Spring 2003 Issue 1
 

Asia to Bridge Digital Divide in the Region
Closer Government to Business Partnership Urged to Overcome Digital Divide in OECD-APEC
UN ICT Task Force Asia Regional Network Established
Asia-Pacific IT Market Looking Up
ASEAN to Launch Security Web Site for Tourists
Wireless Local Networks Growing in Asia But Giants Have Edge
Webhelp Partners with Intandem to Expand Asia Pacific Presence
New Survey Unveiled by Cisco Shows Growing Opportunities for Telecom Service Providers in Asia
Knowledge Must Guide Asia-Pacific ICT Revolution, Says Chino
27th APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group
24 - 28 March 2003, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

Honimae Leads PINA Team to World Information Society Conference
Pacific Shows Its Stuff at Big Tokyo Internet, ICT Meeting
Asia-- Center of the World's Wireless Explosion
Asia Pacific Cities Summit 2003 to Be Held in Brisbane

 
  Government Adopts Active IT Outsourcing Strategy
Bill Would Allow Copying of Music, Movies
Ministry Sets Targets for IT Sector Development
Seven Strategic Approaches and 22 Top Priority Projects Were Decided for Tokyo
Ministry Seeks to Increase B2B Commerce with APEC Nations
Korea Streamlines Mobile Access Code
Ministry to Ban Mobile Signal Jammers
Seoul Selects 10 New Technologies
 
  Trade Ministry Hatches Sweeping Plan to Speed Up the E-Commerce Revolution
PHILIPPINES: PREGINET to Boost Country's S&T Research
THAILAND: IT Initiatives Don't Address Country's Needs
VIET NAM: Govt Dubs E-Commerce &Indispensable*
E-Commerce Decree on the Cards
MALAYSIA: Get More Involved in Internet: Tham
 
  BANGLADESH: Govt Forms ICT Council
Bill on ICT to Be Placed in JS
INDIA: LS Passes Freedom of Information Bill
New Law to Free All Information for Citizens, Almost
India, Singapore to Set Up IT Task Force
Judge Orders Internet Providers to Help Trace Online Pirates
SRI LANKA: Lanka, India to Sign Treaty to Promote IT Sector
MALDIVES: Cabinet Proposes Setting Up IT Agency
PAKISTAN: Awais Asks PTCL to Submit Strategy for Improving Internet Quality
Telecom Deregulation to Be Put for Cabinet Study Shortly
AJK Govt Allocates Rs 130m for IT Education
 
  AUSTRALIA: Four Projects Get Government Funding
Government Targets E-Business Priorities
High Court Rules on Vexing Question of Net Jurisdiction
Other C'wealth Members Expected to Apply Australian Net Ruling
We Must Find Ways of Getting a Better Hearing for ICT in Cabinet
NEW ZEALAND: Govt Invites Satellite Probe
Law Portal Awaits Funds
Web Publishers Uneasy About National Library Bill
Govt Grant Helps Software Export Plans
NZ Email Rules More Liberal than Australia's
 
  Armenian Presidential Aide Named to Head Public TV and Radio
Services to Government Departments
CEOs Advised to Adopt Ethical Management
Economic Web Site Launched in English
Seoul Appoints Special Envoys for the City
Ecosystem Library Available Online
 
  ICT Minister Talks Up Plans for e-Government
SINGAPORE: Consider 'Collaborative Outsourcing' for E-Government Projects
THAILAND: Data Management Springboard
Thailand ICT Ministry: 95 Projects Planned for Next Year
BRUNEI: Sapura Centre for E-Government
 
  INDIA: Website Usability Critical to the Success of Portals
PAKISTAN: All Govt. Tenders on Pakistan.Gov.Pk
Islamabad Does E-Government
Bah, Humbug to Pakistan's E-Government Plan
 
  AUSTRALIA: ACCC to Monitor Internet Shopping Complaints
Cabinet Lacks Understanding of ICT
Privacy Breach for Govt Website
The Men Who Hold Off Canberra's Cyber Siege
NEW ZEALAND: E-Government Just Part of the Mix
Ground-Breaking Government Web Portal Launched
 
  eM-Technics Co. to Ride High in New Digital Satellite Market
Park Reaches for Stars in Zhongguancun
The ※Technoport Osaka§ Plan
Bandai Readying Second Online Game
IT University to Open Early Next Year in Gwangju
Seoul City's Online Dictionary Chosen as Top Web Site of 2002
Infineon Quits Taiwan Chip Venture
Smart Bankcard System in Shanghai
Internet Education
Shanghai Built Up Databases for Loan Credit Information
Shanghai Social Security and Citizen Service Information System Won the Golden Award of 4th Shanghai International Industrial Expo
Shanghai Total Internet Users Reaching over 1,000,000
Credit Card Center of China*s Construction Bank Set up in Shanghai
Toshiba to Invest US$1b to Boost China Output
Young IT Leaders Rewarded by City of Shanghai
China Has World's 2nd Largest Number of Netizens
China Replaces Japan as World's 2nd Biggest PC Market
NCsoft Enters China's Online Game Market with 'Lineage'
Number of Internet Users Doubles in Uzbekistan
KTF to Invest W200 Bil. in W-CDMA
Online Library Systems Available to Blind
59.4% of Koreans Surf Web Regularly
Business Hub Plan to Focus on IT
High-tech Cabs to Debut in Daegu
CD-ROMs to Promote Korea's IT Industry
Web Site to Recruit Organ Donors
 
  PHILIPPINES: On-line Submission of Project Proposals on at PCIERD-DOST
MALAYSIA: Adapting to Rapidly Changing ICT
e-Cop.net Holds the Edge in e-Security Services
Mykad Set for Internet Use
CAMBODIA: For Company in Cambodia, Only the Destitute May Apply
Singtel Set to Roll Out Interactive TV Service
Filipinos Develop Technologies for High-Tech Enterprise
SINGAPORE: Broadband Surge a Cause for Cheer
Big Blue Offers Leasing of Supercomputing Time
Advanced Science & Technology Eyed to Boost Local Industries
VND250 Billion for E-Commerce Development
Overlapping on the Internet
THAILAND: TFB to Broaden E-services
VIET NAM: High-Tech Investment Gets Top Billing in HCM City Makeover
Developing E-Commerce in Vietnam
Vietnam Looks for Way Forward for E-Commerce
S'pore Readies Smart Home Trials
 
  BANGLASESH: Electronic Birth Registration in Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Electronic Media Urged Not to Be Used by a Particular Quarter
New Computer Lab Set Up at BUET
JT Task Force on ICT Soon
Level Playing Ground Key to Telecom Sector Growth
INDIA: Dotcom Survivors Still Doing Brisk Business
IFC to Invest $10 Mn in Chip Fund
India to Gain from US IT Services Exodus
ITC Partners with ITPO to Launch E-Trade Bridge for SMEs
Network Associates to Double R&D Staff in India
Web Monitoring Gives Clues to Broad Economic Trends
Microsoft India's President Quits Job
India's Net Economy in Growth Mode
IT Investment in Insurance Fastest Among Financial Services
PAKISTAN: IT University to Be Setup at Dg Khan
 
  AUSTRALIA: $27bn IT Deficit Warning
Centrelink Wins National Service Excellence Award
Internet Watchdog Warns of Fake eBay Website
The Internet Risk Continues to Rise, or Does It?
COOK ISLANDS: Internet to Be Faster, Better for Cook Islanders
Hard Times for IT Workers
NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Attacks IT Market
US Publisher Buys E-Tutors
 
  Korea Electronics Show Slated for Oct. 8-12
Computer Training
World Summit Comes to City
Citizen*s Information Service Forum Held by Shanghai
 
  BURMA: The First Founding Anniversary of MICT Park Second Myanmar ICT Week Programme
PHILIPPINES: Philippines Hosts UNESCO ICT Training
Forum on Emerging Technologies Highlight PCASTRD Rites Today
Record Number of Exhibitors at e-Services Philippines
SINGAPORE: IDA Infocomm Technology Roadmap Identifies Key Trends and Developments in Communications Technologies
VIET NAM: Conference Reveals Government Plan for Massive IT Investments
 
  BANGLADESH: BCS Computer Show Kicks Off Today
INDIA: Indian Linux Expo from Tomorrow
The India IT Forum 2003
IT Events (in India This Year)
NEPAL: Ninth Nepal IT Show from Jan 23
 
  FIJI: Internet Security Conference to Be Repeated Next Year
Apia Meeting Works on Regional Intellectual Property Rights
Pacific Heads Home from Tokyo Information Society Conference 'Happy'
Telecom Meetings Bring Island Issues to the Fore
     
 
 
 

Asia to Bridge Digital Divide in the Region

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Representatives from Asian governments, businesses and grass-roots groups vowed to wipe out inequalities in Internet growth Wednesday, wrapping up a three-day meeting to hammer out a regional agreement for a U.N.-initiated technology world summit in December. The Tokyo Declaration was adopted at the final session of the Asian Regional Conference, which drew about 500 people representing 48 countries, 21 international organizations, 53 businesses and more than 100 non-government groups. The regional meetings, including previous ones in Europe and Africa, are preparing for the December 10 to 12 World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, aimed at offering a global vision for the Internet age for fighting cybercrime, protecting copyright and setting standards while protecting freedoms, privacy and human rights. "High-quality access attainable through broadband has great potential to help better deliver essential services required to meet basic human needs," the 11-page Tokyo statement said. Participants said widespread use of Internet technology can reduce poverty, zap information to remote areas, boost the quality of education and help developing nations long left out of technological innovations. While declaring lofty goals, the gathering did not attempt to come up with specifics, leaving the challenge of working out a policy agreement and action plan for the world summit. Some critics are worried an agreement among governments to police cyberspace or regulate information may encourage censorship on the Net and restrict news coverage. Wednesday's agreement said such measures "must respect the sovereignty of nations and maintain respect for the constitutional and other rights of all persons, including freedom of expression." During the sessions at a Tokyo hotel, officials said countries must work together to spread and develop affordable technology to bridge the "digital divide," while maintaining cultural diversity and encouraging poor nations to create network content, not just grow into passive consumers. "When you dream alone, it is still a dream, but when you dream together, it is already a beginning of reality," Adama Samassekou, who heads the preparatory committee for the summit, said in a closing speech. "Let us then dream together." A clear reminder of the deep divisions in the region came on Tuesday, when talks were delayed for several hours after China protested the presence of Taiwan nongovernment groups as an affront to its "one-China policy." China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to conduct foreign relations, which makes the self-governing island's role in international meetings a sensitive matter. China returned to the sessions after a backroom compromise with Japanese organizers that allowed representatives from Taiwan to stay as part of a Japanese nonprofit organization. It was unclear whether China would make similar protests at the preparatory meeting set for February in Geneva. Representatives of nongovernment groups commended the conference for bringing in grass-roots views but were apprehensive about China's questioning how the groups were being screened. Adam Peake of the Center for Global Communications in Tokyo said he feared nongovernment groups' right to attend was "being negotiated away." "I do have the right to be heard," he said.

From http://asia.cnn.com/ 01/14/2003

Closer Government to Business Partnership Urged to Overcome Digital Divide in OECD-APEC

Singapore -- "Strengthening the partnership between the government and private sector to maximize digital economy access" will be a key message the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat will deliver the OECD-APEC Global Forum on the Knowledge Economy in Honolulu on January 15.Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda said access to the knowledge-based economy is a fundamental necessity for growth in all APEC and OECD economies. "Every APEC and OECD economy, regardless of its level of economic development, is home to people who have the potential to be leaders in the digital economy if only they were given the opportunity," said Ambassador Piamsak. "Technology of today such as the Internet means that young people in every corner of the earth should be able to access education and training in ways that were not possible in the past. "Collectively the government and the private sector can work together to broaden access to the digital economy. "Working together, Governments and the private sector from APEC and the OECD already undertake projects designed to increase access to the digital economy. There is always room to strengthen this government and private sector cooperation. "The private sector has a role to play alongside governments in investing in human capacity and raising skill levels. "Current priorities for APEC governments include fostering more dynamic market conditions that will encourage business to invest and trade in areas that have limited access to the digital economy. "The key tool for APEC to open up the digital economy is the reform and liberalization of trade and investment policies in APEC economies. "The leaders of APEC economies have also made a commitment in the &APEC Digital Divide Blueprint for Action* to triple the number of people in the region with direct internet access by 2005. "By 2010 the APEC goal is that all people in the APEC region will have at least community-based access to the Internet. "This forum will provide the opportunity for me to outline APEC's digital economy related programs to the OECD and other interested parties. Ambassador Piamsak said that as governments reduce barriers to trade and investment there is an increasing responsibility on the private sector to invest in human capacity building. "Reducing barriers to trade and investment creates opportunities for business to introduce and develop the skills required for developing areas to participate in the digital economy. "Ultimately private sector investment in training and skills development will not only create jobs, but will provide business with a local pool of skilled workers to draw from. "Ambassador Piamsak said promoting the knowledge-based economy is one of the central themes of the 2003 APEC year hosted by Thailand. "The APEC theme for 2003 is: &A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future.* "The people of all APEC-OECD economies have great entrepreneurial capacity that comes from our diverse cultures and histories. "We must work together to ensure that we share the best of our skills, knowledge and talent to build a stronger global economy that will benefit all people. "Increased trade, more jobs and higher living standards are the end result of people in all APEC economies bringing their natural skills to the global market place. "By sharing and developing our strengths we all benefit. "Ambassador Piamsak will arrive in Honolulu on January 13 at 9:20AM (Hawaii Local Time) on Japan Airlines Flight 74.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 01/13/2003


UN ICT Task Force Asia Regional Network Established

The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UN ICT TF) was established by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in response to the request of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Millennium Summit. Since the beginning of 2002, the UN ICT TF Asia regional Network had been jointly prepared by China, India, ESCAP and more than ten Asian countries. As the result, the Inauguration of the UN ICT Task Force Asia Regional Network was held in the Shanghai International Conference Centre on June 14th 2002. More than 50 participants attended the meeting, including Ms. Yan Junqi, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Guido Bertucci, Director of Division for Public Economic and Public Administration of UN/DESA, Ms. Kerstin Leitner, UNDP Resident Representative in China, Mr. Fan Xiping, Diector of the Informatization Office of Shanghai Municipal People*s Government and other representatives from ministries and departments. The participants also included senior officials from central and local governments of Asia countries, entrepreneurs, scholars and representatives of international organization from over 10 Asian countries and Pacific Island countries: Japan, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Fiji. The UN ICT Task Force Asia Regional Network was formally launched in this meeting, the website www.unict-asia.org was also open to the public, and the structure and the main framework of the Asia Regional Network were initially identified.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 01/03/2002

Asia-Pacific IT Market Looking Up

A mild recovery is on the way for the Asia-Pacific information technology (IT) and telecommunications markets this year, which should provide some solace for technology companies battered by a worldwide industry slump, predicts the latest industry report. The region's IT market, excluding Japan, is predicted to grow 11 per cent in 2003 over the previous year to hit US$81 billion, market researcher IDC said in its outlook report on the year. "IDC expects a cautious gradual IT market recovery to take place in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) in 2003, driven by infrastructure upgrades," said Piyush Singh, managing director at IDC Asia-Pacific. According to IDC, hardware segments such as personal computers (PCs), low and mid-range servers, and local area network (LAN) hardware are expected to rebound compared to their weak performance in 2002. Wireless LANs will gain significant traction in enterprises and location-specific public "hotspots" in the region, IDC said in the report. The IT service market will continue 2002's downward trend after holding fairly steady in 2001, with the focus shifting onto smaller projects this year. The telecommunications market is predicted to grow 11 per cent this year to US$137 billion, according to the research house. "The telecommunications services industry in the region will continue its growth momentum driven by deregulation and pent-up demand in the developing countries. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services will gain traction and will be seriously evaluated by organizations in 2003," Singh said. "Broadband will continue to proliferate, driven by lower prices, competition and the exploding online gaming phenomenon in the region," he added. Looking beyond 2003, "The industry will enter a new decade of growth driven by personal intelligent gadgets, pervasive connectivity, mobility, seamless information exchange and bio-informatics," the director said. "The average information and communications market growth in the next decade will be lower than the average market growth experienced in the last decade. The industry will have to adapt its expectations to this new reality," Singh said. The network storage market in the region is projected to cross the US$1 billion threshold. Linux will gain acceptance in enterprises and will eat into the space dominated by Unix, IDC predicts. Online gaming will emerge as a wildly popular application that will drive demand for broadband services in the region. The handheld devices market, based on the merger between mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), will witness mass emergence and adoption in the region and will grow by 88 per cent year-on-year in terms of shipments. By the end of the year, digital images captured per day by scanners, cameras, and other devices will surpass the number of images captured on film, but the industry will still be centred on film. The focus on business continuity and security solutions will sharpen given the threat of terrorism, viruses and cyber-terrorism. Top Indian service companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Satyam Computer Services will emerge as key players, riding the global wave of "cost cutting," the report said. IDC predicted that by the end of the year, more than 100 million PCs and 400 million cellular phones will be in use in the region while the number of Internet users and mobile Internet users will hit 165 million and 25 million respectively. Telecommunications services revenue and Internet commerce are projected to hit US$135 billion and US$150 billion this year. In stark contrast, the worldwide IT market is projected to grow a slight 5.8 per cent, driven by increased demand for servers, security and network equipment, according to John Gantz, IDC's chief research officer. The global IT industry contracted 2.3 per cent last year, experiencing its worst slump in history. The severe sector drop-off was led by a 10.6 per cent shrinkage in the worldwide storage market, a 9.3 per cent drop in PC, server and workstation sales, and a 7.6 per cent drop in the network equipment market due to the telecommunications industry slump, IDC said. Worldwide IT spending dropped by 0.7 per cent year-on-year in 2001 in the wake of the bursting of the dotcom bubble. IT spending peaked in 1995 at 14 per cent and was nearly matched in the boom year of 2000, which saw a 13 per cent increase. "We expect to see a return to spending growth in 2003 in both the global IT and telecommunications sectors," Gantz said. Worldwide IT spending is predicted to reach US$900 billion by the end of this year, and there will be 1.5 billion cellphones being used worldwide. The number of Internet users and mobile Internet users will reach 700 million and 250 million by the end of this year. "IDC expects overall technology spending growth to remain in the single digits for the foreseeable future. This is a significant departure from the double-digit growth characterizing much of the last decade and will force technology providers to rethink their market strategies," Gantz said. IDC estimates growth in worldwide PC shipments in 2002 was just 1.6 per cent, or 2.6 per cent below the market's peak in 2000. Strong public sector spending should push the growth rate up to 8 per cent this year, IDC said. While IDC is upbeat about a recovery in the technology sector, other industry reports paint dire pictures of 2003. A Goldman Sachs survey of chief information officers found technology buyers expect a decline in tech spending in 2003 instead of growth. In the survey, two-thirds of the respondents expected budget tightening, and 43 per cent of technology managers were not expecting any sort of acceleration in spending until 2004 or later, according to a Reuters report. (Zong He)

From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/07/2003

ASEAN to Launch Security Web Site for Tourists

Cambodian Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth said the Web site will provide an accurate picture of the situation in each country in the 10-nation grouping, which comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. After the bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 12 last year that killed more than 190 people, most of them foreign tourists, many Western governments issued travel advisories, cautioning their citizens about traveling to many countries in Southeast Asia. Veng Sereyvuth acknowledged that the Bali bombing, coming after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, negatively affected tourism, one of the biggest income earners of the region, which is home to 550 million people. "We want to head off embassy advisories," Veng Sereyvuth told a news conference. He said the Web site will allow foreign tourists to "receive accurate information that one spot may be unsafe after an incident, but not the entire ASEAN region." "Otherwise, information dissemination will be anarchical and that can significantly cause tourist numbers to fall. This concerns all of us, not just any one single country," he said. He said the Cambodian-initiated scheme will be discussed and approved by tourism ministers during the ASEAN Tourism Forum scheduled to be held in Phnom Penh January 20 to 27. No date has been set for the launch of the web site. A country in ASEAN will be selected to manage the site, and it will convene meetings with other members in the event of any terrorism or violent incident, the minister said.

From http://asia.cnn.com/ 01/09/2003

Wireless Local Networks Growing in Asia But Giants Have Edge

Wireless local area networks (WLAN) in public places are gaining popularity in Asia but telecom giants could elbow out smaller players who were first in the market, an industry monitor said today. WLAN, which allows Internet access in airports, cafes, shopping malls and other public places without having to plug into fixed lines, is picking up speed in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. WLAN will only work in 'hot spots' rigged for the service, and portable computers need speciliased components and software. It allows corporate 'road warriors' to have a virtual office in any place with a hot spot. With big carriers getting into the game, they bring better service coverage and more affordable pricing, especially for the consumer market,' US-based research and advisory firm Gartner Dataquest said in a report. 'The downside is that some start-ups are already falling out of the market or scaling back their operations, leaving the field to carriers,' it added. Gartner Dataquest said Korea Telecom was the most aggressive of the regional operators, with plans to have 16,000 hot spots by the end of this year. It also noted the low usage fees in South Korea. The report said that since the service is still in its early days, subscriber numbers and revenues are still very small, and it is unclear whether WLAN will become a major revenue generator, but some carriers are looking to use it to boost core services such as broadband access.

From http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/ 01/13/2002

Webhelp Partners with Intandem to Expand Asia Pacific Presence

Toronto-based Webhelp Inc., an offshore business process outsourcing services provider and developer of customer support technologies, has entered into a joint venture partnership with Hong Kong-based Intandem Asia, a provider of outsourced management services. Under the agreement, Intandem Asia will sell Webhelp's suite of products and services to companies in Hong Kong/China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia.

From Webhelp Inc. Press Release 01/23/2003

New Survey Unveiled by Cisco Shows Growing Opportunities for Telecom Service Providers in Asia

ITU TELECOM ASIA 2002, HONG KONG - Enterprises in Asia Pacific have revealed strong intentions to adopt and out-task Internet Protocol (IP) services over the next 24 months. According to a new survey by AC Nielsen, the out-tasking trend represents a growing opportunity for service providers. The survey, entitled "Enterprise Service Provider Connect" commissioned by Cisco in Asia Pacific, interviewed 276 IT decision makers from enterprises and governments across the region. Sixty percent of those surveyed have plans to adopt managed IP solutions such as workforce optimization and customer care. "The survey results show a growing demand for Internet business solutions among Asia Pacific organizations. Companies need to improve business processes, and increase productivity and revenue," said Andrew Murray, vice president, service provider operations of Cisco Systems Asia Pacific. "Service Providers can take advantage of this trend and reap additional rewards. Focusing on value-added managed IP services is a good way to meet corporate customers' needs, bring additional margin, and reduce customer churn." According to the survey, up to 50 percent of enterprises plan to adopt Internet business solutions. These include IP-Virtual Private Networks (IP-VPNs) and IP Telephony. Key drivers are the desire for increased functionality (55 percent of enterprises surveyed), improved time-to-market (53 percent) and cost-savings (46 percent). The survey also highlights growing opportunities for managed IP services in the region. It expects between 20 to 35 percent of all IP investments will be out-tasked. Worldwide, the managed service market is estimated to grow from US$40 billion in 2002 to between US$100 and US$120 billion in 2006. Of this, about 20 percent will be in Asia Pacific. "The substantial interest shown in adopting managed IP services offers great opportunities for services providers," said Murray. "Those demonstrating infrastructure leadership and service innovation stand to capture a significant and growing market." The high level of interest in out-tasking suggests that many of the traditional barriers to out-tasking are being addressed. Out-tasking is expected to occur in the less-critical areas first and expand to core processes within organizations. Service providers are viewed as potential providers for managing enterprise networks. About 30 percent of enterprises surveyed prefer to use telecom service providers as opposed to IT service providers. "To compete for enterprise networking services, telecom service providers should not only use their traditional competitive advantage in core network but also provide additional value-added services and support internet business solutions. They can develop their own capability or partner with IT providers to provide Layer 4-7 services," explained Lea King, managing director of Internet Business Solutions Group, Service Provider, Cisco Asia Pacific. "For service providers, the key competitive requirement will be to differentiate themselves from other industry players," King said. Based on the survey results, Cisco will help service providers capture the managed service opportunities. It will continue to work with services providers to create differentiated services by offering innovative IP technologies and solutions. Conducted in May to July 2002, the survey is part of a global study covering Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific. The companies surveyed are in multiple industries including manufacturing, retail, finance, government and utilities, as well as transportation and logistic and media. The participating companies are located in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

From http://www.cisco.com/ 12/04/2002

Knowledge Must Guide Asia-Pacific ICT Revolution, Says Chino

Tokyo (PINA Nius): Developing countries need the knowledge to properly process information if they are to benefit from the global information and communications technology (ICT) revolution, a major Asia-Pacific meeting heard. Asian Development Bank President Tadao Chino said that increased access to information alone is not enough to foster progress and reduce poverty in the region. In a keynote speech in Tokyo to the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), he said: "For developing countries to make the best use of information, they need the capacity to interpret and apply information to their own needs and local circumstances. "This process of sifting through and digesting information requires knowledge." The conference will produce a declaration of principles on ICT issues relevant to the Asian and Pacific region. It is a preparatory meeting for the WSIS, to be held in two phases - in Geneva in December and Tunisia in 2005. Mr Chino pointed out that Asian Development Bank is committed to supporting ICT to promote development and close the gap between the "information rich" and the "information poor." He said: "The challenge is to ensure that the region as a whole benefits from the information revolution, that inequalities between countries do not worsen, and that the new technology helps to bridge the gaps between the region and the developed world, and within the countries of the region." The Tokyo conference is organized by the Government of Japan and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. They are working in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the International Telecommunication Union. - PINA Nius.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 01/15/2003

 

27th APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group
24 - 28 March 2003, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA


PROGRAM

22 March 2003 (Saturday) 每 Whole day

Computer Emergency Response Team Workshop

23 March 2003 (Sunday) 每 Whole day

Computer Emergency Response Team Workshop

Interconnection Training Workshop 每 Follow-up Day

24 March 2003 (Monday) 每 Whole day

e-Security Task Group

WTO Workshop

MRA Training Workshop

MORNING SESSION

AFTERNOON SESSION

25 March 2003 (Tuesday)

Broadband Workshop

Regulatory Round Table

MRA Task Force

Broadband Workshop

Regulatory Round Table

MRA Task Force

26 March 2003 (Wednesday)

Opening Ceremony

Plenary 1

Liberalisation Steering Group

Development Cooperation Steering Group

27 March 2003 (Thursday)

Liberalisation Steering Group

Development Cooperation Steering Group

Business Facilitation Steering Group

HRD Steering Group

Business Facilitation Steering Group

HRD Steering Group

MRA Joint Committee

28 March 2003 (Friday)

Plenary II

Free

Morning Session

Lunch

Afternoon Session

9.00 a.m. 每 12.30 p.m

12.30 p.. 每 2.00 p.m.

2.30 p.m. 每 5.00 p.m.

 From http://www.apectelwg.org/ 01/2003


Honimae Leads PINA Team to World Information Society Conference

Suva (PINA Nius) - Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) president Johnson Honimae will lead strong PINA representation at a World Summit on Information Society preliminary conference beginning this weekend. The Asian Regional Conference in Tokyo is the main Asia-Pacific preparatory meeting for summit to be held in Geneva in December. The World Summit on the Information Society is focusing on the revolution in information and communications technology (ICT), and its impact worldwide. Amongst those going to Tokyo with Mr Honimae (general manager, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation) as the PINA team are: PINA Vice President Muli'agatele Jean Malifa (publisher, Samoa Observer), Laila Younis (Marianas Variety operations manager), Stephen Smith (EM TV, Papua New Guinea, chief executive); and PINA Administrator Nina Ratulele. The strong PINA representation has been made possible through support from the Sasakawa Pacific Island Nations Fund. The PINA representatives take part in two preliminary events, a PIDO Committee meeting on Saturday and a Pacific Islands preparatory meeting on Sunday, before the main conference Monday to Wednesday. Honimae, Malifa, and Ratulele will all make PINA presentations in the preliminary meetings. PINA is stressing that a true information society cannot be conceived without guaranteeing freedom of expression and information. Issues PINA is promoting also include:? clear directions to help overcome the digital divide, including liberalising the telecommunications sector to improve services and cut costs; ? the importance of both public and private sectors of developing countries participating in decision-making bodies concerning ICTs and the Internet; ? the inclusion of computer literacy in education master plans. The PINA recommendations are drawn from a Declaration on the Development of New Media adopted by members at their last convention, in Madang, Papua New Guinea.This had been drafted by senior members taking part in a workshop sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 01/11/2003

Pacific Shows Its Stuff at Big Tokyo Internet, ICT Meeting

Tokyo (PINA Nius) - Innovative Pacific Islands projects using the Internet and Information Communication Technologies took centre stage in Tokyo today. They ranged from using solar power and HF radio to provide e-mail to remote island communities to satellites to help bring education and health services. Details were given during an all-day Pacific Island States and the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) program leading into tomorrow's opening of the big WSIS Asian Conference. Recommendations and resolutions from the Pacific program, held at the United Nations University, were being taken to the main conference. The Asian Regional Conference in Tokyo is the Asia-Pacific preparatory meeting for main summit to be held in Geneva in December. The World Summit on the Information Society is focusing on the revolution in information communication technologies (ICT), and their impact worldwide. Sessions and speakers in the Pacific program in Tokyo included:? National Information Communication Technology Applications for Development, moderated by Sam Taufao (Secretariat of the Pacific Community):- Rajesh Chanda (University of the South Pacific) on USPNet Distance Learning; - Abel Caine (Fiji) on e-government; - Stuart Davies (Cook islands) on tele-health; - Fuatai Purcell (Samoa/New Zealand) on e-commerce. ? Connecting Communities, moderated by Nina Bolaitamana Ratulele (Pacific Islands News Association);
- YapSEED (Yap State Education Enterprising Department) on how it is using technology in education to give Yap students a "Door to the World"; - the Solomon Islands People First Network (PFNet), which is connecting remote Solomon Islands communities with e-mail using solar power and high-frequency radio; - Peacesat (the Pan Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite), which has been using satellites to break down barriers of distance across the Pacific. ? Development Partners Dialogue, moderated by Rinaila Abdul Rahim, executive director of the Global Knowledge Partnership. - Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Communication and Information; - Craig Keating, AusAID Virtual Colombo Plan Unit; - Adam Peake, GLOCOM; - Pamela Kruzic, Asian Development Bank; - Kyoko Shibata, World Bank; - Shahid Akhtar, director, Asia Pacific Development Information Program; - Kenji Saga, Japan National Committee for PIDO (Pacific Island Digital Opportunities). ? WSIS and the Pacific, moderated by Robert Guild, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat: - Fuatai Purcell, Themes for Small Island States; - Abel Caine, WSIS Preparatory Process; - Tarja Virtanen, UNESCO's role in WSIS; Almira Pries (East Timor), Sam Taufao (SPC). The Pacific meeting carried the theme Information Communication Technologies for Development: Resources, Needs and Opportunities. Its sponsors were: Sasakawa Pacific Island Nations Fund, Global Knowledge Partnership, Foundation for Development Cooperation, Peacesat, Glocom, infoDev and the Asian Development Bank.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 01/12/2003


Asia-- Center of the World's Wireless Explosion

Madanmohan Rao reports from the ITU Telecom Asia 2002 summit in Hong Kong. The results are in 每 and the numbers are impressive. Asia now accounts for 36 per cent of the world*s telecom market (up from 21 per cent in early 1991, and scheduled to hit 50 per cent in 2007), the world*s largest regional user base of cellphones, 33 per cent of the world*s Internet user base, 95 per cent of the world*s 3G mobile users, 47 per cent of the world*s ADSL broadband Internet users, and seven of the world*s Top Ten most profitable telecom operators. According to ITU figures of June 2002, the top market worldwide in terms of broadband Internet penetration is South Korea 每 followed by Hong Kong, Canada, Taiwan, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, US, Denmark, Singapore, Austria and Japan. At the end of 2001, the market with the highest penetration of cellphones was Taiwan (a whopping 96 per cent), followed by Hong Kong (84 per cent), Singapore (69 per cent), New Zealand (62 per cent), South Korea (60 per cent), Australia (57 per cent), and Japan (57 per cent). Asia also accounts for four of the Top Ten markets in the world in terms of wireless Internet user base as a percentage of mobile users: Japan and South Korea are in the lead, followed by Finland, Canada, Singapore, US, Germany, Italy, UK, Taiwan and France. Asia is now the largest and most innovative telecom market in the world 每 but it must demonstrate leadership in this role, said Yoshio Utsumi, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union, at the recent ITU Telecom Asia 2002 summit in Hong Kong, titled ※From Recovery to Prosperity.§ Challenges remain, of course, for many operators in terms of figuring out how to migrate to 2.5G or 3G for competitive reasons without losing out on fully recovering costs of GSM networks that have already been rolled out. The entry of new wireless players in some Asian markets has not been a smooth process either, and other markets like China are slowing down. Confusion is also growing as companies like Nokia announce new 3G standards. Uncertainty in liberalization rules has hampered international carriers from investing in markets like China. There is also confusion in some markets as to whether WiFi will compete with 3G, when they are actually complementary services. ※Companies need to figure out how to leverage the wireless explosion for creating new fields of applications, new ways of using applications and new ways of developing applications,§ said Naoyuki Akikusa, CEO of Fujitsu. A mix of content and transactional services has also been beneficial for Korean mobile operator KTF, which has 11 million users today (SK Telecom leads with 17 million). KTF rolled out 2.5G services in 2001, and MMS in May this year. More foreign investment is also coming into the Korean wireless sector, such as from Microsoft and Qualcomm. In Australia, Telstra and nineMSN have tied up to bring Hotmail and Instant Messenger to mobile users. ※The most popular services on our 2.5G network are Internet, adult TV, games, video on demand, and karaoke,§ said Joo Young Song, executive vice president at KTF. As a percentage of total ARPU, data services accounted for 10 per cent in October 2002, up from 5 per cent in January 2001. This could cross 15 per cent in 2003 and 30 per cent in 2005, Song predicted, as the market for voice gets saturated.※Content-centric value chain coordination has been key to our success,§ said Takeshi Natsuno, managing director of I-Mode strategy for NTT DoCoMo; I-Mode has 35 million users today since launch less than four years ago. Similar content-centric models accounted for the success of AOL in the US and Minitel in France. ※Coordination of these layers involving devices, network, server, marketing and user needs should be seamless and continuously evolving. We were advised by consultancies like McKinsey to take as much money as possible from content providers 每 but we did not listen to them, fortunately,§ said Natsuno. I-Mode takes only 9 per cent commission from its content providers. Carriers should also keep an eye on newer devices created by the IT industry, such as PDAs and PCs with GSM and 3G chipsets fully integrated. ※Completely new devices will emerge in five years. Handsets will be as powerful as today*s laptops,§ said Bosco Fernandes, vice president at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Networks. Currently, however, NTT DoCoMo has no plans for I-Mode on other handheld devices like PDAs. User growth of the 3G FOMA service has been slow because of fewer devices in the market and smaller coverage area, said Natsuno. i-Mode has not taken off yet in Europe, and many European operators prefer to build on existing successes like SMS and focus on MMS for expansion. The Asia-Pacific will be the world*s test-bed for 3G services for the rest of the decade, said UMTS Forum chairman Bern Eylert. The region will account for $118 billion of global 3G revenues of $320 billion in 2010; the top three 3G markets in the world will be the US, China and Japan. Interesting cultural differences are also emerging among users across the world. For instance, the craze for wireless content is not as high in Hong Kong as it has been in Japan or South Korea, observed Francis Wong, managing director of Trident in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong market will experience more growth in applications like email and not entertainment, Wong said. 80 per cent of business users in Hong Kong access email on the move. The market already has 84 per cent penetration of cellphones, and growth will come not from new users but new and improved services. Many carriers are now expanding their focus from basic telecom and wireless services to value-added services, especially for corporate customers. ※Carriers are forming partnerships with us for managed network services, VPNs and other enterprise applications,§ said Gordon Astles, president of Asia-Pacific operations for Cisco. There has been too much focus on the gloom of industry dynamics in markets like the US, on issues such as governance -- but the consumer has never had it so good. Other mega-projects to keep an eye on include the Digital Beijing project for 2008, during the Olympic Games, which include city-wide fiber and wireless internetworking called ※City Information Infrastructure§ (CII), information kiosks, and smart cards. In many developing countries of Asia, the penetration of cellphones has already exceeded the penetration of landlines (Cambodia was the first country in the world to cross this threshold, in 1983). ※A whole new development paradigm will be unleashed in the next few years in Asia,§ said Utsumi. Telecom players and vendors need to focus on inclusion strategies and not just products, said Noah Samara, CEO of Worldspace; the company beams radio and Internet content via satellite to parts of the world like Asia and Africa, including medical journal archives for healthcare workers. ※Content should become a major focus area for telecom players,§ advised Samara. A lot of data that is critically needed by the masses is in the public domain, and a number of technologies are emerging that can help bridge the critical ※last mile§ problem such as WiFi and satellite. But regulatory obstacles are holding back services like WiFi and VoIP in many developing countries of Asia, observed Heather Hudson, telecom professor at San Francisco State University.Universal access goals are also becoming moving targets, evolving from basic landline connectivity and wireless access to Internet and then broadband. Developing nations should prioritize these services and targeted user organizations such as healthcare, libraries, NGOs, schools and governments. Sites like www.UniversalService.org have useful information resources and case studies in this regard. §Technology is moving in the right direction. Human brokers 每 for instance, for operating telecentres and providing wireless access on a shared basis 每 are very important in this regard for developing nations,§ advised Hudson.Mobile voice alone will account for huge markets in countries like India and Vietnam. By 2005, half of the world*s population will be using cellphones, according to Amarendra Narayan, executive director of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, in Bangkok.

From http://www.inomy.com/ 12/17/2002

Asia Pacific Cities Summit 2003 to Be Held in Brisbane

More than 500 delegates from 60 cities are expected to attend the Asia Pacific Cities Summit 2003 to be held at City Hall in Brisbane from 13-16 April. Themed 'Emerging Futures of the City', the summit is a major forum for idea exchange and business liaison for governments and businesses around the Asia Pacific region. Civic administrators, decision-makers and local and international business leaders will discuss the issues that are driving the future vision of our cities. Major topics include transforming urban sprawl, greening our cities, creating healthy communities, global-local governance and alternative futures.

From http://www.alga.com.au/ 12/20/2002

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Government Adopts Active IT Outsourcing Strategy

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) has been adopting a vigorous information technology (IT) outsourcing strategy to enhance its capacity for IT services delivery, accelerate the delivery of IT solutions, and develop the IT industry locally. Various modes of outsourcing have been employed to tailor to the needs and objectives of different government bureaux and departments. The above remarks were made by the Assistant Director of Information Technology Services, Mr. Dennis Pang Chi-tat, when he shared with his counterparts the HKSARG's IT outsourcing experience at the E-government Projects and Outsourcing Operations Conference in Beijing today (January 15). The Conference was organised by the China Information Industry Association with an aim to explore and formulate the outsourcing strategy of China's E-government projects based on the overseas experience and the current development trend of E-government in China. "Adopting the IT outsourcing strategy has helped to speed up the momentum of our E-government initiative and foster the development of the IT industry locally," Mr. Pang told the participants. "It also enables us to better utilise our in-house human resources, adopt new technology sooner and tap into the talents and expertise outside of the Government," he said. In the 2001/02 financial year, over 80 per cent of government IT projects were contracted out. This involved $1.23 billion and accounted for 84 per cent of the total government expenditure on IT projects. The latter ratio is expected to rise to 87 per cent in 2002/03. The HKSARG's flexibility in carrying out its outsourcing policy can be demonstrated in its various outsourcing models. Examples can be seen in the Intellectual Property Department and the Judiciary which had outsourced non-core services of the department and a full range of its IT services of the entire department respectively. The Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Scheme used another outsourcing model, in which the private enterprise contractor financed, developed and managed the front-end ESD portal and services. The contractor is also allowed to provide commercial services on the same portal to generate income. The HKedCity project, whose web site provides online resources for the education sector, was the result of the collaboration of the Government, the education and the private sectors. Mr. Pang said that outsourcing through turnkey projects, such as the Electronic Tendering System, the Computerised Social Security System, and the Land Registration System, had also been done by some departments. This practice allows the Government to just "turn a key" to start the system to support its services to the public. Meanwhile, some projects were completely outsourced from the planning, research and development to the provision of maintenance and help desk service. Examples include the Government Office Automation Programme and the School Administration and Management System. Mr. Pang said, "Some government IT projects are outsourced on an assignment basis by using standing offer agreements." Under the IT Professional Services Arrangement (ITPSA), the HKSARG in 2002 awarded 23 standing offer agreements to 12 companies which worked with some 70 sub-contractors. Under the agreements, IT assignments can be open for competition by two to four contractors of the ITPSA and are awarded to the contractors which satisfy the requirements and offer the most competitive price. Ninety projects involving some $70 million have been awarded since the service agreements came into effect in June last year. Outlining the advantages of the ITPSA to the participants, Mr. Pang said, "It simplifies procedures under an established contract and management framework. It also allows healthy competition among contractors and enables us to build up a business-partner relationship with them through a continuous cross-project agreement." Mr. Pang pointed out that the successful implementation of IT outsourcing requires clear objectives, service level agreements, monitoring systems, stringent quality control, sub-contractor management, etc. "The Government will continue its efforts to work with its IT contractors in a mutually beneficial manner and adopt the most appropriate and effective mode of co-operation to cope with the technology advances and ever-changing market conditions," Mr. Pang said.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 01/15/2003

Bill Would Allow Copying of Music, Movies

If "DVD Jon" Lech Johansen, creator of the DeCSS DVD descrambling program, had been tried in a U.S. court instead of in Norway, he might have been found in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But a bill reintroduced in the U.S. Congress would allow consumers to defeat anticopying measures on digital content in some cases. The Digital Media Consumer Rights Acts, reintroduced Tuesday by Representative Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and three other lawmakers, would trump the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anticircumvention provisions, allowing consumers to break copy controls in order to do such things as make personal copies of songs or movies from discs they already own. If the consumer's action has a substantial legitimate use, it falls under the fair use rights protected in the Boucher bill, instead of constituting a copyright violation, Boucher said. Legal Backing So in the case of Johansen--who was acquitted by a Norwegian court this week of charges of copyright violation stemming from his creation and use of DeCSS (also known as De-Content Scramble System)--the bill would have protected him if he were a U.S. resident because he was using the program to play DVDs on his Linux computer. The bill would also likely protect a U.S. version of Johansen who posted DeCSS on a Web site, Boucher said, though that case could be subject to some court interpretation. In addition, Boucher's bill would protect companies such as Russian software maker ElcomSoft, which in December was found not guilty of violating the DMCA. ElcomSoft markets a program that disables the security settings on Adobe Systems' e-book files. In both of those instances, Boucher said, the software has a legitimate use; the ElcomSoft software can be used to copy and back up e-books. Another provision of the bill would require copy-protected CDs to be labeled. Strong Support? Boucher and cosponsor John Doolittle, a California Republican, introduced a similar bill at the end of the last congressional session to start debate on the issue. Though there was insufficient time to take action on the bill then, Boucher said he believes that the bill has a good chance to win passage in the House. The sponsors have lined up more than 15 groups to support the bill, including Intel, Verizon Communications, Sun Microsystems, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the American Library Association. "I think justice is on our side, and there's a growing number of people in this country who want to use digital media in a way that's convenient," Boucher said. The bill is likely to run into opposition, however. The Business Software Alliance, representing several large software companies, issued a statement Wednesday saying that its members are concerned that "broad exemptions" to the DMCA would make it harder for software companies to counter software piracy. Cautious Optimism Washington privacy and First Amendment lawyer John T. Mitchell welcomed the bill. "It seems clear to me that Congress never intended for the DMCA to be used by major copyright-holding companies to prevent people from making perfectly lawful, noninfringing uses of copyrighted works, nor to empower them to charge people for accessing their own lawful copies," said Mitchell, who has worked with bill supporter Public Knowledge. Mitchell was more cautious than Boucher about the bill's chances of becoming law, however; and though he called the bill "attractive for its simplicity," he said that more action is needed to keep major copyright-holding companies from monopolizing the content marketplace.

From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/09/2003

Ministry Sets Targets for IT Sector Development

China's information-technology industry should account for 5.9 per cent of the nation's total gross domestic product this year, according to a Ministry of Information Industry target announced yesterday. Wu Jichuan, minister of the information industry, told the All-China Information Industry Working Conference in Beijing yesterday that the industry should achieve added value of 632 billion yuan (US$76 billion) this year. The sales volume from the telecommunications sector this year will be 506.7 billion yuan (US$61.2 billion), up 11 per cent over last year, said Wu. The target for new fixed-line telephone subscribers is 33 million people, while that for mobile phones is 52 million. The sales volume of electronic manufactured goods is expected to hit 1.64 trillion yuan (US$198 billion), up 19 per cent over last year. "Exposed to predictions of a prolonged period of sluggish growth worldwide, this year is of vital importance for us," Wu said. The telecommunications industry should be further restructured to enhance its competitiveness, he said. Last year, the telecommunications industry's sales volume stood at 457.6 billion yuan (US$55.3 billion), up 14 per cent from the previous year. "The unabated domestic demand as well as reforms within the industry contributed a lot to the growth," said the minister. "Competition should be increased and monopolies are not acceptable," Wu said. In another development, the minister said the manufacturing of electronic goods should be readjusted more quickly while both domestic and overseas markets should be explored. The sector last year harvested a sales volume of 1.4 trillion yuan (US$169 billion), up 20 per cent from the previous year. "We will continue to encourage more home-grown transnational companies and more flagship products," he said. Last year, there were 11 electronic information industry enterprises whose sales surpassed 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) each. Reorganization, mergers and acquisitions and public flotations are encouraged so that companies grow bigger and more competitive, he said. The manufacture of electronic goods has become China's top industry in terms of foreign investment and exports. The sector has so far attracted more than US$70 billion in foreign investment. Exports were worth US$92.5 billion last year, representing an annual growth of 42 per cent. According to this year's target, China will produce 13 million computers, 120 million mobile phones, 50 million colour monitors and 10 billion integrated circuits. The ministry also pledged yesterday to speed up the construction of a supervisory system for telecommunications. ''The optimization of telecom regulations has become the most crucial issue in the industry," said Wu. "We will accelerate the drafting of telecommunication laws, the revision of postal laws and the wireless management regulation," he said. (by Chen Zhiming)

From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/21/2003

Seven Strategic Approaches and 22 Top Priority Projects Were Decided for Tokyo

On November 15, the Headquarters of the Governor of Tokyo formulated "Important Measures and Top Priority Projects in FY 2003 - The Strategy Guideline for Promoting Structural Change". Tokyo is required to provide an example for the revitalization of all of Japan through its original approach to reform and lead the National government in order to overcome the crisis currently faced by Tokyo. Top priority projects are formulated as "Strategy Guidelines" which promote structural change within TMG. The structural change is designed to overcome the institutional fatigue which includes a single issue working systems that remains in TMG, and to do this using the advanced approaches which TMG has implemented in various other fields including the delivering of diesel vehicle regulation and introducing certified child care centers. Top priority projects will implement "the seven strategic approaches" which show the individual tasks and the direction of the approach for the areas identified. The Seven Strategic Approaches established by TMG are; 1) Revitalizing Tokyo as a living and working area. 2) Achieving the flow of people and products to increase the metropolitan area's potential. 3) Enhancing industrial power taking advantage of Tokyo's characteristics. 4) Total educational reform at school, home and in local areas. 5) Welfare and healthcare reform to suit "big city" Tokyo. 6) Creating a new system to protect the citizens of Tokyo from various dangers. 7) Creating cities that consider the environment and provide an example for other cities. The main approaches towards reform promotion are shown below. "Revitalizing Tokyo as a living and working area" promotes non-governmental projects, which utilize public land arising from the rebuilding of Public Housing complexes. "Achieving the flow of people and products to increase the metropolitan area's potential" which aims at upgrading about 100 traffic jam locations within 5 years. The locations selected are mainly heavy traffic intersections where it takes more than 10 minutes to pass through. "Enhancing industrial power taking advantage of Tokyo's characteristics" by "developing new markets support business for medium and small enterprises" which support market development and new products via utilizing former members of large companies as a strategic support measure to enhance the industrial power in Tokyo. "Total educational reform at school, home and in local areas" promotes TMG-run school reform. The reform includes formulation of "TMG Educational Vision (tentative name)" with schools including public and private schools, home, and local areas also being considered as well as establishing a viable unit promotion budget to extend the principle's authority. "Welfare and healthcare reform to suit "big city" Tokyo" provides approx. 300 facilities for about 3000 mentally-disabled people as a "local life support for mentally-disabled people emergency three year plan" aiming to eliminating a waiting list to enter facilities by 2006. "Creating a new system to protect the citizens of Tokyo from various dangers" introduces the TMG original certification system and establishes the food-safety & security assessment committee staffed by specialists and consumer representatives in order to maintain food-safety & security. "Creating cities that consider the environment and provide an example for other cities" delivers TMG's original diesel vehicle countermeasures including approaches to make CO2 emission-reduction compulsory considering bylaws and establishing a new loan system and promoting the replacement of vehicles as TMG leads the nation in the reduction of global warming. In addition, TMG selected 22 Top Priority projects which should be implemented in 2003 in order to deliver these strategic approaches (refer to the list). Total operating expenses for the Top Priority projects are expected to be 26.5 billion.

From http://www.chijihonbu.metro.tokyo.jp/ 11/15/2002

Ministry Seeks to Increase B2B Commerce with APEC Nations

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC) reported Thursday (Jan. 16) that it would invest a total of 1.8 billion won in projects designed to expand B2B commerce between Korean businesses and firms in APEC nations.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 01/17/2003

Korea Streamlines Mobile Access Code

The Ministry of Information and Communication said it will streamline the mobile phone access code in a way that is likely to nullify the brand identify of wireless service providers. While KTF and LG Telecom have not expressed opposition over the new system, top mobile carrier SK Telecom fiercely argued that the government's move is bound to deal a severe blow to its brand image and brand name value. Beginning in January 2004, mobile phone subscribers can get a unified access code of 010 for third-generation (3G) service. Korea is currently offering cdma2000 1x service and is scheduled to offer competing 3G service known as W-CDMA in the second half of this year. Accordingly, mobile phone users signing up for 3G services next year will be given 010 for access code, regardless of service providers. SK Telecom's current access codes are 011 and 017, KTF operates 016 and 018, and LG Telecom uses 019. Existing 2G CDMA cellular phone subscribers will be allowed to change their access code into 010 if they want from next year, something that SK Telecom fears will undermine its brand value, particularly concerning its "Speed 011." In addition, number portability will be applied to SK Telecom subscribers from January next year. Once subscribers purchase new handsets, they can switch to KTF and LG Telecom while keeping their 011 phone number. "If the mobile access codes are merged into 010, people will enjoy better services and disputes about branding access codes will be resolved," a high-ranking official of MIC said. SK Telecom issued a high-pitched statement, claiming that the government's policy will seriously undermine its brand value as it has long poured resources into the 011 brand. "The new access code policy is unheard of in the mobile phone market worldwide, and mobile phone number is what consumers can choose, not a thing that should be regulated by the government," SK Telecom spokesman said. Some critics argued that the sudden move by the ministry coincided with the transition of the government. Information and Communication Minister Lee Sang-chul, who worked as CEO for KT and KTF, is expected to resign once the Roh Moo-hyun government will be inaugurated in late February. The new system is set to benefit KTF at least for the short term, and the government's hasty decision to streamline the access code is suspicious, critics said. Minister Lee yesterday told reporters that the new policy has undergone due procedure and the ministry will hold public forums to gauge and reflect public opinions about the issue. Asked on why SK Telecom will be first forced to adopt number portability, the government has considered SK Telecom's dominant market position in finalizing the policy implementation schedule. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/18/2003

Ministry to Ban Mobile Signal Jammers

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said yesterday that it will ban the use of "jammers" - or devices that jam mobile phone signals in public places - signaling that the government is taking the side of mobile phone users with regards to the issue of mobile phone usage in public places. Some libraries and theaters in Korea have installed jammers to prevent people from receiving and making mobile calls while in their facilities. The installation of such jamming devices, however, has sparked some controversy, particularly concerning potential civil liabilities and possible invasion of privacy issues. In fact, such devices are illegal in most countries, including the United States. The information ministry held a public forum about the issue and concluded that the usage of jamming devices should be prohibited as issues have arisen with regard to the technological soundness of the devices, as well as countervailing arguments that using such devices are an infringement upon one's constitutionally protected rights with regards to freedom of communication guaranteed by the constitution. The ministry's position was clarified in a report issued last month. The report, however, has left some leeway to allow for the reduction of public nuisances caused by sending and receiving mobile calls in public places. One of the ways suggested is to encourage people to switch their phones to an inaudible ring mode like a vibration mode, when entering a public place. The ministry adjudged that it is technologically sound and legally justifiable to employ technology that could automatically switch all mobile phones within the radius of a particular public place from an audible mode to an inaudible mode without the users' knowledge or permission. This particular method does not block signals while helping minimizing the disturbances of mobile handsets in such public places as theaters, cinemas and churches. Ministry officials said some of the jamming devices installed in certain libraries and theaters also blocks residents living nearby from receiving calls, a technological problem that has been found to be intolerable for those in such situations. Ministry officials said some local restaurants use jammers imported from overseas markets, but such devices are illegal under Korean law, adding that most advanced countries do not allow jammers that completely block mobile signals. Although the ministry has decided to ban jammers, the issue of mobile phone nuisance in public places has become a thorny issue in Korea. In advanced countries, jamming devices, which can block signals in rooms the size of a movie theater, have been in commercial circulation since 1998. Advanced countries, however, have laws prohibiting the usage of cell-phone signal jammers. The potential for civil liabilities for those who use cell phone signal jammers looms larger than life, and could have unintended social consequences as well. One scenario that is not altogether unlikely is the doctor who cannot respond to a life-threatening emergency via a page or call on his cell phone, because the public place he is in is secretly blocking his phone from receiving or making any calls. The mobile industry and regulators in Korea have also expressed opposition to legislation that would legalize indiscriminate jamming of phone signals. Ministry officials said they would also urge mobile carriers to operate wireless etiquette programs as an alternative way of resolving conflicts arising from widespread mobile phone usage. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/03/2003

Seoul Selects 10 New Technologies

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (ATS) under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) has announced this year's 10 new technologies developed by Korean companies. Of the 10, six were developed for the first time in Korea and the other four are world-class technologies. The six include Hyundai Heavy Industries's technology to load huge structures and float them on the high seas; Samsung SDI's organic el display device; LG Electronics' advanced digital TV system on chip; Will'tek's cdma2000 1x multi channel measurement technology; Hyosung's thinnest polyester yarn by direct spinning; CJ's production technology of an industrial amino acid, L-Threonine. Four other technologies include Korea Aerospace Industries' T-50 next generation trainer jet.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 12/27/2002

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Trade Ministry Hatches Sweeping Plan to Speed Up the E-Commerce Revolution

The Trade Ministry has completed a plan for the development of the e-commerce sector in Vietnam over the next five years. The plan, which is being submitted to the Prime Minister, would play a key role in the development of the fledgling industry during the 2001-2005 period. Nguyen Huu Anh, the director of the Trade Ministry's E-commerce Department, spoke to Thoi Bao Kin Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about the plan. What are the targets of the e-commerce plan? Primarily, the plan aims to assist the Government in the initial development of the e-commerce industry, both within the country and in the wider world. The Government will draw up proper targets for the industry, and will create favourable conditions for its development. The plan also aims to develop the necessary infrastructure by 2005, in order to encourage the wide-spread application of e-commerce in Vietnam. To be more precise, we hope to upgrade the national information and communications system, reduce Internet charges as much as possible, and increase people's awareness of advanced IT application in business. We will also focus on helping ministries, sectors and enterprises to train their staff in IT skills, e-commerce application, and the inter-bank payment system, utilising credit cards and automatic teller machine. Furthermore, we hope to establish electronic notarising agencies, and to issue sub-law documents on e-commerce and policies to protect intellectual property and consumers' rights when engaging in e-commerce transaction. Our target, is that by the end of 2005, the majority of Vietnamese businesses will be involved in e-commerce, at different levels, and that Government offices will use e-commerce for management and monitoring functions. Is this Vietnam's first scheme since the country signed the e-ASEAN agreement earlier this year? What is your budget for the plan? Yes, this is Vietnam's first step to implementing the e-ASEAN agreement. The ten major points in our plan include: Build IT and communications infrastructure; Increase people's awareness through training programes on e-commerce; Develop electronic payment systems; Establish a legal system to support the e-commerce industry; Ensure information security and e-commerce safety; Build industrial and commercial standard systems; Protect intellectual property and consumers; Develop e-commerce financial and taxation policies; Carry out e-commerce pilot programmes; And form a national e-commerce management agency. We are proposing an annual budget of VND100 billion to undertake these projects. Do you foresee any difficulties? What needs to be done in order to facilitate the industry's development? The most prominent difficulty is that e-commerce is a brand new industry in Vietnam. There will be so many initial problems that it is difficult to know where to start or how to address them. In general, we must start to build the e-commerce industry from nothing, updating poor infrastructure and working out a brand new legal system. We need to form a national e-commerce management agency, which will co-ordinate with the relevant ministries and agencies. P & T sector, for instance, is responsible for infrastructure construction and the reduction of Internet charges. Meanwhile, the Trade and Justice ministries and the State Bank of Vietnam will take care of the legal implications, and the electronic payment systems that will best facilitate the development of the e-commerce industry.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 01/23/2003

PHILIPPINES: PREGINET to Boost Country's S&T Research

Today*s global arena of business and industry is a knowledge-intensive one, and the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network (PREGINET) has the potential for accelerating our scientific research and technological development. The PREGINET is a nationwide broadband network for research and education institutions involved in the development and demonstration of new technologies, services and applications with connectivity to international research and education networks. About Php 50 million was provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to establish PREGINET with DOST*s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) as the implementing agency. According to DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro, ※PREGINET capacitates us to demonstrate and utilize novel applications in areas like e-commerce, telemedicine, distance education, disaster monitoring and others.§ She also noted that PREGINET has videoconferencing capabilities.PREGINET established videoconferencing facilities at ASTI and the DOST Regional offices VI (Iloilo), VII (Cebu), X (Cagayan de Oro) , and XI (Davao). ※With these features of PREGINET, delivery of government services and information to citizens and businesses can be vastly improved,§ Sec. Alabastro said. The project can also be used for the distribution of engineering and scientific content useful for technology work. ※It allows our researchers to be active participants in the research and developments of the next-generation internet,§ she added. PREGINET is currently linked with the following global nodes of R&D: Science, Technology and Research Transit Access Point (STARTAP), Canada*s Research and Education Internet Backbone, Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3), Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network (Singaren), China Education and Research Network (CERNET), Taiwan Research network 2 (TANET2), and Testbed Environment for Malaysian Multimedia Applications and Networking (TEMAN). ※With PREGINET, we are meeting the country*s challenge of optimizing our resources to be able to leapfrog to our goal of sustainable development,§ Sec. Alabastro said. The Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) of DOST serves as the monitoring agency for PREGINET.

From http://www.pcastrd.dost.gov.ph/ 01/16/2003

THAILAND: IT Initiatives Don't Address Country's Needs

Projects by the Information and Communication Technology Ministry do not do enough for the country's social and economic development and should be focussed on fundamental sectors, a government senator has warned. Speaking at a seminar on ICT and the future of Thailand organised by a senate standing committee, Senator Manoonkrit Roopkachorn said that the ICT ministry's five main electronic initiatives e-government, e-commerce, e-industry e-education, and e-society are insufficient for the country's economic and social development, particularly considering Thailand relies on agriculture. He said that ICT should be applied to the agricultural sector, as well as other areas such as health care. The Senator noted that the Senate Council realised that the ICT Ministry was directly responsible for ICT promotion, development, regulation and improvement. However, there are still many problems that need to be resolved, he commented. These include technology transfer, investment duplication among government agencies, and research and development. Moreover, people consume technology without relating it to their needs. Assumption University Faculty of Engineering Dean, Dr Sudhiporn Patumtaewapibal, said that Thailand had simply duplicated US information policy and had spent a lot of money in the process. However, the country had no preparation or development as in the US, which has paved the way for becoming an information society. ``The results of such policy over the past 10 years is that Thailand has an information superhighway, IT systems have been implemented around government agencies, but the effectiveness and efficiency is not clear. Moreover, there is no IT industry taking shape in the country,'' said Dr Sudhiporn. He added that Thailand was still a technology purchaser. The electronics industry in Thailand is like a hiring base for manufacturing, but there is little technology transfer. Dr Sudhiporn noted that today Thailand is the second largest base for hard disk production, but he added that the country could not maintain this position. ``Forget about IT exports unless we can reduce the imports first,'' he said. (by Sasiwimon Boonruang)

From www.bangkokpost.com 01/08/2003

VIET NAM: Govt Dubs E-Commerce &Indispensable*

The Government*s efforts to kick-start e-commerce and the factors inhibiting its wide use were on top of the agenda at a conference in the capital on Wednesday. Addressing the Road to e-commerce in Viet Nam, organised by the Ministry of Trade (MoT), the State Bank of Viet Nam and Hewlett Packard Viet Nam, deputy trade minister Le Danh Vinh said that the Government considered e-commerce indispensable for development. However, the fledgling sector was still trying to find its footing, he said. "E-commerce made an appearance in Viet Nam just a few years ago, so there are several shortcomings still in infrastructure, payment systems, information security and legal framework, holding back its development," Vinh said. E-commerce in the country has barely gone beyond advertising and marketing via mail, however, Viet Nam has made international pledges to prioritise its development. And it has followed it up with several measures like the national plan for e-commerce for 2001-05. According to Nguyen Huu Anh, chief of MoT*s E-commerce Board, trading on the net will soon take root for the Government plans to position e-commerce as a spearhead, and has set sights on improving infrastructure, revving up trial application, increasing awareness, building capacity for businesses and developing human resources. Besides encouraging businesses to take up e-commerce, the Government also plans to streamline the legal framework to facilitate its use. It hopes to develop e-commerce facilities on par with ASEAN standards, and take its use in State offices beyond the current electronic inter-bank payment system and electronic authentication. Also attending the Ha Noi conference were experts from Singapore 每 one of the regional leaders in IT 每 providing the locals an opportunity to draw on their experience.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/10/2003

E-Commerce Decree on the Cards

A decree to help set up a legal corridor for e-commerce transactions is likely to be effective by the end of the year, claims Nguyen Huu Anh, who is in charge of e-commerce under the Ministry of Trade. The draft decree is under consideration by the ministries of Trade, Justice, Science, Technology and Environment and the Department General of Posts and Telecommunications (DGPT) as well as several other Government agencies. The decree aims to create an ASEAN information infrastructure, develop e-business in the region and liberalize trade and investment in information technology products and services. Anh says the decree is required for Vietnam to conduct its commitments under e-ASEAN Framework Agreement, inked last November. Once the agreement becomes effective, a direct high-speed Internet connection will link ASEAN members who will enjoy competitively priced products and services on the Net. ASEAN members have approved 16 supportive projects involving ASEAN schools, training programs on e-commerce for businesses and establishing e-commerce law. He adds promulgation of such a decree is required since five other ASEAN members 每 Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Thailand 每 have already drawn up e-commerce legislation. ※It is too early to promulgate a decree involving practical business requirements for e-commerce in Vietnam,§ Anh says. ※But Government bodies will try their best in an effort to create a comfortable environment for them.§ The remaining problems include e-signatures, intellectual property rights, protection of individual data and customers' secrets.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 01/23/200

MALAYSIA: Get More Involved in Internet: Tham

Kota Kinabalu: Sabahans have been urged to be more involved in the Internet in the modern world. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen encouraged this, saying that those who are left behind would be at a huge disadvantage. ※It*s not only enough to learn but we must also know how to learn and how to use information that is abundant today,§ he said before launching Natural History Publications* (Borneo) new website, here Friday. He also called for information and data generated by firms to be given as freely as possible to bring about a new paradigm in trade. ※There are many who still compete when they should be co-operating to develop Sabah.§ ※Information should become a common commodity, not for trade. Services and products should be the things that are traded for money,§ he said. According to Tham, education is now greatly changing due to the emergence of the Internet and those who do not get to know this technology will ※lose out§. ※There are vast volumes of information on the Internet compared to its initial stage. Learn how to use this information.§ Statistics that give insights into market trends and company performance can also be retrieved through the Internet. ※This will shortcut a lot of tedious processes in conventional businesses. Statistics are more easily generated and stocks can be checked easily. Feedback to products and services are also quick and can be uploaded into the company*s website,§ he said. The website for Natural History Publication can be accessed at www.nhpborneo.com. The website incorporates many features that make it easier to purchase books published by Natural History Publications (Borneo). Buyers can see book covers and their synopses before making their purchases via credit card. Products are delivered ※to the doorstep§ by DHL and credit card information is not stored on the website, thereby preventing credit card fraud.

From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 01/25/2003

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  BANGLADESH: Govt Forms ICT Council

The government has formed Information Communication Technology (ICT) Business Promotion Council incorporating private sector computer professionals to boost ICT trade and services at home and abroad, commerce ministry officials said. This is one of the three business promotion councils the commerce ministry initially planned to set up for diversifying and expediting export trade. Two such councils will be formed for light engineering and agro-based sectors in near future. A sum of US$ 500,000 will be spent for the council from World Bank's loan for export diversification. Besides, three registered ICT trade associations will have their own financing. Meanwhile, steps have been finalised to set up a 'shared business office' at Silicon Valley in California to promote the country's ICT services and products in America. The business office, cost of which will be shared by both government and private sector, is expected to start functioning from January next year, officials said. The government has plans to set up at least two more offices in Europe to showcase country's ICT strength. Headed by the Commerce Secretary, the ICT council will incorporate two members each from Bangladesh Computer Samity, Bangladesh Association for Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Internet Services Providers Association. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Vice-chairman and BASIS president will act as Vice-chairmen of the council which will also have representation from the ministries of Telecommunications, Science and ICT, and Foreign Affairs. The ICT Council will conduct its activities from a temporary office at EPB until it gets its own office at TCB Building. It will also have a secretariat and arrangements are underway to recruit necessary manpower for it. The Council will float an advertisement in a world reputed business magazine in its Bangladesh affairs issue to project the country's strengths and recent advancements in ICT services and products. The advertisement will also help build country's image abroad, officials felt.


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 12/02/2002

Bill on ICT to Be Placed in JS

Bangladesh stepped into the year 2003 with tangible achievements in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The cabinet has endorsed the ICT policy which will be placed before the Jatiya Sangsad as a new bill. The new policy will pave ways for digital signature and electronic transactions. The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) has established ICT incubator where 155 companies are showcasing their products. Bangladesh has also decided to open ICT kiosk in Silicon Valley for marketing local products. The country has established ties with an international consortium for linking with SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine undersea cable network which will offer optimum bandwidth for the subscribers. The number of Internet users across the country has crossed the five lakh mark. All 64 district headquarters are providing Internet connections for common people. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is actively considering the issue of legalising VOIP system or Internet telephony in the country. Official sources said efforts are underway for developing human resources in the ICT sector. The government has recently decided to connect some select schools with information super highway via Internet


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 01/05/2003

INDIA: LS Passes Freedom of Information Bill

NEW DELHI: The common man may soon be able to seek and obtain any information concerning the activity of the government with the adoption of the long-pending freedom of information Bill by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. While disapproving of the sweeping exemption clause that could be utilised for withholding information about certain areas, the Opposition still supported the legislation terming it as "a half step in the right direction". The Congress for a change shelved its antipathy towards the government, greeting the Bill as the "need of the hour". Party member Ramesh Chennithala pointed out that "unavailability of information has so far led to decay in our democracy". However, CPM veteran Somnath Chatterjee pointed to the inadequacies of the Bill and doubted the government*s intentions in freeing information from the "classified" label. The first infirmity of the legislation, he claimed, is that the entire process has been entrusted with the bureaucracy. The government can take shelter under the exemption clause to deny information even on trade and commerce, not to mention defence and security, Chatterjee said. He pointed out that the entire private sector had been kept out of the ambit of the Bill. He still admitted that "some beginning has been made". Terming the Bill as a "step forward", Congress chief whip P R Das Munshi, however, claimed that major observations made by the parliamentary standing committee, which had studied the Bill, were left out. He said that the Bill had ignored the committee*s recommendation for reducing the time gap for declassifying official information from 25-15 years. He wondered whether the government would deny information on trade on the plea that it may affect its economic interests. Replying to the debate, minister of state for personnel Vasundhara Raje said the purpose was to share information with citizens. The legislation had had a long start. A number of initiatives had been taken since the 1950s for giving ordinary citizens access to information.


From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 12/04/2002

New Law to Free All Information for Citizens, Almost

NEW DELHI: A landmark law enacted by the Indian Parliament gives citizens access to information from the government for the first time, but the cagey bureaucracy will not find it hard to keep their secrets. The Freedom of Information Bill 2000 makes it obligatory upon every public authority to provide information and maintain all records properly catalogued, indexed and published so that information can be easily retrieved for citizens. People can access official records of their interest without encountering protocol and legalese largely designed to make the dealings of the government a carefully guarded secret since the British Raj. And this would mean citizens could find out the status of their case for loans or tax situation or property records. Consumer rights activist H.D. Shourie, one of the proponents of the legislation passed by both the houses of Parliament, said the law would bring more transparency in government functioning. "At present, public departments can even refuse to part with information like the number of buses in Delhi or the true population of India," Shourie told IANS. The new law envisages a public information officer (PIO) attached to every government department, deputed primarily to deal with citizens. Citizens would have to fill out an application form and pay a fee to PIO. The officer would have to give the information asked for within 30 days of the application. If the PIO refuses to comply with the plea for information, he would have to give his reasons in writing. The citizen could then appeal in a court of law, said Shourie. Experts fear the PIO would find it only too easy to decline a request, since the law exempts him from giving out information on six categories - including minutes of official meetings and data that could prejudicially affect the strategic, scientific or economic interests of India. According to lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan, the legislation is too weak to serve any real purpose. "File notings and inter-office correspondence will continue to remain classified," he said, adding it was because these were a secret that corruption scandals were so easy to execute. Another objection raised by experts is that 19 federal bodies are exempted from giving information to the public. These include the highly secretive Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing, apart from the defense ministry and paramilitary forces. But, most of all, there is no provision to penalize officials for not giving out information - something the government promised to remedy in the Rajya Sabha Monday before the bill was passed. Rajya Sabha MP Kuldip Nayar has advocated a penalty for delay or refusal to provide information. "The bill also does not make it mandatory to give reasons why the official cannot furnish the information sought," said Congress MP Pranab Mukherjee. Harsh Mander, the country director of Action Aid, summed it up thus: "The bill casts the burden on the citizen to secure access to information, leaving out the most important element of the duty of the state to effect proactive disclosure of information. "However, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension Vasundhara Raje has promised that the government would amend rules to provide for the imposition of departmental penalty on errant officials. Activist Shourie was optimistic about the implementation of the legislation. "One is assuming that with this new act, the government will have to provide the information. Otherwise, the purpose will be defeated."


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 12/17/2002

India, Singapore to Set Up IT Task Force

India and Singapore have signed an MoU to set up an IT Task Force which will enhance bilateral cooperation in IT between the two nations. The Task Force would comprise representatives from government agencies, IT-related organizations, entrepreneurs, trade and business representatives. The Task Force would promote cooperation in areas of e-commerce, e-governance, information security and human resource development, design and development besides exploring developing markets especially in the South-East. To facilitate the implementation of programmes in these areas, the Task Force will identify programmes for supporting research needs in the field of innovation, incubation, venture funding, and infrastructure development. The Task Force will promote developmental skills through exchange programmes, joint sponsorships of conferences and seminars in IT. Venture capital funding will receive special thrust wherein entrepreneurs in both countries will be encouraged to foster incubation start-ups. The MoU was signed during a five-day visit of Pramod Mahajan to Singapore during the last week of March. Mahajan was accompanied by industry leaders like Rajendra Pawar of NIIT, Dewang Mehta of Nasscom and Ramalingam Raju of Satyam Computers.


From http://www.ciol.com/ 01/13/2003

Judge Orders Internet Providers to Help Trace Online Pirates

Internet providers must abide by music industry requests to track down computer users who illegally download music, a federal judge has ruled in a case that could dramatically increase online pirates' risk of being caught. The decision by US District Judge John D Bates upheld the recording industry's powers under a 1998 law to compel Verizon Communications Inc to identify one of its Internet subscribers who was suspected of illegally trading music or movies online. The music industry knew only a numerical Internet address this person was using. The ruling means that consumers using dozens of popular Internet file-sharing programs can more easily be identified and tracked down by entertainment companies trying to prevent the illegal trading of movies and music. For consumers, even those hiding behind Internet aliases, that could result in warning letters, civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution. Verizon promised yesterday to appeal and said it would not immediately provide its customer's identity. The ruling had "troubling ramifications" for future growth of the Internet, said Verizon's associate general counsel, Sarah B Deutsch."The case clearly allows anyone who claims to be a copyright holder to make an allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without protections afforded by the courts," she said.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 01/22/2003

SRI LANKA: Lanka, India to Sign Treaty to Promote IT Sector

Milinda Moragoda, Minister for Economic Reforms, Science and Technology as a special representative of Sri Lankan Government met Pramod Mahajan, Minister for Information Technology and Communication of India at New Delhi recently. The objectives and plans of the E-Sri Lanka project which was initiated recently by Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe were outlined at this meeting. The ministers also held discussions on the development and benefits of Information Technology sector in both countries. The ministers agreed to exchange preparatory groups in order to sign a treaty to promote the experience of both countries in the computer and information communication sector. Attention was also drawn to obtain Indian support to Sri Lanka in popularising information technology in sectors such as State Ruling, Industries, Enterprise Development and Education. The ministers held discussions about introducing rules in Sri Lanka and some recent Acts that had been approved by the India's Parliament to develop the information technology sector. Minister Moragoda outlined the Multimedia University which is under construction with aid from the Multi Media University in Malaysia and said Japan has agreed to provide aid for this program. He said that if the Indian information technology sector can be involved in this program it would help establish a Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka triangular Multimedia University which will provide international education to Sri Lankan youth. Minister Moragoda said that telecommunication and computer technology is not yet developed in distant areas in Sri Lanka and added the country was keen to set up communication centres and cyber cafes in villages. Minister Pramod Mahajan said that the Multimedia University can be connected to the Andra and Malayanadu states in India and outlined the program launched by the Indian government to provide at least one telephone to each village in India. "If the people are facilitated it will be a benefit. It is our duty as representatives of the people. Minister Moragoda invited Minister Pramod Mahajan to visit Sri Lanka. The Minister accepting the invitation said that a delegation team to discuss the facilities will be sent to Sri Lanka in January.


From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 12/03/2002

MALDIVES: Cabinet Proposes Setting Up IT Agency

MALE (HNS) - The Cabinet on Wednesday recommended to President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom the setting up of a government agency for information technology. The agency, requested by the National Science and Technology Master Plan, can help develop information technology (IT) in Maldives and disseminate related expertise to government offices and companies and to the private sector, the President*s Office said. ※It will also be responsible for establishing and maintaining a national computer network, and for formulating a national information technology plan. The agency will also consolidate the development and the implementation of strategies designed to optimize the use of IT for the socio-economic development of Maldives,§ the office said in a press release. At Wednesday*s meeting, Cabinet members also discussed the introduction of a system of performance appraisal of public servants. Members reviewed the results of trial appraisals conducted in some government offices last year, and recommended their continued application on a trial basis after incorporating further refinement and modification.


From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 01/09/2003

PAKISTAN: Awais Asks PTCL to Submit Strategy for Improving Internet Quality

Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunications Mr. Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari showing serious concern over the quality of internet service available in many cities has asked PTCL and its subsidiary organizations to immediately submit a strategy and action plan for improving internet service quality. The Minister was chairing a meeting of senior officers of Ministry of IT & Telecommunications, PTCL and Paknet to discuss the existing infrastructure and ISP related issues and progress on the issues. ※During the last few years commendable work has been done for creating the core infrastructure. Now what is important is that this infrastructure goes beyond statistics of how many internet locations we are in to providing the level of quality to the people who are going to use it wherever they are§ said Mr. Leghari. Mr. Akhtar Ahmad Bajwa, Chairman PTCL gave a presentation about international, national and local connectivity. He also mentioned that steps taken to improve quality of service, ISPs issues and PTCL*s response to the issues the surveys being conducted to check the quality of service etc. He said PTCL is gradually developing a reliable & resilient IT infrastructure to ensure high quality services at affordable rates to end user. Meetings are held under the chairmanship of member operation with ISPAK for resolving ISPs related issues. The next meeting is scheduled on 21st December 2002 at Peshawar, the Minister was informed. The Minister listened to the points made by the PTCL and Ministry. He gave instructions for preparation of plans for service quality improvement. ※Do not waiting for the results of the surveys being conducted by PTCL and Paknet about internet service quality for preparing plans for improvement. The strategy should be submitted to me in ten days time§ said the Minister.


From http://most.gov.pk/ 12/19/2002

Telecom Deregulation to Be Put for Cabinet Study Shortly

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS): - Despite serious reservations and concerns of the telecom industry, the ministry is all set to submit deregulation policy to the cabinet shortly. The ministry official said, ※The monopoly of PTCL has come to an end and government is committed to deregulate the sector.§ The senior officials at the Ministry of IT & Telecommunications said it is one of the priority items on the agenda of new government. Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunications Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari soon after assuming charge resumed the consultative process about various aspects of telecom deregulation policy. Exhaustive discussions have been held with all the stakeholders in telecom sector. As a result of these discussions a consensus view about the broad framework of policy is evolving. The draft policy has been placed on Ministry of IT & Telecommunications website to solicit comments of stakeholders, the officials said. The previous government had prepared draft guidelines, which were submitted to the cabinet. It was then decided to pend the decision for the elected government. The IT & Telecom minister further reviewed the guidelines to ensure inclusion of broader and wider representation. The draft policy has been evolved in a very short period of time given the complications and issues involved, said the official. After completion of the inter-ministerial review, which is on way, the policy will be submitted to the Cabinet within the next few weeks.


From http://www.paknews.com/ 01/01/2003

AJK Govt Allocates Rs 130m for IT Education

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (PNS): - The Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has constituted a high level 'AJK Information Technology Board' under the chairmanship of AJK President Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan, and allocated a sum of Rs 130 million with an aim to introduce IT and computer education at college level. This was decided in a formal meeting of the IT Board held here and presided by Sardar Anwar. The meeting reviewed the existing situation and took various decisions in this regard. The Chief Secretary AJK, Shahid Rafi Butt; Additional Chief Secretary Development, Sardar Mohammad Rashid Khan, Secretary Services, Raja Farooq Niaz; Secretary Finance, Mukhtiar Ahmad and other high level officials also attended the meeting. The AJK President said that the launching of such projects speaks volume about government aim to equip the young generation with latest technologies so they could meet the future challenges in a befitting manner. The board appointed Director Paknet, Moin Sadiq as Director General & Secretary Azad Jammu and Kashmir Information Technology. It also constituted a committee to devise rules and regulations regarding working of the board. In the initial round 36 colleges have been selected wherein computer labs will be established. During the meeting the Board also constituted a three-member committee, headed by Secretary Finance, Mukhtar Ahmad to check the standard of the computers. The chairman of the AJK IT Board, Sardar Mohammad Anwar Khan advised the Director General IT Board to review the situation to set up Internet cafes in all big cities so the students could benefit from the programs of Virtual University. During the meeting it was also decided that all available resources would be utilized to introduce the IT education in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and working of the board would be reviewed in its monthly meetings. AJK President demanded that campuses of Virtual University should be set up in other cities also as only one campus did not cater the needs of the youths throughout the state.


From http://www.paknews.com/

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AUSTRALIA: Four Projects Get Government Funding

Four projects will receive grants under Round 8 of the Government's Information Technology Online (ITOL) programme, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, announced last week. All four aim to accelerate the uptake of e-business and e-security and encourage greater interactivity between e-business solutions - issues identified by industry as important in the ongoing development of e-business in delivering improved business productivity. The first two, development of a detection system for online banking environments and secure mobile business solutions for small businesses, will address two different aspects of e-security, the detection of fraudulent online behaviour and the validation of mobile credit card transactions. The other two, collaborative B2B for SMEs in the mining industry and best practice e-catalogue management for suppliers, will increase the return to small and medium sized enterprises from their investment in e-business. The mining industry project will build an interface with a global mining electronic market place to ensure that Australian companies servicing the mining industry will be able to capture export opportunities. The e-catalogue management project will assist companies developing e-catalogues to reduce maintenance costs and ensure catalogues reach a wide number of electronic market places.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 12/17/2002

Government Targets E-Business Priorities

Four new consortium-based projects will receive grants under Round 8 of the Government's Information Technology Online (ITOL) program, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, announced today. The projects aim to accelerate the uptake of e-business and e-security and encourage greater interactivity between e-business solutions - issues identified by industry as important in the ongoing development of e-business in delivering improved business productivity. There is an continuing need to ensure that the internet is a secure and safe environment for business. Two projects, Development of a Detection System for Online Banking Environments and Secure Mobile Business Solutions for Small Businesses, will address two different aspects of e-security, the detection of fraudulent online behavior and the validation of mobile credit card transactions. The other projects to be supported, Collaborative B2B for SMEs in the Mining Industry and Best Practice E-Catalogue Management for Suppliers, will increase the return to small and medium sized enterprises from their investment in e-business. The mining industry project will build an interface with a global mining electronic market place to ensure that Australian companies servicing the mining industry will be able to capture export opportunities. The e-catalogue management project will assist companies developing e-catalogues to reduce maintenance costs and ensure catalogues reach a wide number of electronic market places. All projects funded in this round show a high degree of innovation and involve strong collaboration between industry partners. The National Office for the Information Economy has recently released a Guide to Successful eBusiness Collaboration which is drawn from the experiences gained from the ITOL program. A recent analysis of the program by the Macquarie Graduate School of Management found that three quarters of ITOL projects had achieved or exceeded their desired outcomes. These publications and information about the ITOL grant program are available at www.noie.gov.au/itol .

From http://www.noie.gov.au/ 12/12/2002

High Court Rules on Vexing Question of Net Jurisdiction

The digitisation of information and the rise of the Internet has seen an exponential expansion of the demographics and degree of participation in international dealings of one sort or another. The digitisation of information and the rise of the Internet has seen an exponential expansion of the demographics and degree of participation in international dealings of one sort or another. As has been well noted, last week the Australian High Court handed down its landmark decision on the applicable jurisdiction in the case of Joseph Gutnick's claim for defamation against the US publisher Dow Jones for online publication. This is the first occasion it has considered the issue of jurisdiction in an Internet-related matter. Indeed, it is one of the few times any paramount national court has done so. It is fair to say the court managed the case with some aplomb. By now it needs hardly be said that (simply put) the court held that, since defamation is about damage to reputation, a party may bring a claim in a place where his or her reputation has been damaged and, moreover, that if an online article can be read somewhere - that is a place of publication. Jurisdiction - by which one means the applicable law and the appropriate place of invocation of it - is the point of tension between the fact that law is fundamentally national and the Internet is quintessentially international. It is also a natural point of polarisation of opposing commercial and regional interests. Of all the legal conundrums the Internet poses, the question of jurisdiction is one of the most vexed. It arises as a factor in virtually every branch of the Net's uses. In this regard it is important to remember that the High Court decision directly considers only one strand of law - defamation. Other branches of law may well see differing principles prevail. Some will regard the case as a home-town decision. Multinational and particularly US online publishers won't like it. It remains to be seen how (if at all) this will affect online publication or the introduction of some technical effort to exclude Australia from access by those interests. But they would do well to pay heed to some telling and pragmatic observations four judges of the court jointly made (as would any potential claimants against US "publishers".) Even though this decision in principle exposes online publishers to a variety of legal regimes around the world, they know what the Internet is capable of when they publish. In the US freedom of speech is so robust that it is difficult to defame a man with a significant profile and enforce a foreign judgment. The court was offering the defendants some wry comfort (and the plaintiff a well-placed warning): no need to blue about being on the wrong side of a home-town decision when you're going to be relying on one in your favor to escape liability. (by Simon Minahan)


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 12/16/2002

Other C'wealth Members Expected to Apply Australian Net Ruling

A landmark decision by Australia's highest court extends the reach of its libel laws well beyond its borders, creating a global precedent that could subject Internet publishers to lawsuits regardless of their geographical location. The decision, involving an article posted in New Jersey by a Dow Jones & Co magazine, could subject US-based Web sites to stricter libel laws than those that apply domestically, where rulings are generally more favourable to publishers. "This is the first time that a Supreme Court anywhere in the world ... really tries to look at how jurisdictional law maps onto the Internet," said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor who tracks Internet cases around the globe. He expects several other countries - particularly Commonwealth nations including Canada and the United Kingdom - to apply the Australian ruling. In the ruling, the High Court of Australia unanimously dismissed an appeal by Dow Jones aimed at halting a defamation suit by mining magnate Joseph Gutnick. Gutnick claimed a 7,000-word article that had appeared in Barron's in October 2000 portrayed him as a schemer given to stock scams, money laundering and fraud. The magazine article was also published online. The decision means Gutnick can sue New York-based Dow Jones in his home state of Victoria. The high court did not address the merits of the libel case. Geist and other legal experts doubted the decision would have a major impact on what news organisations will be willing to publish online. "Their words are their product and if they export it internationally they know how to work the cost of litigation into the sale of their product," said Jonathan Zittrain, an Internet specialist at Harvard Law School. Jerome Barron, a First Amendment professor at the George Washington University Law School, said news organisations have historically continued to publish outside their home countries even after being sued in other nations where their publications circulate. But Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who focuses on online speech, worries the ruling could silence smaller Internet publishers, including individuals who post on message boards and can't necessarily afford legal representation. A coalition of 18 news and Internet organisations, including The Associated Press, The New York Times Co and Amazon.com, joined Dow Jones in arguing that jurisdiction should be based on where a defendant last exercises control. Lawyers for Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Dow Jones Newswires and several stock market indicators, said the case should be heard in the United States, where the article was first published and its Web servers are located. Gutnick said the case should be heard in his hometown, Melbourne, since people in Victoria could see the article on the Internet and he was thus defamed where he is best known. "It will certainly be re-established that the Net is no different than the regular newspaper," he told Australia's Channel Nine television. "You have to be careful what you write." Dow Jones said in a statement that it was disappointed and now must defend itself "in a jurisdiction which is far removed from the country in which the article was prepared and where the vast bulk of Barron's readership resides." Brigitte Trafford, a Dow Jones spokeswoman, said the ruling won't change the magazine's Internet offerings or the types of stories it pursues: "We have no intention of changing our high editorial standards." David Tomlin, assistant to the president at The Associated Press, said the ruling "underlines the need for a thorough review of agreements and treaties or perhaps the construction of new ones that would govern tort law on the Internet." The seven-judge court did impose some limits on defamation actions.
In its ruling, the court dismissed Dow Jones' concerns that many defamation actions could be brought as a result of one publication. It said that after any successful defamation action, subsequent legal action could be viewed as "vexatious" and therefore unlikely to succeed. The court also dismissed Dow Jones' contention that it would have to consider the defamation laws from "Afghanistan to Zimbabwe" in every article published on the Internet. "In all except the most unusual of cases, identifying the person about whom material is to be published will readily identify the defamation law to which that person may resort," the court said. But the court acknowledged that the results it crafted "are still less than wholly satisfactory. They appear to warrant national legislative attention and to require international discussion in a forum as global as the Internet itself." Zittrain said technology may ultimately be required to avoid lawsuits elsewhere. Developers are now refining software that could let sites identify where visitors come from and block them if they come from jurisdictions deemed hostile. But he said the Internet will be disappointing when "many speakers will start limiting the reach of what they say to their own turf to avoid lawsuits."


From http://www.smh.com.au/ 12/16/2002

We Must Find Ways of Getting a Better Hearing for ICT in Cabinet

The ACS has long been concerned by the general lack of awareness or understanding about the importance of the ICT sector within most governments, and particularly within Canberra. While we recognize the undoubted knowledge of those politicians and advisers who represent specialist ICT portfolios, like Senator Richard Alston and Kate Lundy, I believe they struggle to get a fair hearing from parliamentary colleagues who have little direct involvement in ICT issues. So when I recently had the opportunity to participate in the annual Science Meets Parliament Day, I was very interested to see what sort of response the event would receive. Science Meets Parliament Day 2002 attracted over 200 delegates representing the cream of Australia's scientific and technology communities to Parliament House in Canberra. Organized by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), the event brought together scientists, researchers and technologists from the various professional societies, universities and research bodies like the CSIRO and ANSTO. The aim of the day was to raise awareness among our federal politicians and their advisers of the value of science and technology and their ability to contribute to Australia's development and growth. FASTS highlighted a number of key issues that are critical to enhancing the success of our science and technology sectors, particularly in relation to the low R&D investment levels in Australia, calling for: 100 new post-doctoral university positions each year, jointly funded by industry and government, to help inject experienced researchers into the engine rooms of industry; reductions in the level of HECS paid by science and maths teachers to equalise it with other teaching disciplines, since the current disparity represents a significant disincentive to pursuing these subject areas; and greater investment in higher education to address the chronic under-funding problem within the tertiary sector. The ACS is very committed to increasing the level of technology used in education, from primary right through to tertiary studies, both to increase students' exposure to ICT and to improve the skill level of teachers and academics. A number of schools (both private and public) around Australia have chosen to introduce the ACS-administered International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) as part of a strategic program to raise the level of ICT literacy among teachers and/or students. I believe this is an excellent way to address the issue of computing skills, enabling schools to achieve a minimum standard across the board for all teachers regardless of discipline. The ACS would also like to see a higher level of content for school students wishing to pursue an ICT career to better prepare them for university, and an increase in funding for teacher professional development. The current PD allocation for NSW teachers is around $36, which is ludicrous in light of everything they need to learn from year to year just to stay on top of technology changes. For those people providing specialized ICT teaching, the need for on-going training and PD is of course much greater if they are to stay ahead of their students and be successful in helping to identify and prepare our next generation of ICT professionals. I would also like to see universities make high school computing studies a prerequisite for ICT-related courses. This would enable them to make better use of those early months of a degree courses and ultimately raise the standard of computing degrees. In hindsight, the Science Meets Parliament Day enjoyed mixed success. Throughout the day, individual and group meetings and briefings were staged between delegates and political decision-makers. Some politicians expressed varying levels of boredom, indifference or even antagonism, although others were more interested in hearing what the scientific community had to say. Unfortunately, the debate taking place in parliament on that day stem cell research proved to be a major distraction for the politicians, slightly reducing the impact of what the scientists had to say. I also question the effectiveness of the approach taken by some scientists who don't understand how to market their message, a problem that is also common to most technologists. Despite these constraints, the Science Meets Parliament Day did begin a process of opening doors in Canberra, although there is still much work to be done. At least there are now closer links between Canberra and the scientific/technological sectors, although it is critical that those who attended follow-up their meetings with relevant information as soon as possible. We applaud FASTS for what it is doing and offer our wholehearted support to its efforts. Our hope is that over time, politicians of all persuasions will take greater notice and ultimately pass the necessary legislation to see some of the initiatives we are seeking come to fruition. There has been a suggestion that the ACS should initiate a complementary event called ICT Meets Parliament to focus attention specifically on the needs of the ICT sector and we will consider the merits of this idea in coming months. I welcome your input on how this could arranged in order to have maximum impact. (by Richard Hogg- National President of the Australian Computer Society.)


From http://www.acs.org.au/ 11/26/2002

NEW ZEALAND: Govt Invites Satellite Probe

In a surprise move, a national satellite tender for remote areas has been added to the Government's broadband tenders for 14 separate regions. The Project Probe tenders going out later this month for broadband solutions to schools and the wider community have, up till now, embraced a regional approach. Project co-ordinator Tony van Horik says Region 15 has been added to ensure economical delivery of high-speed services to remote areas. The tender will call for proposals from satellite providers for 150 to 300 schools and communities across the country. Mr van Horik expects satellite providers will link in with the regional tenderers as some satellite companies may not wish to offer a retail service. Eighteen companies had been chosen to contest the tender, which will now also go to "three or four" satellite companies. About $45 million is understood to be up for grabs to finance the schools project and tenderers are expected to demonstrate they can provide a whole-of-community solution. The tender is going out later than expected due to rising interest from government departments realizing the benefits of aggregating their demand regionally - which also strengthens the business case for suppliers. Responses will be due late February, and will be evaluated in March and April. Contracts should start being signed around May or June. Three regions have already issued tenders. Southland is finalizing legal contracts with its preferred supplier Vodafone/Walker Wireless and is setting up a regional trust to manage broadband services. It has applied for funds from central government and Southland funding agencies to subsidize roll-out to less economic areas. It will also receive funds from Project Probe, and is working closely with that team. Project co-ordinator Steve Canny says that a satellite solution would be useful in some areas such as the Chathams, but he is not sure if it would work in Southland given the "look" required through dense atmosphere. Very large dishes could be needed and the return path could be a challenge, he says. Southland has an effective terrestrial solution for 93-95 per cent of communities and all schools, but he says some areas such as Milford Sound may find satellite more economical. Mr Canny expects to start roll-out of services in March and be completed by December 2004. Northland and Wairarapa are both evaluating shortlists of Telecom/BCL, Vodafone/Walker Wireless and UCC. Far North Development Trust spokesman Chris Mathews says Northland hopes to announce its preferred partner later this month, while Peter McNeur, a spokesman for Wairarapa Smartregion, says a decision is expected in February. Both regions are using two consultancies working independently of each other, and both have hired accounting firms to do a financial audit of the tenderers. (by Adrienne Perry)


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 12/02/2002

Law Portal Awaits Funds

The New Zealand Law Foundation expects to decide in the next few weeks whether to press ahead with an internet portal for case law information. The portal would be an entry point to information published by specialist legal publishers, professional organizations and the Courts Department - possibly on a pay-per-view basis. TelstraClear is the preferred technology partner and the foundation has authorized a "proof of concept pilot", but go-ahead depends on funding. The portal is understood to represent a big financial commitment for the charitable trust, set up by the New Zealand Law Society in 1982 to encourage legal education and research. The foundation is funded from the dwindling interest payments earned on money deposited in solicitors' trust accounts. A new company, Legal Information NZ, has been jointly set up by the foundation and district law societies to manage the mooted portal. "This exercise is not about providing free access to legal information but about testing pricing arrangements other than the current subscription-based pricing models", the foundation said. Geoff Steel, a director of Wellington firm Business Technology Consulting, was contracted by the foundation to put together a business case for the initiative. The Courts Department's manager of judicial libraries, Dougal McKechnie, backed the project in a 100-page research paper published in August and funded by an international study grant from the Law Foundation. Mr McKechnie also calls for all judicial decisions to be put online and the electronic filing of legal documents. He envisages creation of an "entirely paperless environment" for many court processes, and suggests construction of an electronic courtroom to trial and showcase new technology for the justice sector. The research paper, though not officially representing the department's views, has been published on the department's website. The foundation has been coy about its portal plan for fear it may be torpedoed by financial constraints. Under the 1982 Law Practitioners Act, the government's Legal Services Board has first claim to interest earned on solicitors' trust accounts, which the board is entitled to use to pay for the operation of community law centres. Low interest rates prevailing in the economy have meant there has been little, if any, cash left over in recent years to fund the foundation. The foundation says district law societies and the New Zealand Law Society could help pay for the portal. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 12/09/2002

Web Publishers Uneasy About National Library Bill

The National Library looks likely to win the right to compel anyone who publishes on the Net to help the library access and store their content. The obligation covers individuals publishing Web pages and professional publishers of subscription-based online information, who will have to provide "reasonable assistance" to help the library access and store their material, if asked. The far-reaching powers are included in the controversial National Library Bill, which passed the scrutiny of Parliament's Education and Science select committee last week despite opposition from publishers. Under New Zealand's legal deposit rules, publishers already have to provide the library with three copies of any book they publish, free of charge. The National Library Bill is set to extend this obligation to cover any type of CD-Rom, video or other electronic media listed by the minister responsible for the library - currently Marian Hobbs. It will be free to automatically "harvest" what it wants from the Web. The National Library has become increasingly strident in its efforts to avoid irrelevance in the face of an explosion of online information. It is also set to win the right to convert deposited books into electronic form. In a written submission to the select committee, the Newspaper Publishers Association (NPA) said it was "very concerned" by the new legal deposit proposals and recommended they shouldn't apply to electronic media. The NPA says the Bill gives the responsible minister too much discretion to decide what is and what is not a public document, and could impose significant costs on publishers. "While the NPA recognizes the importance of the National Library maintaining comprehensive collections, it is concerned that the proposed framework may significantly erode members' ability to derive revenue from their electronic works." It says the library is already in danger of being swamped by published material and that the United States, Australia and Canada have shied away from a mandatory legal deposit regime for electronic documents. The NPA instead proposed a voluntary code for archiving Net-based and other electronic material. Business development manager for content service, Matthew Harman, says the NPA twice gave verbal evidence to the select committee. He says none of the association's key concerns have been addressed, despite the select committee proposing an amendment which clarifies what the library could do with its electronic archives. The Bill proposes the library be allowed to make internet content available to the public online. This concerns Mr Harman, who says publishers often derive revenue from providing searchable databases of their archived material. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 12/09/2002

Govt Grant Helps Software Export Plans

A Nelson company is hoping to crack the overseas market with a new computer software package it has developed for businesses. Nimbus Software co-owner Bill Irwin said the package, which was already being sold nationwide, had a lot of potential. It dealt with all the information needed to run a business, such as accounting and customer ordering systems, client and marketing databases. It had been designed specifically for medium-sized businesses (which equated to small to medium overseas), since most other similar software packages on the market targeted larger businesses, he said. Mr Irwin said the package, called Nimbus SQL, had taken about 4 years to develop. It had sold successfully in New Zealand over the past few months, and the company now planned to export it, he said. The initial focus would be Australia and Britain. Nimbus Software has received a $75,000 grant from government agency Industry New Zealand to help with the export initiative. Mr Irwin said the funding would be used to further develop the company's distribution network, training and support systems. "We want to have a really slick operation here (in New Zealand) before we go overseas." Another Nelson company also recently received an Industry New Zealand grant. Seabed Mapping International said the $10,500 grant would be used to develop a strategy to market its seabed mapping computer software overseas. General manager Declan O'Toole said the software, which produced real-time three-dimensional maps of the sea floor, had been a hit with New Zealand fishing companies during the past year. The company had sold the software in several other countries but wanted to increase export sales, he said.


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 01/09/2003

NZ Email Rules More Liberal than Australia's

Australians may break the law when they kill the morning deluge of email, but things are more liberal in New Zealand. Internet email, developed 30 years ago, now floods the world. In New Zealand, Xtra, with about 50 per cent of the Internet market, carries about 4.5 million email messages a day. The proliferating messages are also taking more room in Internet traffic. File size is growing as users increasingly use HTML rather than plain text, and attachments become more popular. An Australian firm, Legato Systems, found in a survey that many Australian companies may be breaching archive and corporate law by being trigger-happy on the delete key. More than 80 per cent of the firms surveyed said they deleted email messages within a month, and 42% deleted them daily. Half the companies said they printed out less than 5% of the messages, so no record was kept. Adrian McCullagh, a solicitor at Australian law firm Freehills, said that, under the Archive Act, Australian firms had to retain email messages for seven years. The New Zealand position is more relaxed. Bill Parsons, Christchurch tax partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said business records supporting tax matters had to be kept for seven years. Electronic versions had to be stored when there was no paper copy. John Holland, a Christchurch partner in Chapman Tripp, said Companies Act provisions about retention of information were about formal company records. If a company's financial accounts were in electronic form only, it would be a breach to delete them. "But I've never heard a suggestion that deleting mail from Joe down the corridor to Bob about the internal affairs of the company would be a breach."


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 01/21/2003

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Armenian Presidential Aide Named to Head Public TV and Radio

The five-member governing board of Armenian Public Television and Radio on 8 January named presidential aide Aleksan Harutiunian to head that body, Noyan Tapan and RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. He succeeds Tigran Naghdalian, who was murdered by an unidentified gunman in Yerevan on 28 December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 December 2002). On 7 January, President Robert Kocharian had named Harutiunian and presidential staff state and legal department staffer Vartan Kopian as members of the governing board. Kopian replaces Ashot Manukian, who resigned his post earlier that day.

From http://www.rferl.org/ 01/09/2003

Services to Government Departments

The ITSD is currently providing a full range of IT services to Government bureaux, departments and related organizations, which include: Information System Strategy Planning / Departmental IT Planning Business Process Re-engineering Inter-agency System Integration IT Services Management Application Development, Maintenance and On-going Support Services Moreover, working towards the target of E-government, the ITSD participates in a number of infrastructure programmes joining up Government bureaux and departments, and with the citizens and the business community, and perform the necessary liaison and coordination to ensure successful implementation of these programmes. Examples of such infrastructure projects include: Electronic Services Delivery Multi-application Smart ID Card EDI Service for Cargo Manifest E-logistics Integrated Criminal Justice System Property Portal Government Network Architecture

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 01/21/2003

CEOs Advised to Adopt Ethical Management

Ethical management will become the catchphrase for the country*s chief executives next year, an economic think tank said yesterday. The LG Economic Research Institute predicted the changing business environment both at home and abroad will force CEOs to seriously consider ethical issues in their business decisions. The incoming Roh Moo-hyun administration is expected to beef up monitoring of whether local companies are conforming to ethical and transparent management practices, analysts said. Roh pledged during the election campaign that businesses will be forced to become transparent and compete fairly, while emphasizing corporate social responsibility. Analysts from the research institute said the series of accounting frauds worldwide have alerted investors to the importance of ethical management in their investment decisions. Ethical and transparent management will be a life or death issue for local companies, they said. ``Companies are realizing that actually by preventing risk through operating in an ethically responsible way, in the long term their business is going to be more sustainable, Roh said at a recent press conference. The former human rights lawyer has also pledged to accelerate reform of family-controlled conglomerates to make the national economy stronger. The new administration is expected to focus on creating transparent transactions between entrepreneurs, shareholders, creditors and customers. The economic institute analysts said the idea of ethical corporate management is not simply to weed out zombie companies, but to encourage sustainable economic development which will also benefit the companies themselves. ``The key for sustainable growth is sustained structural reforms to all parts of corporate management,?‘?‘ analysts said. In line with the introduction of a fair disclosure rule, they recommended companies to offer focused corporate information for the market. Despite looming economic uncertainties, including a possible U.S. war against Iraq, the institute said entrepreneurs should strengthen their research and development activities to find long-term growth drivers. Companies must also focus on reengineering their human resources and market strategies to meet customers needs, they said. To achieve sustainable growth companies should develop diversified marketing strategies to target customers, the institute said. Over recent years, South Korea has been an ideal place for multinational technology heavyweights, including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, to test and price their new products and services. To fight against this competition, local companies must develop localized marketing plans to woo customers, the institute said. (by Kim Deok-hyun)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/29/2002

Economic Web Site Launched in English



The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE) said it has opened an English language economic portal to provide information on the Korean economy and government policies. The site, dubbed the "Korean Economic Portal" (english.koreaneconomy.go.kr), will provide, "Quick and convenient access to a comprehensive source of Korean economic data," a MOFE official said. The English-language MOFE homepage (english.mofe.go.kr) has been made more user-friendly and will be available to the public Monday, the finance ministry said.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 12/23/2002

Seoul Appoints Special Envoys for the City

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has appointed special envoys for the city January 15 at Taepyeong Hall of Seoul City Hall. A total of 13 special envoys are TV talent Kim Gyuri, Choi Bulam and his wife Kim Minja, actor Ahn Sunggi, actress Gang Suyeon, cellist Chung Myeonghwa, baritone Kim Donggyu, popular singer Pati Kim and Seoul Undo, professional MC Im baekcheon and his wife Kim Yeonju, German Korean businessman Lee Cham, and professional golfer Park Jieun. They start their publicity activities for Seoul with visiting the Cheonggyecheon Infobox and the road-covered stream today. They are also expected to appear on TV or in a series of promotional materials, and to publicize the annual &Love Seoul Festival* and other city organized campaigns.

From http://english.metro.seoul.kr/ 01/15/2003

Ecosystem Library Available Online

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) said it launched a new Internet feature showcasing an ecosystem of animals and plants on its homepage (www.me.go.kr). The new content, all presented in moving pictures, displays a library of 158 animal and plant categories in seven groups, including insects, plants, trees, birds, mammals, reptiles, and spiders. A narration accompanies the moving pictures to help the general public better understand various elements of the ecosystem. The ministry says it plans to continue the expansion of the library till 2004, providing more in-depth information on the environment.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 01/08/2003

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ICT Minister Talks Up Plans for e-Government

This year will see the wide deployment of e-government initiatives while on National Children's Day on January 12, projects to enhance the literacy skills of Thai youth will be launched. Speaking at the National Government IT Conference as part of Computer Thai 2002 organised by the Computer Association of Thailand last month, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee said that e-government was a ``significant'' policy initiative. E-government was one of five directions of the national ICT Master plan while the government also had a strategic policy to better serve people with IT, he said. Three factors were needed to implement e-government projects, he said. The first was to advance the IT skills of government officers nationwide as well as of ministers and permanent secretaries, he said. Around 7,000 Tambon Administration Office (TAO) officials would also be trained in Internet and computer usage. The ICT Ministry would join with TOT Corp and educational institutes to conduct training, he added. The second factor would be to have affordable high-speed connections for people, especially for those living in remote areas. The aim was to offer a high-speed ``last mile'' connection to everyone so that they would be able to access the government's information and services, Dr Surapong noted. By the end of 2003, the Internet Tambon project would connect every TAO to the Internet while every secondary school would also be provided with an Internet connection, he said, adding that local people would therefore have Internet access points near their homes. ``The TOT Corp will also promote affordable broadband Internet connections for people nationwide next year,'' he added. This would improve the government's work processes to make them more dynamic while building an image of a ``citizen-centered, user-friendly government,'' he noted. He said the citizen-centric concept would encourage government officers to focus on delivering satisfactory services to people. ``Some processes should be reduced while some rules and regulations should also be changed'' in order to catch up with changes enabled by technology, he noted. Each agency must also have a web site to offer basic services, such as paying telephone bills at TOT's web site or requesting a weather forecast for specific dates from the site of the Meteorological Department, he said. ``In 2003, we will be able to apply for online registration of births, deaths or the change of home address,'' he said, adding that the web site must also be easy to use. Meanwhile, the ICT Ministry also has a plan to introduce ICT campaigns for education on Children Day. He said the plan would include providing network facilities to schools, offering donated computers, joining the private sector in projects to develop local content and for training high-school teachers at 3,000 schools in order for them to become Internet-literate. In addition, there would also be launches of an e-learning project, a low-cost PC leasing campaign for teachers and students as well as a contest to reward schools, teachers and students that were doing the best in applying the Internet for education, the minister said. ``All details will be released on Children's Day and that will be our gift to children,'' Dr Surapong promised. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From www.bangkokpost.com 01/01/2003

SINGAPORE: Consider 'Collaborative Outsourcing' for E-Government Projects

THE Singapore government is reputed to be a leader in IT usage in government administration. Accenture recently ranked Singa pore second in e-government - using IT and the Internet to deliver public services - just behind Canada. The Singapore government has always been a strong advocate of IT outsourcing. Most government agencies now outsource not only the development of IT applications, but also the operation and maintenance of such systems. This is how outsourcing is done at present: The government agency specifies an application and puts it up for tender. The successful bidder develops it by following the specifications and delivers it as conceived. Ownership of the application remains with the government. Any change or enhancement is made only if initiated by the government. While this is an entirely appropriate model for heavy developmental projects such as building roads or bridges, it is far less ideal for building online services for e-government in the Internet age. That's because: The Internet is moving much faster than the typical cycle involving application specifications, tendering and development. New and better ways of doing things may appear almost as soon as some applications are launched, requiring changes to be made, thereby starting a new cycle of project definition, approval, requirement specs and redevelopment all over again. In this age of rapid technological changes, it is difficult for government agencies with complex requirements to define specific outputs clearly, especially if these requirements are themselves subjected to change. One solution is to have a series of short-term projects - but such piecemeal efforts are clearly inefficient. The government can never be as nimble as a private company in getting changes made, even if the necessary changes are identified. Without the pressure of a clear bottom line, the motivation for change is also significantly weaker. Governments which have recognised the limitations of conventional outsourcing are becoming more entrepreneurial, focusing on outcomes rather than inputs. Douglas Holmes, in his recent book, E-business Strategies for Government, observed: 'The greatest innovation in the e-government era will come through new kinds of partnership that remove the dividing line between the public and private sector in a way that conventional outsourcing failed to do in the past. The links between government and business go beyond a customer-supplier relationship to one in which both parties work together to deliver the e-government vision. The primary idea is a contractual arrangement where each brings something to the table, where private sector enterprise and innovation are combined with public sector experience and values, and where there is a shared approach to the provision of services and to the risks and rewards involved. 'Harvard professor Jane Linder noted that IT outsourcing in the Internet age needs to move beyond conventional means and towards a more sophisticated 'collaborative outsourcing' model. This is where the customer works with the outsourcer to jointly define outputs and outcomes interactively, and where incentives and penalties based on pre-defined performance metrics are used to drive performance. Such outsourcing relationships offer a significant upside in the form of customer delight and greater efficiency as the interests of the customer and outsourcer are well aligned. However, the downside is greater ambiguity and potentially obscured accountability. Collaborative outsourcing forces the vendor to take strong ownership of the project and drive for peak performance. The interests of outsourcer and vendor are aligned, leading to a win-win situation. Within Singapore, one example of collaborative outsourcing was in the development of MIW, the NSmen's portal by the Ministry of Defence. This was carried out by Internet startup Green Dot Internet Services Pte Ltd.Various committees under the Remaking Singapore initiative have continued to call for greater innovativeness and risk-taking in government, and for more government-industry partnerships. Collaborative outsourcing can be a good model to achieve these benefits. It is therefore timely for government agencies to seriously consider this model when preparing for e-government outsourcing. This may just be what is needed for Singapore to move into the top spot in the worldwide ranking for e-government in the future.

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 10/28/2002

THAILAND: Data Management Springboard

We've heard it many times from business leaders and managers: ``We have lots of information technology, yet we still lack information that we can really use effectively.'' This simple, yet all-too-common statement sums up companies' struggle to make sense of the mountains of data they possess. For companies that have yet to develop efficient information management capabilities, it is an increasingly painful source of executive frustration and competitive disadvantage. For those that get it right, however, information management is a powerful tool to support informed decision-making and deliver superior business results. The Thai government recently announced its goal to increase the proportion of ``knowledge workers'' to 30% of the workforce, and the share of ``knowledge-based industries'' to 50% by the year 2010. This has significant implications. Companies will need to develop better capabilities to transform data and information into knowledge assets. Employees will need to be prepared to effectively transform information into knowledge they can use. What is information management? Information management, above all, is a core business capability as critical to a company as new product development, sales or human resources capabilities. It is the process of gathering, structuring and sharing data, information and knowledge, both across an organisation and beyond its walls. Often, information management is confused with information technology, which is one of its important enablers. Most companies have not developed an enterprise-wide plan for information management. As a result, valuable information is often not collected properly. In other cases, information is locked up by formal and informal departmental barriers that make it inaccessible to many who could use it. In Thailand, we have seen significant efforts recently to improve customer relationship management. A common challenge of these efforts is a lack of quality information about customers and their business interactions. Companies have installed sophisticated CRM tools, including campaign and contact management, only to find out that the indispensable component _ information _ doesn't meet the quality requirements (e.g., comprehensive, accurate, timely, etc). So, how should companies improve their information management capability? Out of the three dimensions of information management _ strategic, operational and enablers _ the strategic component is the most frequently neglected. The strategic dimension defines a series of principles and policies that govern how information is managed within an organisation. For example, one principle might relate to a company's expectations for information quality, defined in terms of its accuracy, objectivity and timeliness. Another principle might state that information is owned by the enterprise, as a whole, as opposed to individual departments. So, companies need universal information management guiding principles to govern the operational dimension. The operational dimension consists of the tactical business processes that are used in the capture, management and dissemination of information. The third dimension of information management consists of various enablers, including information technology, change management and human resources. Embedding information management in your business: In order to improve business efficiency and decision-making, information management needs to be embedded in the organisation. Clear responsibilities must be established for the strategic, operational and enabling dimensions. The alternatives are abundant, ranging from embedding information management responsibilities within the IT department, to creating a distinct information management unit that promotes this capability across the enterprise. The following partial list of symptoms can be used to spot whether your company needs to improve its information management capabilities: - Multiple departments contact the same internal and external parties to collect similar information; - Information that should be shared across the enterprise is owned solely by individual departments and not accessible to others who need it; - Critical information is considered to be of low quality or not useful for detailed analysis. There is confusion in terminology used to denote the same types of information. Resolving these types of issues goes beyond simple application of technology. Information management principles need to be defined and adopted through a comprehensive change programme. It is only then that enabling IT tools will be able to enforce the ``right'' information management behaviours. Innovation based on digitised information and knowledge: Digitising information and knowledge to make functions faster and cheaper has become the price of admission for most industries. Some top players, though, are taking their digitisation strategies a huge step forward. They have moved beyond improving their business processes to reinventing them, as well as reconfiguring companies and value chains in ways that are much more difficult to imitate. The Sabre Corporation provides a good example about establishing a solid position in a niche market created by the firm itself: online reservations. American Airlines took that small piece of its operations, its passenger reservation systems capability, and turned it into a business, and made a strategic decision to sell the service to competitors rather than retain it exclusively. Today, Sabre is an electronic travel supermarket, boasting 61,000 travel agencies with electronic access to 450 airlines, 54 car rental companies, eight cruise companies, 53,000 hotels, 288 tour operators and 33 railways. It has a few competitors, but continues to dominate the industry it created. In conclusion, businesses need to devote significantly more attention to their information management capabilities. The payoff can be substantial. In certain situations, the digitisation of the company's information assets can even be turned into a brand-new business. A comprehensive approach, including strategic, operational and enabler dimensions is required to make it happen. (by A.T. Kearney)

From http://www.bangkokpost.co.th 12/12/2002

Thailand ICT Ministry: 95 Projects Planned for Next Year

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said the ministry would launch 95 new projects next year totalling Bt17.55 billion. "Our six major units will enter 95 new projects next year," Surapong said yesterday during the ICT Ministry's presentation of its achievements over the past three months. TOT's 30 projects totalling Bt13 billion is the largest number, and includes adding an extra 1.2 million fixed lines and its Internet Protocol network expansion. The Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) comes in second with 23 projects totalling Bt3.4 billion. The National Statistical Office, Meteorological Department and Post and Telegraph Department combine for 42 new projects. Surapong also unveiled 15 new policies for next year, including a plan to transform Chiang Mai province into the IT hub of the North and turn Chiang Mai University into an ICT leader in the greater Mekong region, which is made up of six countries. He said the ministry would also create the Software Industrial Policy Board to promote R&D software Surapong will also order all government agencies to undertake a 25-per-cent e-procurement on every item they plan to buy next year. All government agencies would have to roll out at least one Internet-based service next year, the minister said. "We'll also encourage them [government agencies] to increase the use of free software, such as the Pladoa operating system, to 5 per cent in total next year from the 0.05 per cent at present," Surapong said. In addition, Surapong said all state officials would be able to purchase low-priced computers on a special low-interest basis, with the ministry bringing in a personal loan company to help support the project. "The ministry will also increase the local IT workforce by 5,000 next year while the e-library project for schools will also be started," Surapong said.

From http://www.developmentgateway.org/ 12/26/2003

BRUNEI: Sapura Centre for E-Government

In response to a call made by His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for an advancement in the nation's competitiveness in the global digital economy, Sapura (B) Sdn Bhd (SapuraBrunei) has established a centre of excellence for electronic government in Brunei Darussalam. This is in line with the Brunei Darussalam Information Technology (BIT) council's public sector IT strategy and the drive towards electronic government. "In setting up this centre, we are sowing the seeds which will empower Bruneians and give them the capacity to provide consultancy, systems integration, and software development capabilities to governments and businesses in the region," explained Awg Ahmad bin Isa, Chairman of SapuraBrunei. "With its size, Brunei is in the unique position of being able to take a relatively fresh approach to electronic government without the legacy and baggage of older technologies faced by more developed nations. At the same time, as an early follower, we will be able to benefit from lessons learnt by other Government's throughout the world. This will give us the opportunity to be at the leading edge," he added. "Our small size and relatively open economy gives us the agility to respond to changes in the technological landscape much faster than many of our neighbouring countries." Sapura has spent the last six years developing and is currently implementing E-Government for the Malaysian government. Recently, Sapura was appointed to prepare the Electronic Government Blueprint for the government of Pakistan. SapuraBrunei intends to leverage on this expertise and assist His Majesty's government in realising the vision of a "paperless society" starting with a "paperless bureaucracy" in Brunei. "In partnering with Sapura in Malaysia, we are establishing an international network of expertise in electronic governance in a way that is unique to Islamic nations. We look forward to providing these services to countries in the Middle East and other members of the OIC," he concluded. (by Rosli Abidin Yahya)

From http://www.sapura.com.bn/ 01/21/2003

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  INDIA: Website Usability Critical to the Success of Portals

Considerable emphasis needs to be laid on the usability factor of government websites in order to ensure that they are user friendly and will achieve the primary objective of easing the lives of citizens interacting with the government, stated Salem Al Shair, Director e-Services, Dubai e-Government, while delivering the keynote address at the Web Usability seminar held at the Dusit Dubai Hotel in Dubai yesterday (December 23, 2002). Dubai e-Government highlighted the significance of the usability factor of government websites at the seminar organized by Afflatus Inc., a website usability analysis company, in partnership with Dubai e-Government. The usability factor plays a key role in ascertaining the success of websites, as it determines the quality of the user*s experience while navigating and interacting with a website. The seminar, attended by over 100 representatives from various government departments, focused on usability fundamentals and the dominant challenges experienced by most government websites offering e-Services. In addition, it also covered a number of important topics such as e-Government & Services Website Usability, Usability Fundamentals and Information Architecture Analysis and Website Design Guidelines. ※The success of a website depends extensively on the ease and efficiency with which a user can access information and interact with it. This is particularly true of government websites where the focus should be on providing users with the most efficient interface to meet their specific information needs,§ said Al Shair. ※Clear, consistent and easily navigable websites that are flexible without creating confusing results are the ideal answers and in order to devise this, web developers and usability analysts need to work together to leverage their joint expertise.§ ※Dubai e-Government is always on the lookout for opportunities to improve and enhance the quality of the government websites and hence the need for such a seminar. We are trying to take extensive precautions to ensure that the Dubai e-Government portal www.dubai.ae avoids the pitfalls of poor usability and presents to its customers a well-designed website,§ he added. Recounting Dubai e-Government*s experiences and goals, Al Shair said: ※e-governance has become an essential component of today*s web-ruled world. No country can afford to ignore e-Governance and citizens would certainly prefer to use high tech modes of public transaction when the whole world is moving towards automation. Dubai was among the first governments in the region to recognize the crucial importance of e-Government and therefore laid down a proper framework to build an e-Government interface complete with usability analysis carried out from time to time. Guided by the primary goal of easing the lives of community and businesses by creating a one-stop portal, Dubai e-Government is now in the advanced stages of providing an integrated, interactive and online transaction-ready services across the board.§ Most websites that can be seen today are weak on usability because they have often been designed by web developers who work as artists, often failing to look at the website from the users* point of view,§ said Adnan Al Obathani, Managing Director, Afflatus Inc. ※Good usability means giving users a better experience with your website. In today*s highly dynamic web environment, organizations especially government ones need to focus on having an online presence that is meticulously crafted, keeping users* requirements in mind. It is only then that a web presence can bring higher revenue, customer loyalty and trust, satisfied visitors and higher credibility in the market place.§ Website usability analysis is a necessity and not a luxury in today*s congested web-world,§ added Obathani. ※What a usability analyst does is research the audience types, study the type of information they would look for and design the architecture which gives the best way to link and access it. The analyst also develops a set of rules for each particular site, deciding issues such as allocation of space, the size of various elements on the page, the positioning of these elements and critical information on the page, the colour schemes and style sheets to be used. Afflatus is proud to encourage website owners in launching a new generation of unique Internet sites based on quality user experience,§ he added. Saif Al Shaali, Chief Information Officer, Afflatus Inc., who presented a detailed analysis of various government websites said: ※Globally, there are serious deficiencies in website usability. Findings by accredited research companies such as Forrester Research and NNGroup show that 90 per cent of websites rank poor in usability. Another study concludes that websites show just 51 per cent compliance with simple web development rules. Against such a scenario, website usability is critical because it relates to user experiences and focuses on how the site functions. Quite often, website designers do an excellent job technically but are unable to look at the usability from a user*s point of view. As result, the site is unable to serve the purpose for which it was originally designed. Increasing the usability of a website however can make a significant difference. A Stanford University research indicates increasing usability by one per cent increases traffic on the website by 1.66 per cent. When IBM redesigned their site to be more user centric, sales from the site increased correspondingly by 400 per cent.§ ※Our research has shown that website usability analysis helps to revitalize a website and make it people-friendly which in turn increases the possibly of a website*s success. Using this analysis, we can recommend changes which ensure that it is easy to access desired information or navigate through a website,§ he added. The seminar showed how website usability analysts make a real difference to a weak site, by examining all aspects from the homepage down to the whole site. Afflatus Inc. is one of the pioneers in the field, with expertise in website and interface analysis and design, information architecture analysis, and extensive research with the help of professors and graduates from one of the highest每ranked universities in the USA in the field of Information Systems.


From http://www.gitexhyderabad.com/ 12/24/2002

PAKISTAN: All Govt. Tenders on Pakistan.Gov.Pk

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS) -- Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Awais Khan Leghari Monday directed that all the notices inviting tenders by organisations of IT and Telecom Division and the division itself should invariably be placed on the appropriate pages on the Pakistan.gov.pk immediately .The minister also directed that all the related public documents such as details of request for proposal (RFP), evaluation criteria should also be placed on the portal. Secretary IT and Telecommunications Ashfaq Mehmood has also directed the e-directorate to issue directive in this regard and ensure full compliance through its own portal management group .The country has spent Rs 4 million on the development of the gateway to the country, pakistan.gov.pk .The official web portal of the country - www.pakistan.gov.pk 每 is otherwise at the heart of a serious controversy for adamantly presenting the country by projecting it as pakistan.gov as a department working under the United States administration .The gurus of IT Division have not made the correction despite the indication of the blunder by leading press and electronic media of the country .The website launched with a lot of bang by the then minister for education, science and technology, Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, reads on a number of instances as Pakistan.Gov. The IT gurus working with the minister and the professionals involved in the exercise are oblivious of the fact that the American government could only own the websites ending with gov. Despite the fact that the real URL of the web portal is www.pakistan.gov.pk, the text repeatedly mentions Pakistan.Gov, leaving much for the reader to imagine as to what prompted the ministry for omission of pk from the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) .Since 1997, the United States government has been managing the .GOV and .FED domains. The gov domain, generally called as the General Services Administration (GSA), offers domain name registration and related web services for the US government .A domain name is all the text that follows the first period '.' in a host name. A host name is used to locate an entity on the Internet. A host name is part of a URL, which is the address of a site or document on the Internet .The US Government Domain Registration and Services (www.nic.gov) reads, ※To maintain domain name integrity, eligibility is limited to qualified government organizations and programs. Having a managed domain name such as .GOV assures your customers that they are accessing an official government site.§ An official of the IT Division, when contacted, not only termed such objection as "highly misleading and erroneous§ Rejecting the fact the Gov could only be used by US administeration*s official websites, he said, ※The web site name could have been pakistan.gov.pk' but this neither sounds well nor does it convey a good image.§ He maintained that the only logical, sensible and practical option was to go for the name 'Pakistan.gov'. It should also be remembered that when a user reaches the portal at www.pakistan.gov.pk then he is certain that he is a Government of Pakistan site and not at any other national site. About 15 so called top IT companies including www.pin.com.pk, www.xavor.com etc have developed this 'masterpiece' of skills with a &modest* budget of over Rs 4 million after the hard work of a year. Since the front page of the website repeatedly reads Pakistan.Gov, a layman would login to the portal next with the suggested URL by omitting important pk in the end. This would take him to nowhere .&The Official Web Gateway to the Government of Pakistan,* is being projected as the first ever web information and services portal of the government. Under the project websites of different federal ministries and divisions have been integrated so that a single point of access can be available to citizens with a strong search facility for different types of information on the portal .The minister had said a total of 35 division websites had been made in addition to the portal .These sites, he had said, contained useful information for all potential users, both domestic and international. Though there is information available about the organizational details, rules, and procedures, persons' contact numbers and their e-mail addresses, downloadable forms and date of interest to the general public, yet it does not have URLs for important provinces like Balochistan, federal capital, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, FATA and Northern Areas. There are more than one good portals available for cities like Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore but none of them is linked with this &Official Web Gateway to the Government of Pakistan* .


From http://paknews.com/ 12/11/2002

Islamabad Does E-Government

Pakistan is ready to advance its e-government program, offering services to its citizens online for the first time The Pakistani Government is poised to launch its first ever e-services portal for transactions and information. The website is scheduled to be running from the start of October 2002. ※As part of the e-government project, websites relating to all the 35 federal divisions have been developed, which will contain all the relevant information about these divisions§, an official from the Government*s Ministry of Science and Technology told Pakistan*s Jang news agency. The aim is to offer all Government forms through the portal allowing citizens to make applications for ID cards through the internet, submit tax returns online and receive other public services. The main objectives of Pakistan*s e-government program are to improve efficiency, enhance transparency and help citizens deal with the administration, the official said. A key part of the project will involve organizations outside the public sector helping to deliver services such as utility bill payment. ※To help citizens who are facing a lot of problems in payment of utility bills by standing in long queues, time constraints and unfavorable weather conditions, Government is encouraging banks, utility companies and private sector firms to team up and provide a solution for payment of utility bills.§ Alongside the provision of public e-services from the central administration are initiatives to give IT training to federal government employees and moves to encourage provincial authorities to develop e-government systems.


From http://www.excelsior.pwcglobal.com/ 10/02/2002

Bah, Humbug to Pakistan's E-Government Plan

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's military rulers are turning to information technology to improve governance and public services, but the scheme, which has a budget of US$35 million, has a number of critics. While the government says the plan will bring public services to people's doorstep and will be a step towards good governance, critics do not see much hope of its success in improving either governance or government transparency. Many observers, in fact, say the only real beneficiaries of the plan will be the local computer and software companies that have mushroomed as a result of lucrative government incentives over the past two years. Isa Daudpota, who headed the first United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-sponsored e-mail service to the public in Pakistan almost a decade ago, says, "With the government departments even lacking basic connectivity at present, it would be interesting to see how they plan to move forward. The problem with the poor governance has little to do with lack of computers," adds Daudpota, although he clarifies that he is not discounting the importance of information technology. Under the e-government plan, the government says it will develop websites for 34 federal ministries and Pakistani missions abroad. The plan also envisages electronic notification of all official gazettes and availability of country's statutes and case laws online. "This plan will enable people to file their tax returns and also to pay their utility bills, income tax, sales tax and other federal, provincial and local taxes, electronically," says Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, federal minister for science and technology. "The e-government plan will increase the level of transparency in all government transactions and also improve coordination among government departments and ministries, their efficiency and productivity," says Rahman, who has been instrumental in IT being in the government's list of priorities. "This will ultimately benefit the people as it would ensure electronic service delivery to the people," he says. While good governance was among the seven-point agenda announced by General President Pervez Musharraf when he took over power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, international financial institutions such as the World Bank have been pressing the country to overhaul its administrative machinery and make it more pro-people. A bank mission visiting the country earlier this year had linked its $45 million technical assistance with good governance, advising Islamabad to urgently change its development and governance strategy. Subsequently, the ministry of finance worked out details to design new policies focusing on macro-economic and structural reforms, poverty reduction and monitoring, debt management and a reorientation of the role of the government. "The IT development and e-government are part of the larger plan to improve governance that includes civil service, tax reforms and public enterprises and privatization reforms, private sector development including provision of essential public services," says a finance ministry official. Observers, though, note that perhaps the government ought to improve basic telecommunication services first before launching the ambitious scheme that is expected to be completed within two to three years. Considering how crucial phones are to the plan, Pakistan, with more than 135 million people, has less than 3 million working telephone connections, while the installed capacity remains at just 3.6 million. As it is, less than 10 percent of the Pakistani population were using the Internet as of last year. Proponents of the scheme, however, have been quick to point out that Internet usage in the country has been growing at more than 50 percent per annum and has progressed from 11,000 users in 1998 to 1.3 million in 2000. The obscurity of government transactions and actions has a direct link with at least 16 laws that restrict people's access to information. Unless these laws are repealed, argued the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists in a press release, the government cannot ensure transparency in its working. Journalist Zafarullah Khan remarked in a recent article: "The governance pattern of the country has been devised to retain the colonial mindset of keeping the people in the dark by denying them their democratic right to information about the affairs which shape their lives and destiny." The few ordinary citizens who have heard of the plan remain pessimistic. Bilquees Fatima, standing in a utility bills queue outside a bank in Islamabad, comments: "They couldn't even streamline the payment of utility bills in decades ... how do they expect to make it any better now? E-government or not, I'll have to stand in this long queue for hours to deposit my bills," she harrumphs, pointing out: "I neither have a computer, nor do I know how to use it." Other critics say that e-government is too narrow an approach to improve governance. Says Zubair Faisal Abbasi of e-poor, an organization working to improve the digital divide in Pakistan: "If you look at the government in developing countries, you will find the allegation of being ineffective, not cost-effective, obscurantist and not accountable. These issues," he argues, "qualify to e-governance and not the narrow approach embodied in the e-government plan, which is more like automation." Abbasi says: "If properly directed and used keeping in view the good governance paradigm of bringing information from public domain to wider and interactive public domain, I think infocom has very critical and significant role to play. But Abbasi believes that that the government will have to look at things with a boarder scope if it is serious in harnessing the real potentials of information technology. "It needs to address on the ground situation in the legal, financial, accessibility, interactivity and disclosure frameworks," he says, noting the absence of laws even to guarantee access to information. (By Muddassir Rizvi)


From Inter Press Service 01/21/2003 (access time)

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AUSTRALIA: ACCC to Monitor Internet Shopping Complaints

The consumer watchdog is on the prowl for complaints about Internet shopping over the Christmas and New Year period. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Allan Fels said while the Internet featured bargains from around the world, it could also act as a cover for conmen. "Consumers should be vigilant, especially during this high spending time of year," Professor Fels said. "It is crucial that consumers go into on-line transactions with their eyes open. "From the consumer's own home, bargains can be found across the globe however, such a vast marketplace can harbour unscrupulous and anonymous traders." Prof Fels cited the operator of www.sydneyopera.org, a Web site that purported to be the official booking site for the Sydney Opera House. ACCC alleged people from the United Kingdom and Europe tried to buy tickets through the site on their credit cards and they were either overcharged or did not receive the tickets. "This case shows how some sites can fraudulently mirror or copy existing sites, using similar web addresses, resulting in consumers paying for products they do not receive," Prof Fels said. The ACCC said online customers could try to avoid similar problems in a number of ways including using sites with secure online payment, checking for the trader's full contact address, and verifying any seals or badges of approval with codes of conduct.


From http://www.smh.com.au/ 12/16/2002

Cabinet Lacks Understanding of ICT

THE ACS has long been concerned by the general lack of awareness or, more importantly, a real understanding about the importance of the ICT sector within most governments, and particularly within Canberra. While we recognize the undoubted knowledge of those politicians and advisers who represent specialist ICT portfolios, like Senator Richard Alston and Kate Lundy, I believe they sometimes struggle to get a fair hearing from parliamentary colleagues who have little direct involvement in ICT issues. So, when I recently had the opportunity to participate in the annual Science Meets Parliament Day, I was very interested to see what sort of response the event would receive. The day attracted over 200 delegates representing the cream of Australia's scientific and technology communities to Parliament House in Canberra. Organized by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), the event brought together scientists, researchers and technologists from the various professional societies, universities and research bodies like the CSIRO and ANSTO. The aim of the day was to raise awareness among our federal politicians and their advisers of the value of science and technology and their ability to contribute to Australia's development and growth. Our real message is that for Australia to be a global leader in any emerging field, like the bio-sciences, we need a strong, developing, innovative ICT industry to underpin those fields. We can't rely on importing off-the-shelf technology and expect to be a world leader -- we can only then be a follower, regardless of any productivity gains for us being early adopters. FASTS highlighted a number of key issues that are critical to enhancing the success of our science and technology sectors, particularly in relation to the low research and development investment levels in Australia, calling for: One hundred new post-doctoral university positions each year, jointly funded by industry and government, to help inject experienced researchers into the engine rooms of industry. Reductions in the level of HECS paid by science and maths teachers to equalise it with other teaching disciplines, since the current disparity represents a significant disincentive to pursue those subject areas. Greater investment in higher education to address the chronic under-funding problem within the tertiary sector. Once in the workforce, graduates in teaching and industry need to ensure they constantly undertake professional development to stay in touch with their area of expertise, and in the technology which can enable their work. The ACS would also like to see a higher level of content for school students wishing to pursue an ICT career to better prepare them for university, and an increase in funding for teacher development. The PD allocation for NSW teachers is around $36, which is ludicrous in light of what they need to learn from year to year just to stay on top of technological changes. For those providing specialized ICT teaching, the need for on-going training and PD is of course much greater if they are to stay ahead of their students and be successful in helping to identify and prepare our next generation of ICT professionals, in such a rapidly evolving industry. I would also like to see universities make high school computing studies a prerequisite for ICT-related courses. This would enable them to make better use of those early months of a degree courses and ultimately raise the standard of computing degrees. In hindsight, the Science Meets Parliament Day enjoyed mixed success which is probably a direct reflection of both community, and therefore politicians', attitudes towards science and technology. There has been a suggestion that the ACS should initiate a complementary event called ICT Meets Parliament to focus attention specifically on the needs of the ICT sector and we will consider the merits of this idea in coming months. I welcome your input on how this could be arranged in order to have the maximum impact. (by Richard Hogg)


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/26/2002

Privacy Breach for Govt Website

THE Department of Family and Community Services has breached the Privacy Act by spamming website competition entrants on behalf of a university. The Office of Federal Privacy Commissioner said it had concluded its investigation of The Source website, which the department manages, and the breach had now been adequately addressed. During April 2002, the department ran 34 online "Win Free Stuff" competitions, which attracted thousands of entries. In June 2002, the website editor was approached and agreed to send marketing emails to the entrants on behalf of RMIT students who were running a project to send spiders into space with NASA. Deputy Federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said the Office received no formal complaints regarding the marketing emails, but decided to investigate the matter. "The Office sent two audit staff to conduct a physical audit of The Source website premises and its practices, including interviewing the staff and managers involved," Mr Pilgrim said. "At the time of the breach, the editor of The Source website was new to the role. The editor had not attended a privacy awareness training session and didn't check their actions with staff in the Administrative Law Unit regarding the Commissioner's Guidelines for Federal and ACT Government websites." Mr Pilgrim said the editor acted "quickly and appropriately" when complaints were received about the marketing emails. The Department has now completed a privacy audit of their websites; destroyed the database with the website visitor details; and conducted privacy awareness training for all staff. "This is a cautionary tale for all website operators, not only those who operate government sites, that they must respect the privacy of their visitor's personal information." (by Kelly Mills)


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/29/2002

The Men Who Hold Off Canberra's Cyber Siege

Australia's most sensitive government websites are under siege. Web saboteurs are attacking the Federal Government's most critical sites at 10 times the rate of 18 months ago, according to Brian Denehy, chief scientist at 90East, the security company that protects Australia's most important websites. While Dr Denehy won't name his clients, 90East last year confirmed that it handles Web security for ASIO, the Cabinet Office and most government departments. Even the Defense Department has considered outsourcing Web security to 90East. Tom Hillman, the American businessman who is a non-executive director of 90East, says: "Yes, we're actually the largest provider of security services to the government. We provide perimeter security services for their websites and networks, and we manage all the traffic, from where it emanates to where it is supposed to be received." ASIO, Hillman says, is one of several "highly protected clients who are grouped together in a single cluster". "The defense force is seriously looking at outsourcing their Internet security needs too. But they're all relatively sensitive about discussing it publicly," he says. 90East is the default provider of the government's most vital Internet security needs. Former Defense Signals Directorate and Australian Defense Force Academy experts manage the little private company, which counts several powerful American investors among its biggest shareholders. If you think it sounds like jobs for the old boys of the civil service, you'd be right. But they're very highly skilled old boys. Denehy, for example, is a former government policy adviser on scientific matters. He says that each month there are up to 400,000 intrusions into government websites and that he has traced many of the "knocks at the door" to China, North Korea, and terrorist groups. "There is good evidence that al Qaeda are using the Internet to organize themselves and are using it as a research tool," he says. "The numbers of website defacements has gone up by at least a factor of 10 in the past 18 months. We are now seeing hundreds reported each day, whereas two years ago a high day was in the range of 10 to 20 defacements. "The level of routine (security) scanning has increased significantly from a year ago. Anyone who runs a personal firewall and looks at the logs will often see a probe a minute, even on dial-up lines, originating from just about anywhere. "Some of this is due to automated activity caused by worms such as Code Red or BugBear, but there appears to be more purposeful activity." What sort of activity? It seems that compromised machines are being used as rendezvous points for criminal activities. The US administration also believes that terrorist activities are "being coordinated via compromised machines that are discarded after short periods of use". The Prime Minister's office alone receives more than 300,000 Internet intrusions a month, from hackers, e-mail attacks, viruses and roaming geeks with nothing better to do, according to 90East's estimates. "All our clients get poked, prodded, scanned and attacked at all hours of the day and night, from anywhere on the Internet," Denehy says. "What we don't know is what proportion of these are compromised systems that are being used from elsewhere." In short, 90East doesn't know the source of the hundreds of attacks its clients receive every day. Are they al Qaeda cells, or just crazed anoraks? "To find that out will require global cooperation and more secure infrastructure," Denehy says. "One step forward would be following the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) recommendation to implement egress filtering on all edge ISPs so that IP spoofing becomes less prevalent. Others would include deployment of DNS SEC (domain name system security) and stronger authentication on many of the common network infrastructure protocols, eg SMTP, but that requires a trusted DNS in the first place." So what is the best we can hope for? "The best-practice configuration now requires firewalling, hardening the operating system, configuring Web server and application according to security standards, deploying network and host intrusion monitoring and keeping fully up to date with vendor patches," Denehy says. "There also needs to be contingency plans in place for Denial of Service attacks. 24x7 monitoring is also now regarded as best practice, since the threats come from every time zone." The merger of 90East and the hosting company PeakHour is meant to improve its ability to provide secure Web servers. In the past, 90East's federal government customers have tended to provide their own applications but that is changing. "We are finding that attacks are becoming increasingly data-driven, that is using allowed network protocols to provide indigestible data to applications, causing them to misbehave - hence the increasing need to secure applications," Denehy says. "This is not to say that the old attacks have gone away, just that improvements in firewall technology has been making them less relevant." 90East is also concerned that the growing use of mobile code will soon require a new model, where firewalling, intrusion detection and configuration control will need to be built into all systems on the network, and even the network infrastructure. "The hard shell surrounding the crunchy center will no longer be viable as a security model," Denehy says. For this reason, 90East helps ASIO ferret out spies and subversive elements. "There's a process established by which we inform our highly protected customers of what's going on and give them as much information as possible." (by Paul Ham)


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 12/03/2002

NEW ZEALAND: E-Government Just Part of the Mix

The Citizens Advice Bureau's worry that the Government is overemphasising electronic communication at the expense of face-to-face contact is not a message this Administration wants to hear. The comments came as the Government was relaunching its www.govt.nz portal, which it wants to become the dominant means of "enabling ready access to Government information, services and processes" by 2004. That's really quite silly. As the United Nations report on e-government points out: "Online service delivery should be thought of as complementary rather than accepting the more popular view that it will ultimately replace many traditional channels." Which is exactly what Citizens Advice is saying. It's also something many online businesses have learned the hard way. The net is not a panacea. It's just another channel to add to the mix of ways of interacting with customers. There are other reasons the Government should listen to the bureau. The voluntary group with 91 branches from Kaitaia to Invercargill is at the coal face of community involvement and, as chief executive Nick Toonen points out, deals with 570,000 inquiries a year - 60 per cent related to Government information and services. It has also seen first hand the effect of Government departments closing their frontline offices and relying on call centres. While Government websites undoubtedly provide better access to information, what about those who don't have a computer at home? And those who don't have the skills to use a computer and the web? At the relaunch of the portal, which will cost $4 million a year to run, both Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister of State Services Trevor Mallard spoke of how information would be available 24 hours a day more conveniently than by phone or in person. No more waiting on hold or in queues. Which is true - as long as you have access. And as long as you can fully transact online. While the United Nations report's e-government index ranks New Zealand third in the world behind the US and Australia, it also shows that only 46 per cent of the population is online and only 36 per cent of homes have PCs. Which leaves a lot of people without an internet onramp. The Government counters by pointing to a recent survey that shows 70 per cent of New Zealanders have used the internet in the past month - but a large number of them are undoubtedly accessing it from work or school. It also points to the use of community buildings such as libraries for access. But you have to ask if these are the right places for someone to be conducting business with the Government - especially if the nature of the interaction is confidential. It should be pointed out, too, that while libraries do provide free access to the Government and other websites, they charge up to $8 an hour for email exchanges. If the electronic channel is ever going to work for the Government, email really must be free. Perhaps free internet access at Citizens Advice Bureau offices - where volunteers can help and advise about online communications - would be a good place to start. Even better would be access that provided video conferencing for virtual face-to-face contact. Then there's the question of just what the portal provides. There's no doubt an enormous amount of work has gone into the $5.6 million revamp. The search function is vastly improved through the use of "meta-tags" to index information across 90 Government agencies and 3500 central and local government information sources. It's also updated weekly using an automated "spider" to crawl the websites contributing to the portal in search of new metadata. The new home page is a great improvement, too - providing several different paths to the vast store of online information including "Services", "A to Z Government" and "Things to Know When". I particularly like the "Participate in Government" section because it's a first step to realizing the e-democracy potential of the site. Here the medium might not just empower individual citizens by providing them with an alternative channel for accessing information and services, but also give an efficient means of influence, or at least, having a say. But despite the flash new interface and the metadata searching, it doesn't take long to find yourself in the same old, mostly boring and badly organized pages of the portal's predecessor, www.nzgo.govt.nz. There are still not many places where you can fully complete secure online transactions such as obtaining visas, passports, birth and death records, licenses and permits. But more are expected in the next few years - especially when State Services and the Inland Revenue Department decide what technologies will be used to uniquely identify users over the net. But some departments show that Government policy is yet to be formulated. Land Information New Zealand, for example, has spent about $150 million on a computer system that still doesn't provide net access to survey and title information about citizens' properties. And while the Parliamentary Counsel Office is close to providing the final version of a site that provides free access to our country's laws, the Department for Courts doesn't provide access to information about court proceedings and judgments - although it does allow you to pay fines. Which clearly shows where its e-government priorities lie. (by Chris Barton)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 11/26/2002

Ground-Breaking Government Web Portal Launched

Prime Minister Helen Clark and State Services Minister Trevor Mallard today officially launched - govt.nz - a "one stop shop" government web portal, allowing the public easy and quick access to a vast range of central and local government information and services. The portal was launched today with a "virtual ribbon cutting" by Helen Clark at the Mt Wellington Community Library in Panmure, Auckland. The portal is a website that has been designed with people*s needs in mind to provide a quick and convenient way of finding government information and services from one place. More than 3,500 government services and resources are available, ranging from what you need to know if you*ve having a child or renting a house, to information about study, work or recreation in New Zealand. Speaking at the portal launch, Helen Clark said people expected information and services to be online and available around the clock in our homes, schools, marae, libraries and work places. "Many New Zealanders are internet-savvy and have been quick to adopt new ways of communicating both in business and in their daily lives. A recent Global Government Online study found more than 70 percent of New Zealanders surveyed had used the Internet in the previous month. That*s put New Zealand at the top of the 31 countries covered by the survey. "Our Government is meeting this rise in demand for online services. In May 2000 we set out our e-government vision. The development of the portal is a major step in the achievement of that vision, as it will ensure New Zealanders have fast and convenient access to more than 3,500 government services and resources." "E-government is one of a series of government-driven information and community technology initiatives that are contributing to the development of a knowledge economy for New Zealand," Helen Clark said. Trevor Mallard said the technology companies who put together the portal are all New Zealand operations. "It's a showcase for our innovative home grown technology and expertise," he said. "The site development has been based on research focused on what government information and services the public wants and needs via the Internet. It*s been designed to be fast loading, and accessible to people with slower Internet access speeds, people in rural communities, and accessible to people with disabilities." "The portal will serve as the main entry point to government via the Internet for both New Zealanders and the international community." If the information or service is not directly available from a government website, such as services that require face-to-face contact, the new portal will help people find out where they need to go or who to contact. "All this has been designed and built to operate 24 hours a day, every day, and be available from anywhere in the world. It means government services are just a mouse-click away." "The new portal is a natural evolution from the current government website, known as NZGO (New Zealand Government Online). NZGO was one of the most popular sites in New Zealand with more than 120,000 visitors per month. "What has been launched today is just a starting point. The portal will continue to evolve to meet people's needs. It will also broaden its coverage, especially as new online services become available," Trevor Mallard said.


From http://www.e-government.govt.nz/ 11/14/2002

TOP∥

 
 
 
 
 
 

eM-Technics Co. to Ride High in New Digital Satellite Market

eM-Technics Co., a manufacturer of digital satellite receivers since April, 2000, is known for its brisk export sales, with 70 percent of its total production output destined for overseas markets. eM-Technics' current goal is to develop and acquire patents for a conditional access system (CAS), which is based on a high value-added technology that controls satellite recipients. eM-Technics with 2.3 billion won in capital expects to be listed on the Kosdaq market within the first half of this year. Dongseng Co. owns 21 percent of the shares of the company and eM-Technics CEO, Soh Min-young and two other executive-level employees, own another 31 percent. In the second year of operation last year, eM-Technics posted 55.5 billion won (approximately $47 million) in sales, becoming one of the leading set-top box manufacturers here. Set-top boxes allow home viewers to receive broadcasting signals of satellite, cable and others. There are two types -analogue and digital - of set top boxes. In 2001, eM-Tech established a record of exceeding the $3 million mark in exports, which then surged to $20 million last year. With 22 researcher-dedicated staffers, along with 28 other non-research employees, eM-Technics became the second company in the country to possess the largest number of technology licenses related to digital satellite receiver after Humax, by acquiring a total of five. It also began to distribute CAS tools within the shortest time frame - 18 months. eM-Technics now focuses on developing multimedia home platform (MHP) and cable receiver with the main target region set at Europe. The company's main export countries as of present are some 30 countries including Arab Emirates, Italy, Spain and Egypt. Its advancement in the domestic market began last year and now, eM-Technics provides set-top boxes to Sky Life through an OEM transaction with Samsung Electronics Co. This year, the company plans to make multi-functional products and expand export sales in European countries, where satellite broadcasting systems have made a strong showing. The sales revenue for this year is expected to reach 88.8 billion won. eM-Technics officials said the development and growth of the digital set-top box market in individual export markets will vary, and is dependent upon limitations imposed by the nations' broadcasting laws and regulations. The world digital set-top box market is estimated to grow by 23.9 percent each year until 2005, according to statistics released by research firm, Gartner Dataquest. eM-Technics is especially seeking to prevail in the operator market, which works under a system in which set-top box manufacturers deliver the tools to broadcasting stations, which will then supply them to consumers. "The firm's marketing strategy is divided into four main parts. Those are focusing on the operator market, localizing according to each region, brand marketing, and intensifying after service to customers," said Soh Min-young, president and CEO of eM-Technics. The company is preparing to establish branch offices in Germany, China and the Middle East region as part of the plan, Soh said. "Through establishing our brand name and after sales services, we will secure our customer base and attract new ones in order to maximize our growth and profits," he said. The company's move toward Europe will be followed by an expansion of production lines to China and Eastern Europe, the company officials said. (by Lee Joo-hee)

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/15/2003

Park Reaches for Stars in Zhongguancun

Zhongguancun Science Park is striving to become one of the world's leading information technology research and development bases over the coming years. Sources from the administrative committee of the park said the key sectors of Zhongguancun's information industry have been targeted as integrated circuits, software, computer and Internet technology, telecommunications and digital technology. According to the general scheme, the industrial scales of the software, computer, Internet and telecommunications businesses are expected to reach 250 billion yuan (US$30.12 billion), 508 billion yuan (US$61.2 billion), 40 billion yuan (US$4.82 billion) and 1.1 trillion yuan (US$132 billion) in 2005 respectively. "By that year, 50 incubators, covering 350,000 square metres, will be established to provide incubating space and services for around 600 related enterprises," said Liu Zhihua, director of the administrative committee. To achieve its target, Zhongguancun Science Park issued preferential tax and land-use policies for electronics and IT enterprises in 2001. "Besides banking loans, the administrative committee helps the enterprises expand their market-orientated fund-raising channels," said Liu. Zhongguancun Technology Guarantee Co Ltd, founded in 2000, has provided 2.2 billion yuan (US$265 million) loan guarantees to 396 small and medium-sized enterprises. So far, 40 overseas and 71 domestic venture capital companies, involving more than US$27 billion, have settled to look for technologies or start-ups with huge market potentials. From this year, a financial corridor, a hub for banks, insurance companies, guarantee institutes and attorney offices have been under construction in Zhongguancun Science Park. "In addition, the 2008 Olympic Games offers development opportunities for the related enterprises in the park," said Liu. (by Liu Jie)

From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/16/2003

The ※Technoport Osaka§ Plan

Goal

In order to develop Osaka as a vigorous and attractive international information city for the 21st Century, high level, ultramodern municipal functions will be integrated in advance in the wide coastal area of the South and North ports. It will lead the development of not only the Bay Area but also the Kansai-Osaka Region. When the new downtown is completed, it will have a daytime population of 200,000 people.

Business
Overview

1. Target area
The South and North port areas, where the “Technoport Osaka” Plan will be carried out, are located in the Osaka Port, an international trading port on the western coastal area of Osaka, which has been continuously reclaimed and developed since 1955. The area targeted by this plan totals 775 hectares consisting of 160 hectares (“Cosmo Square”) taken from the 1000 hectare Sakishima (South Port), the 225 hectare Maishima island (North Port Northern area), and the 390 hectare Yumeshima island (North Port Southern area).

2. Integrated functions
High-level municipal functions that support culture, recreation, and residence suited for a new city center of the 21st century will be based on our central functions including up-to-date technology development, international trade, as well as information and communication.

Central Functions

Research and Development

International Trade

Information and Communication

High-level Municipal Functions

Conventions

Culture, Sports, and Recreation

Comfortable Living

24-Hour Service


3. Traffic System
The Konohana Ohashi Bridge, part of the access to the “Technoport Osaka” Plan area directly from the city, was opened in May 1990. The underwater tunnel connecting the port area with Sakishima island has already been finished.The construction of railroads and roads to connect Sakishima to Yumeshima and from the Konohana area to the north-end of the city will be promoted in accordance with the development process.

 

Region name:

Cosmo Square
Part of Sakishima Port (South Port)

Maishima
(Northern area of the North Port)

Yumeshima
(Southern area of the North Port)

Area
(in hectares)

Approximately 160

Approximately 225

Approximately 390

Actual situation

For the area representing the first phase, companies are already breaking ground excluding a part of the area.

For the area representing the second phase, reclamation has been finished and improvement of the foundations are now being carried out.

Reclamation has been finished and foundation improvements are now being carried out.

Green areas and athletic areas have already started partial service.

Reclamation started in 1987 (Shore protection was partially finished.)

Development
duration

Until about 2000

Until about 2000

From about 2000 to 2010

From http://www.city.osaka.jp/ Access time: 01/2003

Bandai Readying Second Online Game

TOKYO - Bandai Co is preparing a second online game for market, aiming for a launch date for trial use this spring. "Fortress 2" will be a shooting-adventure game played on personal computers, a sequel to the firm's successful "Fortress", which has been gaining customers since becoming a fee-based Internet game at the end of 2002. While the original "Fortress" is a straightforward shooting game, the new game will be more sophisticated, with more role-playing aspects. Players will form teams and go on adventures together.

From http://www.atimes.com/ 01/20/2003

IT University to Open Early Next Year in Gwangju

A university will open early next year to raise information technology (IT) workforce, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said yesterday. The university will be built in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province in March. Korea Information and Communication Contractors Association (KICA) received clearance from the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOE) in October to build the IT university, according to the MIC. In the IT school, some 160 students will study four different courses such as mobile telecommunications and broadcasting facilities. Qualified students will be selected in January.

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/12/2002

Seoul City's Online Dictionary Chosen as Top Web Site of 2002

Yahoo! Korea, a leading Internet portal site, has picked Seoul City's online English name dictionary as the top Internet site of the year, city officials said. The portal site has selected the online dictionary www.englishname.net as the "Best of Best 2002" among four candidates through an online vote in which more than 32,000 Internet users participated, they said. The online dictionary offers, in English, the names of more than 23,000 administrative organizations, companies, roads, streets, schools and public organizations. Based on the new Korean Romanization system promulgated in July 2000 and compiled in Korean alphabetical order, the dictionary is categorized into 10 groups such as administrative units, culture and sports facilities, companies, organizations, tourism and lodging. It lists 8,041 road names and signs, 4,947 firms and organizations, 2,701 schools and religious groups, 2,381 public institutions and 1,521 administrative units. The dictionary was compiled after consultations with a 15-member advisory panel comprising foreign residents, traffic experts and scholars of Korean and Chinese, and was originally meant to assist foreigners who visited Korea during the 2002 World Cup.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 12/19/2002

Infineon Quits Taiwan Chip Venture

TAIPEI, Taiwan (Reuters) -- German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG said this weekend it will walk away from Taiwan venture Promos Technologies and sell its 30 percent stake after partner Mosel took control of Promos's board. Mosel Vitelic Inc, which owns a 37 percent stake in Promos that currently uses Infineon's technology to make dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips used for personal computers, on Friday won its battle to take control of the board of Promos. "Infineon regretfully decides to pull out of Promos and will start to dispose its entire stake," the German company said in a statement. "As a result, Infineon has decided to give up all efforts to negotiate a business model with Mosel for the future for Promos," the statement said. Infineon, the world's third largest DRAM maker with a 16-18 percent market share, added the stock sale will begin after it applies to Taiwan's securities regulator for approval next week but gave no further details. A Munich-based Infineon spokesman said the stake had a market value of some 300 million euros ($316.1 million) and added its Dresden factory and other partnerships would make up for the capacity lost in the disposal. A late development in the nearly 12-hour shareholders' meeting snatched one seat on the board away from Infineon through a motion to dismiss one of the Munich-based firm's representatives due to a conflict of interest. It left Infineon with only two seats on the nine-member board, versus six held by Mosel representatives and one left vacant, which gives Mosel effective control of the company. Infineon said it believed the board's voting procedures may not have been legal and would pursue this claim through Taiwanese courts. But Albert Lin, a Promos spokesman and a member in Promos's newly elected board, said that the re-election of board members was not against company law in Taiwan. "Lawyers from both sides were there (in the shareholders' meeting) so it's impossible to allow things to go against the Company Law," Lin said. Infineon also said it was preparing legal action to terminate the license agreement and prohibit Promos from using Infineon's proprietary technology. The row erupted in public in October when Infineon cancelled its shareholder agreement with Mosel, saying the cash-strapped partner had repeated violated limits against using Promos shares as collateral for debt. Though its Promos partnership is defunct, the German firm said it will remain active in Taiwan. Hoping to take market share from top DRAM companies Samsung Electronics of South Korea and Micron Technologies of the United States, Infineon has signed deals with Taiwan's Winbond Electronics and Nanya Technologies, exchanging technical know-how for production capacity. Mosel's shares are down 3.94 percent to T$6.10 late on Monday morning, despite a 2.42 percent leap in the benchmark Taiex index.

From http://asia.cnn.com/ 01/12/2003

Smart Bankcard System in Shanghai

The interbank switch and exchange network of bankcard was established in 1995, as a basic network system with three levels: interbank network in the same city; interbank network in different cities; and multinational network. By the end of September 2002, as many as 33.34 million bankcards of 36 different kinds have been distributed in Shanghai, with an average of 2 cards per person. Among them there are 31.048 million debit cards, 2.211 million semi credit cards, and 87,000 credit cards. In addition, the number of network POS machines in Shanghai has reached 16,051; ATM machines up to 3,136; network business units more than 5,000; and the respective inter-bank transaction sum on ATM and POS machines are RMB 13.416 billion Yuan and 5.506 billion Yuan. In the period from 1997 to 2001, the total sum of inter-bank bankcard transactions in Shanghai had an annual growth of 127%. Though Shanghai ranks the top province in the whole nation in terms of its bankcard hardware facility and development status, the development of bankcard in Shanghai, a city with ambition to become the international finance center, still hasn*t achieved an optimized status. Therefore, Shanghai has set the target of establishing a bankcard industrial link with complete segments, and making Shanghai a leader of the national bankcard industry within three years through the following measures: unifying the business criterion and technical standard of bankcard of all the commercial banks in Shanghai; supporting the symbol of China Unionpay, and making Shanghai the finance accounting center of domestic bankcard; improving the distribution market and payment processing market of bankcard; and highly increasing the percentage of consumption sum via bankcard among the total sum of retail commodity as well as the percentage of distributed amount of credit card among that of all types of bankcard. It is defined in the bankcard industry development plan of Shanghai that by the end of 2002, all the business units with an annual sales amount over 25 million Yuan, or with a business area more than 1,000 m2, can process payment via bankcard. By the year of 2005, the percentage of consumption sum via bankcard among the total sum of retail commodity is planed to have reached 25%. The management regulations of error, dispute, and complaint on interbank bankcard transactions will also be established, to create a supervision system of consumption via bankcard to satisfy the customers. In addition, China Unionpay will be encouraged to establish a national interbank network, as the first to unify the business criterion and technical standard of bankcard of each commercial bank in Shanghai. The symbol of China Unionpay will also be supported, to make Shanghai a domestic finance accounting center. Besides, the payment processing market of bankcard and private payment in various fields such as traveling, dinner, medical treatment, public utility, flight and railway tickets will also be improved, to fully promote the usage of bankcard. To improve the distribution market of bankcard, domestic and foreign credit card organizations will be positively introduced, and local credit card distribution organizations will also be supported, to make Shanghai a gathering place of major national bankcard distribution organizations. To attract the bankcard distribution organizations, Shanghai will provide more favorable services in various aspects such as business, taxation, human resource, labor insurance, and financial service, to those locally settled bankcard distribution organizations. Shanghai also plans to set up professional service companies for the development of related industries. At present, a leading team of bankcard industry developers has been created, to fully promote bankcard for business use, as an example to normalize the financial system of the government, and timely understand practical problems occurred in using the card. It is said that within this year, bankcard for business use will be extended to all the municipal organizations in Shanghai, and in the next year, it will be extended to the enterprises funded by the Ministry of Finance. It will be the most effective startup project among all the bankcard promotion events. Shanghai*s GDP per person has become more than US$4,500, which shows that it*s a period of rapid growth for credit consumption. Bankcard, especially the credit card, is the most convenient and direct approach for personal credit consumption. At present, a series of policies regarding the development of bankcard industry, from hardware to software, front-end to back-end, center to periphery, are planning to be carried out.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/2002

Internet Education

The Shanghai Education Commission launched the E-Institute Project yesterday, making full use of the Internet to develop research cooperation worldwide and jointly offer postgraduate education. The commission will first launch six programs in the E-Institute Project, involving computer sciences, urban studies and sociology.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/25/2002

Shanghai Built Up Databases for Loan Credit Information

A fairly superlative credit information database of major loan borrowers has been set up in Shanghai. Financial Institutions may make effective judgment on enterprises* capacity to pay off the loan through using the evaluated information in the database. And it will be of great help for the improvement of bank*s credit asset quality, tightening examination before the lending and effective avoidance of financial risks. Through the joint examination by professional evaluating companies and financial institutions, it may effectively avoid repetitive examinations on a single enterprise by multiple banks and reduce the enterprise*s burden as a result of many -headed charges. It also will be of great benefit to reduce enterprise*s credit evaluating burden and exert the advantages of joint credit evaluation. The evaluation of credit grades enables more and more enterprises to strengthen their credit awareness and credit concept and gradually pay more attention to the importance of credit grades in the course of financing and tenders, etc. The evaluation of credit grades enables more and more enterprises to strengthen their credit awareness and credit concept and gradually pay more attention to the importance of credit grades in the course of financing and tenders, etc. Apart from the evaluation of borrowing enterprises* credit grades, the development of another component of Shanghai Financial Industry*s Credit Information Collection System- Trans- Collection System of Personal Credit Information is in the process. This system gathers local credit information, including over 800,000 accounts of personal loans, over 1,500,000 debit cards and 2,400,000 mobile net subscribers* personal credit information. Credit information of over 2,800,000 people has been included in the database. Aside from banking loans, it also involves information about public facilities fee, police, and courts. The information inquirers now extend from commercial banks to individuals and other social institutions. The rate of daily searching has risen from 400 people per day in the experimental period to 1500 people per day now.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/30/2002

Shanghai Social Security and Citizen Service Information System Won the Golden Award of 4th Shanghai International Industrial Expo

On 28 Nov, it was announced that Golden Award of 4th Shanghai International Industrial Expo, which had attracted a lot of public attention, went to Shanghai Social Security and Citizen Service Information System.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/30/2002


Shanghai Total Internet Users Reaching over 1,000,000

Shanghai Municipal People*s Government now is energetically propelling the development of E-community. E-community is not only a good way to promote e-government but also critical for increasing the number of Internet users in Shanghai. Currently, the population of Internet users has exceeded 1,000,000. More and more Shanghai Internet users began shopping online. Among the annual capital flow of RMB 600 million online transactions of www.eachnet.com, one third is from Shanghai; whereas among all buyers and sellers of www.eachnet.com, one-third from Shanghai. Issue date: December 30, 2002

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/30/2002

Credit Card Center of China*s Construction Bank Set up in Shanghai

On 18 Dec 2002, the Credit Card Center of China*s Construction Bank was officially set up in Shanghai. Chen Liangyu, Mayor of Shanghai and Zhang Enzhao, President of China*s Construction Bank attended the opening ceremony. The Credit Card Center of Construction Bank is the second credit card center founded by a domestic commercial bank and it is the first credit card center established in Shanghai that is set up by a State-owned commercial bank. It is another essential progress achieved by Shanghai in building the domestic banking card industrial center subsequent to the establishment of China*s Bank Alliance Co., Ltd. in Shanghai.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/30/2002

Toshiba to Invest US$1b to Boost China Output

(BEIJING) Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp said yesterday it will invest US$1 billion in China over the next few years to boost production of computer chips, screens and mobile telephones. Nobumasa Hirata, the firm's chief China representative, said on the sidelines of an investment forum that Toshiba aimed to take advantage of one of the world's largest consumer markets. 'This is a mid-term investment plan,' he said. 'Usually we plan for the next three to five years. 'Toshiba, Japan's largest chip maker, has already invested US$1 billion in China to manufacture household appliances, chips, computer laptops and handsets, a company statement said. Sales in China would be more than US$2 billion this year, a 3 per cent rise over 2002, on the back of strong demand for television sets, laptops and chips, Mr. Hirata said. 'First, the government's policy to stimulate domestic demand has expanded the market. Second, as other multinational companies come to China, demand for our products will rise,' he said. The company has said its global production base for electronics in eastern China will start operations this April. Japan's electronics makers have been moving factories to China steadily to take advantage of both low costs and a fast-growing market. China, the world's largest mobile telephone market, surpassed Japan in 2002 to claim the world's second-largest Internet population after the United States.

From http://business-times.asia1.com.sg/ 01/23/2003

Young IT Leaders Rewarded by City of Shanghai

Chen Tianqiao certainly isn't afraid of a little change in his life, having shifted from being an economics student to a pioneer in the local IT field, and from an employee of a state-owned company to the founder of an online video game supplier. This year will see more changes, as his company expands from providing video games for computers to supplying cell phones and digital TVs as well, the 30-year-old CEO of Shanda Networking Co. Ltd. said yesterday after being named one of Shanghai's Top 10 Youth Elite in the IT Industry, an award handed out by Mayor Chen Liangyu. The award is a new one, launched this year for the first time by eight organizers including the Shanghai Youth League Committee and the city's office of information technology development. "To succeed, youth should know how to grasp opportunities and persist in the right direction," Chen said yesterday at the award ceremony. Skipping a grade thanks to his excellent academic record, Chen graduated from Fudan University in 1993. While his peers were heading abroad for graduate studies, Chen entered Shanghai Lujiazui (Group) Co. Ltd., a major state-owned enterprise, to "get a better understanding of local economics.'' In 1999, at the age of 26, Chen ditched his job as deputy manager of one of the group's companies and started his own business dealing with online entertainment, virgin territory back then. He used to develop various forms of online entertainment, including cartoons and music. It wasn't until 2001 that he began to focus his company on supplying online video games. It was a wise move. His company now has 70 million registered customers nationwide and reports monthly revenue of more than 10 million yuan, which accounts for 65 percent of the country's online video game market. Yesterday's award, specifically for local IT professionals under the age of 40, was also given to nine other persons.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 01/07/2003

China Has World's 2nd Largest Number of Netizens

China had 59.1 million Internet users by the end of last year, the second largest number in the world after the United States, according to an industry report released Thursday. The number of netizens accounted for 4.6 percent of China's population of some 1.3 billion, said the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in its latest report on the country's development of the Internet industry. The report predicted to number of net surfers in China would jump 46 percent to 86.3 million this year. This is the 11th report released by CNNIC, which has surveyed the growth of the Internet twice a year since 1997. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimated there were 655 million Internet users worldwide by the end of last year. Based on that figure, China's net surfers account for nine percent of the global total. At the end of last year, according to the CNNIC report, China had 20.83 million computers connected to the Internet, and 371,000websites including 179,000 websites under the domain name of "CN", which meant increases of 66.1 percent, 34.1 percent and 41 percent respectively over 2001. The latest CNNIC survey showed that Chinese Internet users on average spend 9.8 hours each week on-line. Each user has an average of 1.5 e-mail addresses including 1.2 free ones. The report includes statistics about IP addresses and Internet growth in Hong Kong and Taiwan. According to the report, there are 29 million IP addresses on the Chinese mainland, 3.42 million in Hong Kong, and 7.85 million in Taiwan. Hong Kong has 2.75 million Internet surfers and 1.26 million computers connected to the Internet while Taiwan has 8.61 million Internet users, making up 38.25 percent of the total population in the island province.

From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 01/17/2003


China Replaces Japan as World's 2nd Biggest PC Market

In the second half of the year 2002, China had replaced Japan to become the world second biggest PC market, and the US market still holding the top position, according to an latest survey by IDC, a market data and analysis company. During the half year the PC sales volume stood at 6.3 million sets on Chinese market, and 5.7 million sets in Japan. In 2003 the sales will grow 18 percent on Chinese market and 4 percent on Japanese market, IDC senior analyst Kitty Fok said, adding that in China, educational and governmental departments are the biggest PD demanders, and individual demands will help to push this year sales volume to a new level. China became the world biggest market of mobile phone last year and, with its great potential, the Chinese market has turned itself into one of the world most energetic markets. In last year the global PC market dropped 4 percent in sales, with growth registered only in Asian markets, of which over half sales volumes were taken by China.

From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 01/22/2003

NCsoft Enters China's Online Game Market with 'Lineage'

NCsoft Corp., a Kosdaq-listed online game provider, said yesterday that it will launch a testing-level "Lineage" service in China, an initial step for offering a full-fledged Internet-based multi-player to Chinese gamers on the strength of its huge success in Korea. The service will be provided through NC-Sina, a joint venture between NCsoft and its Chinese partner SINA.com, the Korean game developer said at a joint press conference in Beijing. NCsoft said NC-Sina is a tentative name for a joint venture, and can be changed as the company implements the joint project with its Chinese partner. NC-Sina, whose headquarters will be established in Shanghai by the end of this month, will operate and market NCsoft's popular online game Lineage. NC-Sina will start with $5 million of a paid-in capital with NCsoft and SINA.com controlling a 49 percent and 51 percent stake, respectively. "NC-SINA will move quickly ahead with game PR campaigns, server relocation and other necessary preparations in order to meet its goal of beginning commercial services of Lineage within the first quarter of 2003," NCsoft said in a statement. "Once this is accomplished, the new joint venture company will then service a diverse array of other proprietary online games developed and acquired by NCsoft throughout China," it added. At the press conference attended by some 200 reporters, gamers, and industry figures, NCsoft, SINA.com, and NC-Sina reaffirmed their commitment for cooperation. NCsoft has long been seeking to launch a service for the Chinese market, one of the most promising potential markets in the world. NCsoft officials noted that some of Chinese reporters showed keen interest in the partnership between a Korean game maker NCsoft and SINA.com, the leading Internet portal for China and global Chinese communities. "I am thrilled that Lineage will now formally be serviced in China, which is being touted as the biggest online game market. Newcomers to online games in China will experience something completely new while gamers who have tried online games before will get a taste of the ultimate online gaming experience," NCsoft president & CEO Kim Taek-jin said. Lineage, a medieval fantasy game, is regarded as one of the biggest hits in the Internet game industry of Korea. NCsoft said it uses "Tian Tang" (meaning "Heaven") as a service name for Lineage in China and Taiwan. According to IDC, a U.S.-based consultancy, the total size of China's online game market was $109 million in 2002, 187.6 percent increase from year 2001. CCID, a consultancy under China's Ministry of Information Industry released that the number of online game players in China surpassed 9.7 million as of the end of 2002 and would exceed 14.3 million by the end of this year. NCsoft has so far introduced its multi-player online game in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. The company is eyeing the rapidly growing Chinese market and mapping out plans to advance Lineage and other future online games to be released in China. Headquartered in Seoul, NCsoft Corp. is controlling about 42 percent of the country's booming online game market with Lineage. It attracts more than 300,000 concurrent users around the world. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/10/2003

Number of Internet Users Doubles in Uzbekistan

The number of Internet users in Uzbekistan rose in 2002 to 275,000, compared with 137,000 the previous year, according to uza.uz on 20 January. Some 73 percent of those users, however, are in Tashkent and make use of Internet cafes, of which there are more than 100 in the Uzbek capital, compared with only one each in Karakalpakistan and the Surkhandarya Oblast. The country's population is 25 million.

From http://www.rferl.org/ 01/21/2003

KTF to Invest W200 Bil. in W-CDMA

KTF, the country's second largest mobile carrier, said it will invest some 200 billion won in W-CDMA third-generation (3G) service this year. The figure is still preliminary, but analysts said the company appears determined to focus more on cdma2000 1x EV-DO service. KTF's total investment for 2003 is estimated at 1.1 trillion won, which is little changed from last year. The decision to limit the W-CDMA service investment to 200 billion won suggests that it holds a conservative stance for the new 3G service. KTF is currently offering EV-DO service designed to jack up the data transmission speed and kickstart mobile multimedia market. The EV-DO service is based on CDMA (code division multiple access) technology, developed by U.S.-based Qualcomm. W-CDMA, however, is yet to be introduced by KTF and its rival SK Telecom later this year. W-CDMA is a 3G upgrade to GSM, or global system for mobile communication, which is widely favored by European mobile carriers. Korea is now set to provide both cdma2000 1x EV-DO and W-CDMA 3G services, a dual standard that some analysts say might strengthen the country's competitiveness in both standards and lead to overlapping investment. The uncertainty about W-CDMA's commercial potential compared with EV-DO is forcing KTF to remain cautious in terms of facility investment, analysts said. KTF aims to post 6 trillion won in revenue for 2003, up 500 billion won from last year. It is also set to merge with KT ICOM, which is in charge of implementing W-CDMA service, by end-March this year.

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/07/2003

Online Library Systems Available to Blind

The National Library of Korea will begin operating electronic library systems for the blind starting January 13 to provide them with access to its homepage as well as three other national information sites. The systems will display tailored features for the blind or those with poor eyesight, such as enlarged letters, simplified access and brighter background colors. The new systems will also offer voice-activated services. Library officials said it would expedite expanding the services so that the public would have full access to all information offered by the central library and other libraries in the near future.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 01/10/2003

59.4% of Koreans Surf Web Regularly

The number of Internet users in Korea reached 26.27 million by the end of 2002, or a 59.4 percent usage rate, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said yesterday. The statistics, based on the latest survey by the Korea Information Network Center (KRINC), shows signs of a deceleration in the Internet user growth rate that has been powered by the rapid proliferation of PC rooms and broadband network services. The usage rate as of end-December stood at 59.4 percent, up 1.4 percentage point from 58.0 percent (25.65 million users) at end-June last year. The ministry said those who surf the Web at least once a month and are age six or older were categorized as regular Internet users. A total of 10,162 respondents, or 3,568 households, joined the survey. KRINC said people surf the Web for an average 13.5 hours per week, up 1.6 hours from levels registered in June 2000. More than 30 percent of Internet users said they have shopped on the Web over the past six months, suggesting that the Internet is actively used in everyday life among Koreans. Notably, the survey found that more and more people are logging on to the Web to join cyber clubs where they can make friends and share information. Instant messaging is also rapidly gaining popularity, with a number of corporations utilizing the new real-time communications tool. The portion of female Internet users accounted for 53.6 percent, up 3.4 percentage points from December 2001. The gap between the genders in terms of Internet users is narrowing fast, KRINC said. The most active user group is the one for those aged between six and 19, at 91.4 percent. Twenty somethings are the second most active users, as 89.8 percent of them disclosed. By occupation, students topped the list with a 95.5 percent usage rate, followed by professionals at 81.4 percent and office workers at 79.7 percent. Almost 80 percent of Internet users said they log on to the network at home, while 14.3 percent preferred to do so at their workplace and 3.3 percent at PC salons. In terms of household Internet connection methods, the portion of ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) users shot up to 83.9 percent. Those who use cable networks accounted for 12.8 percent and dial-up modem users claimed a mere 2.6 percent share, down from 18.2 percent at the end of last year. KRINC said 36.8 percent of Internet users are also utilizing instant messenger programs. The average usage time of messengers is 11.1 hours and a majority of people, or 95.3 percent, said they enjoy using instant messages to communicate with friends and colleagues through online chatting. The portion of those belonging to a cyber community was 39.6 percent. They turned out to be accessing cyber community sites for on average 3.4 hours per week. Analysts said the widespread ADSL service is still fueling some energy into the Internet sector, although the pace is tapering off a bit due to over-saturation. The number of broadband users in Korea surpassed 10 million late last year, helped by the intensifying competition between KT Corp. and Hanaro Telecom Inc. Both carriers are now upgrading their networks to introduce a faster access service known as VDSL.

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/11/2003

Business Hub Plan to Focus on IT

The presidential transition team said yesterday the Northeast Asian business hub vision, one of key policy goals of the President-elect Roh Moo-hyun, would initially target building a regional information technology manufacturing base in South Korea. ``In the process of streamlining the policy suggestions to realize that vision, we found that due to the world competitiveness of the IT sector, the nation could become a regional manufacturing center of multinational IT companies faster than a regional logistics or financial hub,** a team official said. ``As South Korea has emerged as a world-leading handset producer as local makers manufacturing quality cell phones and export them to the world, the nation having a strong IT infrastructure could attract the manufacturing base of global IT companies,** he added. However, he made it clear that the focus on the IT sector doesn*t mean that the next government would give up building a regional logistics or financial hub, both of which were pursed as target sectors in the first phrase when the hub vision was envisioned. He noted those sectors are also necessary to make the nation a business center of Northeast Asia in the long term. Meanwhile, despite the narrower scope of the Northeast Asian business hub plan, the labor issue seems to continue to be a main problem, in particular within the special economic zones for foreign investors. The bill on the labor market within the special economic zone, which was passed through the National Assembly last year, was focused on building a logistics and financial hub. The law confines the staffing services to professional jobs such as financial specialists and consultants as part of efforts to accept labor demands, while it rules on worker responsibility to keep industrial peace. ``If necessary, we are going to supplement the regulation in line with the change in the regional business hub vision and persuade the labor unions who continue to protest against the different applications of the working conditions in the special economic zones,** said another transition team member. (by Seo Jee-yeon)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 01/19/2003

High-tech Cabs to Debut in Daegu

About 10,000 taxies adopting various state-of-the-art technologies, such as the global positioning system (GPS) and an automatic alarm when the vehicle speeds, will drive along the streets of the southeastern city of Daegu beginning March, said city officials and officials from the companies providing the technologies.Card readers accepting various means of payments, including credit cards and debit cards, will be installed in the taxis, which residents call "IT cabs.""It is very convenient both for drivers and passengers," director of IC Korea, an electronic card maker that will provide card readers to the taxies, Roh Chang-shim said.The taxies will also adopt an automatic navigation system, with which drivers can find the fastest ways to get to their destination after receiving information via satellite, Roh said.In addition, a system similar to the blackbox in airplanes will be set up to record what*s happening in the taxi for a limited period of time. The system will be useful to prevent crimes and determine exact causes of accidents, Roh explained.City officials said the taxies are "epoch-making" and expect taxi companies in other areas will follow the suit."Improved service and enhanced functions are some of the merits those taxies have," Roh said.Test runs will begin soon to find problems and after that all the systems will be installed in taxies, city officials said.Most of the cost of the technology will be covered by drivers willing to adopt the systems and there will be no burden on passengers, the company said.

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/19/2003

CD-ROMs to Promote Korea's IT Industry

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) reported Monday that it has developed promotional CD-ROMs for the nation*s SI (systems integration) industry. The ministry plans to ship the CD-ROMs to Korean missions abroad, which have provided much organizational support for the expansion of Korean SI exports. SI is considered a knowledge-based industry that consolidates into one whole industrial system the many components of IT industries, including software, hardware, networking and computation, the ministry noted. The CD-ROMs will help promote the significant technological advancement Korea has made in recent years, particularly in the fields of IT and SI. The nation*s SI exports have expanded significantly, rising from $43 million in 1998 to $77.79 million in 2000.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 01/22/2003

Web Site to Recruit Organ Donors

The Ministry of Health and Welfare will open a Web site enabling people to register as organ donors, a move aimed at promoting organ transplants, officials said. The ministry will be operating an electronic sign-up system on the Web site of the Korean Network for Organ Sharing (KONOS), which is responsible for organ transplants. Those willing to donate their organs after their death, or after brain death, can sign up at the KONOS Web site (www.konos.go.kr). KONOS will send certification cards to the volunteers, officially confirming them as future organ donors. The new system is expected to facilitate organ donations, ministry officials said. Until now, in order to be certificated as donors, volunteers first had to register with hospitals listed by the government as organ transplant institutions and hospitals would then relay the applications to KONOS. "By making the registering process easier, we expect more people to sign up as organ donors," said a ministry official. "We will also have a more efficient management system of organ donations and transplants," he said.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 01/02/2003

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PHILIPPINES: On-line Submission of Project Proposals on at PCIERD-DOST

At the click of the mouse, whether at the comfort of home, office or winding up in an internet cafe, you can now submit project proposals to PCIERD for possible funding and check the status of your proposal right at the PCIERD website at your convenience! This is called e-Proposals, a web-based application developed by the IT Group of PCIERD that allows the submission of project proposals electronically to PCIERD. It is a user-friendly application which guides proponents step-by-step until the proposal is received and acknowledged by the Council. Not only that, this time-saving device permits proponents to check by themselves on the possible duplication of their proposal with existing projects being funded by PCIERD. Right there and then, proponents are prompted whether the proposal would merit evaluation or not. To get into e-Proposals, proponents need to register, for FREE! One has just to provide complete mailing address for receipt of PCIERD*s acknowledgment and a valid e-mail address for on-line access to updates on the project. Once registered, a User ID and password will be provided which can be used at anytime in submitting proposals. The only requirement before registering is that a proponent should have read the PCIERD Guidelines on Grants-In-Aid (GIA) which can be found at the PCIERD website. To facilitate the submission of proposals, a downloadable copy of the PCIERD Form-01-D or the Proposal Form for Financial Assistance for R&D Projects/Programs is provided in MS Word format also at the PCIERD website which can be used as template in submitting a project proposal. It is also required that the electronic copy of the project proposal should be in MS Word (95, 97, 2000 or XP) format and the file size should not exceed 1 Mb. Once registered, you can now access the submission facility and will be provided with a page containing links to the following: 1) Guidelines for Uploading; 2) Upload Files where project proposals are submitted; 3) List Files Uploaded; and 4) Check Status. When a project proposal has been evaluated and revisions are required, the proponent can modify the proposal and resubmit it at the Check Status page. What*s more? There*s no worry about forgetting passwords, e-Proposals provides a facility to retrieve them!

From http://www.dost.gov.ph/ 11/20/2002

MALAYSIA: Adapting to Rapidly Changing ICT

Information and communications technology is developing so rapidly that new approaches to skills development and decision-making must be acquired, said Professor Brian Clayton, vice-president of University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus. In addition, as technology took centrestage and became indispensable in the knowledge-based economy (k-economy), new approaches must be adopted to adapt to rapid technological changes, Clayton told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur to introduce a public talk to be presented by Inti Foundation, titled Knowledge Economy and Higher Education in the 21st Century, by Professor Yang Fujia, chancellor of the University of Nottingham, UK. The public talk will focus on internationalisation of higher education, which would help to achieve a nation*s aspiration to develop a k-economy. ※The rapid transfer of information made people nervous,§ Clayton said. ※For instance, we saw frequent reactionary contraction in the stock markets. When one bourse went down, the rest would follow suit. This is happening because of the quick spread of inadequate knowledge and misleading information.§ For the present and the future, he said, the k-economy would depend on the quality of educational institutions, particularly those of higher education. ※As students acquire technology education, they need to take responsibility for developing new technologies, looking at new issues that come with them and produce innovative solutions to create a better place to live in,§ Clayton said.

From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 01/08/2003

e-Cop.net Holds the Edge in e-Security Services

e-Cop.net Surveillance Sdn Bhd has gained new advantage over its competitors in providing e-security consultancy services after receiving the British Standards Institute BS 7799 certification. It is the first company in Malaysia to achieve this. ※When an organisation seeks out an info-security services provider, they must be convinced that the provider is doing it right. The BS 7799 certification offers that assurance and ensures e-Cop meets the exacting standards,§ said its chief executive officer Alan See. e-Cop.net is the first Internet security services provider in the world to be awarded the BS 7799 certification. ※We believe clients would choose us over our competitors for consultancy services. We are a local company with local expertise and we don*t charge premium,§ See told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. He said that as a vendor independent organisation, e-Cop.net would be able to tailor-make its solutions to meet specific requirements. ※We develop our own software and solutions. Most of the research and development (R&D) staff members are now based in Singapore and Malaysia. We are also looking into the possibility of transferring our R&D facilities to Malaysia,§ See said. e-Cop.net presently counts six major banking groups and several insurance companies in Malaysia as its clients. Its customers also include companies in the media and manufacturing industries. ※Companies which process and handle data and information as their core business 每 such as banks and insurance companies 每 will be the first movers towards adopting best practices framework in managing information security systems,§ See said. He revealed that e-Cop.net had recently done a ※gap analysis§ for a financial institution to help improve its client*s current information security procedures to comply with internationally accepted best practices framework. In addition to the Internet security surveillance system, the company also provides enterprise-wide security management, anti-web defacement and security device management.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 01/15/2003

Mykad Set for Internet Use

PETALING JAYA: MyKad holders will soon be able use the card for verification to buy stocks, pay insurance premiums and make other online transactions after the launch of its identity verification system next month. The National Registration Department (NRD), with the help of two digital signature verification companies, will be introducing the service for MyKad users. Its director-general, Datuk Azizan Ayob, said the days of using conventional passwords to restrict certain websites to subscribing clients would change with the introduction of the verification system. ※The system will use the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that will offer organisations a secure and reliable means to verify clients before allowing them into the secure sites,§ he said in an interview. Azizan said the MyKad would have a chip containing information that could be used to identify a user online. ※Service providers such as banks can use this to verify the identity of their clients.§ He added that the MyKad would offer greater security compared to the conventional username and password mechanism. ※Before conducting a transaction online, a user will have to produce a personal identification number (PIN) that will enable the service provider to verify his identity through the Internet.§ This information would be transferred through a secure channel online to the service provider, he said. The system would allow consumers to be spared the hassle of traffic jams and long queues to pay their bills, he said. The MyKad transactions via the Internet are only applicable within Malaysia as the digital signature companies will be able to certify or verify MyKad holders here. Azizan said: ※If the PIN is hacked or compromised, the user is still protected, as the physical MyKad is still required to carry out future transactions. The user can then proceed to change his PIN without any hassle. ※This new verification solution is useful for those who want to create secure and trusted online applications such as Internet banking, stock broking companies, insurance and education sectors.§ (by M. Krishnamoorthy)

From http://thestar.com.my/ 01/16/2003

CAMBODIA: For Company in Cambodia, Only the Destitute May Apply

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA 〞 Street 360 seems stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide: Motorcycle taxis, scruffy kids and the occasional rooster weave their way past an evangelical church and noodle stands. But in one building is a scene that could help bridge the gap between the high-tech haves and have-nots: 20 workers sit busy at their computers, typing up a 17th-century copy of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. They don't know a word of Latin, only that every character helps them earn $65 a month 〞 in a country where most people get by on less than a dollar a day. To development experts and globalization critics, Digital Divide Data (DDD) is simply one more Western company looking to fill low-skilled jobs with cheap labor. But to the often fiery globalization debate, the data-entry firm in Phnom Penh adds a moral wrinkle. Unlike similar companies in the developing world, it reserves jobs for only the most disadvantaged citizens, those who wouldn't otherwise have a chance to work. Cambodians disabled by polio or land mines, former prostitutes and slum residents clock in here. "DDD shows that capitalism and social purpose can be cojoined," says J.P. Singh, a technology and international-development professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "Contrary to alarmist thinking, disadvantaged people and regions can position themselves to gain from both the information revolution and globalization." That's not to say the digital company hasn't met difficulties 〞 or even controversy. Canadian Jeremy Hockenstein and American Jaeson Rosenfeld, former colleagues at the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co., founded Digital Divide Data in 2001. They funded their venture with a $25,000 grant, $25,000 out of their own pockets, and technical advice and software donated by an Indian firm. Their first project: a $50,000 contract to digitize back issues of the Harvard Crimson, Harvard University's student newspaper. Early on, the team faced challenges in bringing the information superhighway to a country still covered in dirt roads. For the first month, typists didn't save their documents, so every new day's typing wiped out the previous day's work, says Tim Keller, a former investment banker from San Francisco who joined the company as a technical adviser. Workers were also too shy to ask questions 〞 or too embarrassed to point out errors in one another's work. Accuracy rates were low. Progress was slow. Then word got out that editors of the Harvard Crimson 〞 who back a living wage 〞 were paying Cambodians significantly less than the U.S. minimum wage. A prominent columnist attacked the newspaper for hiring sweatshop labor. "A lot of people in the foundation world get angry when they hear about this," says Michael Chertock, managing director of Global Catalyst, a Silicon Valley foundation that supports Digital Divide Data. "DDD goes against traditional development thinking.... It goes to the debate about how globalization can help the poor." The firm feared that bad press would cost them new contracts. But, instead, the publicity led to more business from customers who liked the company's prices and its social mission, Hockenstein says. "I believe in comparative advantage," says Sarah Reber, an economics graduate student at Harvard, who hired Digital Divide Data to enter public-school finance data from the 1960s. "Hardly anyone could afford to pay Americans to do this kind of work." For years, Western organizations have sent simple but time-consuming data-entry projects to developing countries. New York City police tickets have been processed in Ghana, Lexis-Nexis articles have been entered in China, and insurance claims have been keyboarded in India. The total market for data processing and network services is more than $290 million, and growing 5 percent annually. Digital Divide Data is Cambodia's first foray into the global data-entry market. By their country's modest standards, workers are well-off. The minimum wage in Cambodia 〞 and the wage offered at Phnom Penh factories making clothing destined for the United States 〞 is $11.25 for a 48-hour work week. By contrast, typists earn $16.25 a week, working only 36 hours. "I feel very lucky to work here," says Rotha Mach, who used to sew jeans in a garment factory. "I work less time and get better money." Employees, who are assigned to one of two six-hour shifts a day, are encouraged to use extra time for further education 〞 in computer-training programs, English classes, or even college 〞 with Digital Divide Data paying half the tuition. Today, the company is running in the black, Hockenstein says. (Neither he nor Rosenfeld draws a salary.) The company has nearly a dozen contracts worth about $100,000 a year to digitize new user lists for a Cambodian mobile-telephone company, survey data for the United Nations and vintage encyclopedias from U.S. college libraries. The University of Utah commissioned the digital copy of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. New grants from the Asia Foundation, the British government, and the World Bank have enabled the company to buy more computers and train more workers. (by June Shih)

From http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ 01/08/2003

Singtel Set to Roll Out Interactive TV Service

SOME 300 residents in the Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Thomson areas had a foretaste of SingTel's interactive TV (iTV) service last year, when they watched video-on-demand blockbuster movies, surfed the Internet and checked their e-mail - all using their normal telephone lines. Now, South-east Asia's largest telco plans to roll out this service to the rest of Singapore by year-end, if it gets the go-ahead from the regulatory authorities. SingTel said in a statement released on Sunday that it hopes to add TV as another feature to its broadband ADSL network, which now boasts 129,000 users, or 55 per cent of the market. Its eight-month trial involving the 300 residents, which was completed in the middle of last year, showed that 'users were enthusiastic about the service and were willing to pay for relevant content', SingTel spokesman Ivan Tan told The Straits Times. 'English blockbuster movies and Cantonese dramas were, in particular, the most popular among the trial participants. 'However, analysts were less upbeat about growth prospects for pay-TV services in Singapore as the current monopoly, StarHub - with its 352,000 cable-TV subscribers - has struggled to woo customers in the current economic climate. 'The market is too small in Singapore and it will be very competitive,' said JP Morgan analyst Kelvin Tay. 'SingTel will need to differentiate itself in terms of quality and the type of programmes being offered. Otherwise it will end up playing second fiddle to StarHub, which has been in the market for seven years.'Mr Tan said it remained unclear whether SingTel needed to obtain the second pay-TV licence that the Government was planning to issue and that it was awaiting more details on the licensing conditions before rolling out the iTV service. These conditions are expected to be released next month. However, a telco lawyer told The Straits Times that SingTel would 'most probably need to get a broadcasting licence to offer pay-TV services under the Broadcasting Act'. (by Rebecca Lee)

From http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/ 01/21/2003

Filipinos Develop Technologies for High-Tech Enterprise

State-of-the-art coating technologies developed by Filipino scientists may yet give the country its first crack into a high-technology global enterprise with projected revenues of more than US $40 billion per year. The advanced technologies yield surface coatings with diamond-like hardness or gold-color finish that can be used in the semiconductor, manufacturing, and metal industries. Developed by the research team of Dr. Henry J. Ramos of the National Institute of Physics (NIP) - University of the Philippines Diliman, the technologies emerged from a P15M research program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). In a press conference held June 19, DOST Secretary Estrella Alabastro hailed this technology breakthrough, saying that it is a testament to the world-class capability of Filipino scientists which is, as yet, little recognized. DOST gives priority to the development of cutting-edge technologies that could establish a niche for the country in the global market. Executive Director Ida Dalmacio of the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), DOST's monitoring agency for this project, has noted the technologies' high commercial value and has endorsed these for full institutional support towards commercialization. Talks are ongoing with an interested investor but PCASTRD is welcoming more investors. Meanwhile, UP Diliman has provided support for the international patenting of the technologies, said Vice Chancellor Demetria Bongga. "The diamond film coating industry alone has a projected revenue of US S40 billion dollars a year. And, as it is, manufacturing firms using cutting and similar tools spend about $300,000 a year bringing their tools to Sweden or Singapore for carbide coating. We now offer our developed technologies as an alternative," said Dr. Ramos. Tapping the potential of plasma (or ionized gas), the technologies produce high-grade coatings of diamond or diamond-like-coating (DLC), zirconium mononitride (ZrN), and titanium nitride (TiN). They can be applied to metals and other substrates to make them more durable and wear-resistant. The hardest substance known, diamond makes an excellent coating for abrasives and tips of metal cutting tools. Diamond-coated cutters are also preferred in cutting and etching tiles, glass, and other materials. Diamond-like-carbon films are also ideal window materials for X-rays and other radiation such as ultraviolet, infrared and microwave. Much cheaper than the diamond film, titanium nitride (TiN) film can be applied on various materials. "TiN film is gaining wide popularity because it makes a remarkably hard and wear-resistant coating on tools, yet much cheaper than the diamond-like-carbon film," said Dr. Ramos. ZrN films, meanwhile, are used in various applications such as diffusion barriers, cryogenic thermometers, Josephson junctions, or simply as hard coatings. This type of coating is valued for hardness, corrosion resistance, stability, and low resistivity. Ramos also said that the coatings produced by the plasma devices "present a new approach" and offer advantages over current techniques. Unlike other devices, plasma devices do not require very high temperatures that could damage the surface of the material being coated. Further, the flux and energy of the ions can be controlled allowing for a more consistent coating quality. The initial facility was designed and constructed by Dr. Ramos on a research visit through grant from the DOST and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at the National Institute of Fusion Science in Nagoya, Japan in 1995. "Essentially, the first facility was conceived as an experimental fusion setup for alternative energy sources," Ramos revealed. Subsequently, when the facility was donated by Japan to the Plasma Physics Laboratory of UP-NIP, Ramos explored its potentials in plasma chemistry and discovered the industrial applications. With further grants extended under DOST's Grants-in-Aid (DOST-GIA) Research and Development Program, Ramos' research team developed three prototype facilities. Meanwhile, Alabastro encouraged other researchers and scientists to secure Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for their innovations and inventions so that these may be properly reflected in the country's Technology Innovation Capacity Index.

From http://www.pcastrd.dost.gov.ph/ 01/16/2003

SINGAPORE: Broadband Surge a Cause for Cheer

For the local infocomm sector, weighed down by a seemingly endless stream of negative developments, it was certainly welcome news. SingTel announced on Tuesday that the number of customers for its broadband service had doubled over the past year. As it turned out, both StarHub and Pacific Internet, the other two local broadband providers, had landmarks of their own to celebrate. StarHub, like SingTel, passed the 100,000-customer mark, although leading telco SingTel earned bragging rights with a faster take-up rate and 129,000 users compared to StarHub's 100,000. PacNet, for its part, doubled its customer base to 20,300. With flat or negative growth blighting so much of the infocomm sector, this kind of growth is cause for cheer. Question is, is this a ray of hope or a flash in the pan? Looking beyond Singapore, the signs are encouraging. Growth in the use of broadband Internet is burgeoning in almost every country where the technology is feasible. South Korea, of course, is the global industry's star performer, with some 10 million broadband users, a 20 per cent penetration rate. Japan is also embracing broadband with a passion. In China, users of DSL (digital subscriber line), which delivers broadband over ordinary phone lines, have multiplied five-fold to 2.2. million in the past year. The vital US market is also taking off. Broadband customers numbered around 18 million at end-2002, with cable modem users almost double those using phone line-based DSL. Morgan Stanley estimates that there will be 45 million broadband subscribers in the United States by 2006, outnumbering dial-up users. It seems that broadband has finally come into its own. Such a surge would not be happening if the telcos and cable companies involved did not see a pot of gold at the end of the business rainbow. Telcos had thought they did with 3G, the mobile wireless equivalent of broadband. The massive costs of spectrum licences and tech development dampened those hopes. By comparison, broadband is less daunting. There are no multibillion-dollar spectrum auctions to budget for. And for the most part, it takes far less to invest in new infrastructure; the dominant technologies, cable modem and the variants of DSL, make use of existing cables and phone lines. All of which would be moot, of course, if there were no business case. For telcos, broadband actually eats into their core business, since users tend to give up their second phone lines when they sign up for DSL. And as more players enter the fray, subscription costs plunge, slicing margins further. Surveys of users suggest, however, that there is gold for the mining. Yahoo Japan, the country's leading portal, is a stunning example. It had revenues of 23.4 billion yen (S$340 million) for the half-year to September 2002, up 100 per cent; and one-third of that came from broadband services. Broadband's 'always-on' service and far greater bandwidth make for a more compelling online experience. Studies in the US and other major markets have consistently found that broadband users stay online longer than dial-up users. But will they pay for these new services? A recent US survey by Forrester Research suggests that they would. The Forrester report, 'What content will consumers pay for?', concludes that a significant proportion of broadband users are willing to be charged for particular broadband services. Topping the list of services they will pay for are video downloads, streaming video, customer rating sites and making phone calls over the Internet. New York-based e-business statistics provider eMarketer, in its comprehensive report on online content published recently, voices some reservations about the methodology used in the Forrester study. But it agrees that 'broadband will clearly open up further opportunities for content providers'. Identifying those 'killer opportunities' will be key. So, a ray of hope or a flash in the pan? The indications are that we could be seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

From http://business-times.asia1.com.sg/ 01/09/2002

Big Blue Offers Leasing of Supercomputing Time

New high-end IBM service aimed at big organisations (SINGAPORE) Big companies and research institutes in Singapore can now lease supercomputing time via a high-end service that IBM Corp has just introduced worldwide. A large bank, for example, can save millions of dollars by buying supercomputing time - instead of buying or leasing a supercomputer - and pay for just the connect time. The service is for complex tasks that need short bursts of supercomputing access - at pharmaceutical and biosciences research firms, banks and credit card companies, weather forecasting and meteorological agencies, and for animation and 3D-rendering.'IBM will rent supercomputing nodes to customers who need access to processing power on the fly,' IBM's Singapore-based GM for the public sector for ASEAN and South Asia, Wong Chin Meng, told BT. 'Pricing will depend on the customer's specific project and time of use. We will charge customers only for the amount of processing power they use. 'Supercomputers are very high-speed systems that cost millions of dollars and are used in niche applications. In Singapore, supercomputers are mainly in use in large government research institutes and at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). They haven't caught on in the commercial sector, mainly because of their steep cost and fear of not being utilised to full capacity.' Certain industry sectors, such as petroleum, digital media and life sciences require the power of supercomputers, but only at certain times in their product development cycles,' Mr Wong said. 'At other times, the servers they own sit idle. For example, in Hollywood, studios need massive supercomputing power to render animation used in movies. Once the film is complete, the need is gone. 'Big Blue's new service thus fills a demand niche. IBM said it will build a grid made of hundreds of IBM eServer p655 systems (prices for an entry-level p655 system start at $207,500) that run on the Unix platform. 'The initial IBM supercomputing hosting facility will be based in Poughkeepsie in New York, with other national and international facilities to follow,' the company said. IBM said it would not speculate whether a facility in Singapore may also be set up in future, depending on demand. Other vendors have tried to fill some of that demand for supercomputing in Singapore:? In December 2002, NTU signed a three-year $10 million research deal with Sun Microsystems to boost R&D at the Nanyang Centre for Supercomputing and Visualisation. The collaboration was to build on the centre's strengths in five research areas: grid computing, mechanical computer-aided design and engineering, high-performance computing, nanotechnology, and life sciences. In October 2002, NUS cobbled together an innovative supercomputer that could make it into the ranks of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world. It cost NUS just $500,000 and linked 128 CPUs (central processing units) to act like a single system. It was installed by Singapore Computer Systems at the NUS School of Computing using components from Dell Computer. In March 2002, Compaq Computer - now part of Hewlett-Packard - and the NTU invested $12.4 million to develop the largest life sciences supercomputing facility in the region. The system will be set up this year at the Bioinformatics Research Centre at NTU and will be the largest life sciences supercomputing system in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan. IBM's new CEO Samuel Palmisano spoke about offering supercomputing on demand on Nov 1, 2002 in his first major speech after taking over as CEO from Louis Gerstner. 'We're entering a new phase, and it's all about integration,' Mr Palmisano said. The 'e-business on demand' project will combine IBM's strengths in technology, hardware and consulting to give corporate clients computing muscle when they need it. 'It's a big bet, but not a risky bet.' He said IBM will spend US$700 million on marketing the new slogan over the next 12 months. (by Raju Chellam)

From http://business-times.asia1.com.sg/ 01/11/2003

Advanced Science & Technology Eyed to Boost Local Industries

In the global free-market, the winners and takers are businesses with the best quality and/or cheapest prices. In order to hedge local business and industry for the many challenges of the open competition in new world order, the Department of Science and Technology is directing all its efforts to strengthen research in and applications of advanced sciences and technology in the country. At the forefront of these efforts is the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), DOST's arm in promoting development of national capability in emerging technologies. "Application of advances in science and technology is the crucial factor in today's business and industry. With the optimum utilization of advanced science and technology, we can strengthen the global competitiveness of our products and services," said Science and Technology Sec. Estrella F. Alabastro. Dr. Ida F. Dalmacio, executive director of PCASTRD-DOST, adds: "There is practically no country today that does not recognize the potential of advanced science and technology for national development and global competitiveness." PCASTRD's multi-pronged strategies, according to Dr. Dalmacio, involve funding support for research and development, human resources development through graduate-level scholarships and other forms of training, support for research facilities upgrading, information acquisition and dissemination, S&T advocacy, and institutional support for technology commercialization. In recent years, PCASTRD's research program gained headway with the completion of several ground-breaking research projects, mostly in materials science, space technology applications, and biotechnology. One materials science project conducted by the team of Dr. Henry J. Ramos at the National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines Diliman has developed state-of-the-art coating technologies that can be used in semiconductor, manufacturing, and metal industries. Using plasma-based techniques, the technologies can give a gold luster or diamond-like hardness to various substrates. Also, for the first time, the country successfully designed and demonstrated fabrication of gallium arsenade (GaAs) optoelectronic device by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Molecular beam epitaxy is a thin film deposition technique done at ultra high vacuum environments. GaAs optoelectronic device can be used either in fiber optic communication (both long and short haul), including local area network communication. This newly developed fiber optic communication technology enables communication at least six orders of magnitude faster than the traditional copper wire- based telephone lines. The optoelectronic devices are used also in next-generation lasers known as InAs/GaAs quantum dot lasers. These lasers are expected to have lower operating current levels. In space technology applications, remote sensing techniques have been used to track environmental factors contributory to the prevalence of malaria and schistosomiasis. Similar techniques have been applied for determining rare-earth metal resources as well as for mitigating volcanic and other natural hazards. The biotechnology research program, on the other hand, has yielded technologies for the production of novel products from coconut oil, such as tailored fats, flavor esters, non-carcinogenic antimicrobial agents, lipase enzymes, and diagnostic kits for Salmonella and E.coli. Aside from R&D Projects, PCASTRD also supports a bioinformatics program. Bioinformatics employs computers to determine the chemical composition of the hereditary material (technically known as deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA). Last year, a group of researchers from the National Sciences Research Institute at UP started its project on forensic DNA to develop a genetic database for Filipinos that can facilitate identification of mass disaster victims and other public-interest cases, such police cases. PCASTRD-DOST has also supported the establishment of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facilities currently installed at the Ateneo de Manila University. The JEOL LA400 is the only high field NMR spectrometer in the Philippines. NMR structural characterization techniques have strong potential contribution to the paints, coating, and other materials science-related industries. Structural characterization has been don on carrageenan. With the growing tide of foreign competition in carrageenan products, the project can boost the Philippine carrageenan industry. The NMR technique serves as a key in understanding the structure-property relationships of carrageenan. With the growing tide of foreign competition in carrageenan which dictates the design of new products. Also the establishment of NMR facility in the country will allow more researches to be conducted here in the Philippines, which are normally done abroad. "At PCASTRD-DOST, we are doubly exerting efforts in helping the government realize its vision of making the country globally competitive," Executive Director Dalmacio said.*

From http://www.pcastrd.dost.gov.ph/ 01/16/2003

VND250 Billion for E-Commerce Development

The project will initially operate on a pilot-basis in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, then will be extended to the rest of the nation. The Ministry of Trade has decided to invest more thanVND250 billion to implement the project aiming to develop e-commerce in Vietnam. The project will initially operate on a pilot-basis in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, then will be extended to the rest of the nation. Additionally, the Ministry will build an electronic supermarket in Hanoi with advanced equipment to ensure the stability of the e-commerce system. The project will commence at the beginning of 2003 and reach completion at the end of 2005.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 01/23/2003

Overlapping on the Internet

If the medium is the message, why does the government need two statutory boards, one to take care of the medium and the other the message? Jan 1 saw the birth of the Media Development Authority, formed by grafting the radio and television regulator Singapore Broadcasting Authority onto two film-related bodies, the Films and Publications Department and the Singapore Film Commission. Three years ago, a similar merger between the National Computer Board and the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore created the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. MDA is a misnomer. It does not control the medium, the vehicle through which data, information and entertainment are transmitted. That function, at least the electronic aspects of it, fall under the ambit of IDA, whose job is to regulate the use of computers, phones and the Internet. What MDA does is to regulate content. Or, in the lingo of the late high guru of communication Marshall McLuhan, the message.A Canadian born in 1913, McLuhan spent the first 50 years of his life relatively unknown. Things changed in 1964 when he published a book arguing that the drastic change in medium delivery (television was just hitting its stride then) had changed how mankind perceived the medium itself. 'We become what we behold,' he asserted, and made his most famous observation: 'The medium is the message. 'The medium has always affected the message. Look at the Christian Bible. When it was only available in Latin it was the instrument of Rome, but when Gutenberg's presses allowed widespread printing in different languages it was used by the countries themselves to advance national policies. Same content, but the message is 'changed' by the medium. However, McLuhan astutely realised that dramatic changes in the media used were resulting in changes in the messages themselves, in unprecedented ways. Take SMS, or short message service. In 2001, it was the medium for a poetry competition organised by the UK newspaper, The Guardian. Entries were sent via mobile phone using the peculiar text and spelling of SMS - a dramatic instance of the medium affecting the message. SMS was also used by numerous Filipinos to organise protests that eventually helped to topple President Joseph Estrada. Another example is instant messaging (IM), now a key weapon of the US Navy for battle group coordination. Using software that incorporates IM and Web conferencing, for instance, a radar image from a helicopter is transmitted instantly and simultaneously to the battle group commander, the air wing commander and onshore authorities, enabling them to decide which part of a target to strike. In other words, SMS and IM, popularly perceived as being used mainly by teenagers for frivolous and often ungrammatical chats, have become literature, a political instrument and a weapon - all because of the wide-reaching and instantaneous nature of their medium. In the 21st century, the advances in electronic media will further change the messages. So much so that while McLuhan's assertion of 'the medium is the message' may not be absolutely correct, it will be increasingly difficult to tell what is the medium and what is the message. From this perspective, having two statutory boards in Singapore to handle the medium and the message as if they were separate and totally distinctive is counterproductive. What is needed is a single body - a merger of IDA and MDA - that will be given the power to understand and promote the entwined form of electronic medium and message. This, perhaps, is already on the cards. IDA, after all, is supposed to be the body in charge of the Internet. Yet in a recent letter to the press, MDA said it would 'adopt a light-touch regulatory framework in encouraging the use and development of the Internet . . . The guidelines have been instrumental in promoting the rapid take-up rate of the medium in Singapore.' It is a clear sign that two agencies have overlapping functions when it comes to the Internet.This overlap can only grow as time goes by. Soon it could be obvious to their policy makers that the only sensible approach will be to merge the agencies.

From http://business-times.asia1.com.sg/ 01/24/2003

THAILAND: TFB to Broaden E-services

Filling a gap in its e-banking services, Thai Farmers Bank will launch an online service for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) early this year. According to TFB Systems Group first senior vice president Chartchai Sundhragiati, its existing e-banking service supports only retail and corporate customers. ``We have left the SME customers behind, so starting this year we will add new features to our online banking system,'' he said. To support the service, TFB recently implemented a new Internet banking system which is under security testing for a month. As well as boosting security, the new system will support handheld computers. TFB overall plans to invest around 2.5 billion baht on IT projects this year. Half of the budget will be allocated to IBM, which TFB recently chose for its IT outsourcing in a 10-year contract. The remaining budget will be spent improving its credit system, trading and financial system, data warehousing, payment system and network infrastructure. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From www.bangkokpost.com 01/15/2003

VIET NAM: High-Tech Investment Gets Top Billing in HCM City Makeover

As part of efforts to speed up the restructuring of HCM City economy priority will be given to high-tech investment, announced the deputy director of the Municipal Department of Investment and Planning (DIP), Luong Van Ly. Foreign direct investment (FDI) targeting the production of software, electronic circuits, computer and telecommunication components, magnetic products and liquid crystal displays will be encouraged, Ly said. Investors have been invited to pour money into high-tech materials for the textile and mechanical engineering industries, the construction of ports, waste treatment installations and large-capacity public transport facilities such as underground railway systems or monorails. Last year HCM City attracted 227 FDI projects worth a total US$506 million, registering a year-on-year increase of 121 per cent in the number of projects but with capital representing only 65 per cent of the amount raised in 2001. According to Ly, the slowdown in FDI was unavoidable given the continuing global recession and the fact projects offered elsewhere, especially in developing countries within ASEAN, were equally attractive. China*s membership into the World Trade Organisation considerably increased the country*s capacity to lure foreign investment. Ly warned of several shortcomings observed in the investment environment and FDI strategies of Viet Nam, HCM City in particular, that could limit the country*s competitiveness in capturing foreign capital. "Activities to attract FDI are still poor and charges for services like electricity, transport and telecommunications are especially high and fail to compete with those offered by regional countries," Ly said. In addition, the DIP official noted current land rental and clearance rates in HCM City are much higher than in neighbouring provinces and procedures to lease land are extremely lengthy. To make matters worse, the city needs to provide land which is already fitted with infrastructure for immediate use. Local authorities are yet to specify support policies that could help foreign investors overcome these obstacles in order to conduct business activities efficiently in the city. The DIP has put some policies in place this year to market the city as an attractive investment location and recognise foreign contributions in local development. The department will ask city authorities to offer more incentives on tax, land rental and legal reform, and to further improve the administrative system, Ly said. Plans are also under way to popularise the use of electronic information facilities for authorised agencies and domestic businesses, and to set up more trade and investment promotion offices in the United States and Europe, Ly said.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/10/2003

Developing E-Commerce in Vietnam

E-commerce remains quite a new concept in Vietnam, Truc said, and added that the seminar was organized in acc ordance with a prime ministerial instruction authorizing DGPT and MoT to study and work out an appropriate policy for the development of e-commerce in Vietnam. The event aimed at giving regulatory bodies and enterprises in the country a better understanding of e-commerce and its possibilities, as well as how to make effective use of it A seminar on e-commerce was jointly held in Ha Noi on June 22 by the Department General of Posts and Telecommunications (DGPT), the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE) to urge the integration of the country into world markets. DGPT Secretary General, Mai Liem Truc, told representatives from about 100 small and medium enterprises and officials from various ministries that e-commerce has the potential of making poor and developing countries capable of narrowing the development gap. E-commerce remains quite a new concept in Vietnam, Truc said, and added that the seminar was organized in accordance with a prime ministerial instruction authorizing DGPT and MoT to study and work out an appropriate policy for the development of e-commerce in Vietnam. The event aimed at giving regulatory bodies and enterprises in the country a better understanding of e-commerce and its possibilities, as well as how to make effective use of it. Truc noted that despite the advantages that e-commerce offers, it has been used mostly by developed countries which have advanced information infrastructure and a supportive legal framework. These two factors and an attitude that makes it difficult for businesses to give up traditional forms of commerce and log on to the electronic path are challenges Vietnam now is facing. DGPT is presently co-operating closely with MoT to set up the mechanism for regulation and introduction of e-commerce in Vietnam, and has proposed the establishment of a national committee on e-commerce. Truc hoped that the awareness of basic issues will be enhanced with the inauguration of several trial projects on e-commerce in the country in the time to come.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 01/23/2003

Vietnam Looks for Way Forward for E-Commerce

Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said in the report: "Vietnam's economy will integrate into the world economy only when its enterprises can integrate into the world economy. E-business is the best way for them under current circumstances." Although Vietnam's government understands the need to use e-commerce to improve the country's economic competitiveness, several obstacles still remain, according to a government report released Wednesday. E-commerce can be especially useful for the large State-owned enterprises (SOEs) which continue to make up the bulk of the economy, one local expert said in the report. Vu Tien Loc, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said in the report: "Vietnam's economy will integrate into the world economy only when its enterprises can integrate into the world economy. E-business is the best way for them under current circumstances." However, the report pointed out that Vietnam still has a poor telecommunications network, low local Internet subscription, a low level of credit card use and a lack of legal safeguards covering e-commerce transactions. Companies that want to put up their own Web sites currently have to host them with the country's largest ISP (Internet service provider), the government-owned Vietnam Data Communications Corp. Until now, just over 600 websites have been opened by local enterprises, in a country where there are about 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses, Loc said in the report. The development of e-commerce in Vietnam is expected to be one of the major topics under discussion at the Vietnam IT Week to be held in Ho Chi Minh City from September 6 to September 9.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 01/23/2003

S'pore Readies Smart Home Trials

If all goes well, Singapore houses will be equipped with converged networking solutions which go beyond mere Internet surfing. In a bid to bring this vision closer to reality, the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has commissioned a S$17 million (US$9.8 million) experiment to be conducted in more than 400 households. The trial, part of IDA?s Connecting the Home Call for Collaboration (CFC) program, will be conducted in selected public and private estates. The project has been awarded to five consortiums consisting of 32 local and international companies including network equipment makers, application developers and systems integrators. ?We will support up to S$4.5 million (US$2.6 million) while the remaining will be funded by the participating companies?, said Yip Yuen Fong, IDA?s deputy director for strategic programs. While each group has proposed their own interpretation of the connected Singapore home, common promises include the ability to remotely control home appliances and access digital entertainment on demand. For example, the consortium headed by electronic service delivery network provider AXS Infocomm is mooting a phone-like terminal--Home AXS--which acts as a central gateway or integration point for applications and services such as broadband connections. Sporting a large screen, the Web-enabled device allows users access to carry out transactions such as paying bills and fines, video conferencing as well as make voice calls over the Internet without a PC, said Joey Chang, AXS Infocomm?s chief executive officer. ?The consortiums have six months to develop their solutions and a further six months for trials,? said Khoong Hock Yun, IDA?s assistant chief executive for Infocomm Development. Although pricing details have not been finalized, spokespersons from all five camps said test services may be offered at no charge or at heavily subsidized rates.( by Winston Chai)

From http://www.star-techcentral.com/ 01/23/2003



 
 
 
  BANGLASESH: Electronic Birth Registration in Rajshahi, Bangladesh

Application Description BRIS, as its name suggests, registers births electronically, providing a basic citizen identity, and building this with other data into a population database that can be shared with other public agencies. For example, the Department of Health uses the system to help ensure immunisation of allchildren, with vaccination lists provided for health workers and immunisation schedules provided for parents on the basis of registration data. The system could also be used to assist with the process of school enrolment. BRIS works in Bengali, although in can also generate certificates and reports in English. Application Purpose Birth registration is seen as a fundamental right for all children, and is part of the mandate of RCC. Since RCC was established as a municipal entity, registration has been carried out (for example in a major campaign during the 1997 Child Rights week). However, this data was all registered manually. Thus, a simple query such as the number of girls registered took a very long time to answer, since all register books had to be searched and separate tally sheets prepared. The manual process was subject to delays and, in transferring data, errors, duplications and inconsistences arose. The electronic system was therefore proposed, with financial assistance from Unicef Bangladesh. Under the manual system, government agencies for immigration, elections, education, statistics, and health services were all undertaking separate registration activities. Those agencies, together with local government (i.e. RCC) all form potential stakeholders in an integrated birth registration system. At present, the main stakeholders in BRIS are the health and the statistics agencies of government, and RCC. BRIS has removed duplication and redundancy from birth/registration records through centralised storage of data. It has automated searching, sorting, processing and reporting tasks (such as those associated with immunisation) and very significantly reduced the time taken for such tasks. Error rates have also been reduced, with a combined ID number and barcoding system. A CD-ROM of BRIS data has been created; as well as providing backup would also allow transfer and reuse of registration data outside the LAN system. Both registration and immunisation rates have increased since the introduction of the system. The direct costs of system development were less than US$20,000, and operational costs are around US$200 per month. This is a pilot project that has been running since April 2001 with any major interruptions. So far, the system can be deemed to be largely successful in its restricted LAN format. There are plans to move shortly to a Web-based system that will potentially draw in a much broader range of agencies to share data. 1. Encouraging and motivating young talents. Public managers are often inefficient and also unwilling to change, bound by rigid structures and lengthy, monolithic bureaucratic processes. Involving and encouraging younger members of staff, who are dynamic and willing to accept change, has been the key critical success factor in the BRIS project. 2. Motivate senior officials. There is a good deal of corruption, and a lack of concern for citizens among senior public officials and politicians in Bangladesh, making it very hard to work with them. In the BRIS case, though, proper motivational factors were used that helped avoid such problems. The Mayor of RCC was honoured by representing RCC at a Special UN Session on Child Rights held in New York. His related commitment to the project influenced its sustainability. Ward Commissioners were motivated to support the project because of the perceived benefits to their chances of being re-elected. 3. Citizen participation. Thanks to spread of satellite TV and the Internet in Bangladesh, citizens are becoming more informed about ICTs and about the potential to improve public services. This has created a pressure from citizens on elected officials to improve the quality and efficiency of services. Citizens have participated, through representatives, in the BRIS system, which has also helped to sustain the project. 1. Resistance. Widespread poverty in Bangladesh has been a driver to corruption in both public and private sectors as individuals seek bribes in order to maintain their livelihoods. Such practices are widely accepted in the country. Systems like BRIS are a threat to corrupt activities: they remove duplicated activities and they increase access to information. Thus any roll-out beyond the pilot phase and location may be resisted. 2. Procurement problems. Red tape has meant there are long delays in the ordering of even quite basic spare parts for the system. Corruption can also affect the purchase of equipment for systems like BRIS. 3. Lack of skills. There is a severe lack of IT skills within the Bangladesh public sector. The problem is exacerbated because many appointments are made on the basis of seniority or political involvement. As a result, many 'IT professionals' are not properly qualified to design or maintain information systems. 1. Start small but anticipate the bigger picture of integration. This project has started with quite a small pilot, but has always borne in mind the big picture of future integration, seeing electronic IDs as a building block for much broader joined-up government activiity. 2. Think about changing structures and processes. More significant gains in efficiency and effectiveness in government can often come not from relying on high technology, but more from changing government structures and processes. eGovernment projects should therefore look at this as much as at the technology. 3. Find the creative innovators. Supporting those who are innovative and creative in this case a group of young staff can be a key to success. (NFB)


From http://www.inomy.com/ 11/19/2002

Electronic Media Urged Not to Be Used by a Particular Quarter

Science, Information and Communication Technology Minister Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan yesterday urged the electronic media to render their services for the benefit of the people instead of being used in the interest of any particular quarter. "The success of the public service broadcasting depends on its objectives to serve in the interest of the people," he said while he was inaugurating a two-day seminar on public service broadcasting at the National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) auditorium here. He said, "no government can be benefited by using the media as a propaganda machinery as the people ultimately reject them." The Asia Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with NIMC organised the seminar participated by senior journalists and executives of the country's electronic media and wire services and government policy planners. Director General of National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) Syed Suzauddin chaired the function. Information Secretary Nazmul Alam Siddiqui, Director AIBD Dr. Javad Mottaghi and Director, NIMC Sheikh Abdus Salek also spoke. Dr Moyeen Khan also urged the media to be cautious about broadcasting dreadful pictures particularly in television channels so that people are not psychologically perturbed. He cited examples of international electronic media after September 11 terror attack in the United States saying they did not focus on any dreadful pictures which would psychologically terrorise the viewers.


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 12/10/2002

New Computer Lab Set Up at BUET

A new computer lab has been set up at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). BUET Vice Chancellor Prof Alee Murtuza inaugurated the "Robert Noyce Simulation Lab" at a function yesterday. Former Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nooruddin Ahmed and teachers were present on the occasion. The newly established lab is equipped with 30 Pentium-4 workstations and a modern Pentium-4 windows server which will be used by the students, researchers and faculties of the department for educational purposes. The Intel Bangladesh Association (IBA) of the USA has provided financial and technical support for establishing the lab at BUET.


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 12/12/2002

JT Task Force on ICT Soon

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan yesterday said a joint taskforce on information and communication technology will be formed to promote the ICT sector. The minister said the joint taskforce will comprise the Foreign Ministry, Post and Telecommunications Ministry, Science and ICT Ministry and the Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), an association of computer vendors. The minister also said the foreign ministry will circulate directives to the country's 60 overseas diplomatic missions to take initiatives to capture the ICT market. The foreign minister was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the 12th BCS Computer Show 2003 at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Center at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city. Post and Telecommunications Minister Aminul Haque and Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Secretary Karar Mahmudul Hassan were present as special guests on the occasion. BCS President Sabur Khan and Convenor of the fair Md Ali Ashfak were also present. The minister said emphasis should be given on training of the children and the young to make the sector more export potential. Post and Telecommunications Minister said the government would soon declare the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), known as Internet Phone or Internet Telephony, as legal. Science and ICT Secretary Karar Mahmudul Hassan said the draft ICT act may be placed in the forthcoming winter session of the Jatiyo Sangsad. "Necessary process in this effect are going on," he informed the ceremony. BCS President said two attempts--computerization in the land ministry in 1995 and preparing voter ID card by using computer in 1994--had fallen in vain due to lack of adequate desire and transparency to perform those works. The fair has been organized by the Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) in co-operation with the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Twenty-one seminars and discussion sessions will be held at the fair premises during the show time. Computer scientists and experts from around the world and government officials will take part in these seminars. The seminars will shed light on key issues related to the sector and also bring all the stakeholders under a single roof. 116 computer firms from home and abroad are participating in this year's exhibition. The firms include software developer companies, hardware sales firms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), information technology based magazines and other firms. Some foreign companies from Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) and World Information Technology Services Alliance (WITSA) are also taking part in this exposition. European Union (EU) has also taken a stall in the exhibition for the first time to promote Bangladeshi IT sector in the international arena. 'BCS ICT scholarship' for poor and meritorious students will be formed with some portion of the entrance fee. A programming contest will also be held at the fair venue on Tuesday. Thirty teams are expected to participate in that contest. The entrance fee has been fixed at Tk 20. But students of various schools and colleges can enter the fair free, provided they have prior permission from the authority. The seven-day show remains open from 10 am to 8 pm everyday and will conclude on Saturday.


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 01/13/2003

Level Playing Ground Key to Telecom Sector Growth

Jon Fredrik Baksaas, chief executive officer (CEO) of Telenor, said a level playing field is prerequisite for faster growth and better service of telecommunications sector in Bangladesh. "A level playing ground is very important for all telecom operators for their growth which would ultimately help subscribers get a better service," Baksaas, who was on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview on Monday. He said Bangladesh has tremendous potential to grow its cellular phone market as the country is criss-crossed by rivers and tele-penetration is still very low. He, however, refrained from giving any projected growth figure. He appreciated the investment climate of the country in the filed of telecommunication and lauded the role of the government for the development of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), which he thinks would help foster economic growth. Baksaas also praised the role of the country's telecom regulator -- Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) -- for its endeavour to deregulate the telecom sector and rationalise tariffs of Internet service and VSAT. Though the BTRC started functioning less than a year ago, it has done some commendable tasks, he said. "But it should try to learn and gather experience from telecom regulators of different countries in order to understand issues relating to telecommunications." He welcomed more competition in the cell phone sector and said unified rules should be applied to all companies in the field. Telenor, a leading Norwegian telecommunication firm, owns 51 per cent share in GrameenPhone, the leading GSM operator in Bangladesh, which controls over 75 per cent of the country's cellular market. Baksaas praised the function and service quality of GrameePhone. "I was amused by the quality and prompt service after I had made a call from my Nowregian phone to Bangladesh," he said. Commenting on the market share and balance sheet of Telenor, he said, "The company has a healthy balance and a good growth rate. Telenor also enjoys a good market position compared to other telecom firms in Europe." Telenor has stake in cellular business in three South and South East Asian countries -- Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. It also operates fixed line telephony in Norway and Russia. Telenor is a state-owned telecommunication company in Norway operating since 1885. It is amongst the oldest, most sophisticated, and diversified telecom companies in the world. Telenor has been playing a pioneering role in the development of GSM (global system of mobile communications) technologies.


Source http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 01/22/2003

INDIA: Dotcom Survivors Still Doing Brisk Business

Long after the cassandras of doom announced the death of dotcoms, there is this breed of survivors who still swear by Internet commerce. And the winners are niche players who, along the way, learned to dovetail their business models to consumer demands. For the success stories, figures speak for themselves. Baazee.com, which had the first mover advantage in the online person-to-person trading business, boasts of 2,604,765 registered users in September 2002 up from 462,000 in March 2001. The items listed every month have gone up from 7,126 to 105,000 during the same period. And the monthly turnover for the period has gone up from Rs 13,849,605 to Rs 80,444,756. Says Baazee chief marketing officer Gautam Thakar, ※The potential of the Indian e-market can be gauged from the fact that 16 per cent of the Indian consumers want to buy online in the next six months, making it the third most on-line potential country after Korea and Australia.§ But obviously, ※the ones who turned the tide have operated in a single niche with a special premium attached to innovation,§ says MonsterIndia.com vice-president marketing Dhruv Shenoy. An online recruitment site, Monster has a turnover of close to $500 million and has been profitable for 18 quarters. ※Hardly eight months back, we had about 3.9 lakh user sessions a month which has grown to 22 lakh. The number of resumes on the site has practically doubled during the period from 2.1 lakh to 3.85 lakh,§ adds Shenoy. Interestingly, more than 70 lakh job searches are conducted on the site every month. In fact, the site is acquiring four new clients a day. In April 2002, the site had 2,800 jobs which has grown to 4,900. Some of the online businesses that have survived are also the ones who decide to take their offline offering on to the net. Many of them happened to be educational institutions. Aptech Training*s Onlinevarsity.com, for instance, has 100,000 registered students and traffic of between 200 and 500 a day. Others like Satyam Infoway have seen the portal business grow from Rs 14.4 crore in 2001 to Rs 20.7 crore in 2002. According to Thakar, businesses like ours cannot afford to be complacent. ※We constantly have to track the on-line shopping behavior and design the delivery models accordingly,§ he says. For better reach, Baazee has also joined hands with the HT.com to become the site*s auction and fixed price shopping partner. For survival, Monster, for instance, totally kept aside the banner advising business model to bank more on revenues from posting job advertisements and charging people accessing the resume base. Interestingly, for those who made it to the finals, the game has only just begun. According to the TNS worldwide survey, the number of Indian Internet users who have bought on-line during the past one month has actually doubled over the last year*s metrics. As per a recent IDC study, the Internet commerce is projected to touch Rs 250 crore this year and is expected to go up to Rs 1,600 crore in 2006. Another interesting facet of the industry is the old economy giants taking to the Internet as a delivery tool. While e-booking of tickets has become an order of the day 〞 be it for railways, airlines or multiplexes 〞 this is driving a trend which will support the serious dotcom players, says an industry analyst.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 12/01/2002

IFC to Invest $10 Mn in Chip Fund

NEW DELHI: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private-sector development arm, said on Monday it would invest $10 million in a fund incubating chip design firms based in India. The IFC said it could later invest an additional $10 million in NewPath Ventures LLC, which funds start-ups aimed at making India a key center for the wholesale design of chips. "NewPath Ventures will create three to five companies, investing approximately $5 million to $10 million in each," the IFC said in a statement. California-based NewPath Ventures has raised a total of $56 million from institutional investors, including US-based CMEA Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. One of the fund's founders, microchip expert Vinod Dham, once headed Intel's Pentium processor project. Dham, who is of Indian origin, said when he launched the fund in July that India could provide the talent pool and cost-effectiveness needed to design a surging variety of chips amid a slowdown-hit cost crunch in the global semiconductor industry. "The time is ripe for outsourcing hardware as opposite to outsourcing software from India," he had said at that time.


From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 12/02/2002

India to Gain from US IT Services Exodus

India could be a major beneficiary of a massive exodus of services industry jobs from the US over the next 15 years. A report by Forrester Research estimates that 33 lakh American services industry jobs will move to countries such as India, Russia, China and the Philippines. Cumulatively, the jobs will represent $136 billion in wages. The information technology industry, which accounts for about 10 lakh jobs, will lead the exodus, says the research firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its message for American IT workers is to upgrade their skills 〞 or sink. An Internet journal quotes Forrester's group research director John McCarthy as saying that the base and middle level IT programmers in the US will have to make a transition to senior level jobs as their present jobs will be ※shipped out of the country§. ※The people who make this transition will be people who can manage these offshore projects... IT workers will have to become more business-centric and not just stay in their little technology cocoons,§ says McCarthy. India has been identified as one of the main countries absorbing IT work from the US. McCarthy, who's in India, has been quoted by Internet.com as saying that it is not just cheaper labour that is prompting US firms to look outside. They are getting better quality work offshore. ※India is a culture more focused on quality and process than America is. They tend to be much more disciplined. They've done the most to turn IT development away from a mystical black art to a real business process... 'Just wing it' is not part of the Indian culture,§ says McCarthy. Not everybody believes in the exodus theory. Humberto Andrade of Technology Business Research at Hampton, New Hampshire has a different view. According to him, the high-end, value-add jobs will be retained by US workers. The bulk of IT jobs that may move offshore will be confined to the ※low-end, time-consuming§ parts. (S. Rajagopalan)


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 11/30/2002

ITC Partners with ITPO to Launch E-Trade Bridge for SMEs

In a bid to help Small and Medium Enterprises improve their e-readiness, Geneva-based International Trade Center said it would partner with India Trade Promotion Organization to launch its 'E-Trade Bridge Program for SMEs' in India. "We have already kick-started this program in Kenya and Vietnam and are happy to partner with ITPO to launch this program in India," J Denis Belisle, Executive Director, ITC, told reporters here. Belisle said the program in India would involve preparation of national study reports, kick-off meetings in Delhi and Chennai and follow-up action to help SMEs implement E-tools to generate success stories in India. "The program is demand-driven and is modular aiming at national capacity building in the field of E-Trade," he said adding since India is strong in the IT sector, it can play a model role in this program which can be emulated by other countries as "best practices". Belisle said the program was being funded globally through donations amounting to one million dollars per year by donor countries. "The funds are not sufficient. That is why we are encouraging developing countries to develop their own generic tools," he said. Stating that ITC had a long partnership with India to promote trade, he said the medium-term export strategy developed by India would not be sufficient unless this was accompanied by a public-private sector partnership. MORE In the first phase, kick-off meetings will be held followed by the www program i.E winning with the web which would be implemented over a seven-month period. This in turn will be followed by strategy training and trainer's training in the third and fourth phase, he said adding that although they were linked in a logical sequence, each was a stand-alone activity which could be run independently in a partnering country. Belisle said close to 22 countries had evinced interest in having a similar project launched in their countries.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 12/14/2002

Network Associates to Double R&D Staff in India

BANGALORE: Network Associates, which makes software to stop computer viruses and manage computer networks, said on Wednesday it would more than double its Indian engineering staff to 200 by the end of 2003. Company officials told a news conference the bulk of the new staff would work for its Sniffer Technologies unit, which makes products to help companies check for abuse of their networks through activities like downloading of music from the Internet. The California-based company, which acquired anti-virus firm McAfee.com this year, currently has around 70 employees at its Indian research and development center. The investment planned in the centre, which would offer engineering support, quality assurance and testing services, is around $10 million, they said. "The launch of Sniffer in India and the ongoing product development at the Bangalore centre will ensure that our clients have access to business critical data," said Bakul Mehta, chief technology officer of the Sniffer unit. Network Associates competes with other Internet security firms such as Symantec Corp and Internet Security Systems.


From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 12/12/2002

Web Monitoring Gives Clues to Broad Economic Trends

Can online surfing habits accurately predict real-world economic behavior? While most mainstream economists scoff at the idea, market researchers and some Wall Street investors are making the statistical leap. Proponents who see links between online and conventional economic activity say they have uncovered close correlation*s between certain types of behavior 每 online job searches, shopping for new home mortgages and autos 每 and broader economic trends. Officials at marketing research company comScore Networks Inc. of Chicago boast that they can give stock and bond traders as much as a seven-week jump on a few key US government statistical "leading indicators" that can move markets. "This could really change the way the consumer is monitored and understood," said comScore Chairman Jian Fulgoni, a veteran in the field of retail checkout scanner research. "Before the Internet, there wasn't any way to measure the way consumers were being exposed to a product." Accenture, the world's fourth-largest technology consulting company by revenue, advises corporate clients on "Web sentiment monitoring," or how to cull through conversations in Internet chat rooms, message boards and newsgroups to detect both positive and negative consumer reactions to their products. In the meantime, product advertisers, Hollywood and entertainment businesses are receiving instant marketing feedback by dredging the Internet for clues. But economists are quick to try and debunk any easy links between online behavior and conventional buying and selling. "They are making a hypothesis that online surfing behavior predicts actual economic data. They haven't demonstrated that," says Austan Goolsbee, an economist at the University of Chicago who is considered an authority on Internet taxation. "In a way that Wal-Mart is representative of sales, the Internet is completely not representative of sales," he said. Online sales may scream ahead each year. They are expected to have grown to $74 billion during 2002, up 40 per cent from a year earlier. But those remains a drop in the bucket compared with the trillions of dollars that change hands in the economy-at-large. While two-thirds of Americans now use the Internet at home or at work, online audiences remain far from typical, said Goolsbee. "Online behavior looks very different than the behavior of the economy overall. Web users are much richer, more educated, younger, white-collar, more likely to live in cities and work in states with digital industries." Study after study have found that purchase intentions are poor predictors of actual sales, particularly for large durable goods like cars, homes and appliances, said Joseph Abati, a senior economist at investment bank Lehman Brothers. "Are all those people browsing the Internet fully intending to purchase, or are they just gathering information?" he asked. "Price discovery does not mean people are necessarily using the Internet to actually purchase things." Rakesh Shankar, an Internet business analyst at Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania, says that any early forecasting successes will need to be demonstrated over more than just the recent downbeat business cycle. "With just a few years of recorded data, is this simply a coincidence?" asked Michael Niemira, a senior economist at the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi in New York. The economist tells the story of how he had collected a series of weather anomalies running back to the 1960s that tracked economic activity to a surprising degree. "This had an incredible run 每 until the past two years 每 that is, up until it stopped working," he says with a dismissive laugh. ComScore officials say they have faced down such complaints in the past 每 and triumphed. The company, previously known as Information Resources Inc., helped pioneer retail checkout scanning for the marketing research world in the mid-1980s. "We were told it was 'too early,' 'It can't be done' and 'How can you possibly measure the rural areas where there are fewer scanners in place?" Fulgoni recalled. Over the past two years, stock analysts and other investors have been buying comScore data to track the online sales of both 100 per cent Internet-based companies such as Amazon, online travel sites or eBay. ComScore also offers Wall Street data across whole sectors of online sales, such as consumer electronics, books, movies, books, banking and health care. Christian Kugel, the head of research for IP Starcom, the online media buying unit of Leo Burnett, a unit of Publicis global advertising group, counters critics of such methods by arguing that advertisers use the Internet to find clues to the purchasing anthropology of innovators and early adopters. "Entertainment is so fickle and depends on trends so much. You can get a lot of early warning signs online," Kugel said. Glover Ferguson, chief scientist at Accenture's technology research labs, says that with methods of digital data collection proliferating, it is less and less a matter of finding data and more an issue of asking the right questions about the trove of data being gathered on consumer behavior (accenture.com). Market researchers and corporate advertisers must pay close attention to privacy concerns to make sure that consumers trust how they use the data, Ferguson emphasizes. "Consumers are willing to surrender private information in exchange for something," Ferguson said. For Americans, that usually means greater convenience. But if companies then spam the consumer, "this thing could blow up in their faces," he warned. ComScore succeeds where other data researchers have failed by promising never to reveal individual surfing habits. It focuses only on aggregate consumer behavior and sweetens the deal by offering consumers Internet virus protection, Web access acceleration services and pricey sweepstakes prizes. It dodges controversy despite tracking the intimate Web surfing habits of up to 1.1 million US consumers and another 400,000 Web surfers overseas, capturing every keyboard stroke and mouse movement. It goes beyond just Web surfing habits to recording actual sales transactions. Details on how comScore recruits can be found on the Web at (comscore.com). So far, comScore has signed up 20 trading clients, including multibillion-dollar hedge fund investors and several of the major investment banks. Costs for macroeconomic and industry sector data start at $50,000 to $100,000 per year and go up from there. The biggest clients pay upward of a million dollars per year, but prefer to keep their uses secret, comScore officials say.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 01/02/2003


Microsoft India's President Quits Job

Rajeev Nair, president of Microsoft India, the Indian unit of global software giant Microsoft Corp, has decided to quit job, Microsoft Corporation India Private Ltd. informed on Wednesday.
A company statement said Nair has decided to "move on, culminating a 13-year old successful association with the company". Nair, who joined Microsoft in 1990, was the first employee of the company's Indian arm, the statement said, adding Nair played a significant role in building Microsoft's presence in the Indian sub continent region. "He had a pivotal role in steering the company's growth in its formative years in India and in recent years has been focused on driving the company's vision for electronic governance," said the Microsoft statement. Nair was not immediately available for comment. Prior to being elevated the post of president and senior strategic advisor to Microsoft Asia, Nair had held several positions within Microsoft including Managing Director and Regional Director of the Indian subcontinent operations. "Rajeev's contribution in terms of providing strategic direction for shaping Microsoft's India success from the initial stages till today have been remarkable," said Rajiv Kaul, Managing Director of Microsoft Corporation India. "He has been a driving force behind several leadership initiatives and it is extremely difficult to sum up his achievements in a few words," he added. Microsoft has had a presence in India since 1987 and it currently has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 01/08/2003


India*s Net Economy in Growth Mode

Figure this out: BMW, which had no new product in the pipeline or any news to share last year, went out and made films for the Internet 〞 hired top-notch Hollywood directors to make five short films and put them on the Net, free to download and view. The response: 13 million film downloads, 2 million registrations, 1.2 million enquiries and 40,000 willingly answered a survey questionnaire. Incredible, wasn't it? The use of the Internet as a mass medium. This was, however, in the wired West. What about India? Skepticism abounds due to low penetration of Net users in India. It is believed that there are about 10 million unique Internet users. On this user base, the Internet economy in India is small but in the growth mode. As per industry estimates, e-commerce accounts for around Rs 150 crore while online advertising is pegged at around Rs 50 crore or so. Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman and CEO of Rediff.com, however, expects that to change in the next couple of years. "India is right now poised on a cusp. Telecom companies are laying optic fibre across the country. After the United States and China, India would have the largest quantity of optic fibre in the world," he said. Balakrishnan*s contention is that the mobile and the PC-based Internet world are now merging and simultaneously growing. "In both CDMA and GSM services, mobile phones with 40 kbps data speed and 5 frames per second of video are just three months away§, he says. Technological changes would not just encourage far more people logging on to the Internet, but also change the effectiveness of the Net as a marketing tool. At present, Rediff.com concludes that every morning a million people log on to the Net in Delhi and around 1.5 million in Mumbai. In India, the profile of these internet users shows this population is a clearly coveted target audience for many marketeers. According to the IRS and the NRS, the profile of the Internet audience is young and upwardly mobile 〞 mostly urban city dwellers. At current usage levels also these users represent 'big fish' for marketeers. Playing on these demographics, financial services companies like ICICI and HDFC have used the Net quite effectively for selling entry-level home loans, etc. With a well-crafted strategy, and improved connectivity, it can only improve. Lakish Hatalkar from Procter & Gamble has found the Net to be a good medium for fast cycle learning to understand consumer behaviour. "A consumer who has requested a sample is more likely to buy it," he says. For some products, Hatalkar recommends interstitial microsites. "These are not meant to be destination sites. They can be attached to major portals and serve their function at relatively low cost," he adds. Johnson and Johnson has used this strategy quite effectively with a microsite on Rediff for expecting mothers. So, where is the catch? R. Balakrishnan, national creative head of Lowe, finds it to be a typical Catch-22 situation. "It is not a constraint of the medium either in technology or reach. It is all about ideas," he added. Lack of enough great ideas restricts the spend on the medium, and inadequate spends put a damper on the big ideas. (by Shalini Dagar)


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 01/12/2003


IT Investment in Insurance Fastest Among Financial Services

IT investments in the financial services sector is expected to double by 2004-05 to cross 1.1 billion dollar while insurance would be the fastest growing sub-segment in it to grow at an annual rate of 35 per cent, according to a study by advisory firm IDC. With the evolution of new delivery channels and rapid market expansions, IT scenario in insurance sector could be directly correlated to IST segment dynamics, it said, adding the drive is entirely led by multiple delivery channels to sell insurance products and key focus on the customer. CRM adoption, multi-channel integration, e-commerce, enabling integration in third parties are the active IT strategies followed in the sector, IDC said. It added that front-end applications like automating distribution channels, internet, call centres, and claims processing would form the core of IT insurance applications. Core banking is the other IT investment focus area among the banks with nearly one-fourth of the banks having implemented it.


From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 01/21/2003


PAKISTAN: IT University to Be Setup at Dg Khan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS): - Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari said on Thursday that the government will set up an Information Technology University at Dera Ghazi Khan on priority basis. The Minister said his priority will be to provide the IT& Telecom related facilities to the less privileged areas of the country. To achieve this end IT & Telecom related projects would be launched in the far-flung areas of all the four provinces of the country. The Minister was addressing a big gathering of the people who had come to welcome him at Bridge Ghazi Ghat. As this was Minister's first visit to his town after assuming charge of the Ministry of IT & Telecom, he was given a big reception by the people of his area. From There he was taken to Topi in the form of a procession. The Minister said that IT and Telecom related facilities are the privilege of the urban area.


From http://www.paknews.com/ 12/06/2002

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AUSTRALIA: $27bn IT Deficit Warning

THE federal Government faces a $27 billion IT deficit by 2010 unless it stops practicing economic "Darwinism", outgoing Australian Computer Society (ACS) president John Ridge has warned. Mr Ridge said that as a user accounting for 40 per cent of all IT purchases in Australia, the Government is also a major contributor to the the deficit. Quoting from the Australian ICT Trade Update 2002, an ACS-sponsored report due for release today, Mr Ridge said the country's information and communication technology (ICT) trade deficit reached $14.4 billion in 2001-02. He said that unless the government took action, the deficit would blow out to $27.2 billion by 2010. During 2001-02, Australia's ICT equipment exports fell by $1.7 billion, or 24 per cent. Less than half of those exports were produced locally, however, with re-exports accounting for $1.67 billion. The report found an IT services deficit of $725 million for 2001-02, a figure it says has doubled since 1997-98. Nevertheless, ICT imports fell by $1.9 billion in 2001-02. Mr Ridge said while the drop is encouraging, a fall off in exports and a lack of government investment in the local industry mean the deficit will continue to grow. "My idea is that that the government takes a Darwinism approach to Australian business," he said. Other governments were doing more to help their IT industries, he said. Similar support in Australia would help local IT companies establish an import replacement industry and ultimately fuel exports, he said. Measures suggested by the ACS include the reinstatement of the 150 per cent rebate for IT&T research and development, and more government funded promotion of Australian developed products and services. He said sending low-skill IT jobs offshore was a mistake, because every job lost cost between four and six jobs elsewhere in the economy. The emphasis on high value products, he said, ignored the different skill types available in Australia. "If we are going to export low value-add jobs we might as well export low value-add people as well," he said. However the federal Government slammed the report, calling it "a superficial and simplistic stunt peddling 19th century mercantilist dogma". In unusually strident tones, a statement issued by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said :"All the world - except the ACS - understands that Australia is a net winner when it can afford to import goods that help transform the products and services base and boost productivity and efficiency". The government said that between 1998-99 and 2000-01, the value of IT production and the number of businesses involved in the sector both grew by 25 per cent, while employment in ICT grew by 20 per cent in the same period. "Even the ACS' own figures show a $700 million decrease in the [ICT] trade deficit from 2000-01 to 2001-02," the statement said. The government argued that the size of a country's ICT trade deficit and its economic performance are not directly linked. It said the majority of the deficit comes from low value commodity hardware, while "in the higher value-added ICT services sector, Australia's trade position is close to balanced". Senator Alston's office also flagged the ICT Framework for the Future program as evidence of its investment in the local ICT economy. (by Chris Jenkins)


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/29/2002

Centrelink Wins National Service Excellence Award

Centrelink has been recognised for its contribution to quality service and innovation, winning the Federation of Ethnic Community Council (FECCA) inaugural Award for Excellence in Service on Friday. Centrelink National Manager, Peter Rock, said this was fantastic recognition of the commitment and hard work happening throughout Centrelink to meet the needs of customers from non-English speaking backgrounds. "Since its inception in 1997, Centrelink has recognised and incorporated cultural and linguistic diversity issues into day-to-day work, supporting this in many practical ways," Mr Rock said. "For example, a shining success has been the establishment of Centrelink*s Multicultural Services Unit, which is responsible for Centrelink*s management of multicultural issues. "As part of its exceptional work, the unit has coordinated and trained a number of Multicultural Service Officers who link strategically with refugee and migrant communities."Centrelink has also developed an extensive suite of translated information which is both printed and available on our web site." Centrelink*s Multicultural Vision Statement also demonstrates the organisation*s commitment to serving multicultural Australia, and guides the work done by all staff - from senior management through to customer service officers. Mr Rock said Centrelink staff is the key to its success in this area. "It is through the commitment and enthusiasm of staff that makes it possible for Centrelink to receive the kind of recognition offered by awards like the FECCA Award for Excellence in Service," Mr Rock said.


From http://www.ausdaily.com.au/ 12/11/2002

Internet Watchdog Warns of Fake eBay Website

SYDNEY: Fraudsters trying to steal credit card information from online auction house eBay Inc's 55 million users appear to have set up a fake website that mimicked the firm, a private Internet watchdog said on Wednesday. The scam involved e-mails that asked recipients to log on to a Florida-based website, ebayupdates.com, and re-enter financial data for eBay, said Dean White, the Asia-Pacific coordinator of a US group, SANS Institute Internet Storm Center. "Once you've got the credit card information you can use it for everything," White said. The scam site sported the eBay logo and colours but did not appear to have any connection with California-based eBay, White told Reuters. Representatives of eBay in Australia were not immediately available for comment, but the company has issued a general warning on its website, urging caution over e-mails seeking passwords or credit card numbers. "Some members have reported attempts to gain access to their personal information through e-mail solicitations that are falsely made to appear as having come from eBay," the company said. "These solicitations will often contain links to Web pages that will request that you sign in and submit information...eBay employees will never ask you for your password." The scam e-mail, provided to Reuters by White, is headed "Ebay (sic) billing error" and begins: "Dear Ebay Member, We at Ebay are sorry to inform you that we are having problems with the billing information of your account." White said the mail, aimed at eBay's registered customers but possibly mass-mailed to other Internet users, began appearing on December 6. The company hosting the fake website on its computers had been informed and by Wednesday the site was unavailable on the Internet. Security and trust are major issues for e-commerce and Australian banking officials have warned consumers to be especially vigilant about Internet fraud and identity theft over the big spending Christmas period.


From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 12/11/2002

The Internet Risk Continues to Rise, or Does It?

Internet Security Systems, "a world leader in software and services that protect critical information assets from an ever-changing spectrum of threats and misuse", has released its Internet Risk Impact Summary report (IRIS - nice sounding acronym, that) for the fourth quarter and year-end of 2002. The company says: "As we study the threat spectrum and monitor attack activity on a global basis from day-to-day and year-to-year, we can determine that the Internet risk for 2003 will continue to rise." Surprised? I wasn't. According to the report, 101 "hybrid threats" and computer worms were tracked during the fourth quarter. In the previous three quarters, 393 were tracked. But this doesn't mean things are getting better. No, not by a long shot. This means a 28 percent decrease in the number of threats between Q3 and Q4, yet to ISS it establishes "important new data on the long-lasting effects of this year's computer attacks." Go figure. The release says ISS X-Force? (I take it this is a specialized branch of security folk, something like the Men In Black - note the trademark) conducted research on the shifting nature of computer attacks this year, specifically the propagation and extended lifespan of computer worms and vulnerability exploitation. It says this research has provided deeper insights into what X-Force calls the Compound Risk Factor (CRF), which recognizes the underlying threat created by computer attacks that continue to surface long after discovery or outbreak. "Over the last two quarters, we saw a major shift toward computer attacks that no longer target a single point, but are characterised by large-scale attacks affecting critical systems. This, combined with the lack of the latest threat protection solutions and education within corporate, government and home user environments, continues to allow worms and other hybrid threats to propagate and extend their lifespan," says Chris Rouland, director of Internet Security Systems' X-Force? security research and knowledge services organization. (by Sam Varghese)


From http://www.smh.com.au/ 01/10/2003

COOK ISLANDS: Internet to Be Faster, Better for Cook Islanders

Avarua (Cook Islands Herald/PINA Nius Online) - Telecom Cook Islands has increased its bandwidth capability on its Internet service from a 256kbps link to a 512Kbps link. Bandwidth is the speed at which information is sent and the upgrade now means faster times for Cook Islanders when transmitting information over the Internet. In other developments, Telecom Cook Islands is:? Continuing trials on virus software to filter out the increasing viruses affecting customers.? Trialing a "spam" filter for customers to filter the increasing "junk" mail to customers. As soon as these software programs have been successfully tested and proven to work satisfactorily, they will become a permanent feature of the service.. - Cook Islands Herald/PINA Nius Online.


From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 12/01/2002

Hard Times for IT Workers

Wellington IT recruitment companies say the job situation in the Capital is improving, but are pessimistic about the chances of IBM's 140 software developers, laid off last week, finding jobs fast. The ICMS billing system team lost its jobs after IBM Corporation, as part of a decision to get out of applications development, sold the ICMS business to Colorado-based CSG Systems. CSG is reviewing the cost-effectiveness of using the Wellington ICMS development center. One hundred ICMS staff go at the end of this month, and the remaining 40 at the end of January. Recruitment companies reported ICMS staff were calling last week on the hunt for work, but say that with the traditional ease-off over Christmas, there will be little work on offer for the next few months. Spherion Recruitment manager Tony Cutting describes the news as `a blow' for staff just before Christmas, but says Wellington's IT market is gradually improving. He has new projects coming on board early next year but says they will not soak up 140 people. Mr Cutting estimates that the Wellington corporate IT market has shrunk from about 5-6000 jobs in the mid-90s to 4000 a few years ago to "3,000-plus" today. The New Zealand manager of Wellington-based Sapphire Technologies, Linda Sollitt, says the last six to eight weeks have been `buoyant' compared to the rest of the year. However, she says it would be unwise to make predictions about next year till about February, when trends will be more obvious. She echoes other recruitment executives who are seeing the return of a lot of Kiwi IT workers from overseas looking for work. Skills in demand include Citrix, Java and .Net, and Ms Sollitt says employers are favoring applicants who are multi-skilled. The managing director of Hutt IT recruiter Sabre Technologies, Mike Slee, knows of $100 million in new projects coming onstream and he has agreements that will boost his workload 50 per cent in the next six months. About half that work is coming from Wellington. Mr Slee says the market is following an identical track to the 1990 slump which entered sharp recovery in 1993. Grant Burley, director of Wellington-based Absolute IT, agrees the market has improved over the past few weeks. However, he says normally in the past there would be five to 10 applicants for one job, but now there are 20 to 30 applicants from all over the country. Technical architect and business analyst skills are in demand but in general, salaries have shrunk 10-15 per cent. He says there is more commercial work in Auckland and plans to open as Auckland office next year. Some staff, such as business analysts and project managers, may pick up work elsewhere in Wellington, but specialized ICMS programmers may find things tougher. The biggest ICMS user in Australasia is Telecom, but spokesman Alannah James says Telecom uses an earlier ICMS version which it supports in-house and has no plans to hire ICMS staff. There is speculation that CSG Systems may be looking at IBM India, which took over some global support from the Wellington team about a year ago. CSG Systems spokesperson Carrie Schafer declines to comment on that possibility, but says CSG wants to retain ICMS skills and is encouraging potential partners to employ ICMS Wellington staff. Fonterra IT staff have also been contacting recruitment companies. Fonterra is shedding 400 jobs in the Capital, including 120 IT jobs. Fonterra chief information officer Marcel van den Assum said recently no IT jobs would be affected before the end of May, but some staff are already investigating their options. The dairy giant has appointed United States consultancy TPI to scope a massive infrastructure outsourcing tender, expected to get under way next year. Some IT staff are likely to transfer to the successful tenderer for that business. IBM and EDS are the most likely contenders for the project, which may take months to finalize. It would be on a similar scale to the Telecom outsourcing project, but differs in that much of the work would be done in other countries. (by Adrienne Perry)


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 12/09/2002

NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Attacks IT Market

Telecom will invest tens of millions of dollars in data center hardware over the next year so it can rent out information technology services over its next-generation fixed-line network. Chris Quin, general manager of the company's 335-strong Advanced Solutions group, says Telecom won't "massively over-invest relative to revenues" but nevertheless plans to "invest for scale and price for scale". "From my perspective, this is as significant to Telecom as the decision to build the mobile company or create Xtra." Mr Quin says the "top five" IT services Telecom Advanced Solutions will offer businesses using the new network are enhanced security services and corporate e-mail offerings, managed networks, managed application services and storage-on-demand. The group has been holding individual discussions with more than 100 corporates to advise them of its future capabilities so they can plan their IT spend, he says. "A lot of the messages have to be communicated one-on-one with customers." Mr Quin says Telecom has yet to decide whether to expand its existing data centers located at telephone exchanges in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington or build new sites at other exchanges. Also to be determined is the possibility of a role for Telecom's IT partner, EDS New Zealand, in sourcing and managing the data center equipment. "That is potentially something they could do for us", says Mr Quin, "but how that is done is merely a sourcing decision." The fixed-line network upgrade under way at Telecom involves upgrading communications hardware such as routers and switches with Internet Protocol (IP) equipment supplied by France's Alcatel. It breaks down voice and data traffic into manageable "packets" of information which can be transmitted across the network in tandem, and then reassembled when they reach their destination. The IP network roll-out should be complete by early 2004 when the last digital exchanges are upgraded, says Mr Quin, but many IT services will be widely available before then. It will be possible for most businesses with a normal geographical spread to "plan their infrastructure around an IP network" later next year, he says. While some services envisaged fall into the traditional outsourcing category in which it already plays, Telecom plans to use the improved intelligence of the IP network to lower costs and offer sophisticated innovations. Businesses renting corporate e-mail services from Telecom could, for instance, prioritise outgoing e-mail so messages to customers or from management took precedence, perhaps automatically triggering a text message to the recipient's mobile on arrival. Providing storage-on-demand over the IP network could let businesses selectively back-up data from their desktops on an ad hoc basis to low-cost Telecom storage systems. Advanced Solutions strategy manager Grant Simpson says later next year customers might be able to remotely back-up a file by "right-clicking" on their mouse to review the price of archiving it, and then clicking again "to make it happen". Renting out "reasonably generic" application software is also a goal, where delivery over the IP network makes economic sense. "It's a question of getting the technology and price and functionality mix right to get people to shift en masse," says Mr Simpson. Internet telephony and easy point-to-point video-conferencing over the IP network should be possible later next year. A limited number of new communications services enabled by the network management deal with Alcatel are already on offer, such as wireless modem connectivity to Telecom's high-speed DSL internet service and high-speed Ethernet connectivity between customers in metropolitan Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Mr Quin says Advanced Solutions' revenues for the first few months of this financial year are 40 per cent up on the same period the previous year, which it finished with sales of $30 million - including revenues of Telecom-EDS-Microsoft alliance esolutions with which it was amalgamated in May. Last month Advanced Solutions began recruiting 40 additional specialist IT staff. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 12/02/2002

US Publisher Buys E-Tutors

The University of Canterbury's Computer Science Department has sold tutoring systems to a large American publisher. Intelligent Computer Tutoring Group leader Dr Tanja Mitrovic signed a contract with Addison-Wesley, publisher of textbooks on database systems. The royalties will go towards PhD scholarships. The group will provide three of its intelligent tutoring systems 每 SQL-Tutor, KERMIT, and NORMIT 每 to Addison- Wesley for use on the publisher's website. Buyers of some Addison-Wesley textbooks will get access cards and codes, allowing them to access the systems on the website for six months. The systems were developed to help students in the Computer Science Department learn specific database skills. They allow students to practise in their own time and get feedback as they go from a computer rather than a tutor. Each system contains a knowledge base and keeps a record of individual students' sessions. SQL-Tutor, which is used for teaching the SQL database language, was first used in the department in 1998. Dr Mitrovic says the language could be difficult to learn by traditional methods, but research showed that students who supplemented their lectures with practice with SQL-Tutor did better than those who depended on the textbook alone. KERMIT is an intelligent tutoring system for teaching conceptual database modelling, another topic Dr Mitrovic teaches. NORMIT teaches data normalization, and was used for the first time last year. Dr Mitrovic says her group has also been contracted to produce quizzes that would be available on the website to help instructors set homework. Negotiations with Addison-Wesley took more than a year, and the group will get royalties for each book sold. The website, which will enable on-line ordering from around the world, will open on January 28. The intelligent tutoring systems were not developed with sales in mind, says Dr Mitrovic, but the group is proud that the quality of its work has been recognized. "It will be good to see something we have done being used worldwide."


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 01/15/2003

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Korea Electronics Show Slated for Oct. 8-12

The Electronic Industries Association of Korea (EIAK) has begun receiving applications to the 2003 Korea Electronics Show (KES) that will be held Oct. 8-12 at the Convention and Exhibition Center in southern Seoul. The KES, one of the four largest electronics trade show in Asia will be held under the theme of ※Where cutting edge technologies converge!,§ and a total of 500 companies from 15 countries worldwide are expected to take part in, it said. The exposition, which is the 34th of its kind, has been selected as the most promising national exposition by the government for the past three years.

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/21/2003

Computer Training

The Shanghai Women's Federation plans to provide training for 1 million local women between the ages of 35 and 60 to use computers over the next three years. It will also provide career training and guidance to 20,000 women this year. The federation also plans to establish a risk foundation to support women who want to start their own companies and set up a hot line against family violence this year, officials said yesterday.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 01/09/2003

World Summit Comes to City

China's State Intellectual Property Office announced yesterday that the World Summit on the Intellectual Property and Knowledge Economy will be held in Beijing on April 24-26. The office's Deputy Commissioner Tian Lipu told the press that the summit, which is open to all member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization, the industrial sector and non-governmental organizations, will be the first ever in the history of the organization. He said the number of participants from home and abroad is expected to exceed 3,000.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 01/10/2003

Citizen*s Information Service Forum Held by Shanghai

On 20 Dec 2002, Informatization Office of Shanghai Municipal People*s Government and Shanghai Social Security and Citizen Service Information System Management Office hosted ※Shanghai Citizen Information Service Forum§. The attendants of the forum include officials from the State*s Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of Information Industry, related local government agencies, enterprises and institutions, experts and scholars, and citizen representatives. Mr. Yangxiong, Vice-Secretary General of Shanghai Municipal People*s Government, clicked the button to open the Shanghai Citizen Information Service Net (www.962222.net). The forum comprised four parts: Topical Report, Technology and Innovation Panel, Service and Innovation Panel, and Management and Innovation Panel. In the course of forum, the attended government officials, citizen representatives, enterprises and institutions, experts and scholars have discussed and exchanged the views on how to utilize information resources and information tools to serve the citizens more effectively.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 12/30/2002

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BURMA: The First Founding Anniversary of MICT Park Second Myanmar ICT Week Programme

21-1-2003    Opening ceremony of the Second Myanmar ICT Week

22-1-2003    Seminar on Role of ICT for Industrial Development
                      Myanmar- Thailand ICT Entrepreneurs' Seminar
                      e-Procurement (Workshop)

23-1-2003    Seminar on Role of ICT for Industrial Development
                      e-Procurement (Workshop)

24-1-2003    Trade Electronic Data Interchange (Workshop)
                      e- Procurement (Workshop )

25-1-2003    National Certification Authority (Workshop)
                      e-Procurement (Workshop)

26-1-2003    Myanmar-Japan Cross Certificate Exam

27-1-2003      e-Govemment(Workshop)Closing ceremony of the Second
                     Myanmar ICT Week

The ICT (Hardware, Software, Application Telecommunication) Exhibition will be held at Myanmar ICT Park from 9 am to 5'pm from 21 to 27 January 2003.

From http://www3.itu.int 01/16/2003

PHILIPPINES: Philippines Hosts UNESCO ICT Training

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will conduct a five-day training on information communication technology applications to provide insights on electronic information services development and administration activities to ASTINFO members. The ASTINFO, a core program of the UNESCO General Information Program administered by the Office of Information Program and Services (PGI/IPS), is a regional network that promotes the exchange of information and experience in science and technology in Asia and the Pacific. The Philippines* Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) will host the workshop on October 22 to 26, 2001 at the Richmonde Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City. The training is designed in collaboration with the National Center for Scientific & Technological Research (NACESTID) of Vietnam and the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). ICT experts from the STII, the private sector and mass media were invited to educate participants on using web development tools and perform conversion of information to digital format as well as the basics of designing, configuring, organizing and managing active server components for Internet access. In addition, the participants will also be trained on evaluating web information content and identifying information needs and in applying practical ways of searching information. Aside from lectures, discussions and hands-on exercises, the participants will also be taken on a technical tour at the DOST*s National Computer Center (NCC) and Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), based at the University of the Philippine*s campus in Diliman, Quezon City. The NCC serves as the country*s lead agency in setting directions for IT use for national development by providing technical and professional assistance. ASTI on the other hand, conducts scientific research and development in the field of communications, engineering, microelectronics and IT. Sixteen representatives from the Asia Pacific region, which includes Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Indonesia, India, Nepal and the Pacific 每 Fji, Palau and the Cook Islands, are expected to participate in the event. (Jen Miclat, S&T Media Service)

From http://www.dost.gov.ph/ 10/12/2002

Forum on Emerging Technologies Highlight PCASTRD Rites Today

Emerging technologies and their potential contribution to the society will take the spotlight in a forum organized by the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) to mark its 15th anniversary celebration today at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Inter- Continental Manila, Makati City. Particularly, the forum will focus on the topics ※Nanotechnology in Computation: Collaborative Initiatives in the Philippines§ and ※Space Technology Applications - Resource Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation§ to be discussed by Dr. Antonio B. Villaflor of Intel Technologies, and Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan of UP Los Ba?os, respectively. Themed ※Paving the Future of Advanced Science and Technology§, the oneday anniversary celebration will highlight other initiatives that underscore PCASTRD*s role as a key agency in building up the nation*s capability in the advanced S&T sector. Keynoting the affair will be Sen. Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. Other special guests are DoST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro and Rep. Rodolfo C. Bacani, chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology. On the occasion, PCASTRD will also launch its coffee table book sketching the Council*s history through the featured researches, activities and programs. The Council will also confer awards of appreciation and recognition to its researchers who have obtained patents and copyrights; scholars who finished their programs in advance or on time; and past PCASTRD officials who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the Council or the S&T sector in particular. Among the distinguished awardees are Undersecretary Rogelio A. Panlasigui of the DoST; and Dr. Ester A. Garcia of the Commission on Higher Education. To be awarded a special citation for his major contribution is Mr. Alex Sy, president of Alexan Commercial, a leading electronic components distributor. Mr. Sy buoyed up the research laboratories of PCASTRD*s network of schools through his donation of optics equipment. Complementing the program will be an exhibit featuring researches in the advanced S&T funded by PCASTRD and DoST. PCASTRD is the DoST agency tasked to develop, integrate, and coordinate the national research systems for advanced S&T and related fields. Its priority areas include biotechnology; information and communications technology; photonics technology; electronics, instrumentation and controls; materials science; and space technology applications.

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 01/23/2003

Record Number of Exhibitors at e-Services Philippines

Over 80 local and international exhibitors will participate in the third e-Services Philippines exhibit organized and produced by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), including almost 20 software developers and e-services providers from Cebu and Davao according to executives responsible for the exhibit. ※They are coming in force this year for the first time,§ said CITEM executive director Felicidad Tan-Co. She believes the strong showing is because the exhibit provides a number of important advantages for e-Services firms. ※It*s an extremely cost-effect opportunity for e-Services providers to communicate first-hand with potential clients in the U.S., Europe, and Asia,§ she said. Ms. Tan-C expects up to 10,000 local and international trade visitors to the exhibit, which will run from February 13-15 at the World Trade Center.※ This is our third exhibit, and so its benefits have become clear,§ Ms. Tan-Co explained. ※The number of exhibitors and visitors continues to grow despite a general global cooling toward technology exhibits. That*s because the Philippines is becoming an acknowledged center for e-Services, and the exhibit also offers an opportunity for outsourcers to become acquainted with a significant number of our best firms in a timely and efficient way. §Last year, exhibitors reported that they entered discussions for approximately US$15 million in new business with visitors to the exhibit. Exhibitors include animation providers, customer contact centers, back-office operations, medical transcription providers, software developers, and other IT-enabled services such as engineering and architectural services. Among the Davao-based companies exhibiting is Lane Systems, which develops B2C, B2B, and Internet business systems for mostly U.S. companies, and says it has been doing so since 1995, according to CITEM division chief for IT Services and Electronics, Josephine Briones-Gonzalez. ※Until now, the software development and e-Services sectors in Davao have been a well kept secret,§ she said. ※This year*s exhibit will change that.§ Some of the other Davao firms that will participate in the three-day exhibit include CIT Communications, a spin off from multinational fruit exporter Dole Philippines. The company builds and supports business critical applications, provides data center services, and help desk support. Software Development and Research Corporation provides smart card applications, also principally for foreign clients. ※The advance application and value-added e-Services work that these companies do is something we can all be proud of,§ Ms. Briones-Gonzalez said. ※And that*s why we*re getting so much attention. §Cebu-based companies participating in the exhibit include Global Mind, Primary Software, Alliance Software, PowerPro Computer Center, and Esprint Software. Promoting these sectors is serious business, according to Ms. Tan-Co. ※Software and e-Services sectors play an extremely important role in economic growth, job, and opportunity generation for the Philippines,§ she explained. ※Gartner Research reported recently that these sectors export around US$1 billion a year in products and services, and generate around 300,000 direct jobs. Indirect employment is, of course, much higher. §The Department of Trade & Industry has reported that although growth of individual sectors varies, it is substantial, from 25 to 130 percent annually. Concurrent to the exhibit, CITEM will conduct its annual e-Services awards program - open to all local exhibitors - to recognize last year*s most innovative solutions, applications, and service offerings. ※Winners will be chosen based on their distinctly Filipino brand of innovation, market potential, and presentation,§ said Tan-Co.

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 01/23/2003

SINGAPORE: IDA Infocomm Technology Roadmap Identifies Key Trends and Developments in Communications Technologies

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with the Infocomm industry, has identified key technological trends and developments that would impact the way we communicate over the next five years, leading to 2007. The joint insights, incorporated into IDA's fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR), was released today at a technology seminar organized by IDA. The seminar (http://www.ida.gov.sg), 'technology development' 'ITR-4'), featuring a panel of IDA and Infocomm leaders speaking on communication technologies of the future, was attended by more than 500 industry players. Dr Brian Chen, Chief Technology Officer, IDA, said, "Together with the Infocomm industry, we hope to paint a collective vision of future technologies that will strengthen Singapore's standing as a key Infocomm hub in the region. For the fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap, we envision the emergence of an integrated broadband infrastructure that allows users to enjoy the convenience of 'anytime, anywhere, any device' applications and services. In arriving at this vision, IDA is once again encouraged by the active participation and interest of the Infocomm industry as it ensures the continued relevance of the roadmap as a definitive source for Infocomm players in Singapore." Key technology trends and developments highlighted in IDA's fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap include: By 2007, the present broadband characterized by ADSL and cable will replace dial-up as the dominant means for accessing Internet in Singapore. Moving forward into the digital era, Internet upload speed will level-up to match download speed to deliver not only better two-way communication, but to allow for greater collaborative work between two or more parties. This development will support the emerging trend towards decentralized and distributed computing in the next-generation Internet. In envisioning the Connected Home of 2007, the Roadmap sees the convergence of 'infotainment' technologies that bring together information, communications and entertainment. These technologies can be conveniently accessed around the house using smart appliances and mobile handheld devices that operate over an integrated Internet Protocol-based home network with Internet broadband connections. Against this backdrop, a range of digitized information from MP3 music files, digital photo collections, e-learning material, video files, to archives of family documents, will also find their way into the home of the future, with the personal computer, home entertainment systems, home media server or game console, managing and distributing this digitized information. The home of the future will eventually be smarter and more efficient, bringing about technological evolution in the home, saving time and improving quality of life. By 2007, 3G networks will be in place in most advanced countries. In addition, the computing capabilities of mobile handheld devices are expected to improve significantly. With these developments as well as the development of open standards, the vision towards ubiquitous connectivity, characterized by the concept of 'anytime, anywhere, any device', will gain greater ground as early as 2007. In the area of mobile services, communication in the near future will evolve from simple voice calls to rich multi-party multimedia communications, mobile instant messaging and presence services, location-based services, as well as enterprise mobile solutions that bring common IT corporate applications to the mobile workforce. Other new services such as multimedia broadcast and multicasting will enhance communication features and open up enterprise opportunities such as in the areas of mobile e-learning, mobile web seminars, and corporate marketing/advertisement. Today, with globalisation, we are seeing the emergence of virtual organizations with increased inter-enterprise dealings/ transactions, leading to greater demands for security technologies. By 2007, we expect the confluence of security technologies to meet the demands of this increasingly sophisticated e-business landscape. In this respect, the Infocomm security technology scene will see the emergence of standards-based, end-to-end security framework to boost business and user confidence in conducting transactions over the entire e-commerce value chain. The full Fourth Infocomm Technology Roadmap Report can be downloaded from the IDA website http://www.ida.gov.sg under 'Technology Development'. At the 4th Infocomm Technology Roadmap Seminar, IDA also shared with the industry its trial results in Free-Space-Optics and Wireless LAN. Key results include. The potential of FSO as a last-mile access communication link is widely recognized by the industry. However, it is also recognized that free space can be an unpredictable medium for data transport. As such, IDA conducted an FSO trial from February to June 2002. It concluded that FSO, which relies on infra-red lasers to transmit data over the air, can be used for high-speed data communications between buildings. It also represents an alternative last-mile communication link where laying of cables may not be economically viable and/ or physically possible. However, the trial also concluded that careful network design, incorporating considerations such as FSO link distances and environmental factors, such as rain and haze, will be key in optimizing the potential of FSO. Detailed results of the FSO trial can be downloaded from the IDA website http://www.ida.gov.sg under 'Technology Development' and 'Technology Trials'. Wireless LAN (WLAN) has been the initial driver for the widespread use of systems based on the IEEE802.11b standard. However, WLAN presently faces several drawbacks in areas such as throughput, security, roaming and quality of service. As such, IDA conducted a trial from April to October 2002 on the Next Generation Wireless LAN (NGWLAN), to assess its ability to address today's limitations in WLAN. The trial concluded that compared to WLAN, NGWLAN can offer better security features and mobility support. It can also offer throughput that is three to four times more than the current WLAN. Detailed results of the NGWLAN trial can be downloaded from the IDA website http://www.ida.gov.sg under 'Technology Development' and 'Technology Trials' from 15th December 2002.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 01/23/2003

VIET NAM: Conference Reveals Government Plan for Massive IT Investments

The Government will invest nearly US$100 million in the software industry over the next three years, according to presenters at a conference on Viet Nam*s software development. The two-day conference, which wrapped up in Ha Noi on Wednesday, focused on trends in the software industry in Viet Nam and abroad. Experts at the conference also discussed related matters such as copyright and intellectual property rights, and the experiences of regional IT hubs, such as India and China. At the conference, representatives of US telecom giant Motorola shared their experience in testing software quality to meet the standards of international software organisations. The company said that besides increasing IT projects with Viet Nam, it will also grant a package scholarship worth $200,000 to help train Vietnamese IT experts. Software and services account for only 25 per cent of Viet Nam*s information technology market, which deals mainly with personal computers and local area network installations in offices. Viet Nam*s software industry aims to net a gross total revenue of $500 million by 2005, $200 million of which will come from exports, and to provide jobs for 25,000 to 30,000 IT workers. The conference was jointly organised by the Ministry of Post and Telematics and Motorola.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/09/2003

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  BANGLADESH: BCS Computer Show Kicks Off Today

With the slogan 'where technology meets people' the seven-day 12th BCS Computer Show 2003 kicks off at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Center at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the city today. Foreign Affairs Minister M Morshed Khan will be present as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the show, organized by the Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) in co-operation with Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Abdul Moyeen Khan and Post and Telecommunications Minister Aminul Haque will be present as special guests on the occasion. President Iajuddin Ahmed is expected to remain present as chief guest at the concluding ceremony of the show on Saturday. 116 computer firms are participating in this year's exhibition. The firms include software developer companies, hardware sales firms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), information technology based magazines and other firms. Some foreign companies from Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) and World Information Technology Services Alliance (WITSA) are also taking part in this exposition. In this year's show emphasis will be given on building relationships between various public and private sectors and also between the government and various IT companies. European Union (EU) has also taken a stall in the exhibition for the first time to promote Bangladeshi IT sector in the international arena. Smuggled computer products and piracy software have been specially forbidden for show this year. 'BCS ICT scholarship' for poor and meritorious students will be formed with some portion of the entrance fee. A programming contest will also be held at the fair venue on Tuesday. Thirty teams are expected to participate in that contest. The entry fee has been fixed at Tk 20. But students of various schools and colleges can enter the fair free, provided they have prior permission from the authority. The show will conclude on Saturday.


From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 01/12/2003

INDIA: Indian Linux Expo from Tomorrow

India's premier Linux and Open Source event - Linux Bangalore/2002 - will be held from tomorrow till Friday, December 5, in the southern city of Bangalore, according to a media release. Last year's event saw the thousands of participants, attending more than 60 talks by both Indian and foreign speakers. The event will again feature numerous talks, workshops and panel discussions, exposing developers, users, corporate IT decision makers and government agencies to the lates in Linux and Open Source-based technologies and developments. An exhibition will be held on the sidelines to allow organizations to present Linux and Open Source-based solutions. Bangalore Linux User Group coordinator Kingsly John said that the entire event was conceived and managed by a group of managers drawn from the BLUG, the organizers of the event. The event would be funded by sponsors. "We will be approaching giants such as HP, IBM, Wipro, Infosys and the Tatas, who, like a majority of the industry today, have an extremely heavy involvement with Linux" said BLUG advisor Atul Chitnis.


From http://www.smh.com.au/ 12/02/2002

The India IT Forum 2003

A dedicated B2B Conference organized once again by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) covering eGovernance, IT Enabled Business Process Outsourcing, New Technologies and Strategies. Besides, the Conference will also provide one-on-one networking as well as sessions on "Product Demonstration". Time: 22 - 24 January 2003, Venue: Hitex International Exhibition Centre.


From http://www.gitexhyderabad.com/ 01/01/2003

IT Events (in India This Year)

EVENT

VENUE & CITY

FROM

TO 

Mobile Internet India 2003

The Taj Mahal, New Delhi, India

10 January 2003

10 January 2003

Workshop on e-Learning

CEDTI Campus, Calicut, India

16 January 2003

22 January 2003

Supercomm India 2003

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

20 January 2003

22 January 2003

Gitex Hyderabad 2003

Hyderabad, India

22 January 2003

24 January 2003

Map India 2003

GIS Institute, UP, India

28 January 2003

31 January 2003

15th International Engineering & Technology Fair

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

05 February 2003

08 February 2003

Nasscom 2003 - Annual ICT Conference and Exhibition

Mumbai, India

11 February 2003

14 February 2003

11th Convergence India 2003

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

11 March 2003

13 March 2003

2nd Smart Card Tech India 2003

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

11 March 2003

13 March 2003

AIDC Expo-2003

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

27 March 2003

29 March 2003

Elitex' 2003

India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India

28 April 2003

29 April 2003

Smart Cards Expo 2003

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

15 September 2003

18 September 2003

From http://www.mit.gov.in/ 01/15/2003 (access time)


NEPAL: Ninth Nepal IT Show from Jan 23

KATHMANDU: Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) is organizing CAN Info Tech 2003, a mega-Information Technology (IT) event showcasing new products and services of IT industry from January 23rd to 28th, it was officially disclosed here today. According to a press release distributed at a press conference here today, the Ninth Nepal Information Technology Show and Conference is being organized with an aim to familiarize the general public about IT and to impart knowledge and recent advances made in the field of IT. The event will accommodate recent and advanced products, programs, information and knowledge developed worldwide as far as possible, the release states. Ministry of Science and Technology, Royal Thai Embassy, Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Nepal Telecommunications Corporation and Institute of Engineering are supporting the national level event. There are to be 96 stalls and 4 halls in the event. A total of 21 hardware, 6 software, 17 training institutes, 7 IT colleges, 3 ISPs, and 2 web services are taking part in the IT exhibition. Likewise, Nepal Industrial Development Corporation and a call center, including one each of book seller and IT publications, among others, will participate in the event, the release says. The theme for the IT conference is to be &Preparing for Next Generation E-Services*. Speakers from different countries, including Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, USA, Australia, Sweden, Korea, Romania, Pakistan and Germany are making presentations, apart from taking tutorial classes. During the event, the officers* meeting of South Asia Network Operator Group will also be held. The last day of the event has been set aside for &Business Day*. A total of 150 thousand visitors are expected, the organiser said.


From http://www.nepalnews.com/ 01/14/2003

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FIJI: Internet Security Conference to Be Repeated Next Year

Alofi (Niue Star/PINA Nius Online):Organizers of an Internet security conference in Nadi, Fiji, said the conference was a huge success and they are planning another for next year. PacINet 2002 was co-ordinated by the Internet Users Society of Niue and the Pacific chapter of the Internet Society. It was the first time a private sector Internet seminar of its kind has been organized in the region. It drew 30 of the region's systems engineers and technicians. Many employees of regional organizations were funded to the seminar. It was also supported by the Internet Society of New Zealand, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Connect Fiji and Telecom Fiji. - Niue Star/PINA Nius Online.


From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 12/09/2002

Apia Meeting Works on Regional Intellectual Property Rights

Apia (PINA Nius Online)-A regional meeting in Apia this week has looked at ways of protecting inventors and businesses in the Pacific Islands from unlawful use of their intellectual property rights. The meeting is part of efforts supported by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the World Intellectual Property Organization and Australian Government. Countries that can protect intellectual property assets from unlawful use are considered more likely to attract investment, the Suva-based Forum Secretariat said. - PINA Nius Online.


From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 12/06/2002

Pacific Heads Home from Tokyo Information Society Conference 'Happy'

Tokyo (PINA Nius Online): Pacific Islands delegates today flew home from a major conference on the Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) generally happy, especially with pledges on bridging the digital divide. The declaration from the Asia Pacific Regional Conference preparing for December's World Summit on the Information Society included focus on extending the benefits of the information society. Kim Hak-Su, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), told journalists as it ended in Tokyo: "We have to work very hard. There is no magic formula but we should work hard." Mr Kim said there had been promises to help bridge the digital divide before. The problem often comes down to paying for things, he said. "We need the private sector to do many things." he said. "Governments cannot do everything anymore." A news release issued on behalf of Pacific Islands participants by Robert Guild, of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said there were "major successes for the Pacific islands." It said the Pacific caucus at the meeting was instrumental in ensuring that the Tokyo Declaration recognizes the special circumstances of small island developing states. It calls for tailored solutions for ICT development. Pacific island delegates also gained recognition for regional priorities in universal access through rural telecenters, distance learning, and tele-medicine, it said. The statement said the Tokyo conference adopted an Asia-Pacific declaration to the global summit in Geneva that identified for priority action: ? Infrastructure development, including universal access to information and communication technology in rural and remote areas; ? Preserving linguistic and cultural diversity; ? Developing human resources; ? Establishing legal, regulatory and policy frameworks; ? Ensuring balance between intellectual property rights and public interest; ? Enhancing security of ICTs; ? Fostering partnerships and mobilising resources. Pacific islands delegates were also successful in having a report from a full-day Pacific consultation in Tokyo released as an official conference document. The Pacific consultation was entitled ※Pacific Islands and the WSIS: ICTs for Development: Resources, Needs and Opportunity§. It examined the Pacific islands regional experience with ICTs for development in island countries. It also prepared delegates to ensure that Pacific island concerns and issues are adequately addressed in the global declarations and action plans. Delegations including representatives of governments, civil society, and the private sector attended from a majority of Pacific islands countries. The Pacific event was supported by the Global Knowledge Partnership, the Foundation for Development Cooperation, the Sasakawa Pacific Island Nations Fund, the Center for Global Communications, the World Bank's infoDev program, and the Asian Development Bank. ESCAP's Mr Kim told journalists: "We need more money and more discussion but Tokyo has set the direction. "The direction is right and WSIS could be important because political commitment is also important." The Tokyo conference is one of a number being held around the world to get regional input for the World Summit in Geneva in December. Geneva will be followed up with a second summit in Tunis in 2005. Representatives of 48 countries, 21 international organizations, 53 private sector entities and 116 NGOs discussed issues related to the information society. They debated the Tokyo Declaration, which will now go forward to a preparatory meeting in Geneva next month. The lack of awareness of the need for information security was recognized as a weakness for the Asia-Pacific region. The need for greater awareness of cybercrime and cyberterrorism was recognized alongside equal and fair access to information technology. On copyright, the declaration recognized the "vital role" that intellectual property rights play in innovation in software, e-commerce and related areas. But it also noted the need to strike a fair balance between such rights and the interests of users. Said Yoshio Tsukio, vice minister in Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, which was one of the conference organisers: "I think the big issues that need to be tackled are intellectual property rights and information security." ? The deregistration of NGOs from Taiwan from the Tokyo conference followed continuing protests by the Chinese Government delegation. China regards Taiwan as a renegade island province. - PINA Nius.


From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 01/17/2003

Telecom Meetings Bring Island Issues to the Fore

Honolulu (Pacific Magazine):Two major Information and Communications Technology meetings are taking place in Honolulu. The Pacific Telecommunications Council*s annual Hawaii conference got under way Sunday, Jan. 19. The PTC 2003 meeting had about 1,400 attendees from around the world. The annual event has for some years been the place of choice for telecom and IT people to meet, network and get up-to-date information on new technologies and regulatory issues. The Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association had its own meeting on Sat. 19, with about 100 attendees from government, private sector enterprises and academia. Stu Davies, the president of PITA and CEO of Telecom Cook Islands Ltd., was enthusiastic about PITA*s progress over the last year. Davies was especially proud of the Pacific Islands impact on the recently-concluded World Summit on the Information Society meeting in Tokyo. ※They had the word &Asia* in their program, but not the word &Pacific,* and we were able to impress on them the unique telecom needs of small island countries.§ The Islands voice was persuasive enough to get &Asia and the Pacific* in the wording of the final Tokyo communiqu谷. At the Honolulu meeting, PITA delegates looked at the telecom situation in the region from the point of view of operating in ※a post-deregulation era.§ Bill Withers, of the International Telecommunications Union presented findings from the ITU*s Pacific regional office on new ways of doing pricing studies and comparing rates for various services in Island countries. Maui Stanford, of the French Polynesia telecommunications agency OPT talked about his region*s satellite-based bandwidth situation and the fact that 90 percent of the French Polynesia population is on just six main islands. There is also serious consideration of an undersea cable installation linking Tahiti with Hawaii where it could patch into major trans-Pacific optical cable lines. Mark Yoeman, CEO of Samoa Tel, talked about the challenges of undertaking the privatization of previously government-operated telcoms. Samoa Tel is undertaking improvements in customer service and Yoeman told PITA attendees that part of his company*s business strategy would be to make agreements with local merchants to provide a variety of telecom services at various commercial sites. Yoeman said that Samoa currently has a ※teledensity§ of 6.5 phones (per 100 population) and said Samoa Tel has a current target of teledensity of 15. Major themes in discussion at both the PITA and PTC meetings were: the digital divide, what one speaker called ※the right to a dial tone;§ or the right of every citizen to access information. Technical strategies for delivering higher ※bandwidth§ were another theme. Alan Ward, managing director of IntelSat Australia and Jan Wendt, IntelSat*s regional director for the Asia-Pacific, pointed out to PITA members that satellite coverage of the Pacific region, which used to be spotty at best, has now improved substantially. Davies and Fred Christopher, PITA*s manager and only staff member, announced plans for their annual general meeting, to be held in Suva, Fiji, April 7-8. There will also be a trade show in conjunction with the general meeting running from April 8-11. For more information on all PITA activities, check the Web site at: www.pita.org.fj. 每Pacific Magazine/PINA Nius.


From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 01/20/2003

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