the state government and its agencies to extend services to people within a stipulated time frame. Officials failing to meet the deadline can face penalties ranging from INR 500 to 5,000 and dismissal form service, in extreme cases. The Act currently covers 30 services and 10 departments. Information and Communication Technology tools have been utilised to make the process of implementation and monitoring streamlined, corruption-free, centralised, and less labour-intensive. Primary components of this ICT system are Adhikar- service delivery and monitoring software; mechanisms for tracking applications; an Interactive Voice Response System wherein citizens will be able to call a helpline-Samadhan- and get clarifications about their entitlements and service covered under the Act, procedure for filing applications, track application status and connect to Public Grievance Officers; there is also a provision for on line applications and on line delivery of services. Acknowledgement receipts are instantly generated at the time of application submission, providing applicants with authentic proof to claim redressal in case of non-delivery of services requested. Provisions for First and Second Appeals act as safety nets for the applicants as well as the penalised Designated Public Officials.

Achievements
The RTPS was introduced in Bihar on August 15, 2011. Despite being in the nascent stage of implementation, there has been a tremendous demand for its use. Figure 2 exhibits the impressive performance of the Act in the first month of its operation. Even though only a little over 50 per cent of the applications received have been disposed, the primary achievement of the programme till now has been to encourage citizens to demand public services from the government.

The way forward

Planned enhancements to the programme include introduction of tatkal (fast track) services that would allow citizens to procure services in a shorter time than the time limit stipulated under RTPS. The details- charges etc- of this provision are still in the development phase. The Government of Bihar has recognised the need to make changes in the existing administrative system with regard to new systems and processes. RTPS will subsequently be up-scaled to include more services and departments.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 11/02/2011

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SRI LANKA: Tracking Police Clearance Certificates Using SMS

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) in collaboration with the country's police department recently launched an SMS-based tracking service for police clearance certificates. ICTA is a state-owned agency responsible for crafting the country's ICT policy. The service allows citizens to get information on the status of their police clearance certificate application by sending an SMS to 1919, the Government Information Service number. The information on the status of the police clearance certificate application can also be obtained from the websites, www.srilanka.lk and www.police.lk. "This is an important development," Sanjaya Karunasena, Chief Technology Officer, ICTA told FutureGov. "Police clearance certificates are critical documents that are required when applying for a job or a visa, for example. By making this information handy to people through their mobile phones, we are able to provide citizen services via mobile communications technologies."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/07/2011

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Sri Lanka E-channelling to Expand Service Coverage

E-Channelling, a listed Sri Lankan dotcom enabling patients to make appointments with doctors over the internet, is "aggressively" promoting the service outside Colombo after a sharp increase in bookings when it expanded its hospital network. The company said it is also looking to inject about a billion rupees into a newly formed subsidiary, ECL Soft, under which it aims to place all its non-healthcare sector ventures. "The company is aggressively promoting its channeling solution out of Colombo, where the company believes there lies an enormous potential for the product," e-Channelling chairman P Kudabalage told shareholders in the firm's annual report for 2010-11. "Patients in these remote areas find it problematic and tiresome to obtain access to quality healthcare. Our company is assisting such patients by presenting a simple and straightforward solution."

Chief executive Asanga Karunaratne said the number of appointments with doctors booked by patients through its service had increased sharply last year after it expanded the number of hospitals on the network. "We have expanded our hospital partner network by 53 percent which has helped to facilitate an increase in our total bookings by 31 percent." Last year, the total numbers of bookings increased to 507,039 from the previous year. e-Channelling net profit shot up 344 percent to 8.33 million rupees in the year ending March 31, 2011 from the year before with sales up 22 percent to 61.5 million rupees. Kudabalage said the company is also expanding its new subsidiary, ECL Soft (ECLS), set up in April 2011.

"It aims to structure all its non-healthcare sector ventures under ECLS and would require capitalization of approximately one billion rupees. ECL is contributing 150 million rupees in the next few months." ECL Soft is a joint venture with equal shareholdings between eChannelling and its partner Software Distributions of the United Kingdom formed to diversify into BPO (business process outsourcing) work. The joint venture's lines of business are non-healthcare software development, knowledge process outsourcing, business process outsourcing and consulting, and global marketing of the company's products.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 09/14/2011

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Sri Lanka: Digital IDs Almost Ready

Preliminary arrangements have been finalized for issuing a new digital national identity card instead of the present identity card, the Department of Registration of Persons said. The new identity card will meet the present day requirements both locally and abroad since it will contain more details. Many details which are not available in the current identity card have been added to the new identity card. This unique new digital identity card can also be used overseas. The authenticity of the new digital identity card is high as many security measures have been introduced to the digital identity card. Considering certain shortcomings identified with the present identity card, especially during the humanitarian mission the Department of Registration of Persons took measures to go for the digital format. The new digital identity card will be issued free of charge for those who are using the present identity card issued by the Department. With the introduction of the new digital identity card, the issuing of the current identity card will come to an end. Gradually, it will replace all old identity cards, Department official said.


From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 10/28/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: Facility for ID Cards via Internet Thrown Up to Citizens

Now, people in Azerbaijani will be able to obtain an identity card and passport through internet shortly. Works are under way to provide population with electronic services under the decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev, the minister said to a local newspaper. A special system to be created soon will enable the Azerbaijani citizens to obtain an identity card, national passport, various certificates, special permits and licenses via the internet. In total, the list of services will include 25 types of e-services, the minister added. A total of 35 workers of the Interior Ministry have been dismissed in 43 corruption cases over nine month of 2011, the minister noted.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/21/2011

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Azerbaijan's All Hotels Will Join "Hotline" Network by Late 2011

Azerbaijan's all hotels will join the "hotline" network by late 2011, Azerbaijani Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev told journalists today. The opportunity to book hotel rooms in the country in online regime has been offered three years ago. This work was carried out jointly with the Turkish counterparts via the "hotel hotline", he said, adding that some hotels do not wish to connect to this system. "I believe all hotels' joining the network will be completed by late 2011. It is very important during the" Eurovision-2012 "and other international events," Mr. Garayev said. The 57th song contest "Eurovision" will be held in Azerbaijan. The semi-finals of the competition will be held on May 22- 24, Final - May 26, 2012.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/15/2011

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ICT Services Top AZN 990.2m This Year

The information and communication services provided to the population and organizations in January-October made up AZN 997.2m in Azerbaijan. According to the State Statistical Committee, this is an increase by 11.7% over last year. Services to population constituted 73.1% of the overall volume. All the same, 62.3% of revenues were in mobile communication. This figure has increased by 4.2% over the last year to settle at AZN 621.4m.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/16/2011

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KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Users Reach 6.7 Million

Number of Internet users in Kazakhstan reached 41 percent of the total population, or 6.7 million people. Kazakh Minister of Communication and Information Askar Zhumagaliyev announced it at the Fifth International Forum "Informatization of Education System" on Thursday in Astana. According to him, every Kazakh citizen will get broadband internet access by 2015.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 11/03/2011

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AUSTRALIA: NSW Flags $170m E-Health Medication System

The NSW Government plans to spend $170 million on an e-health initiative aimed at improving medication management. The project, revealed as part of the O'Farrell Government's first Budget which was handed down today, represents 1 per cent of the Government's overall $17.3 billion budget for healthcare. However at this stage there are no further details available regarding what the project will involve or how it might be rolled out. Medication management remains a vexed issue both for the aged care and hospital sectors where staff are often challenged to properly manage dosage control and understand the contra indications that might arise for patients prescribed multiple medications. IT supplier CSC welcomed the initiative. Lisa Pettigrew, national director for health services, said that: "The $170 million e-health project to improve medication safety will not only save lives, it can save the time of busy clinicians and potentially reduce expenditure in future budgets by providing modern, efficient and safe healthcare management programs".

Ms Pettigrew also said that she hoped the Government's $4.7 billion capital works programme which will fund hospital upgrades over the next four years would also incorporate telehealth and e-health technologies. In a budget that is heavy on adding front line staff - nurses, teachers and policemen - technology has taken something of a back seat. But in education $23 million has been allocated to fund the installation of 4,300 interactive whiteboards in government schools. The budget has also earmarked $184 million to redevelop the state's Spatial Information Exchange which will digitise records held by the Government and provide a comprehensive property addressing system. A further $35 million has been allocated for police IT, including $12.3 million to upgrade the Computerised Operating Police System (COPS) and $9.2 million for a technology refresh. Emergency services have also secured some technology funding, including $16.6 million to upgrade the Rural Fire Service's private mobile radio network; $8.9 million for enhanced technology applications and equipment for the State Emergency Service; and $4.5 million for an upgrade of Fire and Rescue NSW's electronic management platforms.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 09/06/2011

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AUSTRALIA: 80% of TVs and Computers to Be Recycled by 2021 - Government

The Australian Government has released a set of draft documents detailing new TV and computer recycling regulations that it says will see up to 80% of computer products recycled by 2021-22. The draft regulations are a part of the Federal Government's Product Stewardship Act 2011 that came into effect in August this year with the aim of managing the health, environmental and safety impacts of products sold in Australia. The act has an initial focus on electronic goods such as televisions and computer items, although its scope will be expanded to other industries over time. As part of the initiative, the Government has released a set of draft regulations for the Australia-wide Television and Computer Recycling Scheme that has an aggressive target of ensuring 80% of all televisions and computers are recycled by 2021-2022. Initially, under the draft regulations a recycling target level for televisions and computers in Australia will be set at 30% by 2012-13. Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said in a statement yesterday that feedback on the draft regulations - open for public consultation until October 10 - will be taken into account before the regulations are put in place later this year.

"The draft Regulations set out exactly what is required of importers and manufacturers of televisions and computers under the national scheme, including recycling targets and provision of reasonable access to collection services," he said. "Once fully operational, the industry-funded scheme will increase recycling rates, recover valuable resources, and reduce the amount of hazardous waste going to landfill and potentially entering the environment." Other points of topic covered by the draft regulations include the creation of a target level for the recovery of materials from the recycling process, as well as the creation of minimum reasonable access requirements for access to national collection services. As part of the current phase out of analogue television across Australia, the Government has worked with a number of councils to offer television-specific recycling programs.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 09/13/2011

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Australian State's US$2 Mil Funding to Boost ICT Skills

The Victorian Government has announced it will release AU$2 million (US$2.1 million) to fund a two-year programme aimed at increasing the number of IT workers in the state. Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said the initiative includes various programmes to encourage students to pursue ICT-related careers. Rich-Phillips made the announcement at 2011 Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association conference. "While Victoria's ICT workforce is growing twice as fast as the national average and produces one third of national IT graduates, we still need to put in the groundwork to ensure we are prepared for future challenges," he explained. Funding will be divided in three areas - improving awareness and understanding of ICT careers; working with post-secondary education sectors to enhance the quality of ICT courses, and increasing the supply of ICT workers from non-education pathways such as career changers and by growing the number of women in ICT.

The programme also aims to improve the job-readiness of ICT graduates with a focus on issues relating to high-speed broadband. Rich-Phillips claims the programme will allow the Victorian ICT workforce to continue growing at one of the fastest rates in Australia. "As a growing number of industry leaders in ICT set up their Australian bases in Victoria, and with ICT becoming a more integral part of running a successful business, demand for trained professionals in Victoria is guaranteed to rise." More than five per cent of the Victorian workforce is in the ICT sector. The government intends to release its industry plan for the sector later this year.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/14/2011

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AUS to Build "Next-Generation" Digital Hospital

The new Royal Adelaide Hospital will become the benchmark for Australia's new medical institutions as HP builds and maintains its information, communication and technology systems. Set to be the next-generation digital hospital, the Royal Adelaide Hospital will enable clinical staff to deliver better patient care and is expected to cost the state government less to run in terms of nonclinical support services. HP will integrate the hospital's in-building systems with the South Australia Government's enterprise-level health patient admission and medical records applications to create a pervasive, real-time information environment. The solution automates clinical and facilities management workflows to improve care and efficiency and deliver better outcomes for patients. The new Royal Adelaide Hospital is the first facility to use version 2.0 of the HP Digital Hospital Solution as its technology foundation. The cohesive set of technologies and services will replace its single-function systems with a comprehensive solution that aligns technology with operational and patient priorities.

The integrated solution will link the South Australia Government's enterprise systems with critical hospital systems including: - Building engineering systems, such as building automation and security systems, providing critical alerts to clinical staff; - Automatically Guided Vehicle (AGV) System, providing more efficient and timely notifications to clinical and facilities management staff; - Communications Systems, such as the IP PABX, which will support devices including smartphones and tablets, improving staff responsiveness and efficiency; and - Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), used for patient and equipment tracking, providing improved medical equipment utilization, while ensuring patients are locatable by staff at any time for booked procedures or to ensure their safety. Medical systems including the nurse call system, picture archiving and communication system, and sophisticated bedside terminals also will be integrated. Performance and fault monitoring will be provided from a best shore location.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/21/2011

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AUS Rural Health Alliance Implements Virtualisation Infrastructure

The South West Alliance of Rural Health, Australia (SWARH) has started its virtualisation and collaboration technology implementation project with Geelong Barwon Health Hospital intensive care unit to pilot the new Virtualisation eXperience Infrastructure (VXI). Around 8000 IP phones are already deployed across the region, SWARH will turn these into hosted virtual desktops through a Virtualisation Experience Client - a device attached to the back of the phone, enabling health professionals to access the network via their smartcards. In an official statement, SWARH CIO, Garry Druitt said, "There are 350 cameras in the region, with around 1000 telehealth consultations each month. The biggest challenge is getting change in business practices; we have to encourage people to change by giving them great tools. The health service would benefit from a highly resilient environment to support its critical applications with no loss of service greater than five minutes and no loss of data for more than five to 10 minutes." SWARH will virtualise 70 per cent of its applications on a Unified Computing System, a convergence platform for business applications, network access and storage. More IP telephony handsets are also underway to ensure integration, while clinicians at the intensive care unit pilot the system on iPads. The technology, to be provided by Cisco, will be installed in 180 public and private healthcare sites by deploying 2000-3000 devices in the region.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/20/2011

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New Numbers and Improvements for 000 Services

The triple zero emergency telephone services across Australia will be improved and strengthened so they are better equipped to deal with increased demand during disasters, in plans announced by the federal government today. The Australian and New Zealand governments, in a joint decision taken at a meeting of the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management, have agreed to implement improvements to their respective national triple zero services. Australia's Attorney-General, Robert McClelland said today the decisions will improve the way emergency call service operates in all Australian states and territories. "Triple Zero plays a crucial role in managing disaster response and it will now be better equipped to deal with increased demand during disasters. Ministers agreed that all States and Territories will soon use a single national State and Territory Emergency Services phone number, 132 500, and non-emergency Police Assistance phone number, 131 444. "Having one nationwide number to call when you need assistance in non-life threatening or non-time critical situations will make it easier for people to remember and use wherever they are in Australia. "In addition, Ministers agreed to introduce recorded voice announcements (RVAs) for triple zero providing direction for people to call State or Territory Emergency Services, or Police Assistance national numbers if they do not require urgent assistance from police, fire or ambulance." Mr McClelland said that, as nearly half of all calls to Triple Zero are non-urgent or people seeking information, "these measures will go a long way to help ease the burden on Triple Zero."

Recent floods, fires and storms across Australia have seen Triple Zero face unprecedented call volumes. "Triple Zero should only be dialled in emergencies that are life-threatening or for time-critical situations requiring a rapid response from police, fire or ambulance services. "We are ensuring that people with genuine need are able to access emergency assistance swiftly whilst people who require access to appropriate sources of information and non-emergency assistance are also accommodated," Mr McClelland said. Ministers from both countries also agreed to build on progress by looking at setting up an all hazards Emergency Information hotline. "This is telephone hotline would give people a single number to call about information for floods, bushfire and other serious events," Mr McClelland said. Ministers also agreed to develop national standardised qualifications for police, fire and ambulance Triple Zero call takers and improved operability of communications systems that will assist Triple Zero services at times of high demand. "All of these initiatives will ultimately see an improved service for the public during what can be very distressing times," the Minister added.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 11/11/2011

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Online 'Fair Go' Essential for Our Digital Future: Report

Australia's digital future is dependent on grassroots organisations creating 'a fair go for all' online, according to a new report out today, and there's also a warning that access, alone, to high-speed broadband is not enough to make Australia a 'digitally-inclusive' nation. The report - A fair go for all in the digital era: Towards a Digital Inclusion Roadmap - does make recommendations for a plan to ensure that no-one gets left behind as high-speed broadband is rolled out, including the establishment of a national digital action plan with targets to get all Australians online by 2020. Compiled by Dr Tim Williams, the report brings together a wide variety of perspectives from not-for-profits, businesses and government emerging from the National Digital Inclusion Summit held in Parliament House earlier this year, and sponsored by Huawei, Community Sector Banking, and the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). "The challenge for Australia is clear: grassroots organisations cannot idly wait for government to take the lead on digital inclusion," Huawei Australia corporate affairs director, Jeremy Mitchell said. "While Australians increasingly have access to high-speed broadband, access alone is not enough - the onus is on community groups to take action and get people to utilise online services." The summit attracted a range of community organisations whose representatives contributed to the discussion on the proactive steps the not-for-profit sector can take to reduce the exclusion felt by many disadvantaged people, which laid the foundations of the report.

Peter Quarmby, executive director of Community Sector Banking, said today that the not-for-profit sector is central to the cultural, social and economic well-being of Australia, and "proactively embracing and shaping the digital future of the nation will greatly enhance the impact of the sector and reach the whole community." And AIIA CEO, Suzanne Campbell said government needs to ensure that targets for online participation can be achieved in an equitable way. "Everybody needs to be engaged in this process. While the South Australian government is leading Australia with specific targets for use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT): by 2014, 40% of business activity is to be online, the very real challenge is to ensure the benefits of broadband reach everyone in the community," Campbell added.

Along with the recommendation for the establishment of a national digital action plan, other recommendations in the report are:
• A national digital inclusion and information campaign targeting key target groups who may who may face barriers to getting online - such as young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, older people, people with disabilities, from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds and living in rural and remote communities.
• Start a community campaign for organisations or individuals to give one hour to enabling a neighbour, colleague, friend or client to 'get online'.
• That the Commonwealth, state and local governments work with relevant not-for-profit organisations in the shaping and development of digital inclusion programs.
• The appointment by the federal government of a National Digital Champion drawn from outside politics to help galvanise the campaign for digital participation; and the equivalent at state level.
• That the disposal of ICT equipment by the Commonwealth be diverted to digital inclusion programs.
• That each NFP organisation should appoint its own digital champion focused on the needs of its own client group - and identify the implications of high speed broadband for its own organisation and approach to delivery of services.


From http://www.itwire.com/ 11/16/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: School to Upgrade IT Systems, Provide Free Internet

As part of the Ministry of Education's School Network Upgrade Project, New Zealand's largest secondary school - Rangitoto College - is planning to improve its IT system and provide its 3200 students free internet access from next year. The school has developed a wi-fi network that will cover 134 classrooms on the school's 31 hectares. Associate Principal Don Hastie says there are 130 access points and each one can support up to 90 devices. The programme is part of NZ$1.5 million (US$1.2 million) investment for upgrading the school IT systems. About NZ$1 million (US$830,000) was spent on recabling as part of Education Ministry's project. Rangitoto College is connected to the one gigabit fibre optic North Shore Education Access Loop that was partly funded by the Labour government's Broadband Challenge initiative. By next year, Hastie said every classroom will have wireless connectivity, eight hard-wired access points and mounted projection system. The school has sent parents a booklet that explains the school's IT upgrade and which invites students to bring their digital devices to school in 2012. Hastie says they will welcome devices such as PCs, tablets and netbooks, but cellphones - including smartphones - will remain a banned item for students.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/26/2011

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NZ Plans Online Medicine Information Resource

New Zealand Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne recently announced the establishment of a country-specific, up-to-date, and comprehensive medicine information resource for health professionals- the New Zealand Medicines Formulary (NZMF). The formulary, to be rolled out across the sector within 12 months, will provide concise, independent, evidence-based medicines information and guidance on best practice, and will be available in all service areas. According to Dunne, "It will be a true one-stop-shop covering clinical information as well classification and subsidy status. Whether prescribing, dispensing or administering a medicine, the New Zealand Medicines Formulary will be the first reference resource for health professionals." The NZMF will be continuously updated, accessible online and on portable devices, and over time, will be fully integrated with the e-health environment including prescribing and dispensing software for better and more consistent decision-making about how medicines are used to benefit New Zealand's patients. The NZMF Project Steering Group has selected a partnership between the Best Practice Advocacy Centre New Zealand, Best Practice Advocacy Centre Inc., and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as the preferred supplier.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/07/2011

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NZ to Form National Health Innovation Hub

To form a better link between the health technology sector and the health service, Economic Development Minister David Carter and Health Minister Tony Ryall announced the government's plan to establish a national health innovation hub. The hub will be based within a core group of District Health Boards - Auckland, Counties-Manukau, Waitemata and Canterbury, with a projected cost of around NZ$24 million over five years, with the government committing NZ$3 million to the project and the balance made up from a mix of public and private sources. According to Ryall, "Many companies in our health sector are renowned for their innovative products, such as advanced communication technologies and medical devices. The innovation hub will help them take their ideas even further." The hub will assist with developing health technology ideas generated by clinicians and companies into business propositions, products and services. "New Zealand's health technology industry currently generates $1.8 billion in annual revenue but there is plenty of room for growth," Carter said in an official statement. "The new hub will be a catalyst for innovative ideas coming from our health technology sector. It will streamline links between the health service and industry, spread new products and ideas and commercialise intellectual property."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/23/2011

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NZ District Health Board Saves with E-whiteboard

The Waikato District Health Board (DHB) is reaping the benefits of its three-month old electronic whiteboard system designed to capture accurate updates on relevant information about a patient. According to Allan Crome, Information Systems Project Manager for the Waikato DHB, prior to the implementation of the electronic whiteboard, nurses had to manually update whiteboards to display relevant medical information of patients such as the assigned doctors and nurses, special dietary requirements, and the discharge time, among others. "The DHB decided it was time for an upgrade and started investigating electronic whiteboards. After a vendor selection process, which included a series of workshops, Waikato DHB chose to work with Datacom for the implementation of the system. " he said. "As of the very first day, uptake from the ward staff has been tremendous. They have used the system right from day one and it's never reversed back to any other type of manual system," he says. With the system in place, Crome said that it has become a valuable time-saver since the information is made available in the two workrooms, saving the staff from having to walk to "the one whiteboard" for accurate updates. In addition, it also allows the bed management and hospital catering services to seamlessly access the system without having to physically visit the wards, or call the ward staff to find out where certain patients were and which beds were free, and to know what their dietary requirements are.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/31/2011

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Wellington - The Creative Digital City

Many national governments have created plans for their digital aspirations - both for the use of technology by the government (e-government), and also outlining the role of ICT within the economy and society. In the future, individual cities will be looking to differentiate themselves, and more cities across the region are developing their own digital blueprints. Wellington's strategy is focused in three areas; firstly to "make Wellington the place where talent wants to live", which recognises that there is a global competition for talented people, and that decisions by the city council can influence how people see the city; secondly, to "inspire shared knowledge and development of ideas and creativity", and the open source community is a good example of this; thirdly to "Make Wellington a world leading place for digital activity' by ensuring quality digital infrastructure such as ubiquitous broadband and wifi. Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington mayor, was at the FutureGov Summit in October, and welcomed the opportunity to understand how government leaders are planning for the future. "It was great to be able to interact with peers from other countries" said Celia, "and I made some valuable connections with people who can be part of a network of digital leaders. Wellington already has twin city arrangements with Beijing, Xiamen and Sakai; I am looking to strengthen our links with countries in the region." The challenge was not to come up with ideas for projects to support the Strategy and Action Plan, says Philippa Bowron, Senior Strategy Advisor: "We have a long list of activities that will deliver results for the City, and huge support and enthusiasm from business, government and the community; the challenge is to make sure we prioritise and start to demonstrate the impact."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/10/2011

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Commonwealth Launches Cross-Govt Social Network

The Commonwealth Secretariat launched a new social network today that ties together 90 member agencies and organisations. Called 'Commonwealth Connects', the network consists of public information portal and password-protected social networking functions for official networks, forums and advisory bodies of the Commonwealth. Project Executive Richard Simpson said it would facilitate the planning and preparation of high-level meetings, policy consultations and the preparation of joint submissions to international bodies. It would also allow countries to share expertise and best practices to promote capacity building for less developed countries, he said. "The goal of Commonwealth Connects is to harness the power of twenty-first century web technologies to strengthen the Commonwealth community," Simpson said. Initially, the public-facing section of the site will aggregate data sourced from some 200 Commonwealth agency websites. Simpson said a major challenge for Commonwealth Connects was enabling search engine, calendar and opportunity listing features on a cross-site basis. Meanwhile, password-protected social networking information would be secured "according to the level of confidentiality required by the participants", he said. "All communities will require a user name and password to log in... Participants at the outset will determine who has access to what," he said. "Higher levels of security for the network and documentation can be added in."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/28/2011

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UN-Backed Forum Discusses Internet Security, Openness and Privacy

The largest international Internet governance meeting ever wrapped at the United Nations office in Nairobi, Kenya, today with 2,000 experts discussing security, openness and privacy as inextricably interconnected issues that cannot be dealt with separately. Over four days the UN-backed Internet Governance Forum (IGF), set up to support Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in carrying out the mandate of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, debated actions taken by Internet actors in relation to whistleblower sites, the seizure of domain names and proposals for blocking of websites and filtering of networks. The role that cyber security operations centres and law enforcement in countering cyber-attacks and cyber-crime, and the impacts of action taken to cut access to the Internet for individuals, groups or entire countries from the global Internet also figured high on the agenda of the meetings, at which 125 governments were represented along with the private sector, civil society, the Internet community, international organizations and the media. In keeping with IGF traditions, the meeting results are not formal recommendations but are issued as multi-stakeholder dialogues to other international processes and particularly the domestic policy issues of all those concerned with Internet governance. The main theme of the meeting was "The Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation," with increased access leading to new development opportunities, freedoms and innovations. "Participation in the conference halls and on-line was far greater than last year," IGF secretariat official Chengetai Masango said, calling this year's forum the biggest and liveliest since the inception of the institution in 2006. "This year's forum captured the Internet as a medium for positive change and human development."

At one session delegates strongly agreed that the Internet needs to be an open space with limited regulation. It needs to be a public square where everyone can come together to organize and mobilize. But at the same time, users also need to feel safe. Many States fear the Internet and, more and more, criminal law is being applied to the online world that at times "is creating panic." They also stressed the need to strike a balance between security, openness and privacy. People need to be able to trust the Internet, to feel comfortable, to be able to use it and receive maximum benefit. There can be no freedom on the Internet if there is no protection against crime or safeguards against cyber-crime. Discussing the pros and cons of regulations, delegates noted that these can be good as well as bad. The Internet is good because it is widely free for all, while regulation is bad as it threatens to take away opportunity for Internet use by certain actors. The issue is complicated and not black and white, but with lots of grey areas, they added.


From http://www.un.org/ 09/30/2011

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ARAB STATES: Qatar Boosts Cyber Security as Digital Society Expands

Protection of'critical information infrastructure' is a key element of Qatar's cyber security programme and 2015 national ICT strategy, a senior official said. Qatar understands that information systems, which institutions rely upon, are vulnerable to user error, malicious attacks or natural disasters, said ictQATAR assistant secretary general Hassan al-Sayed. He was addressing the opening session of the Meridian Conference here yesterday. "It is essential that institutions that rely upon information systems are able to identify these vulnerabilities and address them proactively," al-Sayed said. In Qatar, he said, "We continue to develop our digital society; we have announced plans to build a nationwide fibre broadband network, with the goal of 95% coverage by 2015. As broadband technologies spread here and elsewhere, core economic sectors, such as finance, energy, health care, and manufacturing, as well as many government services, will continue to take advantage of the benefits of incorporating the information infrastructure into their operations." He said ictQATAR continued to develop strategies and implement policies that would protect Qatar's communications infrastructure and raise awareness among all groups regarding adequate security controls.

To strengthen and protect Qatar's e-government initiatives, ictQATAR is developing information security policies and baseline standards to ensure that government information and electronic assets are protected against cyber attacks and other cyber crimes. "We recently developed SCADA security guidelines that are available to all critical sector organisations in Qatar and also sponsored SCADA security trainings. ictQATAR is also working on a draft CIIP Law aimed at strategically raising the resiliency bar at a national level." Soon, ictQATAR will also expand its current robust authorisation programme to establish secure authorisation and authentication for Qataris and residents, businesses, and government employees. This includes a national ID card system enabling the most secure access to information through e-government portals, and also the development of a Public Key Infrastructure, or PKI, that will enable the effective and secure use of digital certification. "ictQATAR will continue to hold a series of public awareness campaigns to raise awareness of threats and encourage information sharing among constituents, al-Sayed said. The Supreme Council of Information & Communication Technology also worked closely with financial institutions in Qatar through a public-private partnership, to identify standards, best practices and measures to improve the resiliency and security of the Qatari finance sector." Our Q-CERT team is also active on the frontlines of cyber security. Q-CERT proactively searches for cyber threats and ensures that attacks are detected and prevented before they cause real harm.

Our Government Security Operation Command Center monitors new developments on government and national networks and analyses trends to ensure that responses to cyber incidents are both evidence-based and co-ordinated. In addition, Q-CERT has established practices for investigating threats, including state-of-the-art digital forensics and malware analysis capabilities," al-Sayed said. ictQATAR executive director (cyber security) Khalid al-Hashmi said Qatar, through ictQATAR, joined Meridian in 2007, making it the first MENA country to become a member. ictQATAR's projects in CIIP such as producing SCADA security guidelines to mitigate attacks against the energy industry, developing a risk assessment framework through public-private partnerships in critical sectors such as energy and finance, improving response and recovery mechanism to threat outbreaks, conducting training programmes for SCADA operators, and working on policy drafts pertinent to CIIP, have positioned Qatar as one of the most progressive nations in protecting its critical infrastructure from cyber threats. The three-day Meridian Conference focuses on critical information infrastructure protection. The conference is being held in the Middle East for the first time. (By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter)


From http://www.gulf-times.com/ 10/25/2011

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EUROPE: EC Wants All Non-European Business to Adhere to Data Protection Directive

The European Commission (EC) wants all companies that store data on European citizens, whether based in the EU or not, to be subject to an updated version of the Data Protection Directive due to be unveiled in January. Businesses without offices or equipment in the EU can currently circumvent European law, as the original directive created in 1995 does not include provisions that could have foreseen the growth of the internet and cloud services. EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding and EC vice president Ilse Aigner met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the new directive, and outlined their desire for the law to compel any firm interacting with EU citizens to adhere to EU regulations. Furthermore, the politicians said that consumers should have more rights to protect their data, such as being able to provide explicit consent before any data is used by businesses and having the right to delete their data at any point. Once unveiled in January, the document will be subject to debate and discussion, giving companies the chance to respond to the proposed changes by lobbying or an official consultation process before it becomes law.


From http://www.v3.co.uk/ 11/09/2011

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German Spyware Scandal Expands to Political, Legal Circles

Ten days after the revelation that the German government's authorized spy software went far beyond legal surveillance and wiretapping, the scandal continues to have political, technical and legal effects throughout Germany. On Wednesday, at a closed session of the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs, Jorg Ziercke, the head of Germany's federal criminal agency, the BKA, told parliamentarians that his agency never examined the source code, or fundamental digital blueprints, of the "Bundestrojan," or Federal Trojan surveillance software. Anke Spriestersbach, a BKA spokesperson, confirmed the statements, and added that that all digital surveillance activity by the BKA and individual states ceased immediately following last Saturday's revelation by the Chaos Computer Club, a well-known German hacker club, that the software went beyond its legal restrictions of wiretapping and surveillance of a target computer. The revealed version could also record keystrokes, take screenshots, and activate a computer's webcam and microphone. In the committee session, Jorg Ziercke also explained that the software that the BKA could use had the capability to intercept telephone calls, e-mails and online chats, and that it had only been used 100 times between 36 law enforcement agencies across Germany since 2007, when the software came into force. (By Deutsche Welle)


From http://www.ejc.net/ 10/21/2011

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NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA: Cyber Attacks on News Sites in Chile

In the midst of rising social tensions sparked by ongoing student protests in Chile, with violent results for some journalists, Reporters Without Borders denounced new threats against freedom of information in the South American country following cyber attacks on three news sites on Nov. 4. The website Sitiocero lost all its records since June and had to suspend service for 24 hours. Two other alternative news sites, La Otra Voz and Puro Periodismo, were victims of similar attacks but suffered fewer losses. Mauricio Tolosa, co-founder and editor of Sitiocero, said the cyber attack was a form of censorship. Reporters Without Broders also criticized a bomb attack on the offices of newspaper publisher Copesa, which publishes the newspaper La Tercera.


From http://www.ejc.net/ 11/15/2011

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U.S.: Former State Official to Lead Federal Cybersecurity Efforts

Mark Weatherford, California's former chief information security officer, will lead cybersecurity efforts for the federal government. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Weatherford on Thursday to the newly created position of deputy under secretary for cybersecurity. The appointment was announced in a blog post on the Department of Homeland Security website. Weatherford's new position, located within the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), focuses on large cybersecurity operations and communications resilience. "The newly created position will allow the Department to better carry out our mission to create a safe, secure and resilient cyberspace" wrote DHS Under Secretary Rand Beers.

Weatherford served as California's chief information security officer from 2008 to 2010 before leaving to join the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) as vice president and chief security officer. NERC is an organization of U.S. electrical grid operators that ensures the reliability of the North American bulk power system. Before coming to California, Weatherford spent three years as Colorado's chief information security officer. He's also a former naval cryptologic officer, where he led the Navy's Computer Network Defense operations and the Naval Incident Response Team. Weatherford, who is a security columnist for Government Technology magazine, will start his new position in mid-November.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/20/2011

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CHINA: Thousands of Websites Closed Over Illegal Online PR Deals

China's telecommunications authorities have shut down 6,600 websites nationwide for illegal public relations (PR) deals in a special campaign launched in April, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Most of these websites involved illegal groups which claimed to specialize in deleting online news stories and posts with negative influences or hiring other netizens to spread certain kinds of information or opinions on the Internet. Also during the campaign, industry and commerce departments across the country cracked 150 cases on illegal online PR deals and confiscated more than 1.13 million yuan (176,500 U.S. dollars), with focus on online advertisements, forums and BBS. Official figures show that more than 790,000 online posts and articles, as well as 1.65 million cached pages that contained illegal online PR content, had been deleted during the campaign as of the end of June. The campaign was jointly launched by the State Internet Information Office, MIIT, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC). According to the SAIC, government departments will explore ways to jointly set up a long-term mechanism to crack down on illegal PR deals.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/27/2011

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China Deletes 400,000 Web Links for Copyright Piracy

The Copyright Protection Center of China has deleted more than 400,000 unauthorized Internet audio video links since June 2010, according to a statement released Wednesday. As part of the country's efforts to crack down on rampant copyright infringements, the center launched services for both domestic and overseas copyright owners last summer. Since then, it has detected more than 410,000 links of copied video and audio materials and deleted 97 percent of them, the statement said. Copyright owners are informed by letter if infringements on their works are found by the center's round-the-clock monitoring service. So far, more than 2,400 such letters have been sent. The Chinese government has been cracking down on intellectual property violations by launching frequent, high-profile raids and campaigns. From October 2010 to June, authorities seized more than 13 million illegal audio and video products and print publications in a nationwide campaign, according to the General Administration of Press and Publication.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/09/2011

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China Cracks Down on Online Black Markets

The Ministry of Public Security has launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on online black markets selling illegal goods including weapons and human organs, the ministry said Monday. The campaign, to last till February next year, is to investigate and punish online trafficking of items such as guns, explosives, some kinds of knives, highly poisonous chemicals, wiretapping software, fake identity cards, counterfeit money, personal information and human organs, the ministry said in a statement. The police will not only shut down websites that are implicated or punish their owners, but suspend related phone numbers and online accounts and impose penalties on the offenders, the statement said. According to the statement, the supervision and investigation will be focused on search engines, instant messaging services, e-commerce platforms and online blogs and forums. If the websites fail to delete the illegal information promptly after notice, they will receive orders of suspension of operation, and the police will close those websites that are knowingly or repeatedly spreading the illegal information, the statement said. The ministry has also set up a tip-off website, www.cyberpolice.cn, for the public to report related offenses and is promising rewards for those who provide valuable clues, the statement said.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/14/2011

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China to Go High Tech in Online Crackdown of Illegal Publications

China will use advanced technologies to crack down on illegal publications and "harmful information" posted online, according to an cooperative agreement signed on Tuesday between the authorities and the country's top sciences academy. According to the agreement signed between the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publication (NOAPIP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Tuesday, the two sides will make joint efforts in research and development of core Internet technologies in cracking down on illegal and pornographic publications. Those core technologies include related monitoring and administering methods, discovering and recognizing of online publications, and evidence collecting of "illegal promulgation" on the Internet, according to the agreement. Liu Binjie, deputy director of the NOAPIP and general director of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the press watchdog, said at the signing ceremony that cases are increasing of promulgating "harmful information" over the Internet or mobile communication technologies. The agreement is another move by Chinese authorities to enhance the management of the Internet after false information about a jet fighter crashing spread across the country through online social networking services. The GAPP and NOAPIP announced Monday that they had launched a two-month-long special campaign to crack down on illegal media organizations and fake reporters, as well as falsified reports.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/15/2011

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JAPAN: Record Labels Unite Against Web Site

Thirty-one record companies have filed for a total 230 million yen in damages in a copyright suit against the operator of an Internet site enabling free downloads of music videos posted on YouTube. The record labels, many of which belong to the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), filed the copyright infringement suit in the Tokyo District Court on Friday against MusicGate Inc. The 31 companies include Nippon Columbia Co., Universal Music LLC, Johnny's Entertainment Inc. and Avex Entertainment Inc. RIAJ claims that the number of visitors to MusicGate's Tubefire Web site exceeds 2.2 million a month and a massive volume of music video files have been illegally downloaded from it, negatively impacting the music distribution industry. It is the first case of record companies suing the operator of a music download service, according to the plaintiffs. Tubefire was launched in 2007. The written complaint from the plaintiffs says Internet users are able to convert videos posted on YouTube into downloadable files via Tubefire, which violates the Copyright Law by replicating and distributing data without the consent of the right-holders. Google Inc., which operates YouTube, prohibits users from downloading videos posted on the site. Tubefire "promotes users' illegal actions and hampers the growth of the music distribution business," the written complaint said. Membership of Tubefire and exclusive software to download the files are not necessary, and users are able to import the downloaded files to their cell phones or portable MP3 players, such as Apple's iPod, to view the clips or listen to the music, according to the plaintiffs.

According to a RIAJ survey on Tubefire users, it is highly likely that music industry-related files were illegally reproduced on about 10,000 occasions between May and June. Based on the results, the companies under RIAJ demanded damages from MusicGate equivalent to the amount of money they collectively would have earned if the music was bought and distributed legitimately. A MusicGate spokesperson declined to comment, only saying that the company has not received a complaint from plaintiffs yet. The official insisted that there are similar sites to Tubefire, and that the company thought it had received implicit approval to provide such services for free. "At the same time, we urge users not to violate copyright laws on our site," the spokesperson said.A strong will in the music industry to block illegal downloading triggered the lawsuit against MusicGate. RIAJ surveyed about 4,200 people aged between 13 and 69 nationwide, and found that about 70 percent of them use video sites, including YouTube. About half of those people download music files. There are believed to be about 1.2 billion cases of illegal downloads of musical files annually, while music retail sales have been on the decline in recent years. According to RIAJ, 14 single releases passed the 1 million unit mark in 2000, while no album releases went platinum, which also amounts to 1 million units, in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, only one single release sold more than 1 million units. "The popularity of video sites is having a negative impact on the sales of CDs and DVDs, and also rental and paid distribution services," a RIAJ spokesperson said.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 08/24/2011

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Japan Eyes Private Firms Help on Cyber Attacks: Report

Japan plans to work more closely with private companies by sharing information on cyber attacks after defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was hacked, Nikkei business daily reported Sunday. The government also aims to ratify an international treaty on online crimes, the Nikkei said without citing a source. The United States has recently pressured Japan to take more action against cyber attacks after Mitsubishi Heavy, which works closely with Boeing, said in September network information such as IP addresses may have been leaked. Tokyo is considering asking private companies including utilities, railway operators, defense contractors, automakers and electronics to sign an agreement with public bodies to share information on cyber attacks, the Nikkei said. Once the agreement is in place, the government and the public bodies would then widely share information on such attacks without identifying which firms were targeted, the Nikkei said. But Tokyo will not establish a new law requiring firms to report online breaches to the government as this would be too difficult, the Nikkei reported. The government also plans to ratify the Convention on Cybercrime, a treaty dealing with network security breaches and other online crimes by establishing an international network to provide help to investigators globally, the Nikkei said. Japan, which in 2001 signed the treaty initiated by the Council of Europe, is among the nearly 50 countries that have signed or ratified the treaty, but it has yet to bring this into force. The government will hold a meeting Friday to boost information security, the Nikkei reported. Mitsubishi Heavy has said it so far had not confirmed any leaks on its products or technologies. An outside contractor is now checking whether any sensitive data had been breached. Rivals IHI Corp and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have also said they have received suspicious e-mails. It is unclear who was responsible for the attacks.


From http://ca.reuters.com/ 10/02/2011

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Govt to Prep for Cyber-attack by Sending 'Infected' E-mail to Staff

The government's Information Security Policy Council decided Friday to conduct a drill in which e-mails infected with a mock virus will be sent to about 50,000 ministry and agency employees to heighten their awareness of cyber-attacks. The e-mails with an attachment containing the fake virus will be sent to the employees between October and December. Those who open the attachment or inappropriately access it will be advised about how to avoid being duped by viruses.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 10/08/2011

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Japan Govt., Police Probing Cyber Attacks on Key Installations

A string of cyber attacks on Japan's Parliament, government ministries and some overseas embassies have raised questions about the adequacy of Japan's computer security, although officials say no confidential data have been lost in any of the attacks. Police are investigating the alleged hacking of a computer server at the lower house of Parliament. Computers at several Japanese embassies overseas also have been the targets of cyber attacks, receiving emails with virus attachments that have infiltrated the foreign ministry's servers, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted an information-systems official at the ministry, as saying on Wednesday. The announcement follows Tuesday's revelation that the trade and industry ministry has been targeted by computer viruses. While the government has been keen to play down the impact of the cyber attacks, the growing intensity of attempts to break into government and legislative computer systems suggests an urgent need to address their vulnerability to hackers. "Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly aggressive. We will have to improve our information-sharing across organizational lines of control," said Hiroya Izumi, an official at the security center.


From http://in.news.yahoo.com/ 10/27/2011

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Public Services in Nine Prefectures Cyber-attacked

Fujitsu Ltd. said the computer servers it uses for online local public services came under attack between noon Wednesday and early Thursday. Public online services were briefly incapacitated but no information was leaked after repeated, numerous access attempts through about 30 Internet protocol addresses overwhelmed systems in nine prefectures, according to Fujitsu. In the city of Fukuoka, for example, online services were interrupted intermittently for a total of six hours and 40 minutes starting Wednesday afternoon.


From Japan Times 11/11/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: Netizen Fined for Defaming Entertainer Online

A man was fined for posting false rumors on the Internet and defaming entertainer Lee Kyung-shil, local court officials said Monday. According to the Seoul Southern District Court, the man surnamed Lee, whose name was not disclosed to the media, was fined 2 million won ($1,693) for uploading false rumors about Lee Kyung-shil's remarriage. "In light of the degree of falsity of the rumor, the nature of the crime is serious, considering the fact that the victim is a widely known entertainer and that the rumor may have caused extreme mental distress," said court officials. The 47-year-old had written that the entertainer had destroyed her household by having an affair with a gangster, in an internet post last April.


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

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MALAYSIA: Cybercrimes Continue to Rise

Cybercrime is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide with more than a ­million people becoming victims every single day, according to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011. The victims of cybercrime also paid dearly with a total loss of US$388bil (RM1.21tril) to cybercriminals in 2010. Effendy Ibrahim, director of ­consumer business at Symantec Asia Pacific, said that cybercrimes don't only cost victims financially but emotionally too. "On average, it takes 10 days for a victim to recover from a ­cybercrime and it can be emotional too ­considering the amount of data they lose," he said at the launch of Norton 2012, Symantec's latest cybersecurity solution. However, victims could have saved themselves money and regret as the type of cybercrimes they fell victim to were preventable. The report found that the most common type of cybercrimes are malware, scams and threats targeted at mobile devices. However many people tend to underestimate the dangers of online crime thinking that it will happen to everyone else but themselves. The survey found that seven out of 10 adults thought they would more likely be a victim of physical crime rather than an online crime. "This is a lingering attitude users have when they are offline and it gets replicated when they are online," Effendy said.

The report also found that men, particularly those in the generation Y demographic, are most likely to become victims of cybercrimes. "Men spend more time online and do more 'dangerous' activities," Effendy said. The report stated that more men watch adult content, gamble and participate in online dating sites compared to women. "All these are social engineering techniques and it's quite easy to fall victim to such tactics," Effendy said.

Local threat landscape. Although Malaysia wasn't in the list of countries studied in the ­report, national cyberspace police Cybersecurity Malaysia said the findings are representative of the Malaysian threat landscape. "It is the same environment, so whatever that is happening in the world will definitely affect us the same way," said Cybersecurity Malaysia chief executive officer, Lt Col (Rtd) Prof Datuk Husin Jazri. He said the Malaysian ­cyberthreat landscape is no less alarming with over 10,000 cases reported every month up till August this year. Last year, Cybersecurity Malaysia received over 8,000 reports about cybercrime via its cyber999 hotline. Its Cyber Early Warning System has also detected over 5,000,000 ­security threats up until August.

Given the increasing amount of cyberthreats, Husin said there is a need for more proactive measures to prevent more Internet users from becoming cybercrime victims and it will take more than reviewing or improving current cybersecurity laws. "Amending laws take time and it is slower than the prevailing problem. We need to intensify education and awareness efforts to educate users on Internet risks," he said. Husin said Cybersecurity Malaysia is open to the idea of working with security solution providers like Symantec to come up with ­cybersecurity awareness ­programmes. Cybersecurity Malaysia already has a list of home-made ­security tools such as DontPhishMe, DNSwatch and MyPHPiPs that protects users from cybercriminals which can be downloaded for free. It is also working on ­establishing a Cyber Clinic which will offer an extensive list of cybersecurity services to computer users. The clinic is expected to be ready before the end of the year.


From http://techcentral.my/ 09/23/2011

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CyberSecurity, Akamai Sign MoU

CyberSecurity Malaysia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Internet content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies, to develop capabilities in the area of information security. CyberSecurity Malaysia is the national cybersecurity specialist centre and an agency under the purview of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry. The formal agreement, which is touted as the first of its kind in the world, seeks to provide a framework for collaboration and resource sharing when addressing the issues of cyber-based threats. The move is in line with recent calls made by the Government for the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation among members of the Apec Telecommunications and Information Working Group (Apec Tel) to counter negative acts which threaten the stability of governments. Speaking to reporters at a press briefing, CyberSecurity Malaysia CEO Lt Col (Rtd) Prof Datuk Husin Jazri said the initial focus of the MoU would be on areas in which both parties could easily work together. These areas include capacity building and development of IT security measures, awareness programmes, sharing of threat data for strategic intervention and R&D where possible.

Also present was Akamai Technologies public sector senior director Francis Trentley, who noted there is an understanding at a global level for processes and procedures to coordinate efforts against the borderless nature of cyberthreats. He added that while the types of threats have not changed significantly in recent years, the scale and method of distribution have - with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and malware attacks being the most common two. "CyberSecurity Malaysia are presenting themselves as a leader by taking this first significant step forward," said Trentley. Husin said there were three main areas of concern when it came to cyberthreats, namely national security and government infrastructure; public safety (identify theft and cyberbullying); and privacy issues surrounding intellectual property and data protection. Trentley noted that Akamai, as one of the world's largest platform provider, is in a unique position to see the global picture in terms of data and threat flows. "When someone gets attacked via IPs from another country, the challenge has always been who do we give the information of the attack to?" he said. Trentley added agreements such as the MoU with CyberSecurity Malaysia would facilitate the establishment of a framework for escalation to relevant local organisations. Both parties are now in the midst of discussing proposals and setting targets for the partnership.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/03/2011

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Malaysia Now CCRA Authorising Member

Four years after Cybersecurity Malaysia was accepted as a participating member of the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA), it is now an authorising member. This means that Cybersecurity Malaysia labs can now evaluate and certify IT products as ISO standard 15408, which is regarded as the international benchmark for IT security evaluations. This standard addresses product functionality, development environ-ment, documentation, and product-testing measures. The certification is recognised in 26 countries including the United States, Britain, South Korea, Japan and Germany. The official announcement was made at the opening ceremony of the 12th International Common Criteria Conference here. Science, Technology and Innova-tion Minister, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said the acceptance will uplift Malaysia as a regional centre for security evaluation and certification of ICT products. "The Government aspires to raise the level of our national competitiveness through ICT product evaluation and certification in line with the vision to transform the nation into a knowledge-based economy," he said when officiating the opening of the conference. Ongkili added that the certification will allow more developers to participate in Malaysia's ICT security services market which is is estimated to grow to more than RM400mil by 2014. Being accepted as a CCRA autho-rising member will also allow local ICT industry players to better compete in the global arena, Ongkili said. "In order to compete worldwide, our products need to meet globally recognised ­standards especially when businesses intend to export their products," he said. Ongkili also expects the local ICT industry to grow and develop more innovative products for the ICT security market. He said the ICT industry contributes 7% to the national Gross Do-mestic Product and about 2% of that comes from the ICT security sector. "The cybersecurity sector is growing because more and more people are concerned over security particularly in the government, e-commerce and banking sectors," he said. He added that the quality of such products will also improve as developers are motivated to get their products recognised globally. Cybersecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Lt Col (Rtd) Prof Datuk Husin Jazri said Malaysia can look ahead to offer ICT security assurance services particularly to the Asean region as well as Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries. "ICT solutions developers in the region as well as in OIC member countries can leverage on the Common Criteria benchmark and compete effectively," he said.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/04/2011

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Hackers Continue to Target Android Phones

Mobile malware continues to be a threat to Android smartphones, according to US-based cybersecurity company Sourcefire Inc. "Android smartphones are vulnerable to mobile malware because of its openness, which attracts hackers," said Alex Kirk, senior research analyst at Sourcefire. One the best features about the Android OS is that it provides access to a wide range of useful libraries and tools for developers to build rich applications on the platform. "But the same openness also attracts hackers to create malware," Kirk explained during his talk at the recently concluded HITB (Hack in the Box) security conference 2011 here. One type of malware that is affecting Android smartphones is the SMS trojan. When installed, the trojan will send out premium rate text messages without the owner's knowledge. As a result, the victim ends up with a huge telephone bill, he said. The other types of malware detected include those that transform a smartphone into a bot to resend viruses or to execute actions (which are executed remotely) without the user's consent. Another means of spreading malware on Android smartphones is via QR (Quick Response) codes. Once users scan the QR code, they are redirected to websites hosting Android trojans. Although mobile Android malware is significantly lower than desktop malware, which accounts for 40,000 attacks per day, it is still cause for concern, Kirk explained. "This is because Android dominates 50% of the smartphone market based on various research studies. Therefore, users needs to take steps to protect their smartphone," he said. As a general rule, Kirk advised users not to download applications from untrusted websites.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/25/2011

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VIETNAM: More Than 300 Vietnamese Websites Hacked in October

At least 345 Vietnamese government and business websites were hacked during October, according to recent statistics provided by the Ha Noi-based Bach Khoa Internet Security Corporation (BKav). Only nine cases were conducted by domestic hackers, the rest came from abroad. Also in October, BKav said more than 3,500 new types of computer viruses appeared in Viet Nam, infecting an estimated of 4.4 million computers, most notable was W32.Sality.PE. Two popular websites, diadiem.com and vozforums.com, recovered their domain names on Monday after losing them to hackers at the end of last month.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/08/2011

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BANGLADESH: Mission's Website Hacked

A week before prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's official visit to Dhaka, the website of Bangladesh High Commission, New Delhi has been hacked by a little known group which calls itself "Co-Cain Warriors". It appears the Bangladesh High Commission realised they had been hacked on Monday. By evening they had shut down their website (www.bhcdelhi.org) and launched damage control. The High Commission officials refrained from saying anything on this incident. When the website was opened this morning all on the home page had been overwritten with "Hacked By Co-Cain Warriors". Prime Minister is expected to visit Dhaka from September 6 to 7 amidst several confidence, cooperation building measures from both sides in recent months. In fact the Bangladesh High Commissions' is not the only website that has been hacked and defaced. The group "Co-Cain Warriors" has also hacked Burma Centre Delhi's website (www.burmacentredelhi.org). According to its website "Burma Centre Delhi is a non-profit organisation which was formed with the aim to work for the restoration of peace, justice, democracy and human rights in Burma, India and other parts of the world. BCD strongly believes that India, the world's largest democracy, can influence Burma and other countries of the world in bringing about peace and democratic transition." Since Monday morning the group, it appears, hacked two more websites.


From http://www.dnaindia.com/ 08/30/2011

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Supreme Court Website Hacked

Dhaka: The official website of the Supreme Court has fallen prey to cyber attack, reports bdnews24.com. According to the message posted on the site, the hackers identify themselves as "Bangladeshi UnderGround Hacker 3xp1r3 Cyber Army". They, however, claim that all data is safe and not being tampered with or deleted. "Some other hackers are trying to hack Bangladeshi sites!! And delete all the data!! (sic)," they warn. The message reads, "It was necessary to hack as Cyber War is on its peek!! Your site was quite insecure!!" When contacted, Supreme Court register A K M Shamsul Islam said, "I've also heard of it. The IT department has been asked to look into the matter."


From http://theindependentbd.com/ 11/11/2011

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India, Bangladesh Target Students' Digital Divide'

India and Bangladesh have launched their own brands of tablet and laptops, at unthinkably low prices. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched Doel, a brand of netbooks and laptop that will be manufactured entirely in Bangladesh, on October 11. Distribution will reportedly start this week. They will be available from 10,000 takas (US$131), according to the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency. "This is a big step towards building a digital Bangladesh," Mohammad Ismail, managing director of state-owned Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS), which is in charge of making the gadgets, said following Doel's launch. At present, 90% of the laptop equipment is imported, "but within six months we will be able to produce 40% of the components," he said. Doel's launch comes a few days after the introduction in India of the Aakash tablet, the cheapest of its kind at $49.98 on October 5. Supporting web browsing and video conferencing with a three-hour battery life and two USB ports, Aakash (meaning "sky" in Hindi and Bengali) is targeted at the country's students in the hope that it will help to reduce the digital divide between rich and poor. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal handed out 500 Aakash tablets to students during the launch of the product in Delhi. He said the Indian government would buy 100,000 of the tablets, designed by DataWind and made in the southern city of Hyderabad, and hopes to "distribute 10 million of the devices to students over the next few years". In Bangladesh, TSS has already made around 6,000 laptops and netbooks that will be available for sale from this week.

It is prepared to assemble around 10,000 to 11,000 laptops or 15,000 netbooks a month, the decision to produce more will be made "following market demand assessment". Named after the national bird of Bangladesh, the project behind Doel was launched in early 2009 and is a part of the government's vision for a "Digital Bangladesh 2021", under which it plans to connect all parts of the country through information and communicational technology devices. "Every part of the country will be brought under e-governance, while the telecommunication system is being modernized to cut the digital divide," Sheikh Hasina said during Doel's launch ceremony. In her speech, she looked forward to "the near future" when children would no longer need to carry their books to school, but only their "netbooks, which will have all the information and lessons that they will study in school". Doel was initially to be provided to government employees, with teachers and staff at public academic institutions a priority, but as no demand draft has been received from the government, TSS will sell directly to the local market. Of the three Doel netbooks and laptop, the 10,000 taka Primary notebook model runs on the Android operating system, has a 800MHz VIA 8650 processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB flash memory, Wi-Fi, a 10.1-inch (1024 x 600) LCD screen, webcam, SD card reader, and two USB ports.

The Advanced model, has a 2.13 GHz Pentium P6200 processor, a14-inch (1366 x 768) WXGA LED backlight screen, 2GB DDR RAM, 320GB Sata memory, a DVD writer, Wi-Fi, 1.3 mega pixel webcam, and comes at 26,000 takas ($342). That is more expensive than some foreign brands that sell netbooks at as low as 19,500 takas and laptops at around 30,000 takas. In India, the price of the Android-based Aakash has been affected by "the replacement warranty attached to it", according to DataWind. It can be made at a cost of 1,750 rupees (US$35) a unit, but the warranty requirement has driven up its sale price by about $14. "The government has asked for a special replacement warranty, it has asked us not to repair it," chief executive officer Suneet Singh Tuli told the Press Trust of India. "You will have to replace it ... which is a big cost." DataWind plans to offer a commercial version of the tablet, calling it UbiSlate, which is expected to be in the shops this year with a retail price of about $60. A BBC report last week gave the Aakash plus points for its low price, slim size, light weight and memory card slots. On the down side were an "inferior" touch screen, low battery life and limited applications. Still, the Aakash is at least available to users. In 2009, the Indian government raised widespread interest with plans to make a laptop, dubbed the Sakshat, priced as low as $10. Later, the device turned out to be a prototype handheld device (whose price was not even mentioned) that in the event did not materialize.


From http://www.atimes.com/ 10/19/2011

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India Will Ensure Strong Cyber-security, Claims Sibal

Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said India will ensure that it incorporates all advances in cyber-security and helps further international cooperation in the field. He also emphasised upon the need for a wider public- private collaboration. "India will work hard to assure that practical advances in cyber-security are made and international cooperation advanced," Sibal told reporters at a meeting of FICCI organised Summit's India Committee. He added, "To combat cyber crimes and make the cyberspace secure, there is a need for greater government-to-government collaboration on sharing of information, global vision to deal with hackers, legal framework that addresses the requirements at the global, and wider public-private collaboration." The UK-based EastWest Institute (EWI), meanwhile, announced that the Third Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit will be held in New Delhi on October 30-31, 2012. It will follow summits in Dallas and London. EWI and its Indian partners Nasscom also launched the 'New Delhi Summit Process,' initially composed of three high-level working groups of Indian and international experts, each taking on a crucial cyber-security issue. "Existing international institutions are no match for 21st century problems. The New Delhi Summit Process offers an unprecedented forum for policy innovation in what may be the greatest threat to the stability of our global digitalised world," EWI President John Edwin Mroz said here. EWI devises cyber-security solutions and mobilises networks of individuals, institutions and nations to implement these solutions.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 11/17/2011

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ARMENIA: Youth Group Sparks Debate About Identity in the Facebook Age

An online "youth group initiative" set up by four 20-somethings in Armenia is illustrating how far Facebook can go in maximizing political influence while concealing identity. The group, We Won't Stay Quiet (Chenk Lrelu), registered its first success in mid-July with a video report that documented the decrepit state of the 10th century Sanahin monastery, a UNESCO-registered site in northern Armenia. Following an outcry, the government allotted 90 million drams, more than $240,000, for repairs. Another video report followed about an army officer's harassment of recruits; the officer was dismissed. Then came the story of a soldier (set to the theme music of Schindler's List) who allegedly entered a psychiatric hospital after being beaten and threatened with rape by army officers. The military prosecutor started a criminal investigation on September 6, the same day the video was posted online. Success on less dramatic issues also has been made; the Defense Ministry on September 19 sent a "special committee" to look into reports of alleged army violations of furlough rules after We Won't Stay Quiet issued a report about such practices, News.am reported. That record of government response is unprecedented for an Armenian youth group; particularly one that has no public presence apart from the Internet. Pro-government television stations have been quick to disseminate its materials as well. It is a record that has fueled speculation that the group actually functions as a "cat's paw" for the government; posing as a grassroots organization, which advances issues for the government to address that score emotional points with ordinary Armenians. "The group seems to voice urgent issues, but it is a bit strange that nobody knows who they really are," commented human rights activist Arthur Sakunts, head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly's office in the northern town of Vanadzor. "Otherwise, how come those issues raised by many other groups did not attract the same sort of attention?" Sakunts asked.

The psychiatric hospital soldier offers a case in point, skeptics say. Over the course of two months, the Ministry of Defense did not respond to human rights organizations' appeals about the soldier, Armenian Helsinki Committee Chairperson Avetik Ishkhanian told reporters. The ministry did not respond to requests from EurasiaNet.org for comment. But, according to one organizer, We Won't Stay Quiet gets a response simply because its four organizers, aged 22 to 27 years old, know how to make proper use of the Internet's "tools" and "opportunities." "Armenians tend to believe various conspiracy theories," said Ashot Poghosian, one of the group's founders, in a phone interview with EurasiaNet.org. He described allegations that the group is linked to the government as "ridiculous." "[T]he country is in a shameful situation, and it's not difficult to find people suffering from injustices," he added. The group's Facebook profile, which boasts 4,226 "likes," declares that it is made up of politically independent young people who want to "bring the most urgent issues up for public discussion through the media." Organizers say they do not publicize their names and professions or release photographs of themselves as a safety precaution. It asserts that its videos "were shot by amateur camera and edited with the simplest software," telling subscribers "You can do the same." Public relations consultant Armen Badalian dismisses the argument that We Won't Stay Quiet is colluding with the government. "I see no logic in it; our authorities would hardly talk about problems in order to solve them," said Badalian. " Maybe this is a group of people who are experts in PR and the Internet, who, contrary to many other similar groups, manage to make their voices heard?"

Internews Armenia Production Manager Harutiun Mansurian shares that opinion; he says he shared one of the group's videos on Facebook because they had done "a tasteful job." "They try to use the right tools properly, and they succeed," Mansurian said. The army appears to attract the bulk of the four organizers' interest, but Poghosian asserts that it is only because "it causes much debate" in the public sphere. A video about a baby who died from medical neglect in a regional maternity hospital arguably gained a similarly emotional response, and triggered a health ministry investigation. But some of the videos appear to parallel neatly with government policy interests. Videotaped statements by residents of breakaway Nagorno Karabakh about their refusal to recognize the sovereignty of Azerbaijan were sent to Western embassies and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Yerevan, for instance. An appeal was also released for the Russian city of Sochi to stop the demolition of a statue to Armenian General Andranik Ozanian, a World-War-I-era national hero who led volunteer fighters against Ottoman Turkey. Still, group co-leader Poghosian underlines that it is not fulfilling any official commission. "Nobody finances us, but we are ready to hear the viewpoints of people who share our concerns and worry about their home country," he said.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 09/23/2011

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AZERBAIJAN: CE Required National Legislation on Combating Cybercrime

It is necessary to strengthen international cooperation to combat cybercrime, head of the CE Baku office Konstantin Erokostopulos said at a conference of national experts on "Combating cybercrime as a major factor in ensuring comprehensive cyber-security" on Thursday. The conference is organized the OSCE Baku office. "The fight against cyber crime is a priority for the Council of Europe," he said. "There is the CE Convention on this topic. It is a compulsory document, and was ratified by 33 countries, including Azerbaijan. The Budapest Convention is also considered as one of the CE key documents." He said that despite this, countries must develop their national legislation to combat cybercrime. "The fight against cybercrime is aimed at preventing the spread of child pornography, sexual exploitation of children via the Internet and other crimes in this area," he said. "Internet providers must cooperate with law enforcement bodies. The U.S implements different projects." He said that the Council of Europe helps countries who are members of the organization in the development of national legislation in this sphere. About six workshops will be held. Azerbaijan will organize training on cybercrime in December.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/06/2011

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E-security Office Project Initiated in Azerbaijan

This organization will be a team of rapid response to computer risks, protection of national security of Internet environment. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan is working to gather important and objective information with the purpose of information support for public officials in making decisions. Bakhtiyar Mammadov, head of the MCIT Human Resources & Law Department, says that ICT use spreading requires development and study of the mechanism of action and application of software solutions that ensure information security. "In this regard, the Ministry has applied to the country's president Ilham Aliyev with a proposal to establish E-Security Office within the Ministry. This organization will be a team of rapid response to computer risks, protection of national security of Internet environment, coordinator for e-security of subjects of national systems and networks and providers to inform the public and other organizations. Besides, the Office will carry out guidance and technical support to state agencies and business community in detecting and preventing cyber attacks against information systems, operating in the country," he emphasized. According to Mammadov, now the National Security Ministry was conducting round the clock monitoring of the network with following provision of information in e-form as evidence of violations in the computer systems during investigations.


From http://www.news.az/ 10/06/2011

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'OSCE, Azerbaijan Should Step Up Fight Against Cyber Crimes'

'War against cyber crime is growing more important in the contemporary world'. The statement came from chief of the OSCE Baku office Koray Targay at the conference 'War on cybercrime: key task in comprehensive cyber security'. He said internet has become a part of our life and due to development of information and communication technologies protection of this space from cyber crime is growing important. "OSCE, EU, UN, NATO and other international organizations have made the war on cyber crime one of the priorities of their work. None of the countries including Azerbaijan is secured of it. Therefore, OSCE and Azerbaijani government should step up efforts in this direction. Different projects and programs must be expanded", he said.


From http://www.news.az/ 10/06/2011

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Azerbaijan: Cybercrime Threatens Free Journalism

In the present-day world journalism which embraces not only professional mass media representatives but also bloggers faces a serious challenge. Sad stories with unveiling a secret diplomatic correspondences via WikiLeaks and the active use of social networks to undermine sociopolitical situation in North Africa and Middle East show that crimes in information security (or cybercrimes) do not only hinder free journalist activity but also challenge basic human rights and have even turned into the threat to national security of the states. What is done in Azerbaijan to address these challenges? And what is done in other countries who have stepped to the path of democratic development? Let's view the situation in some of these countries. Fast development of information technologies all over the world, generally in Azerbaijan, causes new type of problems and threats. Just like the use of internet communications, the issue of providing their security is gradually becoming urgent. The reason is that the indicated achievements of the humanity in the field of information technologies are used not only for good purposes and that, in turn, causes the threat of human rights violation.

Cybercrime has already started to show itself in Azerbaijan too and serious work is being done in the legislation in this regard. Previous speakers have already presented comprehensive information about the works done in this field in our country. However, with your kind permission, I would like to remind you about the main legislative steps in brief. Thus, the State Program on Combating Cybercrime was adopted in 1998. As the result of changes made to the Criminal Code in 2000, the cybercrime was accepted as a punishable type of crime and structures for combating cybercrimes were established at the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. For example, a unit for combating cybercrimes has been established even under the Ministry of Internal Affairs directly engaged in investigating, preventing and studying cybercrimes. This structure received dozens of complaints by our citizens who become the victims of internet frauds. In 2005 the National Parliament made changes to the Code of Administrative Offences and the Criminal Code, which envisage penalty sanctions and criminal responsibility (up to 3 years) for the violation of database protection. These changes were made by the National Parliament in 2004 in connection with the adoption of the Law "On Legal Protection of Databases".

Azerbaijan ratified the European Convention on Combating Cybercrime in Azerbaijan on 1 July 2010. Under this convention, Azerbaijan undertakes to improve the legislation in this field and closely co-operate with internet providers. It is true that this type of crime is just emerging in Azerbaijan in comparison to European countries, as well as the United States. But given the active development of information technologies in the country, this crime may turn into a pressing issue of the nearest future. People, particularly youth, are acquiring computer technologies at a larger scale. That is why it is possible to assume and forecast that the enthusiasm for computer technologies, the use of internet services will consequently lead to the higher number of abusers of technological development than that of today. In turn, this will lead to the violation of human rights. This is the first step taken by Azerbaijan but not the last one. Based on this, the legislative framework and the measures by relevant state agencies should be reviewed. It is necessary to take into account the practice in foreign states where computer crimes are more prevalent and inflict more serious damage during the development of this system. It is not right to stop efforts just because the number of crimes in the country is current lower than elsewhere in the world. Current realities dictate the need to adopt a number of definite legislative measures in Azerbaijan, I mean, primarily, the adoption of the law on cybercrime.

It is a specific feature of such crimes that the plaintiff (the victim) may be in one country while the perpetrator may be in another. Practically, the opportunities of internet are unlimited which makes the crime of international concern. Particularly, at present, Armenia has to wage information war against Azerbaijan that has been suffering from the occupation of a part of its land for 20 years. Within this framework, not only hackers but also special agencies of Armenia are involved in attacks against the internet resources of state agencies, public institutions and mass media, dissemination of false information and other types of cyber crimes. The exchange of international practice and the national personnel development in the information security sector in the countries experienced in this field are of special importance. Skillful law-enforcement officers who know these technologies better than criminals should combat the so-called "talented" perpetrators. A professional should be a hacker too and should understand hackers' potential conduct. Western countries offer to apply "moral hacking" aimed at checking the system resilience directly (for security). In mentioning the importance of combining international efforts, one cannot bypass problems that impede it. I also mean the unreliability of the Convention on Combating Cybercrime for which Russia refused to sign the document before. Russian experts gave three reasons for the refusal: first, the document was developed in 2001, and Russian side thought it had become outdated long ago taking into account the development of modern technologies. Secondly, Moscow claims that this convention is the document of the Western countries and thus its effect does not apply to developing countries. Thirdly, Russian experts state that the documents have a clause on the investigation of foreign servers. Just for this reason they mention the importance of holding additional negotiations on issues of cybercrime investigation on a foreign territory that restricts the countries' rights taking into consideration that the sovereign rights of the countries will be violated.

We should admit that the information space is unified and indivisible. That is why the world countries are condemned to international co-operation. It is necessary to harmonize the respective legislation. It is necessary to establish such a set of international laws that it wins the trust of all actors who combat cybercrimes and allows prosecuting the criminal offenders on the territory of other countries. The threat of cybercrime in Azerbaijan where the indicators for the development of information technologies and the increase in internet users are very high, shouldn't be underestimated. While the number of global network users in Azerbaijan in 2003 was 5-10%, this number will be over 50% in 2011, according to projections. This is a European indicator. Proportionally, the combat against cyber threats should also be at a proper level.


From http://www.news.az/ 10/21/2011

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Internet Viruses Decrease in Azerbaijan

The report states that 26.7% of internet users have faced the risk of online virus infections. According to the review by the Kaspersky Lab on the virus activity for the month of October, the number of computers infected by viruses floating on the internet has decreased by 4.45% compared in September. The report states that 26.7% of internet users have faced the risk of online virus infections. The results indicate that out of the 10 countries Azerbaijan is on the last place for the transmission of internet viruses. Countries that fall between the 36.9 and 26.7 percentile are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Iraq, Mongolia, Ukraine, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, and finally Azerbaijan. In order to evaluate the degree of the threat, Kaspersky lab had to analyze the number of scans within a quarter for each time the users ran their anti-virus program against the infections. During the month of October Kaspersky Lab has detected and neutralized a little over 161m network attacks, 72m online infections, and 207m additional local software infections.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/10/2011

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UZBEKISTAN: Tashkent Taking Wary Walk into Cyberspace

Muloqot.uz ("Conversation") is a social networking Website for Uzbek youth launched by the government in September. Muloqot, currently with less than 9,000 registered users, requires those who sign up to provide Uzbek mobile phone numbers, ensuring they are easy to trace. When officials in Uzbekistan announced a contest to crown the country's best Internet cafe, Diyorbek, an owner of a thriving spot in Andijan, entered, and, believing his business fulfilled all the criteria, he gave himself a decent shot at winning. Apart from having a dozen workstations in three well-furnished rooms, he blocks access to all "political, religious and porno websites." In the end, Diyorbek's bid fell short, but the mere fact the contest occurred last summer signaled to him that authorities are reassessing their relationship with cyberspace. Tashkent has earned a reputation for being an "Internet Enemy," as the Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) puts it. More than 250 websites deemed unfriendly to the state are blocked inside the country. They are mostly opposition websites and foreign news outlets, including EurasiaNet.org, The New York Times and many Russian newspapers (even RSF's webpage is blocked).

Despite the strict controls, Internet usage is steadily growing. In early August 2011, the Uzbek State Agency for Communication and Information (UzSACI), the government body that regulates media outlets including the Internet, said 7.7 million people are online in Uzbekistan (more than half of these users access the web through their mobile phones). By comparison, there were 137,000 Internet users in 2001, according to the agency, out of an overall population of 28 million. Moreover, the overall connection speed has increased by 98.4 percent and fees have dropped 22 percent since 2010. A majority of Internet users are young people in urban areas. At dozens of Internet cafes in Tashkent, Ferghana and Andijan, young men and women download music, watch films, and surf social-networking sites. Odnoklassniki.ru, a Russian outlet, and Facebook are popular. According to UzSACI, Odnoklassniki has 350,000-400,000 registered users in Uzbekistan. Facebook has over 82,000 members in the country, according to the site's marketing statistics. The rapid growth of social networking, a phenomenon that Tashkent blames for fueling protests across the Arab world in early 2011, has set President Islam Karimov's administration on edge. "We must pay attention to the fact that some destructive forces are seeking to control young minds and use the Internet in their own narrow goals, and this leads to negative consequences," Karimov said in late June. Shortly after his speech, more websites became inaccessible.

"The Arab Spring events have stirred various anxieties and discussions [online] in our country," explained an Uzbek diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity according to protocol. But government fears that social-networking sites might foment political dissent in Uzbekistan appear overblown - at least so far. For example, in late June, a group of young Uzbek opposition activists founded a youth movement, Yetar! (Enough!), modeling it on similar groups in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. Likely fearing government retribution, not one activist showed up for the July 1 rally on Tashkent's main square, that the group had publicized through Facebook and other social networking sites. "I am afraid to write about political issues on Facebook, let alone participate in [opposition] activities," said Ikromjon, a student in a Ferghana Internet caf¨¦. He operates under the belief that security officials closely monitor activity on social-networking sites. Despite Karimov's clear wariness of cyberspace, some influential Uzbek public figures are aggressively promoting the Internet and trying to harness its popularity. One proponent happens to be Gulnara Karimova, the president's jet-setting daughter, who serves as Uzbekistan's ambassador to Spain. In September, her cultural organization Fund Forum Uz sponsored an Internet festival in Tashkent, with the goal of "popularizing the Internet among Uzbeks, promoting development of the national online content and expanding use of the Uzbek language on the Internet," according to a report distributed by the official UzA news agency.

As expected, given Karimova's participation, Uzbek media outlets hyped the event. "The festival has demonstrated that under the leadership of President Islam Karimov, the country has undergone large-scale transformation in the information sphere, which includes extensive diffusion of the Internet and its accessibility to various layers of society," said an August 12 broadcast by state television. That "diffusion" has even led the government to introduce its own social-networking site. Launched in early September, Muloqot (Conversation) promises to "create conditions for the formation of high morals." Though fewer than 9,000 have registered so far (to register, users must provide Uzbek mobile phone numbers, which, in turn, require a passport, ensuring users are easy to track), the website's affiliation with Uzbektelecom, a subsidiary of UzSACI, allows advantages such as extra storage space for music and photographs. And unlike other social networking websites, Muloqot is unlikely to ever become suddenly inaccessible. But Muloqot also won't be replacing Facebook anytime soon, if only because security officials find Facebook so useful. The security services "rely on Facebook and other social media sites to extract information about citizens," said a Tashkent-based journalist who writes about media and technology. The journalist said that when a source was interviewed for a job at the National Security Service (SNB), his interviewers had printed copies of most of his Facebook activity.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 11/04/2011

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Central Asian Youth Network Seminar Focuses on Building Security Communities

A three-day Central Asian Youth Network (CAYN) seminar took place in Almaty. The event brought together more than 50 university students from across Central Asia to discuss contemporary security issues as they relate to the region. Dina Iglikova, the CAYN Project Co-ordinator, welcomed the students by saying: "Over the course of the next few days we will learn about OSCE values and expand the ranks of our CAYN student security community by getting to know one another, employing critical thinking skills, and breaking down stereotypes." This year's CAYN seminar was focused on issues of regional identity, establishing contacts on a grassroots level, and the OSCE's role as an institution in building a security community. A dozen speakers with regional expertise shared with the students their visions of Central Asian identity and geopolitics, and gave presentations on some of the region's security challenges. During the seminar, inquiry-based learning will be promoted through extensive discussions, interactive games and role-playing activities, the OSCE Centre in Astana reports.

As in past years, the CAYN participants were chosen through a competitive selection process that required candidates to submit a written essay. Rukhshona Sinavbarova, a student from Tajikistan said: "Today's lectures have been very interesting - we received a lot of new information and engaged in discussions. The new information I learned about Central Asia will be particularly useful in my studies." Zahid Jalali, an Afghan diplomat working in Kyrgyzstan and one of the seminar's speakers said: "This event is an excellent platform in that it brings together Central Asian students with a strong interest in the region's future. As many of the region's security challenges can be solved through co-operation and integration, it is very important that the students have been given this opportunity to network with their Central Asian peers." This seminar is part of the OSCE's efforts to enhance young people's understanding of contemporary security threats and explain the OSCE's role in responding to them. It was organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana with the support of other OSCE field offices in the region. Previous CAYN seminars were held in Charvak, Uzbekistan in 2004, Lake Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan in 2005, and in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2009 and 2010.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 11/04/2011

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AUSTRALIA: IT Agency to Improve Security Function

The Victorian Government's shared services IT agency will adopt a new IT governance, risk and compliance (ITGRC) platform to enhance its information security function. The agency's - centre for IT excellence (CenITex) - move is part of the Efficient Technology Services programme aimed at moving the state to a central whole-of-Victorian-government management system. CenITex is set up as a State Body by the Victorian Government to centralise ICT support to government departments and agencies. ITGRC package will assist CenITex in managing the governance, risk and compliance obligations of its customer base for the infrastructure services within their service offerings. The IT governance capability will help manage the regulation of industry and government security standards, CenITex policy and security controls as well as policy exemptions and security metrics. On the other hand, the IT risk management capability will help manage threats and risks to projects and ongoing core business activities. It also helps store system security plans and security risk management plans. The IT compliance capability will help manage security policy compliance and support security control testing. CenITex is looking to offer the solution as a whole-of-government service to up to 15 other state agencies and departments. CenITex currently provides products and services to departments of Business and Innovation, Health, Human Services, Justice, Planning and Community Development, Premier and Cabinet, among others.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/31/2011

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Cyber Crime Threat to Australian Economy, Security

Australia is increasingly at risk from an onslaught of internet crooks, hackers and cyber-bullies, a new Government paper warns. It says billions of dollars are being lost, confidence is being eroded and the threat is growing to the nation's social wellbeing, economic prosperity and broader interests. The paper has been released as part of the development of a cyber white paper to be completed next year. It warns that Australia has to develop new means of dealing with cyberspace, with vulnerability growing as use of the internet mushrooms. More than 10 million Australians now subscribe to the net - most of them with high-speed connections - with a doubling in the number of heavy users. Last December alone they downloaded almost twice as much as they did during the 2009 June quarter, the paper says. Online business is also booming. The Bureau of Statistics said almost A$143 billion ($179 billion) worth of internet orders were received by Australian businesses in 2009-2010 - up 15 per cent on the previous year. But the paper warns that with the availability of cheap cyber tools and the soaring value of information that individuals, businesses and governments store online, malicious cyber activity is a growth industry. The paper says the overall risk of cyber crime to the economy is more than A$1 billion annually, and that last year major cyber intrusions cost Australian organisations an average of A$2 million each.

Reported online scam losses totalled more than A$63 million. The personal toll is also growing. The paper says more than 50 per cent of the nation's teachers had at least one cyber-safety incident directly reported to them last year. Bullying is now the most reported cyber incident in Australian schools and a 2009 study found more than 10 per cent of secondary school students had experienced some form of cyberbullying. National security is also under threat: more than 200 cyber intrusions against the Department of Defence were investigated in 2009. The paper further says that while the nation's future prosperity is linked increasingly to confidence and trust in the digital economy, the internet's global reach had opened vast new fields and provided "enormous incentives" for organised crime. "Cyber-crime can undermine consumer confidence in e-commerce, with research showing consumers' security concerns are a key impediment to further growth in the digital economy," the paper says. "Consumers are particularly concerned about registering personal details and using credit cards for online transactions, with [an Australian Bureau of Statistics] study finding that more than 1 million Australians were scared of buying online because of security or privacy concerns. "Similarly, businesses in modern digital economies are increasingly becoming victims of financially motivated cyber crimes." The paper says almost 80 per cent of users surveyed do not expect cyber criminals to be brought to justice.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/16/2011

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AUSTRALIA: Police Get Social to Bust Crime Online

Twitter and Facebook are becoming a frontline for Australian cops, who say social media can save lives. To catch a thief, try Facebook. Hardly the stuff of a riveting whodunnit, but hard-pressed cops in today's connected world aren't complaining. Officers who have long carried handguns are now starting to reach for the humble smartphone. Garry Merryweather is one commander who not so long ago would have laughed if you told him he could fight crime with Twitter. Now he reckons social media can save lives. The experienced superintendent is in charge of a local police Facebook page in Australia that is already delivering results. "We had CCTV footage of someone wanted in relation to a stealing offence," he says. "Within two hours of uploading the vision to Facebook we knew who the person was." Merryweather is a participant in a trial of a hi-tech successor to Neighbourhood Watch, in which police and the public discuss local crime on Facebook. Now operating in half of the command areas in New South Wales, the programme is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. "This is allowing us to get back to basics and work on the relationship with our community," says Merryweather. Police bosses in Queensland hope to establish the same connection by allowing some officers to blog.

Among the most enthusiastic supporters of the upcoming trial are the "stock squad" in the remote outback town of Charleville. They believe a blog will be a great way to keep in touch with farmers often hundreds of kilometres away. "The police there deal with rural crime like people stealing sheep, cattle or farm property," says Kym Charlton, executive director of Queensland Police's media unit. "And they approached us saying, 'We want to do this because it's how the farmers are communicating with each other."'On Wednesday, Charlton travelled to Sydney to tell an emergency management summit how her force had harnessed the power of social media. The former journalist's presentation has been in demand since the floods and cyclone left 90 per cent of the sunshine state declared a disaster zone this year. The Queensland police use of social networks during the crisis has become a case study for other authorities around the world. The media unit's Facebook page became the information lifeline for not only the public but also for frontline emergency personnel in the state, particularly when local council websites crashed under the extra load placed on them.

Officers in the field and people who lost power to their homes could still obtain updates on Facebook and Twitter via their mobile phones. The Facebook page got 39 million views on the day an "inland tsunami" swept through the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, and the number of "likes" on the page jumped from 17,000 to more than 100,000. Authorities quickly realised social media provided by far the quickest, most efficient and reliable way to send alerts to the public and mainstream media. Because of the two-way nature of the networks, people provided feedback and vital "situational awareness" to emergency personnel. "If people know there's information they have to see that could save their property or even their life, and they can't get it, that doesn't do much for community confidence," says Charlton. "Using Facebook, we provided that information. We also asked questions like, 'How do you prepare for a cyclone?' And we had pages and pages of all these great tips that wouldn't make it into any official manuals. What do you do? Fill the wheelie bin up with water. It won't fly away and you've got a water supply to flush the toilet. That's gold."

For seven months before the crisis, Charlton's 25-person team had been dipping their toes in the social-media pool; a trial period in which they gradually integrated the new tools into day-to-day processes. All of them were taken aback by the sheer depth of engagement and information flow after the big storm hit. In NSW, police public affairs director Strath Gordon says social media is transforming emergency management planning. "You have to get information to people quickly enough so they can make an informed decision about what they need to do," he says. "This has turned emergency management communication on its head." Three years ago, after a power blackout in central Sydney, Australia's biggest police force began the search for a quicker way to alert people in public emergencies. Mass emails were considered before police chiefs realised Twitter, which had been in existence for only two years, would not only be much more effective but also cost-effective. Gordon's media team have since used similar tactics to their counterparts in Queensland, posting videos on YouTube and streaming press conferences live on Facebook. Today almost 60,000 people "like" the NSW Police Facebook page, which is dominated by discussion on anything from traffic delays to mugshots of people suspected of committing serious offences.

Around Australia, missing people have been found as a result of Facebook appeals and at least one murder suspect arrested. Child-abduction alerts generate huge public interest but the most popular posts are of the four-legged variety. A photo of NSW police pooch Grace and her seven puppies quickly attracted more than 1000 likes. In Queensland Charlton ran a competition to name another litter of canine newborns - an effective PR strategy. "This is such an easy access point for people who might not necessarily want to interact with the police," she says. "Cute puppy photos are a way of engaging the community and showing them a side of police they don't normally see. Gordon, who describes social media as "another piece of the puzzle", says the public are looking for accurate and direct information, which police can provide. They can also quickly quell rumour and misinformation "that can spread like wildfire". The key to success is the production of regular content and constant moderation. "We have a 24/7 media unit that's well staffed so we have the resources to do that," Gordon says. One of the most important tasks is to quickly remove defamatory or prejudicial comments. Unlike the Queensland page, NSW allows Facebook users to start discussion threads on its wall. Gordon, who will discuss his strategy with New Zealand police colleagues on an upcoming trip across the Tasman, believes the benefits outweigh any risks.

"We get far greater engagement with the community than we have been able to achieve in the past using traditional media," he says. "We have an absolute imperative of instilling public confidence in the police. The more confidence people have in police the more likely they are to report crime." Charlton thought the Queensland public's interest levels would subside in line with the floods. But the numbers have steadily grown and Facebook "likes" now top 220,000. "It constantly surprises me that more than 200,000 people will read about a break and enter," she says. That kind of statistic resonates with Merryweather, who is commander of the Quakers Hill area in western Sydney. Every day, he talks to people who are fascinated by crime and concerned about what's happening in their community. The local police Facebook page that he supervises has attracted almost 1000 "likes" since starting three months ago. Merryweather also co-ordinates the local arm of Project eyewatch, a state-wide crime prevention initiative using Facebook to create virtual Neighbourhood Watch communities.

Residents take part in meetings about issues such as vandalism or car theft, and hold online discussions. "They can talk to others in their community, raise concerns and ask questions," says the superintendent. "Police contribute but we find a lot of those questions are answered by the community themselves." He believes the burgeoning use of social media will change criminal behaviour. "Nearly every shop nowadays has CCTV but we have been limited in the ways we could distribute those images," he says. "Now if someone steals a A$60 ($74) bottle of scotch we can have the power to put that information on Facebook where someone might identify them. "The offenders are no longer going to be anonymous."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/24/2011

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NEW ZEALAND: National Cyber Security Centre Opened

The New Zealand government has officially opened today, its new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which will be in charge with helping to defend government agencies and critical infrastructure providers against cyber threats. "The global threat from cyber intrusions is real and growing, and New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy are not immune," said Steven Joyce, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, "Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for New Zealanders, businesses and government. Cyber intrusions have the potential to impact on the reliability of critical infrastructure, government services, and the economy." The NCSC is a key part of New Zealand's Cyber Security Strategy, which was released June this year, and will build on existing cyber security and information assurance capabilities to provide enhanced protection for government agencies. According to an official statement the three main initial functions of the NCSC are to provide advice and support to help develop secure networks, detect and respond to sophisticated cyber threats, and coordinate and assist operational responses to major cyber events of national importance. The NCSC will also absorb the existing functions of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP). "This is an important step in building New Zealand's capacity to protect against sophisticated cyber threats," said Joyce. "New Zealanders will benefit from enhanced protection of government data and services, and critical national infrastructure, which will help to protect critical services," he added.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/27/2011

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Study: 2015 Could Mark the End of the PC Era

Are you waiting for the tipping point that will signal the demise of the desktop computer? If so, 2015 could be the year, according to projections released Monday, Sept. 12, by International Data Corp. (IDC). By 2015, adoption of smartphones and tablets in the U.S. will result in more users accessing the Internet through mobile devices than via desktop PCs, according to IDC's forecast. The number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 16.6 percent from 2010 to 2015.

The company's projection of worldwide online behavior predicts that "the impact of smartphone and, especially, media tablet adoption will be so great that the number of users accessing the Internet through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline," a trend that will also be seen in Western Europe and Japan. Also by 2015, the worldwide population with access to the Internet will increase to 2.7 billion, an increase of 700 million from 2010. The semi-annual projections are built upon 150,000 data points gathered from 40 countries.

A separate study released last month from comScore estimated that 234 million Americans who are 13 years old and over use mobile devices, and 80 million of them own smartphones. Those numbers, combined with IDC's new data, indicate it's only a matter of time before more Americans are using their mobile devices than PCs to access the Internet.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 09/12/2011

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Mobile Connected Devices to Double by 2020

The number of connected devices is expected to grow from 9 billion to a whopping 24 billion in 2021, according to a new report. The study, conducted by mobile operator industry group GSMA and Machina research found, that wireless devices - which includes everything from smartphones to laptops and tablets - has yet to reach its true potential, especially in the mobile device category. In fact, mobile connected devices are expected to grow 100 percent from more than 6 billion today to 12 billion in 2020. This explosive growth will create a $1.2 trillion market by 2020 - a sevenfold increase from expected revenues in 2011, the report said. "We are entering the next phase in the development of the mobile industry, one where we will see mobile connect everything in our lives," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA. "Mobile will transform society and have a profound effect on the way we interact not only with each other, but also with our surroundings." This doesn't just mean handheld devices and typical electronics. Connectivity is expected to reach vehicles, refrigerators and other appliances. "Capitalizing on this enormous opportunity requires collaboration across the entire ecosystem to demonstrate how mobile technology in everything from tablet PCs to new healthcare devices can enhance people's personal and business lives," O'Hara added. (By Samantha Murphy)


From http://www.technewsdaily.com/ 10/11/2011

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Information Economy Report 2011: Highlights

The Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development (PSD) is the sixth in the flagship series published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Report shows that the potential of leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs) to develop the private sector is far from fully exploited. It finds that many national and donor strategies related to PSD currently fail to take adequate account of the ICT potential, which has greatly expanded thanks to changes in the global ICT landscape. The Report then makes policy recommendations on how to remedy this situation. The Information Economy Report 2011 identifies four facets of the ICT-PSD interface and argues that policy interventions should take into account this holistic approach. ICT infrastructure as a factor in the investment climate. ICT use as a factor to improve the performance of the private sector. The ICT producing sector as a strategic component of the private sector. ICT use as a component of interventions aimed at facilitating PSD. In these areas, UNCTAD makes several policy recommendations, such as: To take a comprehensive and systematic approach when integrating the ICT dimension into PSD strategies in developing countries. To continue to extend affordable and relevant connectivity to locations with poor ICT infrastructure. To adopt regulatory frameworks aiming to improve confidence in the use of technologies and their applications. To include ICT modules in business skillsˇä training programmes. To harness mobile money services to meet the needs of MSEs and to make financial markets more inclusive. To use ICT tools to reduce the cost of doing business, and to help MSEs bring goods and services to domestic and international markets. To develop Donor Guidelines to ensure that the ICT potential is fully harnessed in their PSD strategies. The Information Economy Report 2011 explores various options and examples of interventions by national governments and their development partners related to the four facets of the interface between ICTs and PSD. Among the cases cited are:

Customs automation in Madagascar and Liberia and reforms to streamline business registration procedures in the Philippines, as a means to provide a more conducive business environment. Programmes to increase the number and quality of entrepreneurial and ICT skills in Egypt, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Panama as a means to promote the development of human resources. Regulating and promoting the development of mobile money applications in Africa, as a means to enhance financial inclusiveness and open up business opportunities for micro- and small enterprises. The case of ICT freelancers in Bangladesh, as an example of existing opportunities to find low-skilled employment in the ICT producing sector. The use of ICTs to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries, as a means to overcome the existing gender gap in available digital opportunities. In the Statistical Annex of the Report UNCTAD presents among other things new data on ICT use by enterprises of different size and in various industries.


From http://www.unctad.org/ 10/20/2011

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Demand for New ICT Shows No Sign of Slowing, Driven by Growth in Emerging Markets, Yet the Digital Divide Remains Wide

Top politicians and telecoms leaders are meeting in Geneva this week at Telecom World 2011 to discuss the issue of broadband, seen as key to helping achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015. "I am absolutely convinced that broadband will be the defining technology of the early 21st century," Hamadoun Tour¨¦, head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), told a packed conference at Geneva's Palexpo exhibition centre on Monday.

The ITU chief has no doubts broadband - a fast, permanent internet connection - will "revolutionise the lives of everyone, everywhere" and help deliver radical improvements in healthcare, education, transport and services. "Most importantly, it will help us accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals," he told the audience at the Broadband Leadership Summit.

ICT uptake has continued to accelerate over the past decade driven largely by emerging markets as revenues stagnate in mature ones. At the end of 2010 mobile penetration - the number of mobile phones to people - stood at over 100 per cent in 97 countries. (In Switzerland phones outnumbered people at 120 per cent.) Internet penetration worldwide rose to 30 per cent. According to the ITU, while more than 2.6 billion people still lacked access to toilets and other forms of sanitation, there were almost four billion mobile phone subscriptions in the developing world. Mobile penetration had reached 70 per cent and internet penetration 21 per cent.

Rich versus poor
The rapid growth of the digital economy presents huge opportunities. Yet Tour¨¦ warned of the risk of creating a world of "broadband rich and broadband poor". Much still remains to be done for the poorest of the poor - the 830 million people living in the 49 United Nations-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs). While the number of mobile phone subscriptions in LDCs grew from two to 280 million and the number of internet users rose to 38 million in 2010, internet penetration stood at only 4.6 per cent. The Broadband Commission, which represents industry, academia and states, issued a set of targets for governments on Tuesday, which include connecting half the world's poor citizens to broadband by 2015 and 15 per cent of people in LDCs. Tour¨¦, said the targets were "ambitious but achievable" if governments worked together with the private sector.

More affordable
Broadband prices have declined sharply over the past decade, yet high-speed internet remains unaffordable in many low-income countries. In Africa fixed broadband services cost on average the equivalent of 290 per cent of monthly income. "For too long developing countries have been unable to effectively participate or contribute to the global economy simply because of their limited access to broadband," said Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, in a video address. The East African state has pioneered broadband and mobile telephone usage via a national plan.

"It could become much, much cheaper if governments invested in basic infrastructure and users pay for services," Walter Fust, a Swiss member of ITU's 60-member Broadband Commission, told swissinfo.ch. "We are sitting on billions of dollars of Universal Service Funds that are not being used; only 17 states have used them to develop infrastructure."

Business model
Turning to the private sector, as telecoms move into a tougher business environment, with more competitors, greater regulation and lower margins, there is a sense that traditional firms need to rethink their business models. "We haven't yet successfully found the right solution to providing an affordable service in the emerging markets, where most of the growth is happening," Steve Collar, chief executive of satellite telecom O3B, told swissinfo.ch. "Until we do so, the problem will get worse."

Having sufficient spectrum for broadband wireless services is seen as another growing concern. "It is crucial that the unprecedented potential of mobile broadband is not stifled by a lack of adequate spectrum," Eric Loeb, chairman of an International Chamber of Commerce IT taskforce, said in a statement last week. Fust said telecoms in need of additional spectrum faced broadcasters who "were in no hurry to change" and ready to negotiate hard, as well as the military who also have access to spectrum.

Content and mind-set
On top of connectivity issues, several summit participants stressed the need to develop useful local content in places like Africa, India and Latin America. "What a farmer wants is to know are things like the weather or the price of products; this requires just a simple application not a huge database," said Oscar von Hauske Solis, CEO of the Mexican phone company Telmex International. Ultimately, in this fast-moving sector what is also needed is a new mind-set. "Bearing in mind that 14-year-olds are dictating the new uses of networks and we 50-60-year old leaders are taking the decisions, we must remain humble and open-minded," Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel Lucent, told the Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps.


From http://www.i-policy.org/ 10/27/2011

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AFRICA: To Pass 1 Billion Subscriptions by 2016 - Boosted by Dual SIM Ownership

Africa has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription count, up from fourth place at end of 2010, according to new research by Informa Telecoms & Media. -There were over 616 million mobile subscriptions in Africa at the end of September, which means that the mobile market on the continent is second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of mobile subscription numbers. Africa's mobile-subscription count overtook that of Western Europe during 2Q11 and then overtook the Americas in 3Q11. At end-2010, less than a year ago, Africa was only the fourth largest regional mobile market by subscriptions, coming after Asia-Pacific, Western Europe and the Americas. "The combination in Africa of a still relatively immature telecoms market with factors including population growth, strong competition among providers and the increasing affordability of mobile devices, explains Africa's move up the regional mobile-market rankings as well as its strong growth forecast," said Matthew Reed, head of mobile research for the Middle East and Africa at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Africa's mobile market is heading towards a major landmark: the number of mobile subscriptions on the continent will cross the one billion mark in 2016 according to our latest forecast." Africa will retain its position as the second biggest regional mobile market by subscriptions, according to Informa's forecasts for the coming five years. However, there is a strong trend for Africa mobile subscribers to have multiple SIM cards and consequently the number of unique users of mobile services on the continent is smaller than the number of subscriptions. The number of unique users in Africa at end-2016 is forecasted to be 572.35 million. Nigeria will continue to be Africa's biggest mobile market by subscriptions, with a forecasted 152.09 million subscriptions at end-2016. Egypt will hold onto its position as Africa's second-biggest mobile market, with a forecasted 118.03 million subscriptions at end-2016. South Africa, the continent's third largest mobile market, will have 80.56 million mobile subscriptions at end-2016. Africa is forecasted to have a mobile penetration rate of 86.92% at end-2016, still lower than in other regions. 3G (WCDMA) subscriptions and market share in Africa will grow strongly over the coming years. The mobile-market-share held by WCDMA is forecasted to rise from 6.6% at end-2011 to 46% at end-2016, almost equalling GSM's market-share of 47.5% at end-2016. As the African market matures, the retention of existing customers is becoming increasingly important. A recent survey by Informa Telecoms & Media into the views of African operators on customer loyalty found that 21.8% of respondents ranked customer retention as their main priority while 18.2% said it was customer acquisition, and 60% said that customer retention and customer acquisition were equally important. (By Ian Mansfield)


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

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ARAB STATES: Middle East Prepares to Keep Sensitive Data Closer to Home

The data-centre industry in the Middle East should experience major growth next year as countries opt to keep more sensitive digital information within their borders. Europe and the US house 70 per cent of the world's computerised data centres, according to The Uptime Institute, a research group. But the Middle East is seeking to be more self-reliant, as DatacenterDynamics, based in the UK, forecasts the region will increase investment in its facilities by 46 per cent in next year to US$2.12bn (Dh 7.78bn).

Telecommunications, and information and communications technology (ICT), and the banking and finance industries in the Middle East are among those spending more on upgrading their existing infrastructure, as well as building new centres. "The digital economy in the next few years will become more and more part of the economy, and you want it in your own country; you want to be able to control it," said Paul-François Cattier, the global vice president for data solutions at Schneider Electric. "You need to have your own data-centre infrastructure in your own country."

The DatacenterDynamics census last year, which surveyed 5,400 data-centre executives around the world, said the Middle East's total spending on infrastructure, which includes the upgrading of servers, is to increase by 18.6 per cent next year to $630 million. Further, the research predicted that the number of new data centres in the region next year would increase by 6 per cent to 6,400. The four sectors with the most data centres are ICT with a 20.5 per cent share, telecommunications with a 13.2 per cent share, the public sector with a 16.8 per cent share, and banking and financial services with a 7.3 per cent share.

"What you're looking at is fairly substantial investment growth and perhaps less spectacular facility growth," said Nick Parfitt, a researcher at DatacenterDynamics. "But that often happens when organisations are going into their existing facilities and are improving them," he said. Improvements to infrastructure in the region are increasing data centres' processing power and energy efficiency while reducing actual size compared with those in the West, according to Olivier Delepine, the vice president for UAE and Gulf countries IT business at Schneider Electric.

"We saw in Europe a long journey in the progression of the technology and improvement in the technology. Here there is no journey; we are jumping directly to state-of-the-art," he said. The rapid development of data centres in the Middle East, however, is also part of a global trend of developing countries catching up to developed countries in technical infrastructure. The DatacenterDynamics survey forecast a 118 per cent increase in investment in South East Asia next year, while Russia is predicted to post a 59 per cent increase next year. "We see this trend in every new economy," said Mr Cattier. "There is not one country in the world that is not building a data centre right now." (By Gareth Van Zyl)


From http://www.thenational.ae/ 11/21/2011

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ASIA AND PACIFIC: HNW Population Now Second Biggest

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the Asia Pacific region grew almost 10 per cent to 3.3 million in 2010, exceeding Europe for the first time and now trailing just North America, according to the 2011 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report from Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini. The total wealth of HNWIs grew 12.1 per cent to US$10.8 trillion over the year, and the number of ultra-HNWIs in the region increased 15 per cent to 23,000, with both growth rates exceeding global averages, the report stated. In Australia, drivers of that growth included real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.8 per cent, market capitalisation increase of 15.3 per cent in 2010, and an increase in housing prices of 5.8 per cent for the year. An improved exchange rate and positive merchandise trade account and increased export demand of almost five per cent also contributed to the growth, according to the report.

However the increase in individual wealth is expected to be inhibited in the 2010-11 financial year by a fiscal deficit of 2.5 per cent and a budget deficit of 1.3 per cent of GDP. In Australia, HNWIs allocated 40 per cent of wealth to real estate compared to 27 per cent in the Asia-Pacific overall, with Australians allocating far less to fixed income and cash. Real estate is expected to remain the preferred asset class of Australian HNWIs in 2012, the report stated. The Asia-Pacific HNWI population was highly concentrated, with Japan accounting for more than half of HNWIs in the region and three quarters coming from Japan, China and Australia. Since the majority of Asia-Pacific HNWIs source their wealth from business ownership, wealth management firms that can generate value to HNW clients from across different business units (such as leveraging the corporate and investment banking resources) will be able to serve clients better, the report stated. This is especially pertinent for Asia-Pacific's ultra-HNWIs because of the large scope of their wealth and investments, which span regions as well as asset classes, the report stated. (By Chris Kennedy)


From http://www.moneymanagement.com.au/ 10/17/2011

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EUROPE: EU Commission Proposes Over €9 Billion for Broadband Investment

The European Commission has proposed to spend almost €9.2 billion from 2014 to 2020 on pan-European projects to give EU citizens and businesses access to high-speed broadband networks and the services that run on them. The funding, part of the proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), would take the form of both equity and debt instruments and grants. It would complement private investment and public money at local, regional and national level and EU structural or cohesion funds. At least €7 billion would be available for investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure. The Commission considers that this money could leverage a total of between €50 and 100 billion of public and private investment - i.e. a substantial proportion of the estimated €270 billion of broadband investment needed to meet Digital Agenda targets on broadband. The remaining CEF funding for digital infrastructure would support public interest digital service infrastructure such as electronic health records, electronic identification and electronic procurement. The proposed financial support is complemented by proposed new guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks and services. These guidelines would establish new objectives, priorities, projects of common interest and criteria for identifying further projects of common interest.

Money for broadband infrastructure
In the case of broadband infrastructure, EU funding from the CEF would leverage other private and public money by giving projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. The money would be largely in the form of equity, debt or guarantees. This would then attract capital market financing from investors; the Commission and international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank would absorb part of the risk and improve projects' credit rating. Projects are likely to be proposed by established telecoms operators as well as new players such as water, sewage, electricity utilities, cooperative investment projects or construction firms. Many projects are likely to involve several of these investors clubbing together. The Commission also expects public authorities to join projects as part of public-private partnerships.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 10/19/2011

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CHINA: Web Portal Pledges to Ensure Authenticity of Online Information

Popular Internet portal Sina has pledged to ensure the authenticity of the information it provides online and commit to the "spread of advanced culture." In a proposal posted on its website, Sina said that authenticity and the "spread of advanced culture" are important for the healthy and orderly development of the company's microblogging service and its whole Internet businesses. It called on other online media companies to employ content supervisors. Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblogging service in terms of the number of registered users, will be included in the company's efforts to "eradicate online falsehoods and harmful information." Sina currently employs a team of 15 supervisors to screen its Weibo microblogging service and plans to expand the size of the team, according to a weekend report by Qianlong.com, a news website administered by the Beijing municipal authorities. Sina's supervisory team is created and managed by the company, although the team's work is considered to be independent from the portal's news reporting department, according to the report. The supervisors' responsibilities include monitoring "harmful information" and collecting and analyzing customer complaints about the company's services.

Sina took the lead in setting up its internal supervisory team by selecting supervisors from its user base, choosing those users who demonstrated great interest in helping the company to improve the authenticity of the information it provides through Weibo. Sina Weibo said in August that microbloggers who are found to be posting messages containing false information will have their accounts suspended for one month. The warning came after a top official's visit to the Sina office. During his visit in August, Liu Qi, secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged Internet companies to stop the spread of "false and harmful information" and to "ensure the authenticity of information and create a healthy online media atmosphere," the Beijing Daily reported on Aug. 23. With 485 million users, China is home to the world's largest number of registered netizens. The rising popularity of microblogging services has allowed this segment of the country's population to voice their opinions in a way that has never been seen before in China. The number of Chinese microbloggers reached 195 million by the end of June, a stunning increase of 208.9 percent over the number recorded around the end of 2010, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/13/2011

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JAPAN: To Facilitate Establishment of Palo E-Waste Center

After the successful operations of the Electronic Waste Center in a city in Japan where it helps in reducing electronic wastes from industries as well as creating awareness among the people on how to become recycling-oriented, the Japanese government will help in the facilitation of the establishment of the same e-waste facility in Palo, Leyte. The establishment of the E-Waste Center which is part of the whole project dubbed as the Palo Ecotown Project whose proposal is currently evaluated for approval by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Japanese government. The establishment of an E-Waste Center as well as the Electronic Waste Facility Research Center is patterned with that of Kitakyushu City known as a model ecotown center in Japan. The establishment of these E-waste facilities requires an estimated area of 1-2 hectares. The Japanese government will be the one to facilitate in the transfer of the technical know-how in the operation of the centers. Representatives from UNIDO, Kitankyushu City in Japan, LGU-Palo and the regional office of EMB in Region 8 will sit down and discuss together with the project implementation including the identification of location where the center will be established once it is already approved. Part also of the project was a visit tour to the ecotown project in Kitakyushu City of representatives of LGU-Palo and EMB to learn how it is implemented including a visit to the various enterprises on display in the city's ecotown center. It was learned that the ecotown concept based on zero emissions was a key project of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and its Ministry of Environment and was first conceptualized in 1997. Meanwhile, regional director Letecia Maceda of EMB-8 expressed high hopes that the ecotown project in Palo, Leyte where E-waste facilities will be established will be approved and funded. For her part, Palo Mayor Remedios "Matin" Petilla emphasized that the project would make the town to become the center for waste integration management in the region.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 09/12/2011

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Supercomputer Demolishes Its Own Speed Record

A supercomputer being developed in Kobe has broken its own record as the world's fastest computer, achieving its performance goal of 10 petaflops, or 10 quadrillion computations per second, its developers said. The 10.51-petaflop performance in early October by the supercomputer being jointly developed by Fujitsu Ltd. and the Riken research institute, exceeded the mark of 8.16 petaflops it set in June to capture the top spot in the global ranking of computing speeds, Fujitsu and Riken said Wednesday. The latest performance results have been submitted to the world ranking to be presented at an international computing conference in Seattle that starts Nov. 12, they said. The supercomputer, nicknamed K, has about 88,000 central processing units. The system's final configuration was set in August and its software is now being adjusted before its planned completion in June. The supercomputer's shared use is slated to begin by next November. "The K computer is a key national technology that will help lay the foundation for Japan's further progress," said Riken President Ryoji Noyori, a winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. "As such, I am delighted that it has achieved its major objective (of 10 petaflops), demonstrating our strong technical power." Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto commented, "We truly hope that the K computer's world-class performance will benefit and deliver value to both Japan and the entire world with leading-edge computing technology." The development has been led by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, and roughly ¥112 billion has been allocated for the project. The supercomputer generated controversy after Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Renho, state minister in charge of administrative reform, in 2009 questioned whether Japan needed to continue its development amid a government cost-cutting drive.


From http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ 11/04/2011

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SOUTH KOREA: Top in Internet Download Speed - Study

South Korea has the world's top Internet download speeds followed by Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia, according to a study released on Tuesday. The United States placed just 26th in the analysis of the speed of worldwide Internet connections conducted by Pando Networks. The average download speed in South Korea was 2,202 kilobytes per second, Pando said, with Romania (1,909 KBps), Bulgaria (1,611 KBps), Lithuania (1,462 KBps and Latvia (1,377 KBps) rounding out the top five. Japan was next at 1,364 KBps, followed by Sweden (1,234 KBps), Ukraine (1,190 KBps), Denmark (1,020 KBps) and Hong Kong (992 KBps). The average download speed in the United States was 606 KBps, slightly better than the worldwide average of 580 KBps, Pando said. The study was based on 27 million downloads by 20 million computers in 224 countries from January through June 2011, Pando said. The slowest average download speed was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 13 KBps, followed by the Central African Republic at 14 KBps and the Comoros at 23 KBps. "The disparities we found were striking," Pando chief executive Robert Levitan said in a release. "While, in general, developed economies outpaced the developing world in average download speeds, big names such as the US, UK, France, China and Canada were not even close to being the fastest," Levitan said. Britain had average download speeds of 599 KBps, France 604 KBps, China 245 KBps, and Canada 579 KBps. "Instead, we saw high speeds in markets such as Eastern Europe where focus on infrastructural development and favorable geography promote a higher level of connectivity," Levitan said.


From http://www.google.com/ 09/21/2011

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Internet Addiction - A Major New Disorder: Lawmaker

Internet addiction is becoming a new major disorder in South Korea, especially among youth, as the number of people addicted to the Internet or computer is rapidly increasing, a lawmaker said Monday. The number of Internet addiction cases reported steadily increased from slightly more than 70,000 in 2007 to 73,975 in 2009 and again to 74,646 last year, according to Rep. Yoo Jeong-bok of the ruling Grand National Party. The number of Internet addiction cases this year has already reached 54,841, he said, citing related information from the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service. The country has yet to recognize Internet addiction as a disorder so the number includes reported cases of problems believed to be linked with excessive use of the Internet or computer, such as impulse control disorder, Yoo said. "We are beginning to see the dark side of our flashy title of a global IT leader and the world's most-wired nation. We need policy efforts to address the problem as it will lead to a major social issue if left unattended," the lawmaker said. The young were especially vulnerable to the new disorder as 57 percent, or 43,307 out of all reported cases in 2010, were found in people aged 10-19. Nearly 96 percent of all cases were found in people aged 0-29 as the number of cases in children aged 0-9 reached 27,606, or 37 percent of the total.


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 09/26/2011

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Conference Highlights Future of Digital Culture

Global experts on information, technology and the Internet gathered for an international conference in Seoul Thursday to discuss how to nurture a more desirable digital culture in the information age. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MPAS) hosted the International Conference on Digital Culture 2011 at the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Seoul. Professors and experts from global institutes and IT industry participated. They discussed the latest trends and culture in the IT sector and shared their experiences under the theme of "The Digital Culture and Web Accessibility in Smart Society." As the first speaker, after the opening ceremony, Kimberly Young, professor at St. Bonaventur University delivered a keynote lecture on Internet addiction and preventive measures against it. Kang Young-woo, vice chair of the World Committee on Disability and a former policy advisor of the National Council on Disability to the United States White House, shared his own experiences in the work to promote the online accessibility for the disabled in the U.S. As the last keynote lecturer, Min Byoung-chul, chairman for the Sunfull Movement Campaign Office and professor at Konkuk University, introduced the campaign launched in 2007 to encourage positive comments online and prevent cyber bullying.In the afternoon, participants were divided into two groups and the focus was divided into two different issues - "smart digital culture and its adverse effects" and "information accessibility in a smart society."Kim Nam-seok, vice minister of the MPAS, said information culture is a key barometer of the level of digital world and social development. "To fully prepare for the smart society, the government will secure 24 billion won in 2014 and push forward its plan to come up with countermeasures against Internet addiction, improvement in information accessibility for the poor and information education for the public," he said.


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 10/11/2011

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Smart Korea Shows Off the Nation's IT Progress, Prowess

Smart Korea 2011 on Wednesday kicked off its four-day run to show off the nation's IT progress over the past year. The nation's largest IT exhibition, marking its second year, will continue through Oct. 15 at KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. The event is hosted by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. During the opening ceremony on Wednesday, 42 people who have contributed to the development of the nation's IT industry were honored. The Creative Future Forum was also held in the afternoon with pundits from Korea, Japan and China in attendance to discuss the role of Asia in the future of the smart revolution. Other academic conferences in the coming days will project the outlook for the industry and discuss related policies in Asian countries. The nation's IT leaders also joined the event and shared their companies' future plans. Hynix CEO Kwon Oh-chul said the company aims to produce DRAM chips based on 20-nanometer technology from next year. "It's a little bit later than other local competitors but comes faster than we expected," he told reporters. "The production of 30-nano DRAM would make up 40 percent within the year and 60 percent in the first half of next year." Kwon Young-soo, chief executive of LG Display also showed confidence in vying with Samsung Electronics in the field of display panels. Kwon, however, hinted at no investment plan for some time, saying, "All companies may agree that we have invested enough in the LCD business."


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/12/2011

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INDONESIA: Communication Minister Launches ICT Awards and Exhibition

Information and Communication Minister Tifatul Sembiring on Tuesday officially launched the 2011 Indonesia ICT Awards event at the Jakarta Convention Center. In addition to awarding digital creations by contestants, the two-day event will also feature an exhibition showcasing 110 of the best technological creations in Indonesia and workshops on animation and e-commerce. In his opening speech, Tifatul pointed out the importance of information and communication technology. He added that Indonesia had great potential in the field of information and communication technology. "Our human resources are just as good [as those of other countries]," he said as reported by tempointeraktif.com. Award committee chief Richard Kartawijaya said he hoped the event could help inspire developers, investors and venture capitalists in developing Indonesian products.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 10/04/2011

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Telcom Sector Likely to See Decreasing Profits This Year

The big three telcom operators, PT XL Axiata, PT Indosat and market leader PT Telkomsel have acknowledged that they would likely see decreased profit growth this year due to various reasons. PT XL Axiata executive director Hasnul Suhaimi said the decline was likely caused by the saturated voice-based market. "Everybody now tends to seek alternative services rather than voice-based," he said on Saturday as quoted by tempointeraktif.com. He added that this year profit would likely increase by 6 to 7 percent. PT Indosat public relations division head Djarot Handoko confirmed declining profit expectations but stated that it was due to recent premium services that had been deactivated by the government.


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

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LAOS: IT Service Market Surges

The Lao IT service market is estimated to grow 26 percent in 2011, with a total worth of 800 billion to 928 billion kip (US$100 million to US$116 million), according to material distributed at an industry conference last week. "The market is expected to reach about 1.2 trillion kip (US$155 million) next year," said CEO of International Data Group (IDG) Asean, Mr Le Thanh Tam. Mr Tam was speaking in Vientiane on Friday at the 1st Lao Banking and Telecom World Conference and Expo 2011. The Lao IT service market has been steadily growing, from 472 billion kip to 576 billion kip (US$59 million to US$72 million) in 2009 and escalating to 736 billion kip (US$92 million) last year. "We have seen growth rates of 22 percent and 28 percent in the last two years," Mr Tam said. In the next few years, qualitative and quantitative indicators suggest that growth in the IT service sector will continue, along with major take-offs of various types of e- initiatives. "They include e-Government, e-Education, e-Health and e-Commerce from the public sector and major private investments from the finance industry and telecommunications, for instance," he said. To accommodate this speed and size of growth, the IT service industry requires not only financial investment from both domestic and foreign sources, but also a huge pool of highly qualified IT personnel. "The experience of Thailand and Vietnam can provide insights for the Lao IT industry," he said.

Vietnam has a substantial skilled labour force specialised in ICT, and has ICT companies that are actively penetrating world markets. "Now, entering Laos is a way IDG Vietnam can use their knowledge and experience to promote IT development in this market," he said. The conference handout noted that telecom companies in Laos and around the world must compete based on the quality of their services, network expansion and variety of services. That is the reason why the telecom sector has been developing so rapidly and with such strength. The increasingly strong competition between telecom enterprises has benefited customers. At present, there are about 5.4 million mobile phone subscribers in Laos, accounting for about 83 percent of the population, and mobile phone networks reach 6,712 villages throughout the country. Deputy Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mr Padapphet Sayakhot said participants at the two-day conference and expo should take time to look around the exhibition and make contact with telecom operators and industry leaders for the mutual development of their businesses. The event provided a great opportunity for participants, exhibitors, operators and visitors to gain insight into telecom and ICT technology and solutions that are most widely deployed and satisfy their areas of interest. "It demonstrates useful applications of information technology in banking and in telecoms to help the two sectors develop in Laos," Mr Padapphet said. The conference was jointly organised by IDG, the Bank of the Lao PDR and the ministry, and was supported and sponsored by local and foreign banks and IT companies.


From http://laovoices.com/ 09/29/2011

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3G Networks Struggle to Keep Pace with Demand

Users of 3G Internet are concerned that the increasing numbers of customers using the service is causing low connection speeds. 3G Internet is available for computers through USB 3G wireless Internet modems and for mobile phones through 3G simcards. The service was fast when first launched but has since slowed, with many quick to point the finger at the growing numbers of users. "I have used a USB 3G wireless Internet modem since the service was launched last year. The signal was good at first but it has since become slow," said Mr Sone from Nongsangtho village in Xaysettha district, Vientiane. Internet speeds were faster when the service was first launched because there were not many users. "Now it's too slow and sometimes it takes many minutes just to load a website," said Mr Sone. Laos has four telecom operators and three of them provide 3G in the hope of luring more customers. Lao Telecommunications Company (LTC) and Star Telecom Co Ltd (Unitel) have offered 3G for several years, while Enterprise of Telecommunications Laos (ETL) launched its 3G network at the end of last month. "I think ETL's 3G network may face similar issues soon," said an Internet user attending the 1st Lao Banking and Telecom World Conference and Expo 2011 in Vientiane last Friday. ETL Marketing Division Director Mr Saysanga Bounnaphol said at the event "We believe we will be able to control and maintain the quality of our service because we are ready to expand the network and systems to meet user growth, especially in Vientiane and larger towns in the provinces."

ETL had 950,000 subscribers before it launched its 3G network "but now we have more than 1 million customers," Mr Saysanga said. Since the company introduced its 3G network it has seen sales of 3G simcards soar. "USB 3G and simcard sales have increased 60 to 70 percent. That is almost 1,000 USB 3G subscriptions per day," he said. "We expect to sell about 15,000 USB 3G wireless Internet modems this year," said ETL Chief Executive Officer Mr Khammouane Xomsihapany at the launch of the company's 3G network. "We have invested about 96 billion kip (US$12 million) in the 3G network and services." LTC, Unitel and ETL are competing fiercely for the 3G market and have worked hard to improve their services and networks and present themselves as the best option for customers. The Lao IT services market is estimated to grow 26 percent in 2011, with a total worth of 800 billion to 928 billion kip (US$100 million to US$116 million), according to material distributed at the Lao Banking and Telecom World Conference and Expo 2011. The market is expected to reach about 1.2 trillion kip (US$155 million) next year. IT services include e-Government, e-Education, e-Health and e-Commerce from the public sector and major private investments from the finance industry and telecommunications companies.


From http://laovoices.com/ 10/012011

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Savannakhet Speeds Up Telecom Network Expansion

Savannakhet province is speeding up telecom network expansion to ensure coverage ratio of telecom network system to stand at 83.66% by this year. In addition the authorities concerned have improved the service quality to offer trustful to society, Head of Provincial Post and Telecommunication Service, Mr Norasinh Sayaboutsy vowed this week. He added that the expansion has been implemented in compliance with the provincial socio-economic development plan and the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Communications. The Provincial Post and Telecommunication Service will also pay into account the elaboration of law on post and telecom in the province. To fulfill the plan, the infrastructure of post and telecom will be improved to ensure the better service in society. Under this year plan, Savannakhet province will accelerate the improvement of telecom network system in Nong and Saybouly districts, and further install fiber optic cable system with 50 km stretch totaling to 2,321 km.


From http://laovoices.com/ 10/13/2011

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MALAYSIA: National ICT Month 2011 Starts Soon

The National ICT Month 2011, which starts in a few days, will further enhance the business climate for the country's information and communications technology industry. It will promote the businesses of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and large corporations, and enable them to better reach out to customers both domestic and international. Hosted by Pikom - the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia - and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti), this is the third year that the event is taking place. This time, the event is themed "Transcending Into High Value" and will feature five activities targeting government, industry, business and consumer segments. The highlight of National ICT Month 2011 is its Leadership Summit, where industry captains will meet to discuss and review the current state of the industry. This two-day summit, scheduled for Oct 18 and Oct 19 at The Palace of the Golden Horses hotel in Seri Kembangan, will feature several prominent speakers, including Chris Whitney of HP Labs. Whitney is director of the Data Centre Design for Cloud Computing Lab at HP Labs Singapore, the company's central R&D arm. In this role he leads the effort to develop an enterprise cloud software platform. Taking place almost alongside the leadership conference is the Smart Sourcing Summit 2011. Themed "Creating An Environment For Sustained Value In Sourcing," the event is scheduled to run from Oct 19 to 20 at the same venue. It will focus on several topics, such as what drives the outsourcing industry and the shifting of the Asean outsourcing axis, as well as identifying the next growth area. During that time, Pikom will launch its annual research report on the ICT landscape in Malaysia, i.e. the Pikom ICT Strategic Review 2011/12.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/04/2011

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TM, P1 in Highspeed Broadband Tie-up

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and WiMAX service provider Packet One Networks Sdn Bhd have joined forces to offer high-speed broadband (HSBB) services. Under the agreement, TM will be providing HSBB (access) and HSBB (transmission) services to P1. This 10-year agreement will give P1 access to 1.3 million homes in HSBB areas nationwide. TM group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, quipped that the collaboration is a "sambung balik after the potong" (reconnection after disconnection). He was referring to P1's popular "Sudah Potong" (Disconnection) advertising campaign when it entered the wireless broadband market in 2009. The campaign encouraged people to switch to wireless broadband services. "This partnership will enable TM to accelerate high-speed broadband services to more Malaysians," he said. Zamzamzairaini said the partnership shows that TM is fulfilling its promise to the Government - that it will offer open-access to all Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission-licensed service providers, as stipulated in the HSBB public-private partnership agreement that was signed in 2008. TM has also signed similar service agreements with telco giants Maxis Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd. Michael Lai, P1 chief executive officer, said the collaboration will bring Malaysian websurfers the best of wired and wireless Internet access. "We are expanding our broadband offering and will be providing a service that combines both wireless and fibreoptic solutions for our customers who want premium speeds," he said. He said customers can expect such services to be in the market sometime in the first quarter of next year. Lai said P1 is working on the technical aspects to ensure quality service. Pricing of the service has also yet to be determined. He added that the collaboration will help satisfy customers who want better and faster data-transfer speeds. "P1 customers are big consumers of data, with an average of 12GB per month. Highspeed broadband can meet their needs," he said. The HSBB service will also allow P1 to offer Internet Protocol Television and Video on Demand services. But Lai declined to say when these would be rolled out by the company.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/14/2011

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PHILIPPINES: Mobile Internet on the Rise, Boosting Telco Revenues

Usage of mobile Internet among Filipinos is on the rise on the back of the rising popularity of smartphones, tablets and other non-computer web-enabled services that help boost revenues of telecommunications firms and making Filipinos more social media savvy. Smart Communications alone, the country's largest mobile phone provider, expects some 18 million more of its subscribers will use mobile Internet. According to Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando B. Vea about three million Smart subscribers account for the bulk of mobile internet usage. "We have a lot of headroom for growth. There are around two million more subscribers with 3G feature phones or smartphones who are not yet regularly accessing the web on the go," Vea noted. "Plus, there are another 15 to 16 million subscribers with Web-capable feature phones who we hope to migrate to smartphones that offer a better Internet experience." So far, the mobile Internet revenues of Smart has doubled from half a billion last year to P1.1 billion as of September 2011. "This explosive increase in mobile Internet usage among our subscribers indicates that as smartphones become more pervasive, more affordable and easier to use, more Filipinos use it to access the Internet and social media," Vea explained. The developments here are in line with trends overseas.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker released last week, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.6% year on year in the third quarter of 2011. The report also cited manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, Nokia, HTC, and Research in Motion shipping an estimated 118.1 million units within the period. A quick check on Asia Pacific trends suggests that spikes in the region are driving global growth. A recent report from Google, for example, identifies Australia, which recently hit 37% smartphone penetration, as second in the world only to tech-loving Singapore - where 62% of the population own a smartphone. Closer to home, Internet use in Indonesia is now second only to TV as a preferred channel for media consumption, a trend largely driven by the increasing availability of low-cost smartphones. Over the past year, Smart has stepped up its efforts to promote smartphone adoption and usage. To this end, the telco has offered increasingly affordable data usage rates, and promoted access to the Internet in bite-sized chunks, via apps. Smart's most recent smartphone offering, the Android-powered, Netphone-edition Samsung Galaxy Y is flying off the shelves, driven by its affordable price and the built-in 'SmartNet' suite of free-of-charge, always-on social networking apps. "Mobile connectivity has gone beyond being able to just call and text. Filipinos are intensely social. With social media penetration rate at 95%, virtually every Filipino that has access to the Web is on Facebook too," added Vea. According to the analysis and commentary site 24/7 Wall St., the Philippines now tops the list of countries where Facebook is the number one most visited website, beating even Google.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 11/14/2011

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THAILAND: Broadband Comes to Samut Sakhon

People living in Samut Sakhon province can now enjoy high-speed Internet, delivered by fibre-optic technology called FTTH (fibre-to-the-home), thanks to the launch of an FTTH service by the Jasmine Group, through its Internet service-provider company 3BB. With the FTTH technology, users can surf the Internet at speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. The FTTH service is 3BB's first commercial fibre-optic deployment. It is being provided specifically for a luxury residential development called Porto Villa in Samut Sakhon - a project of property firm D-Land. Jasmine Group's chief executive Pete Bodharamik, whose company operates the 3BB service, with a maximum speed of 100Mbps, said users would be able to experience multimedia services such as video conferencing, e-learning, video on demand or pay per view. "3BB has joined hands with D-Land Group to provide the fibre-optic network in Porto Villa. We plan to expand our service to other provinces such as Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai," he said. The package price starts at Bt1,200 per month, for a download speed of 9Mbps and upload speed of 2Mbps. The maximum package costs Bt6,990 per month with a download speed of 100Mbps and upload speed of 10Mbps. D-Land Group's executive vice managing director Siriphong Somboon said that 3BB's FTTH service was one of the highlight services at Porto Villa, which was designed under the concept "boutique and luxury living".

The 80,000 square-metre project, located on Rama II Road, consists of 103 houses with 5 different styles and prices ranging from Bt6 million to Bt12 million. All are connected to FTTH technology and have security technologies including video door phones, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and closed-circuit television. Internet service provider 3BB says it aims to become the leader of the broadband market by 2013, with a market share of more than 40 per cent and 2 million customers. It expects its annual revenue to reach Bt20 billion by the end of 2013. At Porto Villa, it expects 80 per cent of the residents to subscribe to its FTTH service. It expects that FTTH services will reach a massive number of customers by 2013, when the price will be more affordable because of the large market. The company has a pilot project that aims to deploy FTTH services in 20 locations around the country before the end of this year. To promote the adoption of the FTTH service, the company will work with its content providers, especially Mono Group. As of the third quarter of this year, 3BB had 900,000 customers, with an average of 35,000 new customers joining every month. It sees great market opportunities because at present only 4 to 5 per cent of the population can access broadband Internet.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/18/2011

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Entry-level Smartphones Chipping Away at the Feature Phone Market in Thailand, says IDC

According to IDC's Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker 2Q 2011, smartphone shipments in Thailand increased 19% QoQ in the second quarter of the year as entry-level smartphones, led by affordable Symbian and Android options, continue to cannibalize the feature phone market. The slowdown in consumer spending, which started strong early this year, also impacted the feature phone market, leading to 8% decline in shipments of such phones during the period. Total mobile phone shipments in Thailand dropped by 4% QoQ during this period. IDC notes a shift in buying preference from midrange mobile phones priced at US$100-350 toward either high-end phones in the US$350-600 price band or low-end phones below US$100. "Although the adoption of 3G services that were launched this year is driving purchase of high-end mobile phones, we are also seeing shipment growth of devices at less than US$100 as local brands aggressively expand their market to the countryside," says Nopparat Phromin, Market Analyst for Telecommunications Research at IDC Thailand. Demand for both smartphones and feature phones are expected to climb again in the last quarter of the year with the launch of new products from mobile phone vendors. "The launch of commercial 3G services by True Move H and the expansion of trial coverage area of AIS and DTAC will further serve and ignite demand for data services, which is a major driver for smart phone growth especially for the data-hungry iOS and Android", adds Nopparat.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/19/2011

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VIETNAM: Bright Outlook for IT Industry

Viet Nam's information and communications technology industry has seen rapid growth during the past several years, but this growth represents only a small part of the sector's huge potential. This month's issue of our news magazine Outlook, which goes on sale in Ha Noi, HCM City and other major centres this morning, Sep 21, examines plans to further develop the nation's ICT to rival that of other ICT powerhouses in the region. Our cover stories report on ambitious plans to expand the nation's ranks of skilled IT workers and look at the country's potential to attract software outsourcing contracts from overseas. We talk to Truong Gia Binh, chairman of the country's leading multinational information technology corporation FPT, who says the nation is well on the way to reaching its ambitious information technology targets. We also spotlight some of the biggest successes in the sector, including a locally-developed anti-virus programme that has won praise at home and overseas and report on Viettel's expanding global telecommunications business that has seen the local company set up in places as far away as Haiti. Elsewhere in this issue, we meet snake farmers of Chi Ngai Village, visit the south-western province of Tien Giang and go behind the scenes of a traditional cai luong opera to see how artisans make the colourful costumes that help ensure a successful theatrical production. Readers can also catch up on what's hot in the country's culinary, sports and arts scenes - and check out listings for everything from bars to embassies. Outlook retails for VND15,000 at news-stands, major hotels and restaurants and can be purchased at the head office of the Viet Nam News at 11 Tran Hung Dao, Ha Noi, or at our HCM City office at 120 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/21/2011

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Vietnam Jumps 10 Places in ICT Development Index

Vietnam ranks 81 st among 152 countries in the International Telecommunication Union's ICT Development Index (IDI), moving up 10 places from its 91 st position in 2008, the Ministry of Information and Communication has said. According to the ITU's report Measuring the Information Society 2011, Vietnam 's IDI value increases from 2.76 in 2008 to 3.53 in 2010. The result is spurred by the growth in the use sub-index, reflecting the fact that broadband internet subscribers in the country rose from zero in 2008 to 13 per 100 residents in 2010. In addition, Vietnam jumped 16 places up in the ranking of the access sub-index compared to 2008. The country was at the third place among ten countries having the highest IDI growth rate during the 2008-2010 period after Armenia and Morocco.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/28/2011

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VIETNAM: Vietnam's Internet Protocol TV Market Will Boom in Two Years

Though IPTV now has many good conditions to develop, including the cheap terminal devices and the issuance of the paid-TV legal framework, IPTV still has not become popular in Vietnam, because the service users still complain about the low quality of pictures and the poor content of programs. According to Multimedia Research Group, the number of IPTV subscribers worldwide may reach 92.8 million by 2012 (the figure was 24 million in 2008), while the annual growth rate would be 31 percent. Of these, the number of subscribers in Asia would reach 40 million by 2012, which is equal to that of Europe, while the figure was 8 million by the end of 2008. In Vietnam, FPT Telecom is considered the pioneer in commercializing IPTV services in the country. Since March 1, 2006, FPT Telecom began officially provided IPTV services under the name of iTV, which was then later named into OneTV in 2011. On May 12, 2009, VTC Digicom, in cooperation with Hai Phong Telecom, launched IPTV services in Hai Phong City. VTC Digicom has also joined forces with local telcos to provide services in six more provinces, including Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Binh Duong and Hue City.

Meanwhile, VASC Company, a subsidiary of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) began running IPTV in a trial basis in 2008, and then has been officially providing IPTV nationwide since 2009, under the brand MyTV. According to Nguyen Van Hai, Director of VASC, with the high growth of the number of subscribers year after year, MyTV has obtained 500,000 subscribers after two years of providing the services. Especially, the proportion of left subscribers is very small, i.e...only one or two subscribers leave in every 1000 subscribers. "It is estimated that MyTV has 100 new subscribers every day and 30,000 subscribers every month. The average revenue per subscriber is 70,000 dong," Hai said. He added that MyTV has 90 TV channels, including 13 HD channels and on-demand services, including feature films, music, karaoke, games, sports, reading books, education and healthcare. The representative of FPT Telecom said that its oneTV has 74 channels and many other types of services, including replay TV (users can replay programs within 48 hours), video on demand, programs for children, English for children, music and art performance...

The representative said that the number of subscribers of OneTV has reached over 30,000, while the figure is expected to rise to 70,000 by the end of 2011. Regarding the revenue, the package service fees are from 40,000 to 80,000 dong a month, depending on the localities. FPT Telecom has been trying to collect 30,000 dong more from subscribers on their use other kinds of services. Meanwhile, Viettel's IPTV under the NetTV brand has got 15,000 subscribers, while the company hopes to obtain 300,000 subscribers in the next few years. The subscribers are mostly from southern provinces such as Tay Ninh, Binh Duong and Can Tho, where cable TV has not developed, instead of big cities like Hanoi or HCM City. The representative of FPT Telecom said that though pioneering in the IPTV market, it has realized that IPTV did not bring big profit and had not paid much attention to developing the services since 2008. Later, in 2010, FPT Telecom reconsidered the market performance and decided that the IPTV market would really witness a boom after three more years. However, a lot of good conditions which back up the development of the IPTV have appeared: terminal devices for IPTV have become cheaper, while the legal framework on paid-TV has been issued which would help people get familiar to paid-TV, while the technical infrastructure has become good enough to run IPTV with stable quality. Meanwhile, experts say they have every reason to believe that the IPTV market would boom in just two years instead of three.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/04/2011

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Cloud Computing Technology Becomes Popular in Vietnam by 2015

Vietnamese service providers have affirmed that only by 2015, will the cloud computing become popular in Vietnam, telling that they need some more time to prepare to introduce their products to users. Since early 2011, big technology groups including Apple, Google and Amazon have been providing content services on the basis of cloud computing technology. The cloud technology based apps have been used by Amazon as a "competition weapon" to attract people to Kindle Fire. Earlier this year, Apple announced iCloud app, the content service package for mobile phones. iCloud takes the responsibility of storing and synchronizing the content among users' Apple devices. When iPhone users want to update new songs on iStore, or film script and messages, the content will automatically added into the users' store on mobile phones. After that, the content will be updated on the devices the users have such as iPod, Macbook or iPad, while users do not have to pay fees. At present, Apple offers 5GB free, while is users need bigger capacity, they will have to pay money.

Amazon has also provided many types of services on mobile phones, such as Cloud Drive or Cloud Player. The retailer helps users update and share information among devices, while they do not need to use old methods any more. Amazon now offers 5GB free to every user, while they will have to pay one dollars for every additional GB per annum. Amazon has turned Kindle Fire into a device with wonderful attractiveness, not only because of the low price of 199 dollars, much cheaper than iPad, but also because of the capability to explore the book, film and music stores, provided on the basis of cloud computing. Nokia, Black Berry and Samsung have developed the products with the technologies that support the services running on the basis of cloud computing. However, they have not announced services yet. At the Chief Information Officer (CIO) conference held recently in Hanoi, Duong Dung Trieu, Managing Director of FPT Information System (FPT IS), said he believes that cloud computing will be used widely in Vietnam no sooner than by 2015.

In the immediate time, cloud computing technology solution firms are trying to persuade digital content providers and network operators to provide the services on the basis of cloud computing. Representative of a cloud computing technology development group in Vietnam said that Vietnamese telcos seem to be too hesitant to provide content service packages on the basis of new technology. Mai Trong Ba from the product development division of Samsung Vietnam (Savina), said that network operators have great advantages to drive consumers to use cloud computing technology-based services. They now also have 3G technologies which will create favorable conditions for designing content packages on the basis of new technologies. "The network operators that pioneer in using cloud computing technology in providing content services will have more opportunities to succeed," Ba said.

In fact, network operators have not paid much attention to technologies, because the digital content business mostly comes from content providers. Meanwhile, content providers always have to think carefully about the investment efficiency before designing new products. As such, due to so many reasons, domestically made cloud computing-based apps still have not come out. Meanwhile, users have got familiar to the apps provided by foreign firms, from Google docs to music and film provided by Amazon. A representative of a network operator, who asked to be anonymous, said that a lot of network operators are planning to develop services on the basis of cloud computing, but in the immediate time, they need to carry out trial run of some apps. "We have not had any completed digital content package for mobile phone, so we still cannot introduce our services to users. Let's wait some more time," he said.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/11/2011

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Rural Areas to Receive Internet Access

The Ministry of Information and Communications is two-thirds through a project to provide internet access to rural residents. The Government scheme, which will cost a total of about US$50 million, including nearly $34 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft, has already been implemented in 40 out of 63 provinces and cities nation-wide.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/25/2011

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Three ICT Expos to Kick Off in Capital

The Viet Nam Exhibition and Fair Centre will stage three concurrent exhibitions from November 16-19 called Vietnam Comm, Vietnam Internet & IT, and Vietnam Electronics. The fairs are expected to attract more than 160 local and international exhibitors with a concurrent high-level summit and panel discussion seen by many as the key highlight of the event. The summit is scheduled to gather 20 speakers from Government organisations and industrial giants to share the latest in ICT development trends in Viet Nam. They will discuss hot issues including current developments of ICT in the Government, health, education and community service sectors; opportunities and challenges for the 4G network in Viet Nam; and cloud computing and the application of ICT in enterprises. At the exhibition, large global IT companies would feature various advanced services and technology, particularly 3G and 4G technology products, said Bui Quoc Viet, director of information and public relations for the Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT). Viet said the triple exposition was timely, as three years after launching the service, Viet Nam currently had more than 8 million 3G subscribers, adding that mobile phone subscribers were increasingly interested in using broadband services. The VNPT was trying its best offer 4G technology as soon as possible and had worked with Alltech Telecom of Russia to establish the joint-venture RusViet Telecom company to deploy 4G technology, said Viet.

In 2010, the joint-venture company was issued with a 4G technology licence and became the first in Viet Nam to run Long Term Evolution (LTE) trials tests which is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data. Local ICT experts predicted that in the next three years the country would see a rise in 3G subscribers thanks to the growing number of smart phones which offer the Android operating system. According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) statistics, Viet Nam ranks eighth in terms of mobile penetration. Currently, 93.68 per cent of the country has access to 3G services. Former Minister of Ministry of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop said it would be appropriate for Viet Nam to implement the 4G network in 2013, or no later than 2015.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/14/2011

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INDIA: Wants 600 Million Broadband Connections by 2020

The government of India has unveiled a new national IT policy which seeks to achieve 600 million broadband connections in the country by 2020. The policy aims to provide affordable and reliable broadband on demand by the year 2015 and to have 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017. Communications Minister Shri Sibal said the policy has the vision of leveraging telecom infrastructure to provide all citizens and businesses, both in rural and urban landscape with digital opportunities. "The primary objective of the new policy is maximising public good by making available affordable, reliable and secure telecommunication and broadband services across the entire country," he said. The government likewise said it seeks to provide high speed and high quality broadband access to all village panchayats through optical fibre by 2014 and progressively to all villages in the country. The Telecom Commission, the decision making arm of the Department of Telecom, has already cleared the Rs. 20,000-crore (US$4 billion) project to provide broadband connectivity to all villages in the next three years. One of the major strategies proposed in the policy is to make efforts to recognise telecom and broadband connectivity as a basic necessity like education and health and work towards 'Right to Broadband'. Another proposal is to revise the existing broadband download speed of 256 Kbps to 2 Mbps by 2015 and make higher speeds of at least 100 Mbps available subsequently.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/12/2011

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India to Roll Out "ICU on Wheels"

The Government of Gujarat will soon deploy "ICU on wheels" equipped with advanced healthcare technology to offer hi-tech medical services whenever, wherever needed. According to Gujarat Health Minister, Jaynarayan Vyas, "The demand for advance health services is higher but number of centres is very less. Which is why, Gujarat Government is going to put in place 20 ICU on wheels in near future to make advanced healthcare services accessible in remote areas of the state." The initiative is part of the continuous efforts of the state government to bring quality improvement to public sector healthcare institutes. "The government aims to make the services affordable and accessible in all areas, technology is a must," Health and Family Welfare Principal Secretary, PK Taneja, said in an official statement, explaining the current technology application initiatives in healthcare. Apart from the said project, the government is also considering a project on telemedicine in near future for providing healthcare services in rural areas.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/13/2011

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Double Digit Growth Dream for Indian IT: Nasscom

IT industry body Nasscom on Tuesday maintained its projection of 16-18 per cent growth for the sector this fiscal notwithstanding the economic uncertainty in the US and European markets. "There is no reason for us to be worried ... I am confident that Indian IT sector will grow in double digit and we stand by our projection for FY'12. "We have spoken to customers and they are looking at expanding into geographies and bringing newer solutions to the market," Nasscom President Som Mittal told reporters here on the sidelines of a FICCI event. He, however, added that the industry maintains a cautious outlook. Earlier, Nasscom had projected 16-18 per cent growth of the Indian IT industry in FY'12 despite the economic uncertainty in the US and European markets. A persisting eurozone debt crisis and fears of its contagion impact on other western markets have raised concerns of clients cutting their IT budgets, which would impact Indian software exporters in a major way. The US and European region account for over 85 per cent of the revenues of the over USD 70 billion Indian IT sector. Nasscom had in February presented a conservative outlook of 16-18 per cent growth in IT exports in 2011-12 in the wake of the slow economic recovery in the US and uncertainty in the European region. The growth in software and services export is expected to be 16-18 per cent and the sector is slated to bring in revenues of USD 68-70 billion. The growth in the domestic market is estimated to be 15-17 per cent, with revenues of about USD 19-20 billion.


From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 11/17/2011

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Indian State to Develop GIS for Coastal Management

The Gujarat Government is implementing a Geospatial Information System development project to better improve coastal zone management practices in the state. Gujarat is state located in western India. It has an area of 75, 868 sq mi with a coastline of 1,600 km. The state is bordered by the state of Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian sea as well the Pakistani province of Sindh on the west. According to A.K. Verma, member secretary of the Gujarat Ecology Commission and also the head of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP), there is a need for GIS in order to support the development activities in order to keep Gujarat's coastal belt dynamic and sustainable. He explained that since the coastal belt is experiencing significant changes due to Special Economic Zones, ports, infrastructures from salt and cement industries, and oil and gas exploration efforts that had been established along the port. There is a need for better coastal management practices in order to keep the coastal belt liveable and sustainable especially for the 20 million people, a majority of which are dependent on fishing as a livelihood. "Creating basic information on coastal areas using latest technologies like remote sensing and GIS is envisaged for better management and planning of coastal environment and its resources. This would also facilitate development of local communities," he said. "Through GIS, not only scientific data, maps and pictures would be collected, but even a database for infrastructures such as ports, coastal highways and breakwater structures will also be developed." Under the project, Verma said, Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the coastal areas too will be prepared. Large-scale accurate geographic database and maps showing HTL (High Tide Line) and LTL (Low Tide Line) using Cartosat or IRS (Indian Remote Sensing satellite) will be prepared. Also, wetland categories between HTL and LTL, and the land-use above HTL will be mapped. "The GIS would help in better hazard-risk assessment and management for the coast," Verma said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/17/2011

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NEPAL: National IT Centre to Be Established in Hetauda

The Ministry of Science and Technology is all set to establish a National Information Technology Centre in Hetauda municipality-4, Chhaprachaur within coming December.An all-party meeting of the Hetauda Town Development Committee presided over by the Committee Chair Ram Krishna Shrestha on Tuesday decided to hand over its five katthas of land in Chhaprachaur to the Centre for the construction of building, Committee Secretary Digambar Thakur told RSS.The Centre's building will be constricted at the estimated cost of Rs. 300 million with the grant assistance of the Korean government, said Makwanpur Chief District Officer, Dinesh Bhattarai.


From http://www.nepalnews.com/ 09/21/2011

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PAKISTAN: Broadband Growth - Among Top Countries

Pakistan is ranked among the top countries which registered high growth in broadband internet penetration, a recent report said. Serbia tops the list with a 68 per cent annual growth rate from Q1-2010 to Q1-2011, according to July 2011 Bandwidth Report with data on worldwide bandwidth penetration. Pakistan, which has seen a boom in its promising telecom sector and information technology services in recent years, recorded around 46.2 per cent growth in the number of subscribers and is placed fourth on the list. Thailand and Belarus are ranked second and third, respectively, in terms of broadband internet penetration. Sri Lanka and India are ranked 11th and 14th, respectively.

Pakistan has a large number of bilingual internet users. Its software companies have created a niche in the international market in recent years. According to government figures, the country's IT-related exports remained $1.4 billion in the last fiscal year. Experts say that Pakistan's IT industry has the potential to hit the multi-billion export target within five to 10 years. Additionally, mobile phone and wireless internet usage are also expanding rapidly. The report shows that China continues to lead the world in terms of total broadband subscribers. As of the first quarter of 2011, China had over 135 million broadband subscribers. It said that the United States had over 88 million subscribers. Japan, Germany and France followed China and the United States in terms of total subscribers, it added. The figures were cited by Website Optimisation, LLC, which is a leading website optimising firm.


From http://www.i-policy.org/ 09/04/2011

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Internet Users Cross 20 Million Base in Pakistan

KARACHI: Pakistan Internet users have been on the rise with accelerated pace, crossing 20 million benchmark with a greater percentage accessing the Internet via mobile phones, said Freedom on the Net 2011 in its report on Friday. The report cited International Telecommunications Union (ITU) saying that estimated users have been surging significantly on monthly basis however, the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) estimated a far lower number of Internet users at only 10 million. On the other hand, some of the local think thanks said the Internet users have crossed almost 23 million at present with surging number of broadband and mobile Internet users. The report stated that the Internet is available in all the major cities of the country, as well as in many remote areas. The majority of people use dial-up connections whereas broadband Internet is growing speedily in big cities. With the explosion of mobile-phone use and the gradual spread of broadband Internet in Pakistan, access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) has increased, as have citizen journalism and online activism, the report said. Pakistan does not yet have a third generation (3G) network, which is also a hindrance for the spread of broadband Internet and other wireless services. Remote areas of the country have no access to broadband, and are left with only a slow, intermittent dial-up connection, rendering any meaningful online activities very difficult.

The number of broadband users reached almost 1.5 million. Pakistan is ranked as one of the top countries recently that registered high growth rate in broadband Internet penetration, Point Topic, a global broadband tracker said in its report published a few months back. The country, which has seen a boom in its telecom sector and information technology services in recent years, recorded around 46.2 percent growth of subscribers and is placed fourth on the ranking list. It is top in the list of South Asian countries lagging behind its neighboring states such as Sri Lanka that spots 11th place with its broadband penetration growing in 30s while India lags at the 14th place in terms of broadband growth. There more than 50 ISPs including 10 broadband companies operating in different parts of the country under their licence at various charges. These service providers have brought advanced technology to deploy their network including Wimax, DSL, FTTH and HFC. The number of operators with variety of technology has been expanding the base of technology users with competition, showing the falling rates of service by every passing month. The different service providers include PTCL, Wateen, WiTribe, Qubee and Comsat. The broadband packages are lowest in the world ranging from Rs 250 to Rs 3,000 per month depending on the speed and utility of data by the subscribers. However, the stiff competition among the operators resulted in constant decline and multiple offers to the users.

Pakistan has already developed and expanded its technology highways with international undersea cable for its future demands. Presently, there are four undersea cables connecting Pakistan to rest of the world including PTCL's owned SMW3, SMW4 and IMEWE and one with TWA. The domestic Internet highways or domestic fibre backbone providers are PTCL, Wateen, Mobilink and Multinet. Internet has been evolving in its different technological modes through high-speed broadband, which has become basic need of the people for the purpose of information, education, entertainment and business. Hence, it is an indispensable source that plays a vital role in different aspects of the masses' lives. Pakistan's digital growth prospects have begun to look brighter lately. Besides having a large bilingual (English and Urdu) Internet using population as the estimated viewership of blogs has reached nearly 3.4 million.


From http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/ 10/29/2011

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Pakistani Students Shine at Asia Pacific ICT Event

Young Pakistani students made their mark at the 11th Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) by grabbing two gold and five silver medals. The APICTA was organised in Pattaya, Thailand, in which different ICT firms from Pakistan secured two gold awards in the e-Health and e-Logistics and SCM categories and 5 silver medals in Communication, Financial, Security, e-Inclusion and e-Community categories. Pakistan's team comprised 18 products, which were competing with 162 products from the Asia-Pacific region. The Centre for Advanced Research in Engineering once again swept the awards with the gold in e-Health and the silver in Communication, Security and e-Government categories.


From http://www.gulf-times.com/ 11/15/2011

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ARMENIA: Serious Growth Registered in IT Sector, It Will Continue in 2012 - PM

According to statistics, a 3.5-percent economic growth is registered in Armenia in the past eight months, and this is planned to be 4.6 percent on the annual basis, Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan stated on Sunday during session of the Board of Trustees of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia. "We find this to be a realistic indicator. The planned 4-percent inflation, on a 1.5-percent scale, is likewise realistic with today's evaluations," Sargsyan noted. He also mentioned that, in comparison with the past year, the country's agriculture is rejuvenating in a fairly huge rate in the aforesaid time period, and this sector has registered a 21-percent growth. Also, industry registered a 12-14-percent, trade turnover, 7-percent, and services, 4-percent growth. In the first eight months of 2011, Armenia's foreign trade turnover increased by 25 percent, with a 30-percent and a 15-18-percent growth in export and import, respectively. Speaking about the state budget, PM noted that its income is fulfilled more than expected while its expenditures were cut down by 50 billion drams ($133,720,051 US). "Our country's foreign debt constituted 40 percent of GDP, and it was increased for budget spending and preserving GDP growth," Sargsyan stated. Tigran Sargsyan also noted that in 2011 a serious growth was registered in Armenia's IT sector, which will continue next years, too. Several large-scale projects are envisioned with different international organizations, and these projects would make Armenia become a regional IT center, as the country has a high quality intellectual potential. Reflecting on reforms in Armenia, PM said the country's "Doing Business" rating and its economic freedom and international IT indicators are improving. For 2012 the Government plans a substantial 100-billion-dram ($267,440,102) increase in tax revenues, which is 0.6 percent more than last year's indicator. "Social benefits and pensions will increase by 10 percent, next year, and a social package will be implemented for civil servants, for the first time in our country, and this will guarantee healthcare services for them and their families, or provide them assistance in paying off mortgage interest loans and paying their children's tuition fees," Tigran Sargsyan concluded.


From http://news.am/ 10/10/2011

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Change in Methodology Sees Armenian Mobile Bases Contract in Q3

The total number of mobile phones in Armenia dropped in the three months to 30 September 2011, according to Samvel Arabajyan, a committee member of national telecoms regulator, the Commission on Regulation of Public Services (PSRC). However, Arabajyan confirmed that the drop is related to a change in the way two cellcos - VivaCell-MTS and Orange Armenia - changed their methodology for counting 'active' subscribers, rather than a mass switch-off from end users. The operators' decision to alter the way they count subscribers wiped more than half a million off the total in the three-month period, down to 3.27 million, he said. VivaCell removed around 450,000 from its total, down to 2.06 million, while Orange trimmed its base to 520,000. ArmenTel meanwhile, has not changed the way it calculates its subscribers: it ended the third quarter with 750,000 lines, up from 733,000 in June.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/13/2011

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ICT Sector Growth Was 12.4% in 2011 - AZ Minister

The growth in telecommunications sector in the country was 8.3% over the nine months this year. The statement came from Communications and Information Technology Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Abbasov at a meeting held to review outcomes of the nine months. he growth rate in ICT sector was 12.4%, telecommunications sector - 8.3%, IT sector - 1.6 times and 38.8% in information sector over the nine months in 2009, the IT minister said. he number of mobile phone users was about 10 million and 15 computers and 60 internet users per 100 people.


From http://www.news.az/ 11/02/2011

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Azerbaijan: Int'l Cybernetics and Informatics Conference to Be Held in Baku

The "Cybernetics & Informatics Issues" conference will be held in Baku. The decision to hold the conference was taken at the sidelines of regular meetings of the Azerbaijani Cybernetics, Information Technologies and Technics Council on Friday. The conference is scheduled to take place in September 2012.The organizers will be the Communications and Information Technologies Ministry, National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Education Ministry, Abdus Salam International Theoretical Physics Center, National Aviation Academy, ANAS Cybernetics Institute and Information Technologies Institute, Baku State University, Azerbaijani State Oil Academy, Azerbaijani Technical University, and BSU Applied Mathematics Institute.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/11/2011

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IRAN: Govt Earns USD6.1bn from MTN Irancell in Six Years; Wimax Subs Base Rises to 175,000

According to Iran Daily, the Iranian government has earned close to IRR66 trillion (USD6.1 billion) - directly and indirectly - from telecoms services provided by MTN Irancell during the last six years. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, managing director Alireza Qalambar Dezfuli also took time to disclose a number of operational statistics. The number of cities covered by MTN Irancell, he said, stood at 1,874 by 23 September 2011, meaning that the telco's network now covers 80% of the country's population, including 22,000 villages and over 20,000km of roads, exceeding its previously-stated target of 9,000km. In addition, the firm offer WiMAX connectivity in 25 cities across the country, and currently counts close to 175,000 WiMAX subscribers using its network. Going forward, Dezfuli pledged investment of IRR32 trillion to expand its respective networks.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/27/2011

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3KYRGYZSTAN: IT-conference BarCamp-2011 Due in Kyrgyzstan

The Third Central Asian IT-conference BarCamp-2011 on internet-based technologies and new media will be held in Kyrgyzstan from Sept. 9 though 11, CA-News reported. The conference will focus on online projects of near abroad, latest technologies of internet-industry, exchange of experience and presentation of new projects, BarCamp Central Asia Kyrgyzstan-2011 organizer Mirbek Toktoqarayev said. "This platform can be the beginning of many creative social projects and business-ideas," he added. Over 40 presentations will be made during the conference. Foreign experts, bloggers and Google representatives will talk about ways of site promotion.


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

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TURKMENISTAN: To Reach Breakthrough in Telecommunications Through First National Satellite Launch

Turkmenistan plans to start building its first national satellite this December to launch it in August of 2014.As reported before, the respective agreement was signed between Turkmen Ministry of Communications and France's Thales Alenia Space. The orbital position will be rented from Space Systems International-Monaco S.A.M.Thales will also provide assistance to round-the-clock satellite control during 15 years, and will make the personnel skilled.Thales Alenia Space is one of the recognized world leaders in the space industry and is part of the so-called European space alliance. With its network of large enterprises in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, the company is specialized in the production of different-purpose satellites and equipment for them. It has won the reputation of leader in the field of space communications, Earth remote control, and navigation.

The use of the satellite will cause a considerable breakthrough in the field of telecommunications, communications and other applications such as the Internet and mobile link. At the same time, the National Space Agency under the President of Turkmenistan will be responsible to control circumterrestrial orbit, establish satellite connection, carry out scientific researches to explore the space, and organize satellite control from the territory of Turkmenistan. To some estimates, Turkmenistan's astronautic-climatic conditions are one of the best on the planet in terms of astronomical observations. Particularly, the transparency of the atmosphere, favorable wind conditions, and illumination allow observing space objects for more than 2,000 hours per annum.An observatory equipped with one-meter long telescope and other devices located at Mountain Dushak in Turkmenistan needs to be refurbished correspondingly. It is expected that the satellite can be used for the settlement of tasks the economy of Turkmenistan faces. Particularly, it will become possible to observe agricultural areas, carry out researches for the needs of the oil and gas industry, and implement ecological observations from the space.


From http://www.tmcnet.com/ 11/19/2011

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UZBEKISTAN: Conference on Information Technology Development in Asia ITPA 2011

September 26, 2011, an international Uzbek-South Korean conference on development of information technology in Asia ITPA 2011 was held within the Week of Information Technologies. It was organized by Tashkent University of Information Technology, Information Technology Internationalization Research Center (ITIRC), Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in cooperation with the Uzbek Agency for Communications and Information. The main purpose of the conference is to identify new opportunities of ICT, consideration of regional issues, association of researchers of different disciplines, scientists and entities interested in development of information technology in Asia, discussion of existing methods and new research directions and technologies, the press service of UzACI reports. The topic of the event covers the use and development of ICT in education and science, economics and management, government, and communication systems. Training courses for young teachers and students of Tashkent University of Information Technology were organized as part of the conference program.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 09/27/2011

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NEW ZEANLAND: City Unveils First Fully Integrated Metro Wi-Fi Network

The Auckland City in New Zealand has launched earlier this month the world's first fully integrated metropolitan Wi-Fi system. Free roaming Wi-Fi access across the central city and on public transport has also gone live in Auckland. The Wi-Fi network, which is established through the efforts of Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and Wi-Fi supplier Tomizone, extends across all Link buses and selected trains. The project has already seen strong support from Aucklanders and visitors with heavy usage in its first week of operation. Mark Lambert, Auckland Transport's Public Transport Operations Manager said the Wi-Fi network brings convenience to residents and visitors. "Being able to access the internet via this new Wi-Fi service means our customers and our visitors to the city can make more effective use of their commute time," he added. "Auckland is now home to the best integrated Wi-Fi network across a city anywhere in the world," said Tomizone Executive Director Steve Simms. The Wi-Fi network uses a combination of the Tomizone Metro product combined with the Chauffer system for transport which has been heavily used on Sydney Buses and Ferries. The Auckland Wi-Fi network was deployed in less than six weeks across over 90 sites and areas including Party Central Queens Wharf, the Viaduct and new Wynyard Quarter of North Wharf. The Auckland Transport will evaluate the success of the Wi-Fi service before making it more widely available across the public transport network.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/19/2011

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NZ Internet Still Amongst the Slowest in the World - Survey

A Global internet Speed Survey has revealed New Zealand internet is still some of the slowest in the world. The survey - based on 27 million downloads by 20 million computers in 224 countries from January through June 2011 - found the average worldwide download speed is 580KBps. New Zealand's average download speed is 364KBps, just ahead of Australia at 348KBps. In a list dominated by Asian and Eastern European nations, South Korea came in first with an average speed of 2,202KBps, followed by Romania (1,909KBps) and Bulgaria (1,611KBps). The United States came in at 26th, with an average speed of 616KBps. Chief executive of Pando Networks Robert Levitan said the disparities were "striking". "While, in general, developed economies outpaced the developing world in average download speeds, big names such as the US, UK, France, China and Canada were not even close to being the fastest. "Instead, we saw high speeds in markets such as Eastern Europe where focus on infrastructural development and favorable geography promote a higher level of connectivity."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/26/2011

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TONGA: ADB Helps It Connect to High-Speed Internet Access

THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the people of the Kingdom of Tonga to gain high-speed internet access by financing the development of a submarine cable system. The ADB Board of Directors today approved grant funds of $9.7 million to help finance the establishment and operation of an 827 km submarine cable system from Tonga to the Republic of Fiji which will provide widely accessible information and communication technology (ICT) services. The new ICT services the cable will bring will improve Tonga's economic performance and delivery of public services. The Tonga to Fiji Submarine Cable Project aims to improve existing businesses' efficiency and create new business opportunities, especially in the ICT sector. The cable technology will boost telecommunications, computer, information, maintenance and repair services. It will also allow ICT-based education, health, and government services to overcome the small island country's challenges distance and scarce human resources. The project is estimated to cost $32.8 million and is being co-financed by the World Bank Group and Tonga Cable Limited. The fiber optic cable will connect Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable, the main trans-Pacific link between Australia and the United States. It will generate economic opportunities and social benefits starting mid 2013 when the cable is in place. "The project aims to deliver good quality, affordable broadband internet to Tonga's population of 100,000," said Robert Wihtol, Director General of ADB's Pacific Department. "In addition to the positive socioeconomic impact of the initiative, the project will contribute to regional integration." The cable will increase the frequency and quality of communications among countries in the region, encouraging trade in services and will allow the region to form a sizeable market for digital products and services. Tonga's Ministry of Finance and National Planning will be the executing agency for the project, which should be completed by 2016. ADB, 23/08/11.


From http://www.matangitonga.to/ 08/24/2011

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Asia-Pacific Countries Meet to Review and Strengthen Role of ICT for Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Development

Incheon, Republic of Korea (UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section) - Over 300 government representatives and development stakeholders from 35 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in Incheon, Republic of Korea this week to review achievements in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote sustainable and inclusive development in the region. The Second Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on ICT Human Capacity Development: 'Where are we, Where are we going and What will it take to fill the gap?' is being organized from 24 to 28 October by the Incheon-based United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), a regional institute of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Participants will share national ICT human capacity development experiences, lessons learned and deliberate on ICT challenges and gaps in order to formulate a collaborative roadmap to enhance regional ICT human resource capacities. While several Asia-Pacific countries are successfully using ICTs to address economic, social and environmental challenges, many others lack adequate access to ICTs. The Forum aims to promote understanding of the importance of building human capacity and formulating a regional consensus to bridge this intraregional digital divide.

"This Regional Forum is a timely event that will help sustain the ICT capacity successes of recent years and at the same time, work towards helping extend ICT benefits to all in the Asia-Pacific region and address emerging challenges," ... told the Forum. Cyber security will be a focus area of the deliberations with participants discussing ways to develop capacities to respond effectively to regional and national cyber security threats. A Parallel Track event during the Forum will enhance regional cyber security capacities utilizing the APCICT flagship ICT human capacity development programme Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders. "The importance of building national and regional capacities and regional cooperation to combat cyber threats is increasing, and will continue to do so as the Asia-Pacific becomes increasingly connected and integrated," Mr. See-Joong Choi, Chairman, Korea Communication Commission told the Forum. The Forum will also discuss opportunities to extend ICT for development (ICTD) human capacity building initiatives to young people, including through the APCICT Primer Series on ICTD for Youth which will be launched during a second Forum Parallel Track event involving university professors, deans and chancellors from the region.

"Today's youth, are tomorrow leaders. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the next generation has the tools and knowledge to effectively take on this role," Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director, APCICT told the Forum. A third Parallel Track event at the Forum will discuss and formulate recommendations to strengthen regional partnerships and improve knowledge sharing and dissemination of national and regional ICTD expertise. "Establishing strong working partnerships at this Regional Forum will help us take the important step to develop a collaborative regional community of practice that effectively shares important ICT capacity building knowledge," Yeong-Gil Song, Mayor of Incheon City told the Forum. The Regional Forum marks the 5th Anniversary of APCICT which was set up to strengthen ESCAP member states' capacities to use ICT for socio-economic development.


From http://www.e-pic.info/ 10/24/2011

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