Spring 2007 Issue17
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training
Chief Editor:  Zhang Zhun
Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
  Top Ten E-government Countries 2007 Ranked by Wasada University
EU €1.2bn for IT Research in 2007
500 UK Government Websites Face the Axe and Another 370 Also Up for Possible Chop
US Government Launches New Business.Gov Website to Help Businesses Meet Federal Compliance
China's Blogging Population Reaches 20 Million
Republic of Korea Joins ITU to Strengthen ICT Capacity in Asia and Pacific
Korea's Electronic Procurement System to Go Abroad
Japan Govt Eyes Online Data Collection
E-Procurement in Government of Andhra Pradesh,India
Australia Releases Broadband Blueprint
 
  ITU and GSMA Join Forces to Boost Mobile Access in Developing Countries
UNDP,IBM and Oracle to Help Asia-Pacific Countries Create Strategies and Policies for Adopting Open Computing Standards
EUROPE: EU Data Retention Laws 'Too Costly'for Telcos
EU Challenges New German Telecom Laws
Russian Federation Government Approved Amendments to the Charter of the Universal Postal Union
UK Minister and Experts Announce Major Progress in First Year of Transformational Government Strategy
UK PCC to Regulate Newspaper Websites'Audio-Visual Material
NORTH AMERICA: US New,Tougher Sentences for Internet Crimes Against Children
US National Council Calls for Legislation to Prohibit Telecommunications Discrimination for People with Disabilities
US Net Neutrality,Broadband Taxes Top House Tech Agenda
 
  CHINA: New Rule to Curb Internet IPR Breaches
China to Launch 3G Project Stably in 2007
Publicity Head Stresses Role of Internet
President Hu Jintao Asks Officials to Better Cope with Internet
China's Digital Cable TV Operators Required Providing 6 Analog Channels
3T Net Passes the Acceptance Check
JAPAN: Japan,Vietnam Agree to Boost Cooperation on IT
SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Spend 467.3 Billion Won on IT Development
Korea Plans to Spend over 100 Bil. This Year on Nurturing IT
 
  MALAYSIA: Government Adopts Neutral Technology Platform Policy
Government Signals Crackdown on Bloggers
PHILIPPINES: CICT Set to Release Philippines'ICT Roadmap
GSIS to Clarify E-Card Policy During Retirees'Assembly
Lower-cost RP Internet Exchange Proposed
THAILAND: ASC to Probe Thaksin Government's Telecoms Policy
 
  INDIA: Hughes Plans to Set Up 1000 Rural ICT Kiosks
State Govt. Releases Draft IT Policy in Kerala,India
RBI Plans to Offer Banking Services with SIM Cards
Govt. Plans to Implement ICT Policy in Puducherry India
E-Logistics,TCS,Indian Railways Plan to Develop Software to Track Trains Online
India Plans to E-Connect 20 African Countries
Bank of India Will Establish E-Grama Centres in Karnataka (India)
NEPAL: Government Prepares E-Governance Master Plan
Nepal Plans to Become E-Nepal
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Telecommunication Ministry Prepares Proposals on Tax and Custom Legislation
IRAQ: Government Closes Iraqi Television Station
KAZAKHSTAN: Technological Development Strategy to Be Worked Out
UZBEKISTAN: ICTP,Tashkent University Issues Manual on IT
 
  AUSTRALIA: Rule Change for Fan Phone-Cams
'Ipod'Law Passed
ACCC Issues Discussion Paper on Licences for New Digital Television Services
Ruddock Holds Firm on SMS Tap Laws
Bill Would Require Sex Offenders to Register Online Information
ISPs Will Play Ball on Speeds
 
  Document Collaboration Inefficiencies Waste Up to 25% of Staff Time: Butler Group
Public Sector IT Spend to Surge in 2007: Report
NORTH AMERICA: US Study Ranks Over 11,000 Government Websites
ASIA: UAE Dubai E-Governance Draws Bold Strategy for 2007
EUROPE: E-Justice - Cross-Border Use of IT in the Justice Sector
'Quiet Revolution'Stirring in Ireland E-Government
UK Government Portal Goes Mobile
UK Glasgow Saves 9 Million Through Eprocurement
Winners Announced in UK E-government National Awards 2006
UK Torfaen Council Uses Mobile Technology to Transform Public Services
NORTH AMERICA: US Elections Commission Toughens E-Voting Standards
US E-Government Sites Stagnant
 
  CHINA: Online Gov't Portals Improve Transparency
Government Complaints Website Opened
Gov't Information Office Opens Website
Shenzhen's Cyber Police Net 6,000 Calls
China Provides Access to ID Database to Curb Fraud
JAPAN: Gov't to Open New Website for English Translation of Japanese Laws
Ministry Web Site to Put Child Safety First
New Govt Web Site Set to Help Shoppers,Struggling Retailers
SOUTH KOREA: New Web Site Tells Pay at 295 Public Institutions
Electronic Government System to Replace Old Paper Cards
Gov't to Tackle Incompatibility Issue Between Vista and Korean Websites
MONGOLIA: E-Governance to Be Supported
Mongolia to Roll Out New Customs Platform
 
  INDONESIA: E-tendering Will Improve Transparency,Official Says
RP Ranks Poorly in ICT Index
MALAYSIA: Initial Phase of E-judiciary Launched
Malaysia Still Slow in E-Governance Initiatives
ePerolehan Targets RM10b Volume by 2010
PHILIPPINES: GSIS to Issue New,More Improved Ecard to Members
EV Online: The Road to E-Government in Eastern Visayas
BOC to Form National Electronic ¡®Single Window' Group
SINGAPORE: Website Launched for Singaporeans to Give Views on 2007 Budget
New Helpline Launched to Offer Advice to Migrant Workers
Public Gives Budget Feedback at REACH Website
VIET NAM: E-customs System Ready in 2008
State to Revamp Financial IT Systems
 
  BANGLADESH: Govt. Promotes ICT4D Project
INDIA: New E-Project,Agrisnet for Farmers
Online Petition Filing System Launched in Krishnagiri,(India)
Haryana Vigilance Bureau Launches the Website Against Corruption in India
State Government Introduces Online Monitoring System in Orissa,India
MP,Chattisgarh (India) Initiate E-Procurement Project in Their Departments
Indian Government Plans to Computerise Employment Exchange
OERC Becomes E-Commission for Consumer's Benefits of India
Kerala Govt. Launches Online Asset Filling System
Legal Information Institute Launches Web Portal in India
GAIL Launches E-Tendering System in India
PAKISTAN: PTA to Establish 400 Telecentres in Rural Areas
 
  IRAN: TCI Will Extend Cellphone Services to 8 Countries
KAZAKHSTAN: Technology Park to Be Created in South Kazakhstan
Old Turkish Inscriptions Transferred to Electronic Form in Kazakhstan
TAJIKISTAN: The Challenge of E-Government
UZBEKISTAN: Political Parties Encouraged to Build Their Websites
Centre for Electronic Governance to be Created
 
  AUSTRALIA: Phone Connection and Fault Repair Remains Strong
Interim Determinations and Reasons in Two Line Sharing Service Telecommunications Arbitrations
Centrelink on the Job
Feds Adjust to Skills Shortage
Medicare off Limits Without Smartcard
NEW ZEALAND: System Promises Better Comms During Disaster Response
 
  Next Generation Enterprise Information Management Solution
Cisco Pledges M investment for ICT-related Microcredit Financing in Developing Countries
E-commerce to Gain Momentum in 2007 Predicts Hybris
Nokia,Motorola Top Cell Makers
Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design
ASIA: A Promising Land for ICT
eMusic Eyeing Asia After Strong European Launch
IP Telephony Carrier Market Strong in Asia-Pacific Through 2011,Says Research Firm
EUROPE: Multinational Companies Leaving UK over Taxes
UK IT Recruitment Reaches Its Peak: Local Authorities See Budgets Stabilise
NORTH AMERICA: E*Trade Anticipates Strong '07 Results
US Gates Foundation Expands Web Access Program
 
  CHINA: Approve Another 5 National Software Export Bases
Hong Kong Ready to Launch 3G
Cisco Invests $50 Million in Chinese Communications Firm
Beijing to Open Online Hotel-booking Center for 2008 Olympics
Online Spending Increases
China Mobile to Buy Majority Stake in Millicom's Pakistan Unit
Sources: Microsoft to Set Up MSN Center in China
Yearning for E-Commerce in China
JAPAN: Webmoney to Supply E-money System to HMV
Gov't to Promote Telecom Tech Overseas
Internet Initiative Japan Invests in DreamArts
Online Auctions to Refill Tax Coffers
SOUTH KOREA: To Launch Commercial Service of Internet TV
Medical Tourism Could Be Next Local Attraction
IT Beats Effects of Currency
 
  INDONESIA: RI Mulls New Broadcasting Technology
Microsoft Defends Multimillion Dollar Deal with RI Government
New Website Aims to Boost Business
MALAYSIA: ICT Market Sees 12% Growth This Year
Pahang to Start Tech Park in Gambang
PHILIPPINES: Zamboanga to Become Major Hub for ICT
SEAIR Expands Online Ticketing Services,Expects More Traffic
SINGAPORE: IDA,Cisco Expanding Partnership in Internet Protocol Networking in Singapore
OCBC Offers Mobile Banking Platform for Greater Convenience
Singapore Gov't Funds Mobile Game Developers
Small Online Businesses Get Boost with New Payment Scheme
VIET NAM: E-commerce Can't Grow Without E-transactions
 
  BANGLADESH: D.Net Offers Lady-info Programme in Rural Bangladesh
Bangladesh Gets IP VPNs
INDIA: Andhra Pradesh Government Ties with MIT for Open Source Software
IT Exports to Touch $31b in '06-07,Says Nasscom
Nasscom to Set Up Rs100-crore Fund for IT Innovation
SRI LANKA: Dialog Pilots WiMAX Service
NEPAL: NT Cuts Internet Tariffs by Up to 83%
PAKISTAN: 'Appearing on IT's World Map'
Modern Telecom Facilities for Northern Areas
Ufone Expands Network in Rural Punjab And NWFP
 
  IRAN: Tupolev Technical Center Planned
Electronic Certificate-Issuing Center Operational
Free SIM Cards After 40m Subscribers
Progress Linked to IT
Call for Rapid Cellphone Sector Progress
UZBEKISTAN: Around 4,000 Cases of Using Mobile-Phones While Driving Recorded
 
  AUSTRALIA: Feds Hope for Spectrum Bonanza
Majors Crank Up Web Wars
Minister Welcomes National 3G Network Investment
State Prepares for CBDs to Go Wireless
Fairfax Tries to Crash News'Adelaide Party
Startups Aim to Use Web Conveniences to Make Some Aspects of Business Less Work
Mobiles,Lower Tax and IT Create Gloss
Watchdog Attacks ISP Contracts
ABC to Create Digital Earner
Exchanges Begin Systems Merger
NEW ZEALAND: ACP,O'Reilly Team in NZ Web War
 
  ASIA: To Drive Home Network Growth
EUROPE: Agreement on a Single EU Hotline Number for Missing Children
Spain's Basque Country Achieves Its Broadband Dreams
Romania Expands Its Information Society
UK GGP Community Information Portal Boosts Local Services
UK Issues 10 Millionth Oyster Card
Digitising Five Centuries of UK Life
 
  CHINA: Digital Divide Between Urban,Rural Areas to Be Bridged
Chinese 3G Standard Finds Support
CNNIC Published "The Survey Report on Chinese Instant Message Market 2006"
Macao to Launch Studio City Project
Guangzhou Aims to Become Digital City
Beijing to Set Up Information Databank to Stop Marriage Cheats
More Than 10 Mln Chinese Subscribe to Digital TV
Survey: Chinese Youth Prefer Internet Surfing for Fun
Digital Map to Provide 3D View of Downtown
12 Websites in HK Win Merit Awards
JAPAN: Hotels to Get Fire Alert E-mail Software
NEC Recalls 15,000 Desktop Computers Because of Fire Risk
News Portal Site Involving 52 Japanese Newspaper Firms to Open Sunday
Emergency Info in 6 Foreign Languages to Go Online
52% Online; 33% Internet Holdouts
SOUTH KOREA: Web Site Will Serve Foreign Investors
High-Speed Internet Population Exceeds 14 Million
Switching Internet Service to Get Easier in New Year
Personal U-Learning Terminals to Be Piloted Next Year
Damaged Underseas Data Cable Snarls Operations of Wired Korea
Keyword Service to Make Mobile Surfing Easier
Korean Internet Users Grow in January Amid Wide Digital Divide
MONGOLIA: E-professional Control to Be Introduced
 
  INDONESIA: Eye-Scanning Service to Ease Airport Traffic
3G Revolution Spurs Content Innovation and Growth
PHILIPPINES: CA Phils. Promotes Computer Literacy,Brings IT Expertise to the Community
Cebu as Animation Hub Seen
SINGAPORE: Free Wireless@SG Launches 1 Dec 2006,One Month Ahead of Schedule
NTU Launches School of Communication and Information in Honour of the Late Wee Kim Wee
SingTel Rolls Out New Integrated Service Based on Internet Protocol Network
Govt to Introduce Medical Standards Enabling Info-Sharing of Patients'Records
MALAYSIA: MDeC Promotes Technopreneur as Career Choice Among ICT Graduates
 
  BANGLADESH: Tribal Community Finds a Voice Through ICTs
Cellphone Subscription to Reach 60m by 2011
INDIA: E-Learning Campaign for Kerala Prisoners
District Courts to Go Online
Indian Adopts E-Ticketing System
Drishtee Offers E-Health Initiatives in Rural Bihar,India
Online Water Bill Payment in Hyderabad,India
E-Policing System in Nagpur,India
E-Shishu Project Takes IT Skills into Schools of Orissa,India
E-Payment Solutions in Airports
SHCIL Launches E-Stamping Project in India
 
  IRAN: Cellphone Production Begins
Fixed Telephone SMS Service Planned
 
  AUSTRALIA: Govt Pursues National Identity Card
NT Schools to Trial $100 Laptop
Pollies Get Bush Broadband Push
Telstra Seeks $600m for Broadband Plan
E-Passports Notch 1.4m
Fires Heat Power Debate
Unis First to Try Low-Cost Assessment Tool
National Do Not Call Register Operator Announced
Next G,Overhaul on Track ¨C Telstra
Crucial ID Card Systems Lagging
 
  Security Threats Challenge Communications Future
Mobile Phone Lifeline for World's Poor
EUROPE: EU Speaks Out on European Data Protection Issues
EU's"Safer Internet Day"
Belarus 430 Hi-tech Crimes Disclosed in 2006
Threat to Online Communities in UK
New British System Combats Online Grooming and Cyber Bullying
NORTH AMERICA: US PNC Financial Helping Customers Fight Online Thieves
US FCC Proposes Nationwide Broadband Interoperable Public Safety Network
 
  CHINA: Public Warned of Internet Risks in Guarding State Secrets
Copyright Alliance Formed to Fight Piracy
China to Crack Down on Illegal Online Broadcasters
China Reports Soaring Online Racketeering,Declining Porn Sites
Beijing Olympic Organizers Vow to Punish Online Spoof of Olympic Symbols
Man Detained over Online Donation Fraud
China Pulls the Plug on Internet Pirates
JAPAN: Gov't Considers Copyright Law Change in Favor of Web Search Engines
T-SS to Release Graphics Copyright Protection Solution for Windows Vista
Illegal Net Access Highest Since 2000
Customer Data Stolen from Japan Post Worker
 
  INDONESIA: Internet Security Committee to Start Work Next March
Open-Source System Sought for SMEs,Ministries
Intellectual-Property Rights Still Not Secure in RI
MALAYSIA: Cyber Threat to Online Banking
PHILIPPINES: S'Pore-Based Security Solutions Distributor Puts Up Local Office
SINGAPORE: Infocomm Enterprise Programme to Develop Sector-Wide Projects and Create Intellectual Property
S'pore Good Role Model in Managing Software Piracy Problem
 
  INDIA: Hackers Target 4,000 Websites
India Was Hacker's Paradise in'06
iPods,MP3 Players Are Data Thieves'Latest Tools
5200 Websites Defaced Last Year
PAKISTAN: Death,Life Imprisonment Penalties for Cyber Crimes Suggested
IT Tribunals to Probe E-crimes
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Public TV Website Attacked by Armenian Hackers
IRAN: Anti-Smuggling HQ to Launch Information Website
UZBEKISTAN: Digital Security to Audit Information Security at AGMK
2nd Edition of Development Aid Coordination Platform E-newsletter Launched
 
  AUSTRALIA: NAB Fails Net Balancing Act
Card Bidders Sign Up for Secrecy
Banks Upgrade Web Security
NEW ZEALAND:Broadband Users Face 100 Attacks a Day
Spammers Face War on Two Fronts
 
  7th Global Symposium for Regulators
European Symposium to Study E-Government and the Web
Internet Governance Forum to Hold Stock-taking Session
ITU TELECOM Forum Explores Digital Society
The First International Conference on ICT Solutions for Socio- Economic Development
eHealth Asia 2007
Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries
 
  CHINA: Telecom World 2006 Opens in Hong Kong,China's Top Legislator Delivers Speech
'China Wind'Sweeps ITU Expo
ITU Youth Forum Calls for Equal Information Access
CNNIC and NIDA Jointly Held the First "Naming Services Symposium"
 
  INDONESIA: High-Tech Management Conference Scheduled
Expo to Be Held to Bridge Digital Divide
Bali Spirit Promotes Media and Technology for Peace
PHILIPPINES: Global Sourcing Exec to Speak at E-Services 2007
23rd Asia Pacific Advanced Network Conference Set Jan. 22-26 in Manila
SINGAPORE: iFuture Exhibition Gives Glimpse of Futuristic Technology
Singapore's First Infocomm Reality Game Show Launched to Strengthen Talent Attraction Efforts for Infocomm Industry
 
  INDIA: MP Govt. Provides IT Training for Tribal Students
10th National E-Governance Conference in Bhopal,India
 
  IRAN: Seminar on IT-Based Tourism
UZBEKISTAN: UNDP Supports the Second ICT Training Course in the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament
National Electronic Media Association Holds Media Forum
Second Intl Mini-Technologies Fair to Be Held in Tashkent Early May
 
  AUSTRALIA: Apprentices Logging On
Unis Face New Web Challenge
     
 
 
 

Top Ten E-government Countries 2007 Ranked by Wasada University

The Waseda University Institute of E-Government,which has been ranking development of E-Government in 32 selected countries for last three years (2005,2006,2007),has released its 2007 World E- Government Ranking. A unique feature of this ranking is that it is the only ranking worldwide which takes into account the status of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). A total of 26 indicators were used to evaluate six sectors that constitute an ideal E-Government. Top Ten E-government Countries 2007: 1. U.S.A.(67.18),2. Singapore (66.60),3. Canada (62.59),4. Japan (61.44),4. Korea (61.44),6. Australia(60.86),7. Finland (59.72),8. Taiwan (58.00),9. U.K. (56.85),and 10.Sweden (55.70). Note: Figures in parentheses denote standard score.


From http://www.obi.giti.waseda.ac.jp/ 01/29/2007

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EU €1.2bn for IT Research in 2007

The EU has allocated a record budget to developing technologies in its bid to build a competitive European research area. Keeping ahead of the pack is essential for Europe where cutting-edge technologies are concerned,if it is to meet society's demands and boost industrial competitiveness. Funding for modern technologies is therefore the largest beneficiary of the EU's seventh framework programme (FP7)."Europe is finally putting resources and efforts behind its words when it comes to ICT research and innovation",said Viviane Reding,commissioner for information society and media,welcoming the €1.2bn investment for 2007.The new framework programme far outstrips its predecessors in this particular field,with €9.1bn for 2007-13 as compared to €3.6bn under the earlier programmes. If optimism is in the air for research,this is also thanks to the scientists. Almost 50 have been nominated for the Descartes Prizes for research and science communication in recognition of their significant discoveries and for making their knowledge accessible to all.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 02/05/2007

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500 UK Government Websites Face the Axe and Another 370 Also Up for Possible Chop

More than 500 government websites are for the chop as part of a major review of the public sector's online offering. In a move which the government claimed will "benefit tens of millions of users",only 26 of the websites examined so far in its review are certain to be retained,with at least 551 to go. Of the 951 websites across 16 central government departments reviewed so far,90 have already closed and a further 461 are planned to be closed. Of the remaining sites,374 will be reviewed by June 2007,with the aim of further rationalisation. Further discussions will take place over the next few months in order to produce detailed implementation plans and extend the review to executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies,the government said. Useful info from the closed sites will be transferred to the www.direct.gov.uk and www.businesslink.gov.uk websites. The cull is the "natural next step" as the public shifts its interest to 'supersites'such as the Directgov portal,the government said,but minister for transformational government Pat McFadden insisted the quality of the service offered will not be affected by these changes. The move was revealed in the Transformational Government report published today,highlighting some of the government's technology successes. For example,Transport for London has saved 30 per cent on its human resources spend in the first year of operating its shared service centre,while the NHS Shared Business Service has saved 108 health trusts an average of 34 per cent of the cost of processing finance transactions through shared finance services. It is on track to deliver savings of more than ¡ê220m. The 'Government IT Profession'initiative - aimed at putting technology advisers on a par with policy,legal,statistical or economic advisers - has also gained 7,000 members since it was launched in July 2005 and offers training,career development and a framework of standards for IT staff. (by Steve Ranger)


From http://www.silicon.com/ 01/10/2007

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US Government Launches New Business.Gov Website to Help Businesses Meet Federal Compliance

The U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with twenty-one other federal agencies has recently created a one-stop resource to provide business with all the compliance information that they need. This partnership,known as Business gateway,forms part of the Presidential e-government initiative to utilize technology to improve how the federal government services citizens and businesses. Since each federal agency organizes compliance information on their websites differently,the agencies have partnered to provide the Business.gov website as the central gateway for Government services and information to help the nation's businesses with their operations. The Office of Management and Budget estimated in the 2003 fiscal year,it took businesses and citizens approximately 8.2 billion hours and $320 billion filling out paperwork and complying with government regulation. The web site makes it easier to find information on taxes,immigration laws,workplace safety,environmental requirements and other regulations that can present challenges for all types of businesses. A central feature of the website is a unique vertical search engine,which intelligently locates,organizes and retrieves compliance assistance information published on Federal agency websites.

Businesses may search for compliance assistance information across all Federal agencies,or they may search within a specific business area (e.g. International Trade),or within a specific industry (e.g. Agriculture).The streamlining of all compliance information on the web represents a major step forward for helping companies minimize business expenses in the form of time savings and cost avoidance in their compliance efforts. According to the research conducted by the US Small Business administration,businesses with less than 20 employees spend an average of $7,647 to stay in compliance and these very small firms spend 45% more per employee than larger firms to comply with federal regulations. "The end of goal of the website is to cut through the red tap and make it easier for businesses to do business" said SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston.While the Business.gov website was originally launched in 2004,the purpose and focus of the website was on providing information on starting,growing and managing small businesses. The business community has encouraged the development and implementation of online tools to reduce the compliance burden and help avoid costly mistakes for small firms,and welcomes the launching of the new Business.gov. "The website is an essential tool in the move to make the regulatory process more understandable and accessible. It will serve the twin purposes of increasing compliance and reducing the burdens faced by America's businesses" said Andrew Langer,Manager of Regulatory Policy,National Federation of Independent Businesses.


From http://www.ibls.com/ 12/27/2006

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China's Blogging Population Reaches 20 Million

The number of Internet bloggers in China reached 20.8 million at the end of 2006,with more than three million web-users regularly posting their writings,state press said. Web logs in China took 101 million hits in 2006,Xinhua news agency said,citing the China Internet Survey Report 2007."Web logs have gradually developed into a new trend in Internet information communication,many public figures as well as ordinary people use web blogs ... to express their thoughts," the report quoted Huang Chengqing of the China Internet Association as saying. The government's concern over the rise of the blog is behind its decision to consider new rules that may require all users to register with their real names before blogging,the report said. "The real names of bloggers will be kept private as long as they do no harm to the public interest," the report said. "If they break the law,they will be held responsible. "The survey report said Chinese web surfers spent an average of 170 yuan (22 dollars) every month on the Internet,including the costs of web access and online shopping and games.

This compares with 150 yuan in 2005,it said. China's online consumer market expanded by 47 percent in 2006 over the previous year,following "explosive growth" in online advertising,the report said,without providing figures. At the end of 2006,China boasted 132 million online users,up 19 percent from the previous year,earlier reports said.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 01/11/2007

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Republic of Korea Joins ITU to Strengthen ICT Capacity in Asia and Pacific

Geneva,20 February 2007 ¡ª ITU and the Pusan National University,Republic of Korea,reached agreement on implementing the Technology Awareness Training Programme. As a partner of ITU's Centre of Excellence (CoE) Network in the Asia and Pacific region,Pusan University will take the lead in implementation in cooperation with ITU and other partners,in particular Japan,Thailand and Viet Nam. Pusan National University will provide the space,facilities and resources,including key experts,required for successfully taking the programme forward. Courses will be jointly developed with CoE partners,which will focus on broadband wireless,planning for next-generation networks,Internet Protocol and convergence. Awareness will contribute to making informed decisions on selecting the most appropriate technologies for deployment in the region as well as help in bridging the digital divide. ITU will provide seed funds for the hiring of experts and their travel for a period of 18 months and will monitor and evaluate the programme upon its completion. The agreement was signed on 15 February 2007 by the President of Pusan National University,Mr Kim Inn-Se,M.D.,Ph.D. and Mr Sami Al-Basheer Al-Morshid,Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau,in the presence of ITU Secretary-General,Dr Hamadoun I. Tour¨¦. The overall aim of the Asia and Pacific CoE project is to build a self-sufficient and sustainable mechanism in the Asia Pacific region to strengthen ICT capacity through Human Resources Development. Apart from Technology Awareness Training provided by this CoE,other programmes include Policy and Regulation,Business Management,Spectrum Management and Rural ICT Development.


From http://www.itu.int/ 02/20/2007

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Korea's Electronic Procurement System to Go Abroad

The government is out to export its online e-procurement system. Kim Yong-min,administrator of the Public Procurement Service revealed Sunday (Jan.21) that he is going on a 13-day trip to Kazakhstan,Azerbaijan,Georgia and Armenia starting from Monday (Jan.22-Feb.2) to strengthen international cooperation in the field of procurement and export Korea's procurement policy. Korea began discussing mutual cooperation with the above countries at an international electronic procurement workshop in Seoul held jointly with the World Bank last November. Kim plans to hold a series of talks with financial ministers and procurement officials from the four countries and exchange Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). The memoranda will include prior feasibility studies of electronic procurement systems,an invitation to procurement officials from the related countries to receive education and training,provision of technological consultations and information,an agreement to provide information to improve the administration system for procurement. "Korea has concentrated only on exporting procurement policy to Southeast Asian nations. I hope this trip will be the start of extending our procurement policy to Europe and South Asia." Kim will be accompanied by officials from the Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency in charge of exporting Korea's electronic government policy and other related experts. Korea Online E-procurement system,or KONEPS as it is sometimes called,is Korea's largest online shopping mall for public organizations and features complete online procurement procedures and processing.


From http://www.korea.net 12/20/2007

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Japan Govt Eyes Online Data Collection

The government has formulated a policy to introduce a full-fledged online option for surveys such as the national census and industrial statistics survey starting in fiscal 2007,to cut costs and raise the rate of collection,government sources said Thursday. The rate of collection has been declining due to increased public awareness of privacy protection. The government hopes to see the collection rate improved and the costs reduced through the measure. The online response for the national census is targeted for 2010,when the next census is scheduled to be undertaken. Only about 10 percent of about 400 governmental surveys currently accept responses online. They include statistics of corporations and basic surveys on schools. Responses for other surveys are collected through interviews or by mail. However,the increase in condominiums with automatically locking entry systems and other reasons have led to an increase in people who declined to respond to the national census when it was taken in 2005. The number of households that failed to return the census sheet rose to 4.4 percent in that year from 1.7 percent in 2000. Those who have returned their answers in the mail have called for the introduction of an online system which they said would be easier than filling out the answers on paper and mailing them.

To prevent personal information from being leaked,the government plans to send out a census sheet with an individual identification code and a password in the post to those who respond using the online system. Respondents would use the identification code and password to type their answers into a designated home page. The government plans to spend about five years from this autumn to introduce the online response system for all major surveys in principle. Interviews and postal responses to surveys will continue after the introduction of the online system to take into account those respondents,including elderly people,who do not use computers. As a sideline to the introduction of the online system,the government plans to integrate statistical computer systems currently developed separately by officials in charge of surveys at each ministry and agency. Through the measure,the government hopes to cut the system's maintenance and management costs. The savings achieved through integrating the systems,the introduction of the online survey and reduced postage is expected to reach about 1.7 billion yen annually.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp 02/24/2007

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E-Procurement in Government of Andhra Pradesh,India

The Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) has implemented many statewide e-Government applications since the year 2000,when the Central Government of India enacted the IT Act of 2000 to provide legal recognition to electronic transactions. As a part of these initiatives,GoAP has set up an E-Procurement Marketplace,linking government departments,agencies and local bodies with their vendors. The main objectives of the e-Procurement initiative are to: reduce the time and cost of doing business for both vendors and government; realize better value for money spent through increased competition and the prevention of cartel formation; standardize the procurement processes across government departments/agencies; increase buying power through demand aggregation; provide a single-stop shop for all procurements; allow equal opportunity to all vendors; bring transparency and ultimately reduce corruption.


http://web.worldbank.org/ 01/31/2007

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Australia Releases Broadband Blueprint

The Minister for Communications,Information Technology and the Arts,Senator Helen Coonan,today released a Broadband Blueprint to provide a national framework for the future of broadband in Australia. "It is essential for all levels of government and industry to adopt a strategic and coordinated approach to the rollout of scalable broadband infrastructure," Senator Coonan said. "With a number of commercial rollouts underway and several more proposed,and the Australian Government poised to make its largest ever investment in broadband infrastructure,it is timely that Australia adopts a clearly defined national approach to broadband." The Broadband Blueprint builds on the work of the National Broadband Strategy Implementation Group and was developed in consultation with State,Territory and Local Governments through the Online and Communications Council. The Minister also appointed an Industry Advisory Group to broaden the base of advice to the Government during the formation of the Blueprint. "The Australian Government recognises that broadband is a key contributor to Australia's future economic and social prosperity. The delivery of broadband is no longer optional. Rather,access to broadband infrastructure is critical for both the public and private sector to compete in a modern global economy.

"The private sector will continue to be the major driver of broadband investment. However,all levels of government must take responsibility for providing leadership and facilitating the delivery of broadband. "This Blueprint recognises that Australia's future broadband infrastructure will need to be fit-for-purpose and scalable to meet the needs and requirements of a wide range of different users." "For the Australian Government's part,the $1.1 billion Connect Australia package and the $2 billion Communications Fund will be used to invest in next generation broadband infrastructure,improve mobile phone coverage and rollout high speed backbones to support the health,research and education sectors. "Through the Broadband Blueprint,the Australian Government has invited all tiers of government to participate in the development of an implementation plan for investment in next generation broadband infrastructure,under the auspices of the Online and Communications Council," Senator Coonan said. "By working together we can ensure that Australia becomes a world leader in the effective use of broadband."


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 12/07/2006

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ITU and GSMA Join Forces to Boost Mobile Access in Developing Countries

Agreement reached during the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators¡ª ITU and the GSM Association agreed today to strengthen cooperation towards improved access to mobile phone services aimed especially at bridging the digital divide in least developed and developing countries.A Memorandum of Understanding was concluded by the Secretary-General of ITU,Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦,and Mr. Tom Phillips,Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs officer of the GSMA,during the meeting of the Global Symposium for Regulators currently taking place in Dubai. The agreement focuses on fostering the development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in least developed and developing countries. It stems from the overall objective of implementing the action lines of the World Summit on the Information Society,Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005,and the World Telecommunication Development Conference,Doha 2006."I am very pleased to announce this agreement with the GSM Association and I look forward to the collaboration in developing wireless access to connect the unconnected," said Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour¨¦ after the signing ceremony. "ITU is the leading United Nations agency specializing in ICT-related issues and represents a global forum for its 191 Member States and over 600 Sector members. GSMA represents a strong voice of the mobile industry and they are making real contributions towards increasing worldwide mobile penetration,including access in rural and underserved areas of the world. "Commenting on the partnership,Tom Phillips of the GSMA,said,"Mobile operators have long known the value of government policies that support private investment. Through this new relationship,operators hope to create a dialogue that will cut through today's hurdles and bottlenecks,creating new investment opportunities and integrating our members' commercial agenda closely with that of government." The GSM Association is a partner of ITU's Connect the World initiative,a global multi-stakeholder effort that encourages new projects and partnerships to bridge the digital divide.


From http://www.itu.int/ 02/06/2007

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UNDP,IBM and Oracle to Help Asia-Pacific Countries Create Strategies and Policies for Adopting Open Computing Standards

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),IBM and Oracle today announced a joint research initiative to help Asia-Pacific countries share and create strategies,blueprints and policies for adopting the right blend of open standards and technology services. The goal will be for more countries to develop universally compatible applications and networks to make internal and external government services and transactions more automatic,affordable and efficient. The UNDP Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (UNDP-APDIP) will facilitate the development of Government Interoperability Frameworks (GIFs). Many countries around the world have developed GIFs to guide the development of government-wide systems and policies that permit electronic transactions and data and information exchange to take place seamlessly across agencies and jurisdictions. Today,many e-Government initiatives show that new systems are very often developed from scratch at both central and local levels. New systems are developed with specifications and solutions that match goals and tasks relevant to a particular administration,but without adequate attention to surrounding government institutions and information and communications technology (ICT) systems. The result is a patchwork of ICT solutions that are not always compatible with each other,reduced efficiency and duplication of effort. UNDP-APDIP,IBM and Oracle,together with the International Open Source Network (IOSN),have teamed up to conduct a thorough review of how governments in the region and beyond are promoting efficient,government-wide sharing of information and data by focusing on automatic technology services provided by computing networks,rather than individual technologies.

For instance,this project will examine how existing GIFs are focused on a service-oriented architecture. The objective is to identify promising practices around interoperability,then document case studies of those practices in action,and ultimately develop and recommend guidelines. Over the next year,UNDP-APDIP will hold workshops to share experiences and findings of the project with interested groups,and publicly release studies and reports at various stages of the project. "UNDP believes that interoperability based on open standards reduces vendor lock-in and consequently reduces costs,ensures data and application longevity,and most importantly,simplifies technology for citizens and governments," said Shahid Akhtar,Programme Coordinator of UNDP-APDIP. "The governments involved in this exciting project have a unique opportunity to find out how they can make a real difference for their citizens," said Bob Sutor,IBM's Vice President of Open Source and Standards. "IBM is pleased to participate in this initiative,share what we know,and share what we have learned from others that have adopted a neutral and truly open approach to their computing infrastructure." "Oracle is pleased to join with UNDP-APDIP and IBM on this important initiative that will help ensure governments obtain maximal benefit from their investments in ICT systems," said Dr. Donald Deutsch,Oracle's Vice President of Standards Strategy and Architecture,"Open Standards provide the key foundation for interoperability of ICT systems and enable efficiency and innovation in enterprises of any size."


From http://topics.developmentgateway.org/ 12/19/2006

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EUROPE: EU Data Retention Laws'Too Costly'for Telcos

EU laws that mean service providers will need to retain communications data for the purposes of possible criminal investigation will place a huge burden on carriers,market watchers warn. The controversial measures,enacted to aid the fight against terrorism,would compel telecom firms to keep customer e-mail logs,details of internet usage and phone call records for up to two years. The content of messages isn't covered by the directive,which is designed to harmonise European laws. EU member states have until September 2007 to apply the directive into national laws. Opposition to the measures has thus far centered on privacy concerns. Critics argue that existing voluntary data retention provisions are sufficient. But cost,and who pays,is also a factor. The directive doesn't oblige member states to reimburse telecom companies for additional costs incurred in servicing law enforcement requests,a factor highlighted by market analysts Frost & Sullivan in a recent report on the impact of the directive on the telecoms sector. Service providers and operators need to adapt their systems by the time various national governments implement the European provisions on data retention as law. For example,call detail record (CDR) systems will need to be revamped to cope with the increase in communication and traffic data to be stored and managed. Importantly,service providers not previously obligated to retain data will now be governed by the EU Directive stipulations,Frost & Sullivan notes.

"Implementing solutions compliant with the EU Directive on Data Retention will result in an onerous burden on communications service providers and operators," said Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Fernando Elizalde. "The provisions of the EU Directive will apply not just to mobile and fixed telephony,but also to internet telephony,e-mail services and messaging services." Service providers will be obliged to respond to lawful requests from law enforcement agencies "without undue delay",however the legislation fails to clarify what this might mean in practice. "The EU Directive introduces the idea of 'without undue delay'as a criterion to measure service providers'responsiveness to requests from law enforcement agencies. However,it is not clear how long the delay can be -- interpretations of this criterion vary from minutes to a few hours," Elizalde added. Marie-Charlotte Patterson,vice president of corporate marketing at records compliance management firm AXS-One,said the need to keep records of millions of private e-mails or phone calls is hardly a new concept. Although the directive goes much further than keeping records purely for billing purposes,careful planning should help carriers to make the project as painless as possible. There might even be the possibility of using the data to market new services to customers,she added. "Telecommunication companies need to approach the new legislation in the right manner to ensure that the project meets the new regulatory directives,but also provides some potential value-add to both the customer and carrier. Key to this is understanding that accurate and timely access of historical records,and the ability to securely destroy records at the end of their retention period,are as important as retention. So only considering the retention and storage aspects of the requirements are not sufficient," she said.


From http://www.enn.ie/ 01/10/2007

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EU Challenges New German Telecom Laws

The European Commission launched legal action against Germany on Monday over a ¡®regulatory holiday' granted to Deutsche Telekom,which regulators fear will give the operator an unfair advantage over rivals. The European Commission has given Berlin 15 days to respond to its formal warning about a new telecommunications law,the first step of legal action under ¡®fast-track' procedures,instead of the usual two months. The European Union's executive arm says that the telecoms law,which went into effect on Saturday,effectively exempts a fast Internet access network that Deutsche Telekom is building from competition. EU regulators decided to take the action after repeated warnings about the so-called ¡®regulatory holiday' were ignored and German lawmakers went ahead and enacted it. ¡®I regret that Germany has chosen to ignore the Commission's concerns about this new telecom law despite several clear warnings from the Commission,' said EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding. ¡®The granting of regulatory holidays to incumbent operators is an attempt to stifle competition in a crucial sector of the economy,and in violation of the EU telecom rules in place since 2002.' Germany is building a fibre optic network that is supposed to cover 50 cities and expected to cost three billion euros (3.95 billion dollars).

The network is already up and running in 10 cities but Deutsche Telekom asked the government to allow it to block access to rivals during the first years of operation to help recoup its investment costs. ¡®In the commission's view,the German law,as now adopted,jeopardises the competitive position of Deutsche Telekom's existing competitors and makes it much harder for new competitors to enter German markets,' the EU executive said in a statement. Moreover,the commission said that law went against the wishes of the German Internet authority,or Bundesnetzagentur,which has also called on Deutsche Telekom to allow rivals to use the network. With no indication that Berlin intends to back down,the commission could seek a injunction or a fast-track case before the European Court of Justice. Along with Poland,Germany now faces the highest number of EU legal proceedings against it with six pending cases.


From http://www.newagebd.com/ 02/27/2007

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Russian Federation Government Approved Amendments to the Charter of the Universal Postal Union

The proposal to review the amending documents at a session of the Government was put forward by Russia's IT and Communications Ministry jointly with Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the remarks made in the course of the Government session by Minister for Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian Federation L.D. Reiman,the amendments are designed to improve the performance of the UPU governance system and operating procedures,and to render them more transparent. They also serve the interests of this country and are not at variance with Russian legislation. If and when approved by the Russian Government,the amending documents will be put before the State Duma of the Russian Federation for ratification. The Government of the Russian Federation appointed its spokesman for the process of amendment ratification by the chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation - State Secretary A.V.Maslov,who is deputy Minister for Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian Federation. The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is a UN specialized agency,with 191 member countries to date. The UPU was set up 9 October 1874. Russia is one of the 22 UPU founding members. The Union deals with issues bearing on the activities of international postal services,regulation,quality improvement,development of new services and study of bottlenecks in postal activities.


From http://eng.minsvyaz.ru/ 12/07/2006

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UK Minister and Experts Announce Major Progress in First Year of Transformational Government Strategy

The Government today launched its progress report on 'Transformational Government: enabled by technology'with the news that at least 551 government websites are to be cut to make access to information easier for citizens and businesses. Number of websites drastically reduced In a move that will benefit tens of millions of users,only 26 of the websites examined so far are certain to be retained by Government,while 551 will go. Information of continuing relevance from closed sites will transfer to http://www.direct.gov.uk and http://www.businesslink.gov.uk. The move is the natural next step for Government as citizens shift their interest to 'supersites'such as the Directgov and http://www.bbc.co.uk websites.

Complex worldwide operation The report is the first of its kind in Europe and sets out that transformation in government is a long-term endeavour involving tough challenges. John Suffolk,Government Chief Information Officer,said today: "We operate in over 140 countries,spend some ¡ê12billion a year across the whole public sector and run many of the world's largest computer systems. The DWP makes 13 millions benefits payments electronically every week - it's a complex operation.

Millions benefiting every day Use of Government IT has now reached a critical mass and ordinary citizens are at the heart of this new way of working. Learners have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of technology investment. One million primary school children now use e-learning in class each day and there is a three-fold improvement in the computer to pupil ratio. The Minister for Transformational Government,Pat McFadden,said today: "This report demonstrates how millions of people are benefiting from our use of technology everyday. We are dealing decisively with the proliferation of government websites by getting rid of more than 500. We are ensuring that the quality of our services will not be affected by these changes."

Major savings behind the scenes Hundreds of millions are being saved by successful IT projects that receive little public attention. A Ministry of Defence effort known as 'Project Home'has revolutionised everything from how staff share secure information,where they sit and how their teams are structured. Transport for London,meanwhile,has saved 30 per cent saved on human resources through a shared services centre. To build on this success over the long term the new Government IT Profession is going from strength to strength. More than 7,000 members have been recruited in its first full year.


From http://eng.minsvyaz.ru/ 12/07/2006

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UK PCC to Regulate Newspaper Websites'Audio-Visual Material

The chairman of the UK Press Complaints Commission has revealed that the press watchdog is to begin regulating audio-visual material on newspaper websites.In an interview for BBC News 24,the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) chairman,Sir Christopher Meyer,hailed the move to extend the watchdog's remit as a "major step forward." The PCC already regulates online editions of newspapers. During the interview,which was for the UK news channel's Straight Talk with Andrew Neil show,Sir Meyer explained: "The basic situation has been for some time that we regulate what's in print and we regulate the photo and the word on electronic versions of newspapers. And we have now persuaded the newspaper and magazine industry of the UK to agree also the principle of our regulating moving pictures and sound on newspaper's websites." He went on to confirm that the PCC intends to make an official announcement on the matter with further details in the next few weeks. (by Staff Writer)


From http://www.cbronline.com/ 01/22/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: US New,Tougher Sentences for Internet Crimes Against Children

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell released the final report of his Youth Internet Safety Task Force Thursday at an early afternoon press conference in Richmond. McDonnell was joined at the press conference by members of the Task Force,among them representatives of AOL,Capital One,Myspace,Microsoft,and other technology companies,as well as educators,parents,students,law enforcement officers and elected officials. The final report comes after six months of meetings by the Task Force,which consisted of a law enforcement working group,a parents and educators working group,and a technology partners working group. Speaking about the nearly 100-page report McDonnell noted,"This Task Force distinguished itself by the comprehensive nature of the analysis and proposed solutions. Thanks to the input from technology companies,law enforcement,educators and Virginia families,the proposals we are making today will help keep children safer online ... Reducing child solicitation,pornography,identity theft and other crimes on the Internet will help keep the information revolution vibrant,which is vital for Virginia's booming technology industry." McDonnell continued noting,"The Task Force found a significant need for greater parental involvement and awareness of the potential dangers for children online. Therefore the top recommendation of the Task Force is the creation of a sustained statewide education,awareness and media campaign."

Parents and kids must be more aware of online dangers and they must be equipped with safety solutions." McDonnell further remarked,"In addition to increasing Internet safety awareness,we are also proposing tough new sentences for those engaged in the production and financing of child pornography,and for those who unlawfully solicit children online. Finally,we have identified a number of changes in the law that will aid in the investigation of Internet crimes. I hope Virginians will read the report to learn more about the steps we are recommending to keep Virginia children safe on the Internet." Select Proposals of the Youth Internet Safety Task Force. Launch Statewide Media Campaign about Dangers of the Internet .Synopsis: The Attorney General should lead a statewide media campaign funded by public/private partnerships targeting parents and children to increase awareness among parents and children of the dangers posed by online predators,child pornographers and other criminals. To facilitate this effort an Advisory Board will be created to oversee the media campaign and all public awareness efforts. This Board will consist of public and private educators,concerned parents,students,Internet safety advocates,members of the faith-based community,state legislators,leaders in the technology industry,and law enforcement officials.

Reduce the Time Required for Law Enforcement to Obtain Information from Electronic Communication Providers Synopsis: Under current law,officers in other states must contact a Virginia law enforcement agency in order to obtain a search warrant for a Virginia ISP. Conversely,Virginia officers must locate officers in other states to execute search warrants on out-of-state ISPs. The end result is a bureaucratic challenge that increases time required for the search warrant to get to the ISP. This proposal will allow out-of-state search warrants to go directly to the ISPs and allow Virginia search warrants to go directly to ISPs in other states. Allow Courts to Issue Subpoenas for Out of State Electronic Communications Providers Synopsis: Federal law authorizes any "court of competent jurisdiction" to issue orders for Electronic Communication Providers located in the United States. Therefore it is recommended that Virginia Code ?19.2-70.3(B) be amended to allow courts to issue orders regarding subscriber information from Electronic Communication Providers located in or outside the Commonwealth.

Require Registration of E-mail Addresses and other online identities for Individuals on Sex Offender Registry. Synopsis: Virginia currently requires that convicted sex offenders register their physical and mailing address with the state Sex Offender Registry. This proposal will add the registration of all e-mail addresses and other online identities to this requirement. Virginia will be the first state in the country to require this registration. By doing so this will allow Virginia to pass information to social networking sites so that they can prevent any convicted sex offenders from communicating with minors. The penalties for failure to register,or false registration,will be the same as those for the physical and mailing address registration requirement. Enact Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Sexual Predators. Synopsis: The proliferation of child pornography and the ease with which sexual predators interact with children over the Internet are cause for concern. Sentencing disparities and the egregiousness of the offenses warrant statutory and mandatory minimum sentences. This proposal is to amend Virginia Code ?8.2-374.1 to include statutory and mandatory minimum sentences for production and financing of child pornography. In addition,it is proposed that Virginia Code ?8.2-374.3 be amended to include statutory and mandatory minimum sentences for online solicitation of children. These mandatory minimums should be different for offenses involving child victims below 15 years of age and those involving children 15 to 18 years of age.

Expand Statutory Forfeiture of Equipment Used in Child Exploitation Crimes. Synopsis: The Code of Virginia already provides for the forfeiture of moneys,proceeds and income to third parties from computer crimes as well as computer equipment,software and all personal property used in connection with computer crimes. Additionally,it provides for the seizure and forfeiture of all equipment utilized in the production,distribution,publication,sale,and possession with intent to distribute child pornography. However,forfeiture is not commonly allowed in possession of child pornography cases or online solicitation cases. The group recommends that the statute encompass forfeiture of assets used in these crimes. Prohibit Online Solicitation of Children Ages 15-18. Synopsis: The online solicitation statute,Virginia Code ?18.2-374.3,prohibits soliciting someone to engage in sexual conduct which would be a violation of ?8.2-370,Taking Indecent Liberties with Children. Section 18.2-370 lists certain sexual conduct and prohibits engaging in such conduct with a child less than 15 years of age. Thus,online solicitation of children between the ages of 15 and 18 for certain sexual conduct is permitted in Virginia. The Law Enforcement Work Group heard evidence that,according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,children ages 15 18 are the group most solicited by sexual predators over the Internet. The Virginia Code,in its current form,simply does not protect this age group. The Code should be amended to eliminate this omission.


From http://www.govtech.net/ 12/21/2006

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US National Council Calls for Legislation to Prohibit Telecommunications Discrimination for People with Disabilities

The National Council on Disability (NCD) last week released a policy paper calling on Congress and the Administration to end telecommunications and information services discrimination for people with disabilities. The Need for Federal Legislation and Regulation Prohibiting Telecommunications and Information Services Discrimination explores the need to adopt legislative and regulatory safeguards to guarantee equal access by people with disabilities to evolving high-speed broadband,wireless and Internet-based technologies. Market forces will not be sufficient to ensure such access,said NCD in a release. Rather,Congress,the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal agencies will need to step up to ensure that these communications technologies remain accessible to and usable by all Americans with disabilities. "Our nation already has in place a string of federal laws and regulations designed to guarantee various levels of access to telecommunications products and services," said NCD Chairperson John R. Vaughn. "But in addition to leaving gaps in coverage,these statutes are rapidly becoming outdated because the analog technologies upon which they were premised are being substituted with technologies that are digitally and Internet-based. As Congress,the FCC and other agencies take on the daunting task of defining regulatory measures that will govern the deployment of these next-generation communication technologies,they should include safeguards to ensure that people with disabilities will not be left behind."

Recommendations include: Communications Access -- FCC or Congress: Extend the telecommunications accessibility requirements of Section 255 of the Communications Act to Internet-based services and equipment. Disability safeguards under the new legal protections should include,among other things,accessible and compatible user interfaces on end-user equipment; a common standard for reliable and interoperable text and video IP and wireless communications; redundant ways of controlling devices and services; and access to user guides and technical support. Video Programming Access-- FCC or Congress: Clarify that existing captioning obligations apply to IPTV and other types of multi-channel video programming services that are Internet-based. Universal Service-- FCC or Congress: Allow Universal Service Fund (USF) support for broadband services to low-income individuals with disabilities,so that these individuals can choose between public switched telephone network or broadband services when they are entitled to Lifeline and Link Up-type funding. Require all IP-based providers (not only interconnected Voice over Internet protocol providers,as is currently required) to contribute to the USF treasury. Americans with Disabilities Act-- FCC or Congress: Require IP-based providers to contribute to interstate relay funds. U.S. Department of Justice or Congress: Clarify that Web sites are covered under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act: Legislative Change-- Expand Section 508's coverage to entities that are otherwise covered under Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


From http://www.govtech.net/ 01/03/2007

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US Net Neutrality,Broadband Taxes Top House Tech Agenda

WASHINGTON--A key House Democrat on Wednesday said his 2007 goals are to enact legislation related to Net neutrality,patents,and broadband regulation and taxation,including authorizing local governments to offer their own Internet service. Brokering a truce between Internet companies and network operators that have been battling over Net neutrality legislation is a top priority,Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia said in his kickoff speech at an annual conference organized by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. Boucher is a co-chairman of the caucus. Last year,Boucher voted for an unsuccessful amendment--fiercely opposed by broadband providers--that would have imposed strict regulations on them. He moderated his tone slightly on Wednesday,saying,"I don't want to do anything in terms of a legislative remedy that ensures an open and accessible Internet but has the effect of hobbling innovation inside the network." Boucher and Rep. Lee Terry,a Nebraska Republican,also plan to push hard over the next few months for passage of a proposal,introduced two years ago,that would create new broadband taxes. Their bill would formally allow companies that receive such subsidies to use them for deploying broadband service,which existing law does not. Right now,telecommunications companies--including those offering wireless,pay-phone,traditional-telephone and DSL services--are taxed on a fixed percentage of their long-distance revenue and required to pay it into a multibillion-dollar fund.

Concerned that dwindling long-distance revenue has eroded the fund,the Federal Communications Commission last year extended a similar requirement to some voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) providers as well. Boucher said his bill would spread the contribution requirements among "all who offer a network connection" and require companies to collect fees on local telephone calls as well. He said the new sources will "replenish the fund and enable it to be sustained." It was unclear how high the new taxes would be,but companies typically pass those fees on to consumers in the form of a line item charge. The bill would also place an undisclosed cap on the amount of money distributed to companies for rolling out services in rural and high-cost areas. Boucher said he hopes that it will go to a floor vote by the end of the year. A pledge for patent system reform: Patent system overhauls may get attention on the U.S. House of Representatives floor as soon as March or April,Boucher said. He said Rep. Howard Berman,the incoming chairman of a key House intellectual-property panel,plans to begin holding hearings on the topic "very soon" and act on sweeping legislation afterward. "The technology industry,perhaps more than any other,has been victimized by the poor quality of patents that often issue from the Patent Office," Boucher said,promising that its ongoing cries for change would be "rewarded early in this Congress."

That bill,which has not yet been introduced,would take a number of steps aimed at weeding out bad patents. Those include requiring pending patent applications to be made public 18 months after being filed so that the public would have a chance to submit prior art--that is,evidence that a given invention may be predated by earlier products or ideas--to patent examiners,who may not be able to find it on their own. The bill would also set up a "postgrant opposition" process within the Patent and Trademark Office so that anyone could challenge issued patents without having to go to court and face what Boucher called "an almost insurmountable evidentiary standard." By the end of the year,Congress should also revive two portions of a House communications law rewrite that passed last year but ultimately died because the Senate never acted on the measure,Boucher said. One section would make it legal nationwide for local governments to offer their own broadband service. Dozens of cities are already rolling out such projects,but a number of states,including Pennsylvania,Texas and Virginia,have passed laws limiting or prohibiting such ventures in the future. "Government ought to be able to come in and fill the gap," particularly in rural areas where cable and telephone companies may be reluctant to spend the money to set up networks,Boucher said. Boucher said he was also confident that Congress could act swiftly on legislation requiring all network operators to offer customers the option of purchasing standalone Internet access services--that is,not just when bundled with telephone or other services. In addition to offering consumers more flexibility,such a policy could promote the growth of Internet phone services that ride on broadband pipes,Boucher said.

On Net neutrality,Boucher restated his support for legislation "to ensure the Internet remains open and accessible." He said he worried that if network operators are allowed to charge premium fees for faster delivery or other prioritization,promising start-ups will never have the chance to turn into the next Google or Yahoo. On the other hand,he indicated that he is sympathetic to one of the major arguments made by network operators opposed to Net neutrality regulations. That argument: Internet providers need the option of charging fees to support vast investments in their infrastructure. Some of Boucher's colleagues have already announced their intentions to act on Net neutrality legislation this year. Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) wasted no time in reintroducing a bill aimed at prohibiting discrimination by network operators,and Rep. Edward Markey,the new Democratic chairman of a key House Internet and telecommunications panel,has said he plans to hold hearings on the topic. Politicians must be cautious about how they proceed and seek a compromise among the warring players in the Net neutrality debate,Boucher said. "We can't advance content origination at the expense of network technology innovation," he said,"and these may be competing concerns as we draft a network neutrality provision." (By Anne Broache)


From http://news.com.com/ 01/31/2007

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CHINA: New Rule to Curb Internet IPR Breaches

A revised judiciary rule from the Supreme People's Court,which came into effect on Friday,bans reprinting Internet material without obtaining preliminary approval from the copyright holder. Under the previous judiciary rule implemented in 2003,websites that copied and re-posted Internet material did not infringe upon intellectual property right (IPR) laws so long as they identified the source of the material and paid IPR fees afterwards. "The revision is in line with international norms in the field. It is also compatible with a new Internet information communication regulation issued by the State Council and implemented this July," said Jiang Zhipei,president of the IPR Court at the Supreme People's Court. He added that the new regulation would likely lead to more IPR legal disputes. Now,anyone uploading text,sound and video recordings to the Internet for downloading,copying or other use,must acquire the permission of the copyright owner and pay the required fee.

The new regulation also sets a fine of up to 100,000 yuan (12,500 U.S. dollars) and confiscation of computer equipment for those who breach it. Both China's 1990 Copyright Law and 2001 amended version don't put specific stipulations on Internet media copyright protection. Many people approve of the new version of the judiciary rule,saying it will effectively protect the interests of copyright owners in the virtual world. However,some express concern the tightened control might create obstacles for the swift flow of information on the Internet. "The noted feature for Internet media is the real-time information flow,which has benefited millions of Internet users," said Wei Xiaomao,an Internet IPR observer. "But to obey the new rules means that people should first get in touch with the copyright holders,and seek their approval before getting the essays reprinted," which may cause long delays.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/09/2006

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China to Launch 3G Project Stably in 2007

China's telecommunication regulators will take various measures to ensure the steady launching of the 3G project in the country in 2007. Wang Xudong,minister of Information Industry (MII),made the remark at a recent tele-conference on national information industry. 3G refers to the third-generation mobile communication technology following the first generation of analog communication technology (1G) and second generation of mobile communication technology (2G). The most prominent feature of 3G phones,said experts,is that it provides not only a "communication tool",but also multimedia services in voice,data and video and wireless Internet access. China has promised to provide 3G services before Olympic 2008 in Beijing. Conditions are mature for China's 3G development after years of research and trials,Wang said. Experts believe that the MII will take this opportunity to regroup domestic telecommunication operators through 3G license issuance.

Encouraged by the imminent start of 3G program and possible merger or acquisition whereafter,the share price of China Unicom soared by 10 percent daily limit on the mainland market Wednesday,while China Netcom soared more than 30 percent in Hong Kong the same day. It is expected that the total value of telecommunication service on the Chinese mainland would amount to 1.87 trillion yuan (about 240 billion U.S.dollars) in 2007,a year-on-year growth of 23 percent,according to Wang.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/29/2006

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Publicity Head Stresses Role of Internet

The head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee,Liu Yunshan,has called on China's media organizations and government departments to improve the way they release information via the Internet. Liu referred to the Internet as an "important window through which the outside world can learn about China". All the major news websites and government websites should introduce Chinese issues to international society from different angles and update information in a timely manner,he said. Liu also said that in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,an increasing number of art performances,exhibitions and cultural expos would be held for an overseas audience to learn about Chinese culture. He also urged Chinese tourists to obey local laws and regulations,respect local traditions and customs and be more civilized when traveling overseas. In this way he believes Chinese tourists can assist the spread of Chinese culture and project a positive image for the country.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/21/2007

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President Hu Jintao Asks Officials to Better Cope with Internet

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday called on government officials to promote and better regulate rapidly developing Internet services in China.Hu made the call at a study session of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC),saying officials should "actively and creatively nurture a healthy online culture" that meets public demand. The rapid development of the Internet in China has played an important role in spreading information,knowledge,and CPC's policies,and it has also raised new issues for the country's cultural development,Hu said. "Whether we can cope with the Internet is a matter that affects the development of socialist culture,the security of information,and the stability of the state," Hu said,asking officials to use the Internet as a platform to spread healthy information. Officials at all levels should facilitate the development of the Internet while improving the administration of web technologies,content and network security,said Hu.

Hu asked officials to become more knowledgeable and to improve their ability to administer the Internet. Hu said the government should use advanced technologies to better guide public opinions voiced through the Internet. "We should spread more information that is in good taste,and promote online products that can represent the grand Chinese culture," Hu said. He told officials to provide conditions for developing websites that carry "excellent content" and improve the delivery of information. China's Internet population jumped by almost 24 percent last year to reach 137 million,according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Nearly one in 10 Chinese have Internet access and many regularly go online to read news,chat with friends,shop,and engage in debates. Last year,Chinese Internet users spent a monthly average of 170 yuan (21.79 U.S. dollars) online,including the costs of Internet access,on-line shopping and games,compared with 150 yuan in 2005. The on-line consumer market expanded by 47 percent over the previous year,according to the China Internet Survey Report 2007 released this month.

The report also showed the number of Chinese bloggers reached 20.8 million at the end of last year,of whom 3.15 million are active authors. The rising number of bloggers also caused problems and disputes. In 2006,blog piracy,infringement and "irresponsible" publications prompted the government to commission a study on the implementation of real-name blogs. China Internet Association Councillor Hu Qiheng said the government was considering new ways to supervise blogs,requiring bloggers to identify themselves when they register,even if they write under a pseudonym. The Ministry of Culture in December ordered all music distributors to register and apply for approval from cultural authorities to distribute imported music products on the Internet. It also required online music based on music products copied or composed by netizens for non-profit purposes to be monitored more closely,saying some products had poor quality,or content that abused ethnic traditions or affected social stability.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/24/2007

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China's Digital Cable TV Operators Required Providing 6 Analog Channels

China's TV regulator the State Administration of Radio,Film and Television (SARFT) has required that all cable TV operators must provide at least six channels of analog programs for the public when they digitize their services. China is promoting digital cable Television in urban areas and 25 Chinese cities,including Qingdao,Hangzhou,Dalian,Shenzhen,Taiyuan,Nanjing and Nanning,have switched from analog cable TV to digital cable TV. Throughout the country digital cable TV subscribers have surpassed 12 million,according to SARFT. Recently,some cable TV users have complained that local cable TV operators had closed all the analog cable TV and that the charges for digital cable TV programs and the set-top box used to receive the digital cable TV signals are too high. In response to the complaints,the SARFT decided that all cable TV operators must have at least six analog channels available for users to choose,and the charges for digital TV must be cut for low-income families. China plans to replace the existing analog cable television with digital cable television in all the cities in its eastern and central regions and most of those in the western area by 2010,according to a national five-year (2006-2010) guideline on cultural development publicized on Sept. 13,2006.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 02/04/2007

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3T Net Passes the Acceptance Check

3TNet (high performance broadband information network),the major project in the field of information technology in the 10th Five-Year Plan,has passed the acceptance check organized by Information Technology Office of the 863 program on December 12,2006 in Shanghai. The 3TNet will firstly be put into demonstration in Ningbo,Shanghai and Hangzhou.


From http://www.most.gov.cn/ 12/22/2006

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JAPAN: Japan,Vietnam Agree to Boost Cooperation on IT

Japan and Vietnam agreed Monday to strengthen bilateral cooperation especially in the fields of information technology and broadcasting,Japanese officials said. The agreement was reached when Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 01/09/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Spend 467.3 Billion Won on IT Development

A total of 467.3 billion (approximately $470 million) will be injected in 2007 into developing original information technology (IT) and new IT-related growth engines. The greater part of the proposed budget will be invested in advancing technologies involving RFID (radio frequency identification),USN (ubiquitous sensor network),software and digital contents,while BcN (broadband convergence network) and home networking are likely to sustain a small-scale curtailment in subsidies. After discussing ways to further boost IT on Dec. 18 at the third IT839 meeting chaired by Minister Rho Jun-hyong this year,Information-Communication Ministry officials agreed to funnel a combined 467.3 billion won into developing new IT growth engines and original technology in the field in 2007. The ministry expects its technological development roadmap to bear tangible fruit next year,the fourth since the IT sector was first adopted as a new growth engine. The 30 Mbps (megabits per second)-grade,3rd-generation evolution system with connectivity 15 times as fast as the current WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access); RFID-enabled mobile handsets; and a giga-grade cable communications system that allows access to data service at a speed 20 times as fast as the current are predicted to be ready for full-fledged commercialization by then. The ministry plans to pour an additional 112 billion won into another 51 new projects aimed at turning Korea into a ubiquitous society around 2010.

The new projects call for advancing technologies involving WiBro (wireless broadband)-derived,a mobile defense-operational network,imaginative digital character-like organism creation,three-dimensional DMB (digital mobile broadcasting) that enables people to watch 3-D programs without 3-D glasses,projection input and output that surmounts related limitations of mobile handsets,and embedded software for airplanes. Judging that recently commercialized digital services like WiBro and DMB have seen slower-than-expected market expansion,the government will primarily focus on revving up the market and setting growth momentum,while proactively exploring ways to create greater demand,lure investment,and formulate a proper profit-making model. At the future Information-Communication Minister and Vice Minister-chaired IT839 meetings,the priority will be laid on the proper management of the project outcomes. The IT839-market survey slated for February 2007 will probe and publicize the outlooks for the market expansion between 2007 and 2010. Continuously complementing the 2007 information-communication developmental strategies as recommended by the Council on Information and Communications Policies,the ministry will finalize its "2007 Plan for Information-Communications Research and Development" by the end of the year and start implementing them early next year. In November,Oh Sang-rok replaced Song Jung-hee,who offered to step down last November,as the new IT policy consultant. Ahn Jae-min of Chungnam University was appointed the new mobile-communications project manager,while Soonchunhyang University Professor Youm Heung-youl is to lead information protection. The planning division will be headed by Lee Myung-ki,an Institute for Information Technology Advancement official.


From http://www.korea.net/ 12/21/2006

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Korea Plans to Spend over 100 Bil. This Year on Nurturing IT

Korea will spend more than 106.3 billion won ($113.3 million) this year on educating workers and students in the information technology (IT) sector,officials said Thursday (Feb. 1). The Ministry of Information and Communication said the investment plan is designed to provide a workforce that the nation's key growth engine,the IT sector,needs. To that end,the ministry said it will boost cooperation between business and academia in improving the quality of education programs while expanding support for college-led training projects for students.


From http://www.korea.net 01/10/2007

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MALAYSIA: Government Adopts Neutral Technology Platform Policy

SERI KEMBANGAN: The Government is adopting a neutral technology platform policy that does not favour either open-source (OSS) or proprietary software. The cabinet,said Science,Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis,has decided that government procurement policies will now be based on merit and not on platform choice. "We want to focus on the development of job creation and industry growth,and as such,would like to be neutral," he said. "The cabinet wants to encourage the further development of the local (IT) ecosystem with focus on value creation and it is up to the market to decide which platform they choose." In 2004,the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) launched the Malaysian Open Source Software Master Plan with targets for open-source implementation within the public sector. The plan was coupled with a procurement policy stating: "In situations where advantages and disadvantages of OSS and proprietary software are equal,preference shall be given to OSS." "There has been a lot of negative reaction towards open source (from the IT market) and that's why (choosing) the technology platform should be neutral," said Jamaludin. Whichever technology platform you choose,he said,be it proprietary or open source,does not matter as long as good results are produced. "Platforms are tools and they should be neutral because in the end tools are just tools," said Jamaludin. The minister cited the example of a parang (machete) made from titanium and another made of stainless steel.

S"If you believe that you can do more using the titanium parang,then use the titanium parang," he said. And if the stainless steel parang serves you better,you should use that. "It's about choice. Let the market decide," he added. However,Jamaludin later told pressmen that the neutral technology platform policy does not void Mampu's Open Source Software Master Plan. "If the market sees value in it (the OSS Master Plan),then it will continue," he said. Jamaludin was speaking at a press conference during an "open house'hosted by his ministry at the Palace of Golden Horses here on Tuesday. Earlier,he officiated at the launch of Celcom Power Circle - a platform for local technopreneurs to nurture mobile-content development. Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly,CEO of telco Celcom (Malaysia) Bhd,said the Power Circle would also act as a knowledge centre where developers will have the opportunity to develop their skills and gain additional market advantage. "We shall be part of all processes from A-Z. That means from idea generation to design,development,commercialisation and finally,to creating and developing a business," he said. He said the Power Circle offers a software-powered network,meaning that content developers would no longer need to depend on hardware. This would help lessen capital expenditure in delivering their products. Outstanding applications would be offered to Celcom customers,said Shazalli,adding that the solutions could also be "exported" to the more than 24.5 million mobile customers within parent company Telekom Malaysia's ventures.


From http://star-techcentral.com 11/22/2006

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Government Signals Crackdown on Bloggers

Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm that Malaysia could introduce repressive legislation on the Internet after Science and Technology Minister,Kong Cho Ha,said the government planned new rules to block its malicious use and prevent bloggers posting news jeopardising social harmony. "The government of Abdullah Badawi seems to want to impose on the Internet the same strict controls that it already applies to the press," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "Malaysian bloggers currently enjoy an outspokenness denied to journalists in the traditional media. It is vital for the country's democratic life that the Internet is not pushed into self-censorship. " The minister made his statement at an event on 3 December 2006 organised by the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry,Malaysia (Pikom) in which he made clear his determination to regulate news put out by bloggers. "We are talking about creating cyber laws to control those who misuse the Internet," he said. "We need to have stricter cyber laws to prevent these bloggers from disseminating disharmony,chaos,seditious material and lies. We want our bloggers to be responsible." His statements were all the more surprising given that Internet regulation usually comes under the Energy,Water and Communications ministry. The government is also planning to get bloggers to register with the information ministry. Even though Kong Cho Ha admitted that the system would be difficult to apply,it could nevertheless push Malaysian bloggers daring to criticise the government to stop publishing or self-censor. The government frequently says that it does not impose any censorship on electronic media. However,in practice,harassment has been stepped up against the only independent online daily www.malaysiakini.com.my,and there has been an increase in threatening statements aimed at pushing its managers into self-censorship.


From http://www.categorynet.com 12/13/2006

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PHILIPPINES: CICT Set to Release Philippines'ICT Roadmap

THE COMMISSION on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) is set to release the country's information and communications technology roadmap,its chairman told INQ7.net right after convening the technical advisory committee to the Commission on Elections. CICT chairman Ramon Sales said the ICT roadmap,developed in collaboration with the private sector,is ready for distribution. But he admitted it does not contain the inputs from the civil society. Last month,the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) convened a forum where they presented comments from various local civil society groups. During the forum,they said country's ICT roadmap has host of problems including policy framework,financing,inclusion of gender programs related to IT,market-driven activities,IT usage standards,conflicts in targets between President Gloria Arroyo's Medium-Term Development Plan and the ICT roadmap itself. The forum was organized to ensure that the ICT Roadmap will benefit all sectors of the society,pointing out the implications of using ICT in the community. In a telephone interview,FMA Executive Director Alan Alegre confirmed the news but clarified that he was aware of the tight schedule given to them to comment on the ICT roadmap. Alegre said the CICT chairman has engaged and assured the civil society group that the roadmap was a "work in progress."

He admitted disappointment,however,over the finalized ICT roadmap that excluded their inputs. Trish Abejo,chief of staff of office of the CICT chairman,said the inputs of the civil society came in late. The agency final copy of roadmap was done October,and was printed by end of November. "It was only yesterday however when the copies were delivered to us," she added. CICT plans to publish it on its website soon. The ICT roadmap outlines the country's ICT programs for the next five years until 2010. It covers current and future plans including the expansion of a national broadband Internet network,cost-effective PCs,ICT-enhanced education programs,human capital development and the e-Government Fund. The first draft of the ICT roadmap was presented in June 2006. In earlier interviews,Sales said that the Economic Modernization through Efficient Reforms and Governance Enhancement (Emerge),a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded group,is helping draft the new strategic ICT roadmap for the country. The new ICT roadmap updates the old roadmap developed by the defunct Information Technology and E-commerce Council in 2003. Former CICT chairman Virgilio Pe?a developed the ICT roadmap,which was passed on to Sales.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 12/13/2006

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GSIS to Clarify E-Card Policy During Retirees'Assembly

THE Government Service Insurance System will be one of the guests of the Central Visayas Association for Volunteer Effort (CVAVE) Inc.,during its assembly on Dec. 15 at the Fisherman's Net,Lahug,Cebu City. GSIS will clarify issues on the payment of benefits to members through e-card,which was questioned by retirees and members of CVAVE residing in municipalities and areas where there are no megalinks. Other speakers include Social Security System (SSS) representative to talk on updates on benefits condonation of SSS loans penalty and other issues. Patricio Gabuya,DILG director of Cebu City,will discuss the joint memorandum circular of the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Social Welfare and Development authorizing local government units to allocate and utilize one percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment for programs and services for older persons. On the other hand,retired Bureau of Food and Drug chief Ester Jimenez will talk on traditional medicines for common illnesses of the elderly and touch therapy to relax the muscles of older persons. CVAVE president Martiniana Mercado is inviting all GSIS retirees to attend the assembly. Giveaways and gifts will be distributed to all participants and valuable gifts shall be raffled off. The registration fee is P200.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 12/14/2006

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Lower-cost RP Internet Exchange Proposed

A non-profit organization and government are pushing an initiative to encourage more network operators in the country to connect to a common Philippine Internet exchange to lower cost of Internet traffic. The Philippine Network Operators Group (PHNOG) and the Advance Science Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology have started setting up the Philippine common Internet exchange,dubbed PHOpenIX,according to PHNOG founder and APNIC Pty. Ltd. training officer Amante Alvaran,in an e-mail interview. The PHOpenIX is currently managed and operated by ASTI,a research and development arm of the DOST. Alvaran said both organizations are now inviting network operators to connect to the local Internet exchange,which supports both IP version 4 (IPv4) and IP version 6 (IPv6) Internet protocols. IPv6 is an improved version of the former. Essentially,IPv6 allows the creation of more Internet addresses and improves data security. He disclosed that PHNOG has conducted meetings with stakeholders late last year with different Internet service providers and telecommunications companies,with help from Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT) chairman Ramos Sales. The PHOpenIX is also supported by international organizations like Cisco and Packet Clearing House in the United States,and Consulintel (IPv6 firm in Europe),he said. CICT has previously discussed plans to push IPv6 adoption in the country. "That was the first effort to invite them to join the IX [Internet Exchange]," he added,noting that there are some existing guidelines available online for network operators to join the local Internet exchange.

Asked how the local Internet exchange can make "traffic cheaper," Alvaran said it is best to understand the existing international bandwidth cost compared to local bandwidth cost. Citing the example of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Innove (Globe Telecom),he said Internet traffic goes out of the country via SingTel (Singapore Telecom) then back to Philippines whenever they access a rival's network. This is currently the situation in the country because the Philippine Internet exchange link "is not working as expected due to congested link and an expensive local link (to connect with PHIX) plus the limited bandwidth upgrade option," Alvaran explained. PHNOG is hoping IPv6 adoption in the Philippines will improve under this initiative. Meanwhile,Alvaran said PHNOG is involved in efforts efforts educate and help build more knowledge on Internet technologies. The group has been conducting workshops and trainings as part of its other mandate to educate the local community.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 01/12/2007

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THAILAND: ASC to Probe Thaksin Government's Telecoms Policy

Critics say policy weakened state agencies'competitveness. The Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) yesterday agreed to investigate a policy initiated by the deposed Thaksin Shinawatra government which critics say deprived two state telecoms agencies of huge revenues and weakened their competitiveness. ASC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang said the ASC agreed to probe a Feb 11,2003 cabinet resolution which approved the imposition of excise tax on telecoms businesses causing damage to TOT Plc and CAT Telecom Plc. The cabinet resolution allowed for an executive decree to be issued to force telecoms businesses to pay the excise tax. At the same time,it let private companies contracted to the two state agencies deduct the tax from the revenue-sharing they already have to pay under the concession. Therefore three telecom operators,Advanced Info Service (AIS),DTAC and True Move,paid the same amounts they used to pay to TOT and CAT. But the two state agencies received less revenue because they allocated part of the revenue as the companies'excise tax. Employee unions of the two agencies last week called on the ASC to investigate the matter.

Telecoms expert Somkiat Tangkijvanich of the Thailand Development and Research Institute (TDRI) said the cabinet resolution caused the two state agencies to lose more than 40 billion baht in revenue. Critics say the policy also weakened the competitiveness of the agencies,which also run businesses of the same kind as the private companies. Mr Sak said the ASC agreed to assign Banjerd Sinkhanethi and Kaewson Athipothi to take charge of forming a sub-panel to investigate the policy. The current finance and ICT ministers plan to propose to the cabinet next week a reduction of the excise tax for telecoms businesses to 0%. Meanwhile,the ASC has expanded its scope of investigation into the procurement of 26 CTX bomb scanners for Suvarnabhumi airport to include the related baggage handling system. Mr Sak said. Pol Gen Sombat Amornwiwat,director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI),yesterday testified to the ASC that the DSI had not withheld any findings on the scanners.


from http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/ 12/14/2006

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INDIA: Hughes Plans to Set Up 1000 Rural ICT Kiosks

US based software Development Company,Hughes Network Systems is planning to set to 1000 rural ICT kiosks within next three years in India. The company is working with Reliance to establish its centres in India. According to Pradman P. Kaul,president and chief executive of the company,the company is planning to set 1000 rural kiosks,which would be basically focused on education,teaching aids and rural banking. Initially company will invest INR 100,000 to set up satellite terminal in a village. The company has signed an agreement with IT giant Microsoft to offer various kinds of IT service in rural India. Broadband satellite is more popular for distant learning in India.


From India News 01/15/2007

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State Govt. Releases Draft IT Policy in Kerala,India

Kerala State Government has released the Draft IT policy to upgrade the productivity,skill and knowledge levels of the citizens of Kerala,India. Under the proposal,the establishment of an International Centre for Free Software and Computing for Development,ITES Training Centre (in Kochi) and extension of Internet to all educational institutions and villages by 2010. Government is planning to set about 3000 broadband enabled information hubs,named Akshaya e-Centres in different states of the state. The State Government will support and expand Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram and Infopark in Kochi on its own accord and in partnership with private infrastructure providers. Government will focus on e-Governance,free software and development of appropriate technologies. The State will network with national and international organisations and industry for research and development in ICT and knowledge sharing. The policy is mainly focused on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS),which would be used in e-Governance projects. Open standards like Unicode and Open Document Format and Open Architectures would be followed in e-Governance projects to avoid total dependence on select vendors. The Government has proposed to develop the State as the FOSS destination in the country. It will provide special incentives to companies developing FOSS. The Government will make use of all the media tools and emerging technologies to ensure proper communication between the Government and the citizen. The Government will promote the use of Web sites,e-mails and other news communication facilities in various Government and semi-Government organisations.


From Hindu on Net 01/22/2007

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RBI Plans to Offer Banking Services with SIM Cards

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is planning to offer bundles of banking services with mobile telephone SIM card. This initiative will push branch banking into the background with rural banking going mobile. This (SIM card) will function as a multi-application smart card,with some cash stored in it,in the form of e-Cash. Deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI),V Leeladhar,has urged banks and financial institutions to co-operate on the ICT front. He urged that automated teller machines (ATMs) would be set up in rural areas. ICT can provide accessibility,availability and affordability in the delivery of rural credit.


From Economic Times 02/06/2007

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Govt. Plans to Implement ICT Policy in Puducherry India

The Puducherry (India) Government is planning to implement its information technology policy. Soon the government is planning to form a committee on e-Governance in the Union Territory. Recently,the government has launched an electronic tendering system in the Union Territory. The Governemnt is also planning to establish 1000 citizen information centers. These centers will provide the facility to pay all government bills and provide public information.


From The Business Line 02/08/2007

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E-Logistics,TCS,Indian Railways Plan to Develop Software to Track Trains Online

Chennai (India) based company; e-Logistics has joined with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS),IIT Kanpur and Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO),Lucknow to develop Satellite Imaging Software for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN). SIMRAN project will enable tracking trains on the Internet. The cost of the project is INR 24 million,which will involve global positioning system-based rail network mapping and train tracking and wireless connectivity. e-Logistics would be in the front end,TCS would provide the back end support. IIT-Kanpur has fully mapped the Indian Railways. Indian Railways has signed an agreement with e-Logistics in Lucknow. SIMRAN involves a simple implementation of the geo-positioning system,GSM and radio frequency-based instrumentation. Once the train passes through a station,the information is sent to GSM/GPRS network and later to the Internet through SIMRAN Web server. The system would monitor every train in a certain geographical boundary for its location,speed and the direction of movement.


From The Business Line 02/09/2007

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India Plans to E-Connect 20 African Countries

India is planning to make the Pan-African e-Network operational to provide several IT solutions like tele-education and tele-medicine in Africa. India is taking initiative with association of African countries. The President of India,A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has made an offer to set up a Pan-African e-Network,while addressing the inaugural session of the Pan-African Parliament in 2004. He told that e-Network would provide e-Connectivity to all the 53 countries of Africa and also connect all the heads of state of the Pan-African countries. This e-Network will enable India to assist these countries in the field of IT for providing at least one hub in each of the African countries through which various e-Services like tele-education,tele-medicine and e-Governance. Pan-African e-Network project brings together the terrestrial network between India and Africa through the international undersea fibre cable network and also the African satellite network services. The African universities and super specialty hospitals will also use this network to provide services and content.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/09/2007

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Bank of India Will Establish E-Grama Centres in Karnataka (India)

The Bank of India will launch its e-Grama centres in seven districts of Karnataka (India) by financing about 1,500 centres through reputed NGOs. e-Grama centres or rural IT kiosks will be established in the districts of Bidar,Haveri,Chitradurga,Gulbarga,Tumkur,Bangalore Rural and Bijapur. The kiosks will be made Internet enabled. Bank of India's thrust will be on priority sector including agriculture,retail lending,SME,exports and infrastructure financing.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/19/2007

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NEPAL: Government Prepares E-Governance Master Plan

The Nepal Government has prepared e-Government master plan to create effective and productive e-Government through the application of ICT. The Ministry of Environment,Science and Technology (MoEST) has prepared the plan with the technical assistance of Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA). The plan will take place in 3 stages of ICT development by 2011. The plan is divided in three phases; 'As is analysis,''To be model'and 'Establishment Plan'. The master plan is strongly recommended in building infrastructure and human resources development. The first phase of the plan is related with ICT policies and laws. The plan also includes online-processing of administrative procedure,knowledge based government,saving of time,continuous service oriented process reform and systematic flow of information,drastic reduction of paper work,online processing of international trading,and logistics and enterprise undertaking/operating services. The South Korean government provided US$2 million to prepare the plan. According to the document,Nepal will introduce an ICT-related curriculum for secondary education,expand provision of e-Learning,provide ICT training for bureaucrats,introduce an Informatisation Village and improve computer literacy.


From http://www.i4donline.net/ 12/13/2006

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Nepal Plans to Become E-Nepal

The 13 CAN Info Tech,an exhibition on information technology has been held with a motto of "New Nepal: E-Nepal" at Birendra International Convention Center (BICC),Kathmandu on January 9,2007. The exhibition has given stressed on the need of promoting promoting e-learning,Distant Learning,Open University,Telemedicine,e-commerce in the country. Nepal Govt. is also working on e-Governance Master Plan (EGMAP) with the support of Korean government. The Govt. is also making path for e-Governance with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank. According to Vice-Chairman of Information Technology High Level Commission,Saroj Raj Devkota,Nepal can also become hub for IT like India and China.


From http://www.egovonline.net/news/ 01/10/2007

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AZERBAIJAN: Telecommunication Ministry Prepares Proposals on Tax and Custom Legislation

Ali Abbasov,Azerbaijan Telecommunication and IT Minister,said during the meeting of the parties to the Caspian Integration Business Club that the Azerbaijan Telecommunication and IT Ministry is preparing proposals on alterations to be moved to the tax and customs legislation of the Country. According to him,the packages of proposals are being prepared within the project on the foundation of a regional innovation zone in Azerbaijan. "Our objective is to achieve foreign investors to the implementation of the project,which might be implemented first of all with the introduction of customs and tax privileges," said the Minister. At the same time,a special working group is currently occupied with studying the international experience in founding such centers. The selection of the consulting company was also conducted. An American consulting company,Booz Allen Hamilton won the selection.

The project on foundation of a regional innovation zone envisages the installation of techno parks to develop small-scale and medium-sized innovation entrepreneurship,foundation of a regional base on production and export of electronic equipment and software,turning the country into an advantageous transit information centre (Data Centre),preparation and development of human resources for the forming information society,as well as introduction of ICT in other fields. If the project is implemented,Azerbaijan,including the whole Caspian Region will further the development of entrepreneurship. New jobs will become available. All that will bring economic growth.


From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 02/16/2007

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IRAQ: Government Closes Iraqi Television Station

The Iraqi Interior Ministry on January 1 ordered the closure of the Al-Sharqiyah television station after accusing it of reporting false news and inciting violence,international media reported the same day. Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Abd al-Karim al-Khalaf said the government has ordered that the television station be closed indefinitely. "We have warned them many times not to broadcast any false news that would increase tension in Iraq," he said. During coverage of Hussein's execution,Al-Sharqiyah's newscasters wore mourning clothes and referred to him as the "president." Conversely,on state-run Al-Iraqiyah television,Hussein was described as a "tyrant" and a "criminal." Asked if Al-Sharqiyah's coverage of Hussein's execution led to the station's closure,al-Khalaf said,"In the last three days if you watch their channel you can see they are leading people to violence and increasing sectarian tension." SS


From http://www.rferl.org/ 01/03/2007

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KAZAKHSTAN: Technological Development Strategy to Be Worked Out

A strategy of technological development is going to be worked out in Kazakhstan. Serik Begimbetov,president of the centre of engineering and transfer of technologies,has stated this today,January 22,at an international conference on results of studies of Kazakhstan's technological development,Kazakhstan Today correspondent reports. "The Ministry of Industry and Commerce in the nearest future will start to work out a strategy of technological development. The document will become a critical condition for the beginning of scientific and technological reforms suggested to be carried out in the nearest future," - he has said. The centre of engineering and transfer of technologies also presented at the conference a preliminary report on the current condition of the national technological science. "This study has been carried out in order to start developing a strategy of technological development already this year," - Diaz Myrzakoja,vice president of the centre has added.

According to Mr. Myrzakoja,the studies were carried out in seven technological areas: metallurgy,machine engineering,construction materials,nanotechnologies,IT,biotechnology,and petrochemical industry. The studies embraced around 200 industrial ventures and more than 50 scientific organisations from all regions. Besides,an audit of the current condition of the procurement basis for the scientific studies and experimental design works and of the level of co-operation between science and industry in Kazakhstan was carried out with the assistance of the Ministry of Education and Science. Experts from the Cambridge University and the Science Foundation Ireland participated in the studies as well. "The results of the studies will be presented on 29 January at a meeting of the supreme scientific-technical commission headed by PM Karim Massimov," - Mr. Myrzakoja concluded.


From http://eng.gazeta.kz/ 01/22/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: ICTP,Tashkent University Issues Manual on IT

ICT Policy (ICTP) project of the UN Development Programme in Uzbekistan and Tashkent University of Information Technologies published manual on information technologies (IT) entitled "Akhborot Tekhnologiyalari" (Information Technologies). The ICTP said the manual is result of the cooperation of the project and Tashkent university in development of modern manuals and training of specialists. The aim of the book is to assist in deepening knowledge in modern information technologies,role of IT in organization,modern network technologies and programming methods. The book consists of 12 chapters and it covers three directions of information technologies,including information systems,computer network and structure of database. The manual designed for students of universities,colleges and lyceums. The book was published with 1,000 copies and it will be circulated among libraries of Tashkent University of Information Technologies and its regional branches.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 02/22/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Rule Change for Fan Phone-Cams

AUSTRALIANS can take their video mobile phones into concerts without fear of criminal sanctions,the federal Government has announced. Under amendments to federal copyright laws announced today,it will no longer be a criminal offence to take a devices capable of audio-visual recording to a live entertainment venue and record the performance without permission. The announcement outlined the federal Government's response to a Senate committee report which had recommended changes to the Copyright Amendment Bill,2006. The committee recommended that the government reduce the scope of the sections of the legislation pertaining to recording devices so that "ordinary Australians" were not affected. In a statement detailing the changes,law firm Minter Ellison said: "The federal Government accepted the committee's recommendation that laws controlling the use of recording devices be eased." However,the government had yet to take a position on the development of guidelines that would steer the "strict liability" provisions that governed copyright,nor had it indicated how it would communicate the new laws to the public,the company said. While easing laws governing live performances,the federal Government refused to back down on parts of the legislation that outlaw the use of "mod-chips",which let gaming enthusiasts modify consoles including Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation,so that they play illegal copies of game titles. The committee had recommended changes to legislation's definition of Technical Protection Measure,upon which the legality mod-chips hinged,but the recommendation was rejected.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/30/2006

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'Ipod'Law Passed

THOUSANDS of Australians who use iPods and other digital music players will no longer be acting illegally after a major overhaul of copyright laws passed parliament today. The government reviewed copyright laws in response to the rise in digital technology and following the signing of a free trade agreement with the United States. Copying of compact discs is widespread but technically an offence under the old laws. Major changes under the new laws make it legal for people to transfer their CD collections to computers or iPods,but toughen penalties for pirates. Attorney General Philip Ruddock said the reforms would also make it legal for people to record and play back television and radio programs at home,and provide new exceptions for cultural institutions such as schools and libraries to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes. The Copyright Amendment Bill 2006 would also facilitate the availability of new films,music and software on line,he said,and introduce new enforcement measures such as on-the-spot fines and proceeds of crime remedies to tackle copyright piracy. "It will legalise format shifting of materials such as music,newspapers,books,meaning that people can put their CD collection onto iPods or mp3 players," Mr Ruddock said. Labor supported the legislation after the government backed down on several key provisions including one that would have allowed iPod owners who kept spare copies of songs on their personal computer to be prosecuted.

Mr Ruddock said amendments introduced in the Senate,which the House of Representatives agreed to today,demonstrated the government had listened to stakeholders and the Senate committee charged with reviewing the legislation. In particular,the amendments make the ordinary use of digital music players legal and target enforcement measures to acclivities that commercially harm copyright owners. Labor's legal affairs spokeswoman Nicola Roxon said she was delighted the government had made the significant changes recommended in the senate committee report and endorsed by Labor. "We were particularly worried about the strict liability provisions and I think the regime that is now in place will be a more sensible one," she said. "We do have some reservations about the overall approach taken but we agree... the difficulty in copyright is always the balancing act," she said. Ms Roxon said it was important to make sure creative industries were supported and consumers were protected. The changes will come into affect after the bill receives royal assent,which is expected to occur before Christmas.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/06/2006

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ACCC Issues Discussion Paper on Licences for New Digital Television Services

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued a discussion paper seeking stakeholders'views on the access regime that will apply to 'Channel B',one of the two licences for new digital television services that will be made available by the government next year. Possible uses for Channel B include mobile television and new services to in-home digital television sets. Firms must have lodged an access undertaking that has been accepted by the ACCC before being eligible to participate in the allocation process for Channel B. The allocation process itself will be managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. "The ACCC is seeking stakeholder input on the optimal way to ensure the access regime for Channel B enables effective competition between access seekers and the channel B licensee",ACCC Chairman,Mr Graeme Samuel,said today. "It will be important to minimise any scope for the licensee to frustrate the provision of access." "The ACCC will be responsible for assessing access undertakings submitted by potential bidders for Channel B. Following the allocation of the licence to the successful bidder,the ACCC will have an ongoing role in overseeing the access regime,including any subsequent variations of the undertaking. "Potential bidders for either licence should also note that they may need to request clearance from the ACCC under s. 50 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 prior to the allocation of the licences." The discussion paper is available on the ACCC website (see link below). Interested stakeholders are requested to make submissions by 5 February 2007. Details of the submission process can be found in the discussion paper.


From http://www.accc.gov.au/ 12/15/2006

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Ruddock Holds Firm on SMS Tap Laws

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Philip Ruddock has snubbed a state call to change federal laws to make it easier for police to access mobile text messages during riots,instead urging reliance on good basic police work. NSW Police Minister John Watkins said changes last year to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act,requiring police to know the identity or mobile number of the SMS sender before they can obtain a stored communications warrant,had made it harder to intercept text messages. Before the legislative changes,police could use a NSW search warrant to request phone companies search SMS data,as they did after the Cronulla riot when text messages were used to organise rioters and the subsequent revenge attacks. Police can no longer use NSW search warrants in this way,Mr Watkins said today. He said the new laws were "impractical",and called on Mr Ruddock to create an exemption for Cronulla riot-like public disturbances. "This new warrant system is impractical in serious public disorder situations like Cronulla or the brawl between Serbs,Croats and Greeks at the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne where text messages were used to rally troublemakers," Mr Watkins said. "It's imperative that this exemption is granted for law enforcement agencies." Mr Ruddock said NSW Police already had sufficient powers to tap text messages. Any extra powers would be an unacceptable invasion of privacy,he said.

"Mr Watkins is advocating that ... every single person in the state should have their mobile messages examined by police,whether or not they have committed or have been associated with a crime," Mr Ruddock said. Mr Watkins said that at the time the interception was needed the identity of the person was "most likely unknown",so a warrant would not be granted. The new laws also meant vital information was lost,because carriers usually deleted SMS content within 24 hours,and increased the workload on police,he said. "This change poses a significant threat to the way police do their job in a riot or similar situation," Mr Watkins said. "During the Cronulla riots and retaliatory attacks,police were able to quickly access messages which incited violence and racial hatred. "More than 270,000 SMS messages were obtained from carriers and analysed. It was only then that the names of those involved and their service numbers could be determined. "By accessing messages without the knowledge of the sender or receiver,police were able to arrest those who were inciting violence or about to commit crimes." But Mr Ruddock said "good basic police work" in the event of a Cronulla riot-like event would quickly identify suspects linked to text messages. "That could provide a basis for lawful access to other messages connected with the alleged offence," Mr Ruddock said. The federal government would,however,examine the issue of how long text messages were kept,he said.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/23/2007

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Bill Would Require Sex Offenders to Register Online Information

Social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook would have access to a database of sex offenders for checking names and addresses against public profiles under a bill introduced Tuesday in Congress. The legislation,aimed at giving computer network operators the knowledge and ability to remove sexual predators from their sites,would require convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and other online identifiers with federal authorities. The information would not be released to the public. Adults who misrepresent their age to a minor with the intent of sexually abusing a child could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. "Lately,online predation is the method of choice for too many sexual predators," said Sen. Charles Schumer,D-N.Y. "We have to plug the online loophole." The bill defines "social networking" sites in broad terms _ a website that allows users to create public profiles and communicate with other users _ and could include popular destinations like Amazon.com,which allows shoppers to make personal pages and discuss items for sale. News Corp.'s MySpace,one of the most popular social networking sites,is backing the measure. "Our laws need to change with the times," said MySpace safety czar Hemanshu Nigam. "We're committed to making our corner of the Internet a safer and better lit neighborhood so that all of our users can feel and actually be safer."

Earlier this month,four families sued News Corp. after their daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site,alleging negligence,recklessness,fraud and negligent misrepresentation by the companies. In December,MySpace announced a plan to develop technologies designed to help block convicted sex offenders by checking profiles against government registries. Requiring registrations of e-mail addresses would make matching easier. There are more than 550,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. They are already required to register their physical whereabouts with the federal government. The new law could be difficult to enforce _ convicted sex offenders could easily use a computer at an Internet cafe to create an anonymous e-mail account and use it to register on a social networking site,for example _ but the bill would make doing so a crime.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 01/31/2007

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ISPs Will Play Ball on Speeds

SOME of Australia's top internet providers say they will review their advertising practices after the competition regulator moved to stop them misleading consumers shopping around for broadband services. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that it had given internet providers instructions for complying with trade practices laws when advertising broadband services. The instructions were included in an information paper published by the ACCC and delivered to ISPs today. Head of regulatory and legal with Australia's third largest ISP iiNet,Steve Dalby,said t the company would review its use of the terms 'up to 24Mbps'when advertising its ADSL2+ broadband products "It's prompted us to review with this set of guidelines on the table at the same time rather than trying to second-guess what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable which is where we were until we got these guidelines," Mr Dalby said. South Australian ISP Internode also said that it would review its broadband advertising practices to ensure compliance with the ACCC's guidelines. A Telstra spokesman said that the carrier supported the ACCC's position. Telstra,which advertises speeds up to 20Mbps for its ADSL2+ service,said the carrier was "dismayed" that rivals were advertising the technology's theoretical maximum. "We've only had time for a brief look,but fundamentally we welcome it because we absolutely agree with giving customers accurate,not misleading,information on likely performance of their service," the spokesman said.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the paper would prevent consumers being misled about internet speeds advertised by some ISPs. "The ACCC is concerned that ISPs are using 'hypothetical'speeds when these speeds are just that ¨C available to the hypothetical consumer and not necessarily the real world consumer," Mr Samuel said. The ACCC began warning ISPs not to publish misleading advertisements for broadband services in October. The regulator's warning coincided with increase in advertising for high-speeds 3G mobile data and broadband ADSL2+ services. The ADSL2+ advertisements promised consumers broadband services at speeds up to 24Mbps. ADS2+ however is only able to sustain the speeds of around 20Mbps in cases where customers are located within half a kilometre of their local exchange. At the time Mr Samuel warned ISPs that the regulator would not be lenient with them if consumer complaints were upheld,saying that claims by carriers and ISPs were "exaggerated". Internode managing director Simon Hackett said that ACCC should focus its efforts on tackling more challenging cases of consumer fraud in the retail realm.

"I personally feel that the ACCC is not necessarily solving the largest problems in terms of advertising messages in this realm with this paper or this general thrust," Mr Hackett said. He contended that consumers in general are highly familiar with the term 'Up To',and said that it was "in some ways it seems somewhat disingenuous to presume otherwise." "Our own evidence,in terms of the very small number of TIO complaints that our organisation has fielded in the last 18 months,is that precisely none of them were related to any misunderstanding or implied misunderstanding about the notion that our ADSL2+ services offered the best possible result on each given consumers'line - or that those results varied by line," Mr Hackett said. Mr Dalby said that iiNet was grateful that the industry had clear guidelines for advertising broadband services. "One of the things we're quite happy with I guess is the ACCC has gone to some trouble with this particular issue to get some clarity,so we think it's great that the industry has now got something to work with," Mr Dalby said.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/31/2007

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Document Collaboration Inefficiencies Waste Up to 25% of Staff Time: Butler Group

A new report by Europe's leading IT research and advisory organisation Butler Group argues that employees spend up to 25 per cent of their working day on non-productive,document collaboration related tasks. The report,Document Collaboration,goes on to say that organisations risk a great deal more than poor business performance by not managing the production of their high value business documents,and that the time has come for document collaboration to move on from simple intra-company collaborative exchanges to more sophisticated inter-company collaborative experiences. "Organisations are now looking to extend the reach and range of their Document Collaboration capabilities in order to support high-value,low-overhead joint ventures and collaborative commercial undertakings",says Richard Edwards,Butler Group's senior research analyst and co-author of the report. "However,technology issues,business constraints,and information formats combine to make the job of Document Collaboration a much more arduous one than it should be."

Butler Group maintains that the business value of any collaborative endeavour is embodied within the business value of the end-product. "In the ultra-competitive 'new world of work',document collaboration tools and technologies must support,encourage,and facilitate high-value interactions in a manner that ensures information confidentiality,integrity,and accessibility." says Sue Clarke,another co-author of the report and senior research analyst at Butler Group. A common business function links all organisations: document collaboration "Documents,in whatever format they may exist,are an integral part of every business and institution,and organisations that cannot manage the production of documents effectively and efficiently risk a great deal more than poor business performance." says the report's third co-author,Sarah Burnett,senior research analyst at Butler Group. "Organisations cannot exist without documents,and therefore the efficacy with which documents are created,revised,and published should be of utmost importance to business managers."

Despite disappointments of the past,organisations have not yet given up on the quest for the perfect solution to aid collaboration. Business managers continue to seek out new means by which that most expensive of all human corporate resources ¨C ie the information worker ¨C can become more efficient,effective,and productive. At the start of the decade,corporate IT managers were focusing on internal corporate collaboration solutions,content management,and Web conferencing products,and as a result the enterprise content management (ECM) market sprang forth. Today,however,senior managers are looking for ways to reduce the excessive cost and complexity of high-level business interactions,and those scenarios relating to Document Collaboration in particular. Butler Group estimates the size of the global Document Collaboration segment of the ECM market to be $586 million in 2007. There are many overlapping technologies within the Content Management market that address the collaborative document production process,and based on figures produced by parent company Datamonitor,Butler Group estimates that the global market for Document Collaboration solutions will be worth nearly $800 million by the end of 2010.

The analysis presented within Butler Group's report suggests that this is still an immature sector of the software industry,and that new entrants to the market are very likely over the next 12 months. For this very reason,the report contains profiles of over 20 vendors offering ancillary products,technologies,and services relevant to this topic. Microsoft looks set to do battle with ECM vendors in order to become the Document Collaboration platform provider of choice. Whilst competition to dominate the collaboration market intensifies amongst large players such as Microsoft and the ECM vendors,Butler Group believes that disruptive solutions based on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) functionality and new Web-based technologies will force both vendors and organisations to re-think their strategies over the coming year. Sarah Burnett sums-up Butler Group's view by saying,"Document Collaboration functionality will continue to be componentised over the next 24 months,allowing easy integration with Line-Of-Business systems and Enterprise Applications. In the meantime,however,more standards will emerge to improve collaboration functionality amongst products."


From http://www.domain-b.com/ 01/16/2007

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Public Sector IT Spend to Surge in 2007: Report

The report from research house IDC's public sector subsidiary Government Insights also predicts that the standardisation of IT will heavily influence state investments. "The government market,with over USD150 billion targeted for technology spending in 2007,is among the top three vertical industries worldwide," said Teresa Bozzelli,chief operating officer and managing director of Government Insights. "With a USD9.1 billion dollar increase in technology investments from 2006 to 2007 and a compound annual growth rate projected at 4.1 percent through 2010,this is both a high-value and high-growth industry that is typically less volatile that many other IT industry markets." Although it will differ according to region,the research indicates that this trend towards consolidation will be driven by the desire to reduce operational costs,improve service delivery and therefore increase government value. Countries such as the US,for example,will have its technology budget come under increased scrutiny in the next budget cycle,as Bozzelli predicts priorities change after forthcoming elections. Other predictions from the report posit information sharing and interoperability will help improve governments'service delivery,while also generating a demand for new business and decision-making models that will maximise the value of IT. New procurement models and strategic sourcing strategies will also be created by governments,as collaborative business processes influence public bodies and how they work. "Each technology program must be defined,justified,managed,and measured within the context of citizen-centric,value creation," said Bozzelli. "Governments will pursue standardisation and consolidation to maximise value from these efforts. Vendors must increase their understanding of government interoperability as it evolves,as well as the appropriate technologies,services,and partnering strategies that will help governments achieve this universal government priority." (by Ciara O'Brien)


From http://www.enn.ie/ 01/30/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: US Study Ranks Over 11,000 Government Websites

E-Government Trend Report,just issued by the National Policy Research Council (NPRC),presents an analysis of all known U.S. official state and local government Web sites. The study finds the state of Michigan has the best official Web site in the country in 2006 after conducting individual analyses on more than 11,000 official government Web sites for 25 key e-government features and practices.

Robert McArthur,former head of government organization research at the U.S. Census Bureau,led the study for NPRC. According to McArthur,all of the highest-ranked Web sites did a good job presenting and organizing information and in providing services across several broad categories. The study accessed and graded each Web site according to its performance on more than two dozen features within and across these categories. Measured features include: Web site navigation aids; home page content and links; handicapped accessibility options; Web site outreach via foreign language translations,e-surveys or comment forms; legislative,mapping and socio-economic statistical information; online payment options for taxes and services; online business and/or construction permit options; online procurement information and transactions,and,government job listings and online job applications.

Michigan's Web site achieved a perfect score. Runners-up among the states include Idaho and Indiana. Best Web sites of counties and cities over 250,000 population are those of Montgomery County,Md.; Fresno,Calif.; Tampa,Fla.; and New Orleans. Web sites of many medium-sized counties,cities and townships (those between 50,000 and 250,000 population) also scored well. The top five among these are York County,Va.; Huntsville,Ala.; Chandler,Ariz.; Augusta,Ga.; and Beaverton,Ore. Web sites of smaller governments generally rank lower because most have fewer e-government features. Nevertheless,Web sites of several localities under 50,000 population stood out. These include Gloucester County,Va.; Teton County,Wyo.; Palm Coast,Fla.; Port Orange,Fla.; Biddeford,Maine; Ashland,Ohio; and Tigard,Ore.

The study found that 11,227 out of 39,037 state and local governments surveyed -- just 29 percent -- had an official government Web site online in 2006. However,every state and nearly all large cities and counties have one. County Web sites serve roughly 92 percent of the population residing in counties; similarly,city Web sites serve about 92 percent of the population residing in cities. About 60 percent of township residents are served by a township Web site.


From http://www.public-cio.com/ 11/29/2007

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ASIA: UAE Dubai E-Governance Draws Bold Strategy for 2007

Dubai e-government's e-services director,Salem Al Shair has unveiled Dubai e-governments bold mission for year 2007 at the International Conference on Technology (ICT),Cairo. The government is planning enhance the delivery of public services to the region by announcing 90% of all government services will be available by the end of this year. Dubai e-Government is displaying its portfolio of e-Services to the upper level of the Middle Eastern business community. Government is promoting the development of e-Governance throughout the region. The e-Governance system translates directly into good governance,developing a transparent relationship between citizens and governments where there is no place for corruption or ineffectiveness. Through Dubai e-Government's comprehensive web portal,citizens,residents,visitors and business enterprises can access more than 2,000 electronic services,including payment of traffic fines,payment of Municipality fees,applying for visas for friends and relatives,renewing health cards,company registration,among others. Government is planning to multi-channel approach of the initiative encompasses four broad elements,including the web portal,www.dubai.ae; the mobile portal,http://mobile.dubai.ae; mDubai,the mobile channel for communication with government departments via SMS,and the bilingual call centre,AskDubai.


From http://i4donline.net/ 01/21/2007

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EUROPE: E-Justice - Cross-Border Use of IT in the Justice Sector

At their informal meeting in Dresden,the Ministers of Justice of the European Union have agreed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the cross-border support of the justice sector through information and communication technology (e-justice) and to intensify cooperation in this field. "In a European area of freedom,security and justice with porous borders,information technology-based support of the justice sector must not end at the internal borders. As the internet demonstrates,information technology serves to overcome borders. To varying extents,all EU Member States successfully employ information and communication technology as a means to support justice sector activities,or plan to do so in the near future. Therefore it is time now to establish the basis for using e-justice at the European level ¨C for the benefit of citizens seeking justice and of enterprises as well as in the interest of improved cooperation among judicial organs in Europe",stated Brigitte Zypries,Federal Minister of Justice and JHA Council President. Providing comprehensive electronic access to the justice sector throughout Europe is an ambitious project. Due to differences in legal systems in the individual Member States,judges and lawyers are seldom familiar with cross-border issues,even though this would be necessary given the increasing internationalisation of legal relations. Another aspect is the linguistic diversity in Europe. Furthermore,there are questions with respect to security,data protection and technical incompatibilities. "In my view,solving these questions does not require the creation of a new central infrastructure at the European level.

Information technology systems that function well and that meet the special requirements of national legal systems are already established in the Member States to support the justice sector. Generally,these national solutions are based upon considerable investments of financial and human resources which need to be applied for future use. The aim should therefore be coordination and networking among the individual Member States' systems,which will continue to be operated in a decentralised manner",Ms. Zypries explained. A successful example of this approach is a project conducted by Germany,France,Spain,Belgium,the Czech Republic and Luxembourg to network national criminal registers. In 2006,this project commenced actual operation with the exchange of electronic data. This project's success proves that it is possible to ensure the fast and efficient cross-border exchange of information without having to make major alterations to national IT systems. The Ministers of Justice have agreed to coordinate,at the European level,the approaches undertaken so far to network the justice sector in Europe and to begin developing standards. The conference "Work on e-Justice",to be held in Bremen from 29-31 May,will provide the venue for a more detailed exchange of experience. Presentations and panel discussions will focus on the following topics: the justice portal as a link between different legal systems; cross-border communication among parties to judicial proceedings; the exchange of information between national judicial registers; procedural models for standardisation at the European level and associated legal issues. The subsequent presidencies of Slovenia and Portugal will continue to pursue these topics.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 01/17/2007

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'Quiet Revolution'Stirring in Ireland E-Government

South Dublin County Council was the big winner at the Irish e-Government awards as the authority's Connect website bagged two gongs,including the overall title. Prizes in 11 categories were presented at the ceremony in Dublin on Thursday night. The contest,now in its third year,recognises excellence and creativity in technology initiatives in the public sector. Connect was awarded the Local Irish e-Government award and the overall Irish e-Government award at the ceremony. "The competition was quite steep so to be recognised was a tremendous feeling," Lorna Maxwell,project manager of Connect,told ENN. "Within the council we have embraced technology and it's turned around the way we work; the Connect office is a paperless office."

The Connect website is aimed at bringing technology to local communities through four initiatives. Connect Web provides training to community groups on developing websites,with over 100 sites designed through the project in the past year. Connect School has provided every teacher in St Aidan's school in Tallaght,Dublin with a laptop. On Monday,every first year in the school will be provided with a laptop to encourage interactive learning. "We want to make learning more interactive and interesting," said Maxwell. "We hope this will lead to better attendance and better performance by the students involved." The website's Connect Centre provides advice to community groups on how to use technology in community centres,while the Connect Me service provides locals with access to information about local businesses and resources. South Dublin was joined by local authorities from Meath,Waterford and Mayo on the winners'rostrum. Waterford City Council won the Irish Language award while Meath County Council took home the Intranet Irish e-Government award. Mayo County Council received the e-Accessibility award.

Other winners on the night included the Department of Finance,which won the Central Government award for its www.etenders.gov.ie site and Failte Ireland,which claimed the Project Management award for its www.dublin.ie site. "There is quiet revolution happening under our noses within e-Government," said Maeve Kneafsey,managing director of Elucidate and a member of the judging panel for the awards. "These highly innovative projects,right around the country,are revolutionising the way we,the citizens,do our business with the public sector," she said. (by Emmet Ryan)


From http://www.enn.ie/ 02/23/2007

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UK Government Portal Goes Mobile

Directgov,the UK government's online portal for public services,has just launched a version of the site for mobile devices. Interactive agency Cimex was commissioned to develop the mobile service,available at www.direct.gov.uk/mobile on internet-enabled mobile phones and devices. Users of the mobile site can enter a postcode to search for local information,including solicitors,legal advice,councils,and where to access the internet. They can also use the site to connect to the Learndirect advice line for free careers and education information. There are plans to develop the mobile site over the next few months,to offer 3G services such as video content and provide access to local health,education and travel services.


From http://www.enn.ie/ 12/06/2007

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UK Glasgow Saves 9 Million Through Eprocurement

Glasgow City Council has saved ¡ê9 million by changing the way it buys goods with the successful implementation of an ambitious eProcurement Programme. The Council spent an average of ¡ê650 million a year on goods from 20,000 suppliers until it embarked on a rapid transformation of procurement processes 18 months ago. Now,procurement has been significantly improved with the development of a centralised approach to the management of services and supplies and the implementation of cutting-edge purchase to pay technology (PECOS) to users across the Council. The accelerated delivery of commodity-based contracts,the consolidation of demand across the organisation and the implementation of the new purchasing system are expected to produce savings of ¡ê21 million over the Programme's three-year rollout ¨C savings that will be diverted to frontline services. The first and second phases of the Programme have been successfully delivered to over 2,500 staff from 8 of the 9 council departments. These staff are now using PECOS,which is integrated with SAP,to raise purchase orders,receipt goods and pay invoices electronically with 279 adopted suppliers.

The electronic processing of invoices alone will generate savings of ¡ê2 million when the rollout is complete. The Council is now processing a larger volume of transactions than any other eProcurement Scotland (ePS) customer organisation. Since February 2006,177,098 purchase orders have been processed for a value in excess of ¡ê15,630,355.68 million. Education Services is the final council department to make the transition to the new system. At that time,around 5,000 employees will be empowered to carry out their own ordering and receipting. Strategic sourcing work will also continue to realise more coherent and accountable purchasing. Frank Rowell,Head of Corporate Procurement,said: "Procurement in the Council has come a long way. Its rapid transformation from reactive to strategic and the transition from manual to electronic purchasing processes have dramatically reduced the Council's procurement costs." John Sherry,Head of eProcurement Development said: "The programme's success continues to exceed our expectations,bringing mutual advantages to the Council,suppliers and the ePS Scotland national programme. If other organisations can follow in Glasgow's footsteps,the potential for significant public sector cost savings is massive." Last year,the Council became the 8th local authority to join the ePS service and began implementing one of the largest eProcurement programmes in the UK's public sector.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 01/15/2007

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Winners Announced in UK E-government National Awards 2006

The winners in the e-Government National Awards 2006 were presented with their Awards on the evening of 17th January 2007,at a black tie dinner at the Savoy Hotel attended by a who's who of 440 senior council and civil service leaders and Cabinet Office Minister Pat McFadden MP. The awards are the UK's highest level commendation for the best e-Government services - services which,through innovative online delivery or IT implementation,have positively transformed the lives of citizens,local communities,business and stakeholder groups. The winners and finalists highlight the massive benefits to UK Citizens of services like online school admissions,TransportDirect.info,the Connexions helpline,and numerous council e-services improving citizens'lives in localities across the UK. Winners of the 11 Awards categories were chosen from among the 345 nominations from across the public sector. Councils,central government departments,the NHS,non-departmental public bodies and charities are all among the Finalists - showing a great diversity and spread of achievement in e-Government right across the UK.

The Awards were run by e-Government news service PublicTechnology.net and supported by the Cabinet Office e-Government Unit,the Office of Government Commerce,the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm),and SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers). Platinum sponsor was KPMG,and also sponsoring were SunGard Public Sector and O2. A powerful and impassioned keynote speech at the Awards dinner was given by Pat McFadden MP,Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for Transformational Government. Winners were presented with their accolades by Government CIO John Suffolk and Peter Fanning,deputy Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce. Pat McFadden,Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for Transformational Government says: "Using technology in reforming our public services to fit around the needs of the citizen is essential. But it is not just central government which has a role to play here,organisations across the public sector all need to provide the best possible service to their users ¨C whether individuals,businesses or whole communities. We support these Awards and in doing so we support the efforts of all those organisations who are committed to best meeting the needs of their customers."

The Winners are: Award category: e-Government excellence: in Leadership & Professionalism. Sponsored by KPMG. For providing leading e-Government strategies and professional development which contribute to achieving positive transformation. Winner: London Borough of Waltham Forest: for its ICT Strategy and its delivery. Award category: Central e-Government excellence: for Citizen-focused online services. For e-Government services delivering proven citizen-focused services. Joint winner: Transport Direct; Joint winner: Department for Education and Skills: The Connexions Direct national website and helpline. Award category: Central e-Government excellence: Team success. Sponsored by SunGard Public Sector. For proven team-working or partnership activity which has delivered more than the sum of the parts. Winner: The Home Office and the Police Information Technology Organisation - for the IMPACT Programme team; Highly commended: NHS: For the Picture Archiving Communications System (PACS) programme team. Award category: e-Government excellence in Shared Services Sponsored by O2. For proven shared services which have delivered effective shared services and efficiency gains. Winner: The Warwickshire Direct Partnership,who have reaped the rewards of a joint CRM system.

Award category: Local e-Government excellence: Team success. For proven team-working or partnership activity which has delivered more than the sum of the parts. Winner: West Sussex Accessible Services Partnership. Highly commended: Scottish Borders Council - for the Online Borders programme. Award category: Local e-Government excellence: Strategy Delivering local e-Government strategies for local circumstances. Winner: Fife Council: For its strategy for a supply teacher messaging system. Highly commended: Dundee City Council: For the Digital Dundee modernisation strategy. Award category: Local e-Government excellence: Efficiency for using electronic service delivery to improve local authority efficiency. Winner: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council for its big efficiency gains through its eProcurement initiative. Highly commended: Essex County Council Libraries for its RFID Project,giving borrowers 'self-service'in their local library. Award category: Local e-Government excellence: Take-up & usage growth. Ensuring high & growing take-up of an e-enabled service through effective service delivery & marketing. Winner: Hertfordshire County Council: for the leading the national e-service,online school admissions. Highly commended: Bassetlaw District Council - Marketing campaigns for its e-Revenues activities. Award category: Central e-Government excellence in Take-up and usage growth for delivering high & growing take-up of an e-enabled service through effective service delivery & marketing. Winner: The National Archives'digitisation programme. Award category: e-Government excellence: Education for public sector online or electronic educational services which transform learning. Winner: North West Learning Grid for its work with DiDA Delivered. Highly commended: Oldham Sixth Form College: For the Junior University project.

Award category: e-Government excellence for other public sector organizations for Non Governmental,Non-Departmental Public Body or voluntary sector organisation which has delivered e-Government services which succeed for the target audiences. Winner: Shelter's free housing advice website,Advice online. How did the judges come up with the winners? The e-Government National Awards judging panel followed a rigorous assessment procedure. the judges were looking for nominations which showed clear evidence of excellence in the following areas: Demonstrable achievement of strategy or tactics in e-Government by organisations,services,projects,teams,people or suppliers; Evidence of growth of take up ideally sustained; Commitment shown by staff - teams and individuals; Ability for good practice to be adopted by others in the public sector; Evidence of substantive/measurable impact.


From http://www.enn.ie/ 12/06/2007

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UK Torfaen Council Uses Mobile Technology to Transform Public Services

Torfaen County Borough Council (CBC) in Wales is responsible for delivering first-rate public services to the county's 90,000 residents. The council provides a complete range of services,including social,health,education,environmental and leisure. Since the majority of Torfaen CBC's staff work out of the office,visiting constituents and businesses in the area,the council decided to adopt a range of mobile solutions. This has enabled these staff,and the council as a whole,to offer fast and reliable services to its customers. Located on the borders of the Brecon Beacons in South East Wales,Torfaen Borough Council (CBC) is renowned for being one of the most forward thinking councils in Wales. It has used technology to transform and modernise the services that it offers its customers. Employing 5,800 staff,including social workers,hospital staff and teachers,Torfaen CBC provides its constituents with hundreds of services such as consumer advice; council tax benefits; social care; recycling services; planning applications; and road markings,to name but a few. Given that the majority of the council's staff spend most of their time out of the office,the ability to stay in touch with customers and colleagues whilst on the move is essential.

Many of the council's workers provide home help and social care services and they frequently need to make up to 10 or 20 visits per day within a radius of 20 miles of the council's headquarters. For these staff,fast and reliable communications are vital. To implement a successful mobile working practice,Torfaen CBC decided to adopt a series of solutions from T-Mobile,including BlackBerry devices for email and internet access on the move; T-Mobile web'n'walk data cards for internet access for laptop users; and handsets for voice communication. "As a result of having access to T-Mobile internet enabled mobile devices as well as BlackBerry,the efficiency and productivity of our staff has increased," explains Farooq Dastgir,Head of ICT at Torfaen CBC. More than 1,400 of the council's mobile workers have been equipped with a T-Mobile handset,whilst another 450 have been provided with BlackBerry devices. These workers,who include truancy officers,housing repair staff and IT engineers,need to be able to receive and respond to emails whilst on the move. Added to this,the council is also providing some of its senior and technical management with T-Mobile web'n'walk laptop datacards.

By providing these staff with up to broadband speed internet access when they are out of the office,they can still work on documents on their laptops,eliminating ¡®dead time'. Torfaen CBC's mobile expenditure has been significantly reduced. The council worked with T-Mobile to tailor a highly competitive price package that precisely matched its mobile requirements for both voice and data communications. A fully transparent pricing structure ensures that the council can accurately predict monthly expenditure,which is vital for the finance department. Since adopting BlackBerry devices,Torfaen CBC has noticed significant increases in the productivity of many of its staff. For instance,the council's IT engineering department,which services computers and IT systems in sites such as schools,hospitals and leisure centres,has vastly improved its performance. As Dastgir states,"Our IT engineers are required to look after 122 sites,which has always been difficult.

Since these engineers have been given BlackBerry devices,their productivity has increased by 30 percent,meaning that they are often able to visit two or three extra sites every day. This has really allowed the team to expedite response times and improve the service that it provides to Torfaen's schools and hospitals." The adoption of the BlackBerry amongst the council's mobile staff has streamlined operations and transformed the way in which work is allocated within the council. For instance,home help and community care workers no longer need to travel into the office at the beginning of the day to pick up the details of their jobs for the day. This information is now emailed direct to their BlackBerry devices,saving them time and allowing them to see more customers and spend more time with those who require special attention. As Dastgir remarks,"The BlackBerry solution enabled us to maximise the potential of our workforce. We can now manage everyone's diary from our central office and send out detailed and accurate information to all of our field staff. We can select employees for each job depending on their location and workload."Added to this,Dastgir is also looking to provide more of the council's staff with BlackBerry and T-Mobile laptop cards.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 01/26/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: US Elections Commission Toughens E-Voting Standards

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has voted to create standards for the certification testing of the often-controversial e-voting machines. The EAC said having federal standards is consistent with the 2002 Help America Vote Act,which was put in place to answer concerns raised by the 2000 elections.

Free Direct Marketing Lists Consumer and business lists with targeted leads to help you grow your business. Hoping to boost confidence in electronic voting,the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has voted to create standards for the certification testing of the often-controversial e-voting machines. The commission voted Thursday to adopt the Voting Systems Testing and Certification Program,a manual focused on evaluating and certifying e-voting machines.

Security Standards Machines that fail to meet standards for security ,among other factors,will be de-certified by the commission. The program is meant to hold e-voting vendors,many of whom are under fire for past problems and a perceived lack of security,accountable for the systems they sell to local jurisdictions. The EAC said having federal standards is consistent with the 2002 Help America Vote Act,which was put in place to answer concerns raised by the 2000 elections,when many believed votes in Florida,which tipped the presidential election toward George Bush,were uncounted or counted incorrectly. "Election reform has made great improvements," said Paul DeGregorio,the commission's chairman. "EAC's new testing and certification program is one more step in the federal election process to ensure the integrity and reliability of voting system operation." The 74-page manual details the process the commission will follow for certifying voting machines,and is based in part on the agency's review of the 2006 elections,which once again saw e-voting under fire in many jurisdictions. Critics of electronic voting machines say they are subject to hacking and human error,and say they deny voters the chance for an accurate recall if results are in dispute because in many cases,machines do not create a paper record of votes cast.

Voluntary Testing For now,the testing program is voluntary,though a number of states have mandated that vendors have their machines federally approved before putting them into use. To improve the testing process,the EAC is having a technical committee work on new specific guidelines for the machines. An updated version of those guidelines is due to be prepared by next summer,though it isn't expected to be finalized before 2009. Many states are hoping to have enough time for testing and certification to be completed in advance of the early 2008 presidential primary elections. It's not clear whether the standards will require so-called "direct" voting machines to create a paper trail of votes cast,but that is being considered,the commission said. In fact,the Technical Guidelines Development Committee recommended in a report released earlier in the week that paperless voting be eliminated. Though several election jurisdictions experienced high-profile disputes over e-voting in the September primaries and November mid-term election cycles,the EAC said that of the 6,700 districts allowing e-voting,102,or 1.5 percent,reported problems. Still,with close elections in states such as Virginia helping to tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Senate,the accuracy of e-voting is again an issue for many activists.

Open Debate By and large,e-voting machines appear to have worked with relatively few incidents during the November election cycle. However,in Maryland,some machines malfunctioned and caused long lines and other problems,including a run on paper-based absentee ballots. Voting rights groups urged voters to use the paper ballots to ensure their votes would be counted and,if necessary,could be re-counted. Meanwhile,Diebold Election Systems disclosed that some of the code securing its voting boxes had been leaked. In addition,security researchers published a report saying that many machines could be hacked,a report that the industry has disputed. Requiring printed confirmation of e-votes would be a huge step toward building confidence in the new technology,e-voting expert Avi Rubin,who has studied electronic voting under a National Science Foundation grant,said. In fact,the inability to confirm that votes are recorded accurately is one of the primary flaws in electronic voting,which Rubin compares to transferring money using an ATM and not getting a printed receipt. "Without paper ballots that can be physically examined,the only recount possible is a review of the votes recorded by the machine itself," he explained. "If those votes were recorded incorrectly,no recount will fix the error. The incorrect result could never be detected,much less corrected." (by Keith Regan)


From http://www.enn.ie/ 12/06/2007

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US E-Government Sites Stagnant

Staff WriterSatisfaction with federal government Web sites rose slightly in the fourth quarter of 2006. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index or ACSI out of 87 federal Web sites measured the total increase in satisfaction was .3 percent for a score of 73.9 on ACSI's 100-point scale. The rate of increase has stagnated and is about the same for the fourth quarter of 2005. After three years of continuous increases,over the past year the aggregate e-government satisfaction score has changed by just a half point. Satisfaction is a major factor in obtaining widespread use of e-government Web sites. "Standards,compliance and security are all good things,but a scorecard based only on these components is missing the citizens' perception of the Web experience," said Larry Freed,CEO of ForeSee Results. "The most crucial factor in whether e-government will achieve its promise is whether citizens feel it meets their needs and expectations - if not,they'll stick with more expensive and less convenient ways of dealing with the government." The public's view of government Web sites are shaped by other sites they visit from retail sites to online banking sites. Because of budget restrictions it can be a challenge for government Web sites to compete with the private sector when it comes to innovation or improvement.The gap between the private sector sites and the government sites is not that large. The category of government portals and department main sites scored 74.9,a .1% increase from last quarter,but 1% higher year over year. This puts e-government only 1.4% behind private sector portals,which scored 76. Other findings include 44 percent of measured sites have a higher score than the previous quarter. Search and navigation are top priorities for improvement on government sites. (by Mike Sachoff)


From http://www.webpronews.com/ 01/02/2007

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CHINA: Online Gov't Portals Improve Transparency

Government portal websites using the domain name of "gov.cn" in China had surpassed 12,000 by the end of June,according to China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) statistics. China's first government portal website was set up ten years ago by south China's Hainan provincial government. Over 90 percent of departments under the State Council,provincial and city governments,as well as 77 percent of county governments have their own websites now. The former State Economic and Trade Commission,now known as National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),along with other 40 departments and ministries,launched an online-government project in 1999. The State Council general office issued a five-year plan in 2001 on the nationwide implementation of government affairs informatization,which has greatly boosted the development of government portal websites at all levels. As contents are enriched and functions consistently strengthened,government websites have evolved into an important platform for the transparency of government affairs and fostering of a service government.

The central government portal website was officially opened on January 1,2006,providing latest updates on hot topics concerning the general public,official explanations of laws and regulations and the latest features on government affairs. Since its opening,the website has posted over 500 State Council documents,and 250 issues from State Council Gazettes. Nearly 60 news briefings by the State Council and other departments were broadcasted live through the website. About 1,000 news items,both in Chinese and English,were posted on the website daily,making it an important source for people both at home and abroad to educate themselves about China's government affairs. Timely,accurate and complete government information published by government websites at all levels play an important role in improving the government image and transparency. Highlighting one example,the Ministry of Commerce's website published over 1,700 business news items,2600 laws and rules relating to commerce,and nearly 560,000 commercial news items over the pass three years,becoming a major source for the public to discover the country's business policies.

These government websites have also sought to improve their online service quality. Shanghai municipal government's website provides over 1,670 kinds of service items,including the option to download 6,000 forms for different services. The Ministry of Agriculture opened an online office complex to provide "all-in-one" services including policy consultation,guidelines and result inquiry service for those waiting for administrative approval. New forms are also used by government websites to communicate with the general public. The central government portal website invites some officials from governments,both central and local,to conduct online dialogues every month. The interactive communication has attracted more people to participate in the social economic activities through the government website.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/29/2006

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Government Complaints Website Opened

A government website specifically designed to receive public complaints about malpractices in various fields opened on Saturday. According to Qu Wanxiang,vice minister of Supervision,complaints typically involve schooling and medical treatment with high costs and difficulty of access often being cited. Other complaints concern inadequate compensation in cases of land requisition and house repossession,substandard treatment of workers in instances of corporate restructuring and bankruptcy,and wage arrears problems for construction teams and migrant laborers. "People are welcome to report problems through the website," Qu said at the inauguration ceremony. Qu,who is also deputy director of the office of the State Council responsible for rectifying malpractices,said the ministry and the office will investigate complaints posted on the website. The online portal will also be used as a sounding board for public opinion and to analyze highlighted social situations. The website www.mos.gov.cn/gjb will carry examples of complaints and remedies.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/31/2006

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Gov't Information Office Opens Website

The Information Office of the State Council opens a website on Jan 1,2007. The website,www.scio.gov.cn,will release information on important government issues,white papers,activities arranged by the office and exchanges with foreign governments,media and cultural institutes. The website currently only has a Chinese language version. The content includes an introduction of the office,news releases,work news,cultural exchanges,international cooperation,communication theories,news from China and a brief introduction of China. It also provides information about spokesmen,government white papers,as well as network services including e-mail. Cai Wu,director of the office,said he hoped the website would serve as "a bridge of communication between the government and the public,and a window for the world to understand China."


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 01/01/2007

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Shenzhen's Cyber Police Net 6,000 Calls

Shenzhen's "cyber police" appeared in public for the first time on Friday -- their first since the launch of their on-line fight against net crime a year ago. Eight officers,including two policewomen,who represent the two cartoon characters on many of the city's Web sites,made their appearance at a press conference held by the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau. Since their launch,the two characters "Jingjing" and "Chacha," two Chinese characters for police -- Jingcha in Chinese,have received more than 6,500 reports directly on the Internet. More than 1.2 million people have visited their online reporting platform by clicking on their images. The reported cases were mostly tip-offs about harmful information including obscene information,politically dangerous information and Internet viruses. In one case,the mobile phone and MSN address of a woman surnamed Zhu,working for an IT company in Huaqiangbei,were made public on the Internet in April 2006. Zhu was said on the Web site to be available for pornographic services. Zhu's case was promptly investigated by the cyber police,who tracked down the culprit,He,two days later. He was detained for five days. The eight officers offer a round-the-clock service at the public security bureau where they receive online reports of cases and monitor the Internet.

They promise to respond to online reports within 10 minutes. "Jingjing" and "Chacha" have been patrolling more than 850 Shenzhen Web sites including BBS and online forums where they can spot and delete harmful information. The Ministry of Public Security is also planning to introduce cyber police to other parts of the country,according to media reports. A survey made by the media and cultural development research center of Shenzhen University indicated that 70 percent of those surveyed think surfing on the Internet is much safer with cyber police's protection. And more than 60 percent think that cyber police can effectively control harmful online information. But some are worried whether the cyber police can balance supervision with safeguarding people's rights and freedom of speech.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 01/29/2007

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China Provides Access to ID Database to Curb Fraud

Con artists and swindlers in China who try to use fake ID will have a tougher time trying to pass themselves off as someone else now that the public has access to the Ministry of Public Security's population database. Anyone can now send a text message or visit the country's population information center's website,to check if the name and the ID number of a person's identity card match. If they do match the ID cardholder's picture also appears,said the Ministry,adding that no other information is available to ensure a citizen's privacy is protected. Completed at the end of 2006,China's population information database,the world's largest,contains personal information on 1.3 billion citizens. Giving public accessing to the database is also designed to correct mistakes if an individual discovers that their name,number and picture don't match. Millions of dollars are lost each year by people who use false identities. According to the Ministry of Public Security,about 90 percent of people who commit crimes hold fake ID cards.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 02/09/2007

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JAPAN: Gov't to Open New Website for English Translation of Japanese Laws

The government decided Tuesday to open a new website in 2009 to offer English translations of Japanese laws and regulations in an attempt to attract more foreign investment. Currently,the Cabinet Secretariat provides on its website the English translation of more than 10 laws,including the Penal Code,the Civil Code,the Unfair Competition Prevention Act and the Patent Act. In fiscal 2009,the Justice Ministry will take over the task of providing translations of laws and will open a website which will have search and reference functions for legal terms and clauses,government officials said.


From Kyodo News 12/19/2006

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Ministry Web Site to Put Child Safety First

In an effort to improve the day-to-day living environment of children,the government is to provide advice on how to avoid accidents involving children on one of its Web sites from April. Accidents,such as children falling off something or swallowing objects they are not meant to,are the most common cause of death among young people. The government,working closely with the Economy,Trade and Industry Ministry,will gather information about accidents involving children that are caused by items they encounter in everyday life,such as toys and electrical appliances,from the National Center for Child Health and Development in Setagaya Ward,Tokyo. This information will then be used to create a database including information on how and where these accidents took place and what kind of injuries the victim suffered. By analyzing this data,the government hopes to be able to suggest preventive measures. For fatal accidents where the details of what happened leading up to the incident are unclear,the government plans to set up an investigative team to examine the scenes of accidents to gain a better understanding of how they occurred. In cooperation with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology,a Tsukuba,Ibaraki Prefecture-based research institute that examines accidents involving children,medical and engineering researchers will analyze children's physiology and behavioral tendencies to determine how accidents occur and then propose preventive measures to the government. These measures will be posted on the Economy,Trade and Industry Ministry's Web site,which will also have a feature that will use computer graphics to reconstruct the incident. The government will provide the information it gathers to manufacturersand municipalities in the hope they can use it to develop safer products and also improve the safety of playground equipment. According to a 2004 population survey,accidents are the leading cause of death in people aged between 1 and 19,accounting for 1,490 of 7,405 deaths that year.


From The Yomiuri Shimbun 01/01/2007

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New Govt Web Site Set to Help Shoppers,Struggling Retailers

The Economy,Trade and Industry Ministry is set to launch a Web site that will provide information on shopping malls and centers throughout the nation,in an effort to revitalize city centers hit by a decline in retail sales,the ministry said. The Web site,set to launch in March,will allow both store representatives and government officials to upload information about sales,special offers and events. The center of many cities are now lined with what are referred to as "shuttered-store streets," so called because a decline in profits has forced many shops to close. The ministry said it hopes the site will stimulate commerce across the nation. The ministry is to hold a meeting in January at which representatives of major shopping centers and areas will decide on a name for the site,as well as how the site could best be used to attract more shoppers. Organizations or shops that want to use the Web site to flag sales and events will be required to register with the ministry before uploading information. The ministry said it is considering including an interactive map of Japan on the site,which would enables users to find other shopping centers across the country by clicking on the map. It said the site will also include pages that have been optimized for viewing on mobile phones. Customers will be able to e-mail the site and provide feedback on shopping centers they have visited. Other customers and shopping centers can refer to the feedback.


From The Yomiuri Shimbun 01/04/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: New Web Site Tells Pay at 295 Public Institutions

About 30 percent of the nation's public institutions are paying more than 50 million won ($53,800) per year to their average non-executive employees,the Ministry of Planning and Budget said.The ministry today opens a Web site ¨D Alio (http://www.alio.go.kr) ¨D on which 295 public institutions,including state-run companies and state-invested research institutes,have to release wage agreements and other major decisions that could burden their finances. The system has been introduced "to watch and prevent loose management of public institutions that are operating on people's tax," said a spokesman for the Planning Ministry.After gathering data from the public institutions,the Planning Ministry said there are 90 institutions that paid above 50 million won on average to their non-executive employees last year.The state-run Korea Development Institute ranked at the top with 85 million won in annual salary on average.Another state-run bank,the Export-Import Bank of Korea,took second place,paying 72 million won to an average worker.Three state-invested research institutes ¨D the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials,the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute and Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science ¨D ranked third to fifth,with around 70 million won in pay."State-run banks are less controlled by the government in wages than other public institutions," said Bae Kook-hwan,director of public institution reform in the Planning Ministry. "And state-run research institutions give relatively high average pay,because they have many employees with doctoral degrees." Average pay in the nation's top 100 private firms is 55 million won. Korea has 314 public institutions. Institutions that do not show wages through the Alio site include the Bank of Korea and the Financial Supervisory Service. They will show pay on their own Web sites.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com/ 12/29/2006

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Electronic Government System to Replace Old Paper Cards

The government hopes to see its paper-based record management system replaced by an electronic management system soon. The Civil Service Commission revealed last week (Jan.18) that all the personnel information handled through paper cards will be carried out by the electronic personnel management system "e-saram" instead. The paper-based personnel records have long symbolized the personnel management system of public servants. The commission plans to start full implementation of the government electronic management system in February at the earliest when the proposal is expected to be officially passed at a Cabinet meeting. The proposal calls for all paper-based documents since 1963 that hold personal and performance-related information on public servants to be transferred to electronic files. The proposed revision also reduces the amount of documents required when applying for initial government positions or transfers. The commission has been distributing the e-saram system to government agencies since 2001 for computerization of overall management,and the e-saram system is reportedly currently functioning at a 94.7 percent usage rate. The commission however,plans to allow the paper-based system to continue until late this year,so organizations at different stages of transferring files can still relay data to one another in either paper or electronic form. The commission hopes the electronic management system helps keep records in a more systemic and orderly manner and speeds up the process of obtaining information and statistics. Previously,related officials had the double burden of maintaining both electronic and paper-based data.


From http://www.korea.net 01/22/2007

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Gov't to Tackle Incompatibility Issue Between Vista and Korean Websites

Microsoft Korea launched Windows Vista,Office System 2007 for home PC users on January 31 boasting its enhanced security and three-dimensional graphic functionality. But despite this advantage,the new system's strong security features are creating problems in Korea. The incompatibility between the Vista and Internet sites is an emerging problem. According to government officials,for now,many Koreans are experiencing problems when they download government data or do Internet transactions due to the enhanced security measures. Vista Users complain about seeing shaky screens or being unable to access content when they want to download data or want to view video clips on major portal sites. The incompatibility occurs as Vista has discontinued the use of the "Active X" technology,a security tool used by most Korea-based Internet websites. In order to tackle the problem and make the Vista system work in Korea,the government is aiming to upgrade more than 5,000 electronic government systems so that it can solve the incompatibility issue. If everything goes as planned,the government will upgrade its systems by the end of April,enabling Vista users to download government-issued documents and data without problems. The government will set up a help center to further ensure the compatibility between Vista and Korea-based Internet sites. When the issue is solved,the government expects the economic rebound to grow stronger. For one,officials say Korea may see increase in sales of liquid crystal displays or LCDs because Window Vista's functional enhancement will lead to increased demand for bigger LCDs as they are considered a better fit for three-dimensional graphics and video-clip viewing. Also hopes are rising that as more users opt for Vista worldwide,Korea may be able to export more advanced memory capabilities,including flash memory and dynamic random access memory chips.


From http://www.korea.net/ 02/21/2007

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MONGOLIA: E-Governance to Be Supported

R.Gonchigdorj,Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy,received Thursday Mr. James David,Director of International Republicans Institute (IRI). At the meeting,the two men exchanged views on the issues related to collaboration between the IRI,Parliament and its Standing Committees and on activities of the Parliament development program,which is jointly carried out by the two sides. They also raised questions on processes of approval of the regulations of Parliamentary Standing Committees and high-ranking state officials and organization of the public forum on draft laws,implemented in Parliamentary electoral constituencies. The above forum will be held shortly in the Parliamentary electoral constituencies of the lawmakers,elected from Arkhangai aimag. J.David expressed his willingness to develop the bilateral collaboration in the development of E-governance and in working out draft laws.


From http://www.montsame.mn 02/08/2007

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Mongolia to Roll Out New Customs Platform

Mongolia is upgrading its customs system,in line with e-government efforts to improve efficiency and transparency. The upgrade,to be financed by a USD5 million loan from the Asian Development Fund (ADF),will see the existing manually operated system transformed into an internet-based system with a centralised database. Currently,traders must obtain official stamps and signatures from various customs points -- a process that can be subject to human error,delays and corruption. The loan from the ADF is being supplemented by a USD500,000 grant from Korea's e-Asia and Knowledge Partnership Fund,and by counterpart financing of USD1.26 million from the Mongolian government. The project will be rolled out over three years by the Mongolian Customs General Administration.


From http://www.enn.ie/ 01/17/2007

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INDONESIA: E-tendering Will Improve Transparency,Official Says

As part of the effort to strengthen transparency in the procurement of goods and services,State Minister for National Development Planning (Bappenas) Paskah Suzetta launched the first stage of an internet-based procurement system Friday that will eventually cover all government projects,Paskah said the system,which during the first stage would provide information on development projects to be put out to tender,would eventually incorporate the e-procurement systems already operated by a number of ministries and government agencies. He said the new procurement system would not only speed up the tender and procurement process,but also save taxpayer money. "As regards measures to increase transparency in line with the 2003 presidential decree,we have managed to save between 20 and 40 percent of the procurement budget from 2004 until 2006," Paskah said. "With that in mind,we hope that through this new effort to strengthen transparency,we will save between Rp 45 trillion (around US$5 billion) and Rp 90 trillion from the 2007 budget," he said. Of the total Rp 763-trillion national budget for this year,Rp 504 trillion is allocated to the central government and the rest to local administrations,while about Rp 240 trillion of the total budget will be spent on the procurement of goods and services.

Also speaking during the launch of the new system,Corruption Eradication Commission chief Taufiqurrahman Ruki said that between 10 and 50 percent of the state procurement budget,depending on the government department involved,had been misappropriated in 2006. "If we take the sum total of budget leakage from every administration,as well as state-owned enterprises,the figure could reach up to Rp 60 trillion in 2006," he said. Ruki said that even though the new system would not be able to fully eradicate malfeasance in the procurement process,he was optimistic that it would significantly reduce it. The publication of tender information,dubbed "e-announcement",is the first stage of a more extensive e-procurement program that will eventually involve all stages of procurement,starting with the official announcement and continuing through the bidding process right up to final payment,all carried out electronically through the Internet. The system is scheduled for full deployment next year. E-announcements can be accessed on-line at www.pengadaannasional-bappenas.go.id,where users are supposed to be able to access an extensive list of government procurement projects for 2007,plus a list of blacklisted companies. As of the time of writing,however,no lists had been uploaded onto the website. However,Bappenas Director for Procurement Policy Development Agus Rahardjo said 11 central government institutions,nine provincial governments and 10 municipal administrations were ready to participate in the program.

"Some local administrations hesitated due to technological constraints,but that excuse is no longer acceptable now as Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam has stated its readiness," Agus said,referring to the fact that Aceh is one of the most technologically backward provinces in the country. Agus also admitted that some national ministries were more prepared than others to participate in the program. "I fully understand that some ministries have developed their own procurement programs and applications. But not to worry,we can simply adapt these to our system," Agus said. The Public Works Ministry is one of the central government departments that is most prepared to participate in the program as it has been operating a basic e-procurement system since last year. "We have succeeded in saving Rp 652 billion from our budget thanks to our semi e-procurement program," said Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto,who was also present at the launch.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 01/06/2007

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RP Ranks Poorly in ICT Index

There are still a lot of Filipinos who have no access to computers and the Internet,according to data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) based on an international study. Out of 65 Asian countries studied,the Philippines ranked a poor 51 in terms of the e-Readiness index. This dismal ranking is a result of the low connectivity in terms of broadband and wireless Internet penetration. Also,most of Filipinos are still unable to have access to personal computers. The Philippines ranked in the middle of most of the ICT indices. Under the e-government category,the country was ranked 41 out of the 191 countries studied,70 out of 115 in network readiness,97 out of 180 in ICT diffusion and 94 out of 180 in digital opportunity. "Generally,the ICT scenario in the country was better than the situation in Cambodia,Indonesia,Lao P.D.R.,Myanmar and Vietmam," the study said. However the country lagged behind Singapore,Malaysia,Thailand and Brunei Darussalam. In addition to this,the study said businesses are still resisting technology. "The slow adoption of e-business practices among consumers and businesses contributed to its poor ranking," the study stated.

The study,conducted by global technology policy and management consulting firm McConnell International,said electronic preparedness measures a nation's capacity to participate in the digital economy. It likewise said electronic preparedness is a source of economic growth in the era of interconnectedness and the requisite to carry out successful electronic business. As a result,it would be difficult for any business or a country to grow substantially if the main electronic pillars are not in place. The firm said countries who have only taken a first step denotes complacency which has an adverse effect to future development. On the other hand,an e-ready society is one that has the necessary physical infrastructure (high bandwidth,reliability,and affordable prices),integrated current information and communication technology (ICTs) throughout businesses (e-commerce,local ICT sector),communities (local content,organizations online,ICTs used in everyday life,ICTs taught in schools),and the government (e-government). Meanwhile,the country performed relatively well in terms of the quality of infrastructure,openness to trade and investment,vision regarding digital-age advances and high educational level.


From http://www.abs-cbnnews.com 01/08/2007

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MALAYSIA: Initial Phase of E-judiciary Launched

PUTRAJAYA: After numerous delays,the initial phase of the Electronic Judiciary (E-Judiciary) system has been launched. There will be smoother court processes to reduce the acute backlog of cases,numbering over 8,000. Among the functions to be implemented in 11 courts involved in a pilot project in Kuala Lumpur and here are Case Management System,Court Recording and Transcription System and Common IT Infrastructure. The project,which began in September 2004,cost more than RM27mil. The system,which will enable Internet registration of cases and easy access to court records and past cases,will eventually be extended to all 410 courts nationwide. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz,who presided over a symbolic ceremony to signify the roll out of the system,said the "Malaysian-made" system was more comprehensive than the electronic system in the US,Britain,Australia,Hong Kong and Singapore. "It will be good if this Malaysian product can be extended to other countries which do not have a system of their own," he told reporters yesterday. Also present was Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim. Nazri said the allocation for the project was RM30mil under the Ninth Malaysia Plan,adding that the cost for the entire project comprising three more phases would be submitted during the mid-term review of the Plan.


From http://star-techcentral.com 01/11/2007

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Malaysia Still Slow in E-Governance Initiatives

Malaysia has been ranked as No. 43 worldwide in e-Government programmes. United Nations'e-Government's report shows that Malaysia has been ranked as No. 43 in the Southeast Asian region. Malaysia is still behind of Korea,Singapore,Japan and Philippines in taking the e-Governance initiatives globally. According to industry observers,continuous e-Government progress requires serious planning. Malaysian Government agencies need to consider in terms of embracing effective e-Government implementation. Government agencies need to understand that the transformation from traditional Government to e-Government is an ongoing process. The actual e-Government implementation involves a transformation,much more than simply adding a few Web sites for Government departments and agencies. E-Governance is not just about services for citizens but it also include the transformation from traditional government to e-Government.


From www.i4donline.net 01/30/2007

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ePerolehan Targets RM10b Volume by 2010

eGovernment flagship,the ePerolehan (eP) online procurement system,is targeting a procurement volume of RM10bil by 2010,said Commerce Dot Com Sdn. Bhd. executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Azizan Ayob. Commerce Dot Com is the developer of eP under the authority of the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The company also maintains the eP system. To date the eGovernment system has posted a 100% year-on-year increase in procurement volume to RM2bil for 2006. Total local purchase orders made by all 28 government ministries surged to 170,169 for 2006,compared to 107,033 the year before. "We are thrilled to surpass the RM2bil mark. This sets a positive momentum ahead for ePerolehan as we strive towards achieving RM10bil in 2010," Azizan said in a statement on Wednesday. For 2007,procurement volume via eP is expected to hit RM3.5bil. Other than the core central contract and direct purchase modes of procurement,a substantial growth is expected from the procurement mode of goods and services via ministry tenders and quotations,ministry contracts as well as newly introduced procurement mode of eBidding,said a company statement. Moreover,the MoF is targeting to expand eP to another 555 government procurement offices nationwide,it said. Last year,the top five ministries transacted actively through eP were the Ministry of Internal Security,the Ministry of Health,Ministry of Home Affairs,Ministry of Finance and The Prime Minister's Office. Currently there are more than 78,000 active MoF registered suppliers who are linked to the electronic procurement system. Incorporated on June 21,2999,Commerce Dot Com is a joint venture company formed between Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd of Malaysia and NTT Data Corporation of Japan. The government of Malaysia owns one special share through the MoF.


From http://thestar.com.my 02/21/2007

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PHILIPPINES: GSIS to Issue New,More Improved Ecard to Members

Government employees in Oriental Negros can look forward to a more advanced GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) eCard next year after the agency launched its GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS). With the pioneering e-government program comes the second generation GSIS eCard called the eCard Plus which will replace the old GSIS eCard issued in 2004. Local GSIS Acting Technical Assistant Larry Lee Alcaide said the schedule of enrollment of government employees here for the eCard Plus is set between January to March 2007. Enrollment will be via clustering of towns and cities here,he said. A team from GSIS will go to each cluster to accept and process the enrollment of GSIS members in the area. Clustering as well as the schedules for enrollment will be announced later,said Alcaide. There are more than 17,800 active GSIS members in the province,he added. The new eCard Plus is all that a GSIS members needs to access and make use of the G-W@PS kiosk technology,a 55-inch high,ATM-like machine with a 28-inch by 16-inch touch screen monitor. The kiosk can identify a GSIS member,display all of the member's records and process loan applications of members without any documentary requirement.

The kiosks will be installed in strategic government office locations nationwide. Along with this innovative technology,GSIS is also offering another cash advance to its members called the eCard Plus Cash Advance Program (eCAP) worth P10,000. The eCAP is among the first loan or financial assistance programs to make use of the G-W@PS technology. The eCAP is payable in three years with a low interest rate of 12% per annum based on diminishing balance. Once the GSIS member has the eCard Plus,he or she can transact the eCAP thru the G-W@PS kiosk electronically and online. Once approved,the proceeds of the eCAP will be immediately credited to the member's Union Bank account. Meanwhile,the tough economic reforms introduced by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are now paying off in terms of increasing investment,creation of more jobs and expanding small and medium enterprises and broadening opportunities for productivity and excellence of the people.


http://www.pia.gov.ph 12/21/2006

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EV Online: The Road to E-Government in Eastern Visayas

E-Government in Eastern Visayas (EV) will soon be realized through the full implementation of the EV Online,which is now on its first stage,established through Resolution No. 43,series of 2006 of the Regional Development Council (RDC) with funding provided for the development of the EV online portal,individual websites of RDC members and the operating expenses for its implementation. This good news was bared by Teresita Escobar,admin and finance coordinator of the Eastern Visayas Information Sharing Network (EVISNET) in her powerpoint presentation during a meeting with IT coordinators of RDC members without regional websites held recently at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) regional office. According to Escobar,the rationale behind e-Government is to enhance access and delivery of government information through the internet; build better relationship between the government and the public; and improve core operations through faster and cheaper delivery of information to a wider group of customers. The primary models of e-Government,Escobar said,includes Government-to-Citizen orGovernment-to-Customer(G2C);Government-to-Business(G2B);andGovernment-to-Government (G2G) where the most anticipated benefits include improved efficiency,convenience and better accessibility of public services.

In the first of the five stages of website development from the United Nations-American Society for Public Administration (UN-ASPA),which is the Emerging Web Presence,the site serve as source of public information,information on the government,frequently asked questions (FAQs),and contact numbers,Escobar said. On the other hand,Escobar emphasized that Eastern Visayas Online will provide various public information and services through the internet,enable the government/public to use the internet widely in all public affairs,and provide faster and efficient government transactions where anyone anywhere can go online anytime,not only to get the information they need but also to actually receive services,complete transactions,and communicate with government agencies. Escobar further said that the purpose of having an EV Online portal is to develop and host the websites of RDC members without websites,to update and improve those currently with websites,and continuously provide updated,relevant and useful information. RDC is the primary institution in the region which sets the direction of economic and social development of the region and through which regional development efforts are coordinated. It's members is composed of regional line agencies,local government units,private sectors,and non-voting members.


http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 12/30/2006

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BOC to Form National Electronic'Single Window'Group

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is set to form an oversight committee that will supervise the operations of a major information sharing network for customs and shipping port agencies. The network,called the National Electronic Single Window,is actually part of an international Single Window Project of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that hopes to improve the import/export and customs operations in the 10 member-countries of the ASEAN. Each of the member- countries will have to implement their internal Single Window and ultimately connect each other for more efficient import and export processing. This is expected to be completed by 2012. The steering committee will be led by the Department of Finance and will be composed of at least seven agencies that are linked to the BOC. The group for the oversight committee is expected to be formed in the second quarter of the year. In a phone interview with INQUIRER.NET,BOC Deputy Commissioner and MIS Head Alexander Arevalo said the BOC has been signing memorandums of agreement with several key government agencies to be part of the National Single Window.

Some of those that have signed up with the BOC late last year are the Philippine National Police,Philippine Economic Zone Authority,Department of Agriculture,the Association of of International Shipping Lines and Bankers Association of the Philippines. Arevalo said the BOC has pending agreements and linkages with diesel manufacturing groups,the Philippine Ship Agents Association and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines,Inc. The agreements range from acquisition of electronic permits and clearances,shipping manifests,import/export documents,advanced ship profiling and other custom-related requirements,as well as intelligence network. Arevalo said they intend to get all agencies that are working with the BOC to be part of the Single Window program within this year. Likewise,among their plans for this year is to implement a completely Internet-based network for Single Window partners as well as a wireless solution composed of a cellular phone SIM (subscriber identification module) card for mobile-related services. "We hope to have a seamless electronic-to-mobile communication system for all BOC-trading agencies," he said.

Currently,the BOC is using IP phones for its voice communication requirements. Arevalo,who was the former chair of the ASEAN Single Window Committee,said they intend to fully implement its computerization by the middle of 2007. Arevalo noted that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had pledged 1.6 million US dollar grant for the continuation of its computerization and the completion of the National Single Window program. Arevalo also said that they are also pursuing two other grants: 10 million US dollar grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and another 500 million US dollar grant from the US Embassy. The JICA grant will be primarily used for data warehousing and data mining requirements while the US Embassy grant will be for trade transparency and data access systems. The BOC previously received a 500 million peso grant through the Commission on Information Technology e-Government Fund and another 1.3 million euro grant from the European Union.

Arevalo said the completion of the National Single Window project would result in the speeding up customs processing especially for importers and exporters and reduction of graft and corruption. Most importantly,the National Single Window project will allow the Philippines to trade easily with the rest of ASEAN since each country will follow an agreed set of recognized customs standards for more efficient trading among different importers and exporters.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 01/13/2007

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SINGAPORE: Website Launched for Singaporeans to Give Views on 2007 Budget

The government's Budget statement for financial year 2007 will be delivered by Education Minister and Second Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Parliament on Thursday,February 15. A website has been set up for Singaporeans to give their suggestions or feedback for next year's Budget. The website address is www.singaporebudget.gov.sg.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 12/06/2006

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New Helpline Launched to Offer Advice to Migrant Workers

SINGAPORE: There are some 670,000 foreign workers in Singapore. But on average,only 200 of them approach the Manpower Ministry for help every year. Ahead of International Migrants'Day on 18th December,a helpline for migrant workers in Singapore was launched on Sunday. The helpline was set up by civil society organisation Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) and telecommunication company Telcom 1515. It will be manned by 19 volunteers - most of them foreign workers from the Philippines,Indonesia,Bangladesh and Myanmar. Having worked and stayed in Singapore for some time,these volunteers are better able to lend transient workers,especially those from their homelands,a sympathetic ear or give advice to those in distress. The helpline number is 1800 888 1515 and it is open from 2pm to 8pm on weekdays,and 10am to 8pm during the weekends. Huge medical bills may be one source of distress for foreign workers. The Manpower Ministry is currently considering a medical insurance scheme for them. Halimah Yacob,Assistant Secretary for NTUC,says: "The MOM's proposal - they are considering whether to make it compulsory or not. I think they should; it is the government's responsibility to make sure that employers provide medical care for their foreign workers." Healthcare subsidies for Singapore's permanent residents and foreign workers will be revised from October next year.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 12/17/2006

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Public Gives Budget Feedback at REACH Website

Members of the public have been logging on to the REACH website to air their views on the Budget. Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua and Chairman of the REACH panel Dr Amy Khor were on hand to answer queries real-time online. It is the first time REACH has organised a townhall meeting online. But the response was quite muted,with only 11 registered users logging on to air their views and ask questions. Ms Lim Hwee Hua said: "To be fair,this is the first time we're doing it. It's an experience we have to learn from,whether it's in the area of publicising this to more people and to get more participation or whether it's the right time of the day,bearing in mind it's pretty close to Chinese New Year as well." Among the key points discussed were whether enough is being done for the middle income group and if the non-English speaking Singaporeans have avenues to air their views on the Budget. Dr Amy Khor said: "We are also using other means to reach out to the non-English speaking population,for instance through our ministerial dialogues that can be conducted in Mandarin." More of these interactive townhall meetings will be planned later in the year for upcoming issues of interest.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 02/16/2007

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VIET NAM: E-customs System Ready in 2008

HA NOI ¡ª Viet Nam General Department of Customs is expected to officially launch its e-customs declaration procedures on imports and exports nationwide next year. The hi-tech system is designed to standardise procedures throughout the country and shorten the time it takes to clear customs. E-customs was piloted at HCM City and Hai Phong Customs Departments. By the end of last December,e-customs declarations had been carried out on 215 businesses with an average volume of 90 manifests a day. A total of 21,000 declarations with a total export turnover of US$1.7 billion have so far been carried out electronically. The new system has shortened the time it takes to clear customs and simplified administrative duties that previously hindered the work of customs' staff,said the General Department of Customs. E-customs declarations on crude oil imports has been used successfully in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province's Customs Department. During a six-month trial period,it slashed the time it takes to clear customs from 15 days to 10 minutes,the General Department of Customs said. Petechim's director in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province,Tran Thong,said the oil company typically got through around 30 customs declarations forms a month. Crude oil generates huge tax revenues for the Government and account for 70 per cent of the total import-export tax collected by Ba Ria-Vung Tau Customs Department. From May 5 to December 12,2006,the Customs Department processed nearly 400 customs' declaration forms with a total tax revenue of VND3.8 trillion ($238 million). However,the department said the Internet service,which uses a fixed telephone line,was too slow.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 01/19/2007

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State to Revamp Financial IT Systems

Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) yesterday signed an agreement with the Ministry of Finance to modernise the Government agency's information and communication technology that oversees management of the financial sector. The project,aptly named "Building ICT infrastructure for the finance sector",aims at enhancing the ministry's productivity.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/20/2007

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BANGLADESH: Govt. Promotes ICT4D Project

Bangladesh Government has supported the Amader Gram (Our Villages) ICT4D Project to provide appropriate knowledge and ICT intervention for villagers of the country. Currently,the Amader Gram ICT4D Project is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in twenty villages of Bagerhat and Khulna Districts in southwest Bangladesh. The agency is supporting the project by providing ICT skills,which enables villagers to get information and use it to improve their lives. The project has initiated a fellowship program for the University students.


From http://www.egovonline.net/news/ 01/23/2007

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INDIA: New E-Project,Agrisnet for Farmers

The Union Agriculture Ministry is launching more comprehensive project,named Agrisnet for framers to bride the gap between the virtual and real India. The project named Agriculture Resources Information System Network (Agrisnet) under the consideration of the Government of Kerala,will allow farmers to access the internet and gather information on all aspects of farming from the kiosks to be put up at Krishi Bhavans. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is funding the project by INR 49.47-crore under the Ministry of Agriculture. The main aim of the project is to provide hardware and Internet connectivity to the block level farmers. National Informatics Centre (NIC) is implementing the project. The project would be implemented as a joint venture between the central and state governments. According to Deputy Director,IT,of the Department of Agriculture,K P Harikumar,with the implementation of Agrisnet,internet kiosks would start at all the Krishi Bhavans in the state. Computerisation in 750 out of 1,008 Krishi Bhavans was done under the macro-credit scheme of Central Government in 2002-2003.


From New India Press 12/05/2006

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Online Petition Filing System Launched in Krishnagiri,(India)

As a part of e-Governance project,the online system of filing petitions has launched in Krishnagiri,Tamil Nadu (India). It would be the first online system of filing petitions in the state. Santhosh Babu,Collector of State has developed the system through the help of National Informatics Centre (NIC) and launched the system at the Collectorate and village panchayats of Mookandapalli and Poonapalli in Hosur. More than 600 petitions were registered on the first day. Villagers can file their petitions through panchayat kiosk or from home by logging on to www.krishnagiri.tn.nic.in/gdponline. Each petition has a separate Grievance Code Number,which will show the status of that particular petition. Even people can check the status of their petitions by calling on the toll free number to be provided in upcoming call centre in Hosur. The Collector will monitor on the status and the number of the petitions pending with each department. The main of the scheme is to reduce interaction between people and government offices,and maximise interaction between people and Government. Out of 337 panchayats in the district,computers have been provided to 110 panchayats.


From The Hindu 12/06/2006

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Haryana Vigilance Bureau Launches the Website Against Corruption in India

In India,The Haryana State Vigilance Bureau has launched the website against corruption. The Director-General of the Haryana Police and Director of State Vigilance Bureau,Ranjeev Dalal launched the website,www.haryanavigilance.gov.in. The website is designed by the bureau with guidance from the Haryana Information Centre. He told that any person can contact the authorities through the website and complain against a corrupt officer. On the security purpose,the name of the person would be kept secret.


From http://www.i4donline.net/news/ 12/08/2006

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State Government Introduces Online Monitoring System in Orissa,India

The State Government has decided to introduce on-line monitoring system to check the rising trend of maternal mortality and infant mortality rate in Orissa,India. The Health Department has issued notification for this monitoring system. All information related to inflow of patients in hospitals,number of woman coming for delivery would be available online. The Orissa Government has also decided to constitute patient welfare committees at the district,sub-division,and block level. The government will provide INR1 lakh each to sub-division and block level patient welfare committee. Even the Patient Welfare Committee would also provide financial assistance to poor patients. The State government has also decided to install 30 mobile diagnostic centres in the State. All the modern facilities would available in the mobile diagnostic centres.


From Daily Poineer 12/12/2006

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MP,Chattisgarh (India) Initiate E-Procurement Project in Their Departments

In India,the states,Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Chattisgarh are setting up e-Procurement programme across all their departments and officials. MP and Chattisgarh are setting up e-Governance plan in all their departments. Nextenders as well as Wipro has bagged the order from both states. Nextenders would be part of e-Procurement process in MP for five years and three months,while for five years and six months in Chattisgarh. MP has already issued a cabinet order for e-Procurement process. According to Anurag Srivastava,IT secretary,MP states,didital signatures would be used for on-line forms and information would be encrypted. Madhya Pradesh Society will carry electronic tendering to promote IT in the state. Nextenders will use the three tier architecture on Microsoft for the projects and for database SQL. e-Procurement process would run on servers. MP will have its data centre and disaster recovery centre in Mumbai by next month. NetMagic will manage both the centres. The company has selected VSNL and Airtel for providing bandwidth in MP. The cost of each project is around INR 4 crore. Recently,the company has tied up with Wipro to provide front end and back end support. All government departments of Chattisgarh are involved in e-Tendering process at an independent level. Later on,all these departments would be integrated into e-Procurement. In MP,BHEL and Antares were the other bidders for the project,and C1India and Tenderciti were the other bidders in Chhatisgrah. Nextenders is also doing e-Procurement for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the public works department in Assam.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/18/2006

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Indian Government Plans to Computerise Employment Exchange

Soon the Employment exchange of India is becoming computerised. The Central Government is agreed to bear 75% burden of the project under the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). Computerisation programme under NeGP will also include delivering services like application registration to a citizen through a single-window. The National Informatic Centres (NICs) of the respective states will prepare the software for the state employment exchanges. The project will form part of the list of 15 state mission mode projects (MMPs) mandated under NeGP. Initially,NeGP will implement the project in 15 MMPs. The Government is specially targeted for two states for e-Processing of employment exchange. The states like Andhra Pradesh,Karnataka and Kerala have already implemented computerisation of database,the only need to take it in shape.


From Economic Times 01/03/2007

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OERC Becomes E-Commission for Consumer's Benefits of India

The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) is becoming e-Commission by launching its portal,www.orierc.org for the people of Orissa,India. The new portal of OERC allows the consumer to file petition online. Consumer would be able to see the details of his bills and payment on this site. OERC has became the country's first such commission,which has adopted e-Governance for fulfilment of its desired objectives in an effective manner. The commission has developed its own website,Oracle database like Regulatory Information Management System,Cesu Billing Information System (CBIS) and Case Tracking System,which facilitated the smooth adoption of e-Governance. On this site,the power utilities can enter,query and analyse data relating to finance and operation,technical and planning through RIMS. Commission user can exchange their views,share information through the Discussion Forum provided in the portal.


From Daily Poineer 01/12/2007

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Kerala Govt. Launches Online Asset Filling System

Kerala (India) State Government has launched a computerised asset recording system for Government employees of state. Chief Minister of the state,VS Achuthanandan has launched the Electronic Recording System for government employees. The "Electronic Recording System" would be available for the staff in the General Administration Department. This would be the first kind of system to be launched in the country.


From Daily Poineer 02/02/2007

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Legal Information Institute Launches Web Portal in India

The new website of the India Legal Information Institute will provide all legal information without any fee. The India Legal Information Institute's new website,www.indlii.org will provide free of cost all legal information,including judgments of the Supreme Court,High Courts,tribunals and even district courts. The institute is committed in collecting all legal information about India from all available sources; publishing it on the Internet with free and full public access; granting the public rights to use legal resources without any restriction; creating awareness of the availability of free legal resources; removing hurdles to providing information and coordinating with other institutions to explore sources and utilisation of legal information. Initially,all judgments of the Supreme court would be available online,later on judgments of the Allahabad,Calcutta,Bombay and Delhi High Courts would also be available online.


From The Hindu 02/02/2007

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GAIL Launches E-Tendering System in India

Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL),India has launched the e-Tendering system as taking its initiative steps in the direction of e-Governance. U D Choubey,CMD of GAIL has launched the e-Tendering system on February 13,2007. He emphasised that e-Tendering tool will provide transparency to public. GAIL has already launched the e-Procurement of non-stock items in India. This platform will provide digitally signed tender and bid documents for user authentication and has facility for vendors to upload queries. The e-Procurement implementation through SAP-SRM is being carried out with IBM as the Implementation Partner and SAP giving Program Expert Consulting. The system for e-Tendering has been designed and developed on the SAP-SRM platform and is suitable to handle Single/Two envelope system for Limited/Open Tendering. The process also conforms to Contracts and Procurement (C&P) procedures and Government guidelines. The system also gives the facility for Time and Date Digital locking/ opening of electronic tender. The system enables on-line submission of Technical bids and Price bids in standard format.


From Money Control 02/14/2007

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PAKISTAN: PTA to Establish 400 Telecentres in Rural Areas

ISLAMABAD (February 03 2007): Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has launched a telecenter project to provide modern telecommunications and Internet facilities in rural and far-off areas. Under the project titled 'Rabta Ghar,'400 telecenters would be established in the first phase for which the equipment worth Rs 50,000 each would be provided free of cost. Applications have been invited from eligible candidates. These telecenters will be provided to those individuals who are unemployed with at least intermediate qualification. They will arrange a shop or room of the size of 10x12 ft (minimum). Females of rural areas fulfilling the criteria may also apply. According to PTA here on Friday,individuals from those villages and union councils will be considered for "Rabta Ghar" where the population is 4,000 to 10,000 and no public telephone or net cafe facility in the radius of 5 km is available. In case of Balochistan,applications can also be forwarded at Tehsil level. If more than one application is received from an area,the most suitable applicant will be selected. In the first phase of the project,PTA with the support of telecom operators,will establish 400 "Rabta Ghar" all over the country.

Telecom operators have pledged their support to PTA for setting up these "Rabta Ghar" including PTCL (100),Mobilink (100),Ufone (50),Instaphone (15),Intel (10),Worldcall (Payphones in all Rabta Markaz) while PTA will be sponsoring 125 "Rabta Ghar" bringing the total to 400. PTA has also arranged free delivery,installation and training of the "Rabta Ghar" equipment on the premises/location of the selected individuals by Intel through its Genuine Intel Dealers (GIDs). PTA has prepared training CD/manual for the selected "Rabta Ghar" owners and the GIDs will provide the basic necessary training to them. Applications can be submitted on the prescribed application forms through mail before February 15 to Deputy Director (Rural Cell),PTA H/Qs Building,F-5/1,Islamabad. PTA's Zonal Offices will verify the details provided in the application forms and after proper verification the list of selected individuals will be displayed on PTA's website. In addition,PTA Zonal Office will notify the selected individuals. Further information can be obtained from Telephone Nos. PH: 051-9225329-31 Ext: 147 or email address: rabtaghar@pta.gov.pk. It may be added that a "Rabta Ghar" (Telecenter) is a small business set up that provides PCO,Internet,Fax,Printing and Scanning services to small communities. A "Rabta Ghar" owner can earn approximately Rs 5,000 per month.


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

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IRAN: TCI Will Extend Cellphone Services to 8 Countries

Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) is planning to extend mobile phone network services in eight countries in Central Asia and Africa,the TCI chief said here on Friday. Vafa Ghaffarian told Fars that Iranian mobile phone operators have been allowed to begin marketing activities in eight countries,which he did not name. "The government has earmarked funds for this project," he said,adding that the office of deputy minister of information and communication technology (ICT) for international affairs and domestic mobile phone operators are working on the initiative. Last week,Ghaffarian,also a deputy ICT minister,said the general contractors (GCs) in the groundbreaking project to develop the national cellphone network have undertaken to complete 50 percent of the job by December 21,stressing,however,that the project has shown a progress of 22 percent so far.

"If they manage to get half the job done by late December,it would have a positive impact on the work as it proceeds," he said. The official further said that after 50 percent of the project is completed,the company will decide on the remaining half. "We hope that we will manage to distribute one million SIM cards per month by mid-February," he said,adding that a total of 3.1 million SIM cards are expected to be ceded in the period. In October,President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at the ceremony to sign the agreement between the Ministry of Industries and Mines and the Ministry of Science,Research and Technology to manufacture mobile phones that Iran is ready to produce all telecoms equipment. Iran announced this week it has signed a contract with the leading international mobile phone maker Nokia for manufacturing mobile phones inside the country.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 12/02/2006

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KAZAKHSTAN: Technology Park to Be Created in South Kazakhstan

Umirzak Shukeyev,governor of South Kazakhstan region,charged scientists with a task to create a technology park in the region. He made such statement at a meeting with scientists Friday,Kazakhstan Today correspondent reports. Mr. Shukeyev reminded that four technology parks were developing in Kazakhstan. "I analysed their experience and in my view the most successful,correct,and systematic experience is in Uralsk - it is the technology park "Algorithm",- he said calling the scientists to create an identical technology park. The governor noted that "the profile of the region should be determined. Our pharmaceutical industry is developing well,an oil refinery is operating well,on the basis of which a petrochemical venture can be created. A lot of very valuable material is used for black oil and sink. We could also develop new sorts of cotton,not by selection,but by genetic modeling." Besides,the governor drew attention of the audience to "a very powerful advantage - a special economic zone. We can situate the technology park on the territory of this special economic zone,and correspondingly there will be no taxes. I believe that we can achieve in one year what Uralsk achieved in two years."


From http://eng.gazeta.kz/ 01/08/2007

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Old Turkish Inscriptions Transferred to Electronic Form in Kazakhstan

Old Turkish inscriptions in Kazakhstan were transferred to electronic form within the framework of a project carried out by Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan,enabling the ancient texts to be used in computers. Erden Kajibekov,head of the Language Committee of Kazakhstan`s Ministry of Culture and Information,stated that the electronic corpus of the old inscriptions,formed thanks to such project,would offer wide opportunities for researchers and readers. On the other hand,Nepil Bazilhan from the ministry`s Cultural Heritage Program noted that the electronic program comprised of more than 300 old Turkish inscriptions and tablets such as Orhon,Yenisey,Talas and Turpan. Bazilhan said that the electronic copy of the inscriptions consisted of historical information on the monuments,an explanatory section of the researches conducted on the works,original texts,transcription of the original texts with Latin alphabet,translation in Kazakh language,as well as photographs,original copies of the texts on the monuments,criterion and a dictionary.


From http://www.turkishpress.com/ 01/23/2007

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TAJIKISTAN: The Challenge of E-Government

Analysts say a new e-government programme will set higher standards for transparency and good governance than the authorities in Tajikistan have ever been subjected to. On January 28,Transport and Communications Minister Abdurahmon Ashurov announced that his department had finalised an e-government programme to allow a rapid information exchange among all official agencies,regional authorities and the public. The programme was approved by the government as long ago as 2004,and a pilot project involving 20 government agencies began in March last year. Zafar Saidov,director of the state news agency Khovar,said Ashurov's announcement indicated that the programme was about to be implemented in practice. He explained that e-government would entail setting up a government internet network,creating a government portal and individual websites for state institutions,and providing more public internet access points. Saidov estimates it will take 18 months to two years to complete all this work.

Muhammadi Ibodulloev,coordinator of the E-Community Project with the Civil Initiative for Internet Policy group,highlighted some of the practical difficulties that the scheme will come up against. For example,many state institutions have computers but these are not part of an integrated network. There is also a shortage of IT specialists to design websites and create databases. But he said,"The main problem is whether the government is ready to launch such a project. When we talk about e-government,we mean a government that is constantly online and ready to answer questions put by the public." Other commentators say the government itself will have to change before the new system's potential can be exploited. Political scientist Shokirjon Hakimov says that even if e-government comes into being,it will not by itself improve the dialogue between society and government. "There won't be significant changes to the government's working methods and systems until it stops hiring personnel on the basis of local and regional allegiances,corruption and other negative phenomena,and starts employing new people who suit the needs of a modern society," he said.


From http://www.iwpr.net/ 02/02/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: Political Parties Encouraged to Build Their Websites

The Institute for the Study of Civil Society together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation conducted a roundtable meeting entitled "Political parties and Internet" on 29-30 January in Tashkent. The representatives of the Uzbek Agency of Communication and Information took part in the meeting. The aim of the event was to discuss the opportunities offered by Internet in the promotion of a particular political line,formation of public opinion,supporting two-way communication between the voters and the parties. At the roundtable participants discussed the need for the creation and the content of political parties'websites. Germany's experience in the sphere was studied. For this purpose Konrad Adenauer Foundation invited experts from Germany to tell the audience about the priority directions in the operation of the websites of political parties in an online regime,online PR-campaigns,etc. The specialists of the Uzbek Agency of Communication and Information said Uzbekistan had created the legislative framework,telecommunication infrastructure and all the conditions for the formation and development of several national information resources of interest to the population and state agencies.

Taking into consideration the growing importance of information and information exchange in the modern society,a national information environment is being formed,national information resources are being created and promoted. For the purpose of bringing to order and further development the extensions of the www.uz national information-search system,a technological platform for the hosting and technical support and provision of security of online state information resource has been created. Active development of the national Internet segment has led to the increase in the number of Internet users to 1.7 million people,and the number of collective access (internet cafes) to 634. The speed of Internet connection to international information networks has reached 230 Mbit/sec. Wireless access technology (Wi-Fi) is developing and expanding rapidly. A task has been set to increase the number of national online information sources,and improve the quality of websites registered in the UZ segment of the Internet (second level www.uz websites totaled 3,639 as of 1 January 2007).

To date the websites with entertainment,technical or private content prevailed,however today a stable increase in the official information of state agencies,educational,social,informative and media nature is being observed. Improvements have been observed in the online broadcasting of TV and radio programmes of Ozbekiston,Yoshlar,Mashal and Dostlik channels. Today,638 newspapers,198 magazines,55 publications and 4 information agencies are present in Uzbekistan (according to http://mmf.uz),of them more than 50 have online versions. Roundtable participants also reviewed the reports,such as "Architecture" of e-government","Role of Internet in PR-campaigns","Importance of Internet to government agencies responsible for public relations","Experience of foreign political parties in using Internet",etc.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 01/30/2007

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Centre for Electronic Governance to be Created

Centre for Electronic Governance will be created in Uzbekistan under Association of enterprises and organizations of information technologies (IT Association). On Thursday,8 February,ten enterprises,which wished to become official partner of centre,signed a memorandum of understanding between partners of Centre for Electronic Governance under IT Association. APC (Kazakhstan),Baik Technologies; East Telecom; Micros,Microsoft (Kazakhstan),Nuron Savdo; Oracle (Kazakhstan),Sharifa-T and Unitech,as well as Uzbek Agency for Communication and Informatisation (UzACI) signed memorandum and became partners of newly created centre. The main aim of the centre is to organize regular demonstration area of new hardware and software in e-Governance. It is expected that the centre will present opportunity to its partners to promote their goods and services in e-Governance,carry out scientific research,and promote creation of information society.

The main task of the centre will be development of methodology on integrated information system and enforcement of concept on single architecture of e-Government,which envisages creation of united government resources,portals and information systems. The centre will position itself as single marketing,consulting,scientific and educational establishment,which directs its efforts to develop e-Governance in Uzbekistan and promote solutions of the project. The centre will also promote idea on Single National Information Space and introduction of single standards,which will allow to unite e-systems and simplify search and selection of corresponding solutions.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 02/08/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Phone Connection and Fault Repair Remains Strong

The Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) Telecommunications Performance Data report for the September 2006 quarter,released today,showed strong performance from the industry in meeting new connection and fault repair standards,the Minister for Communications,Information Technology and the Arts,Senator Helen Coonan said. The report demonstrates how AAPT,Optus,Primus and Telstra have complied with their Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) obligations. The CSG covers fixed phone services,particularly the time it takes to connect and repair telephone services. "Telstra and other providers performed strongly in the September 2006 quarter. Telstra completed 96 per cent of its new service connections and 92 per cent of fault repairs within the timeframes set down by the CSG. Optus and AAPT completed 93 per cent and 97 per cent of their new service connections within the CSG timeframes respectively," Senator Coonan said. "ACMA considers any result of 90 per cent or more to be satisfactory. This report demonstrates that the telecommunications regulatory framework is delivering results to consumers. "I am also pleased to see that the percentage of payphone faults cleared within three working days in remote areas has increased by two per cent since the June quarter. "However,Telstra's performance in repairing payphone faults in remote areas is still too low at 71 per cent. Given the importance of payphones in remote communities,including Indigenous communities,there needs to be significant improvement in fault repair timeframes. I will be seeking Telstra's co-operation to ensure that repair performance can be significantly enhanced." More generally,the report shows Telstra's payphone availability nationally was at 99 per cent,which is consistent with its June quarter results.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 01/11/2007

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Interim Determinations and Reasons in Two Line Sharing Service Telecommunications Arbitrations

Following a process of consultation,the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today issued the reasons supporting interim determinations made in December 2006 for telecommunications disputes regarding annual charges for the supply of the Line Sharing Service (LSS)*. Interim determinations were made in Line Sharing Service arbitrations between Telstra and the following parties: Chime Communications Pty Ltd,and Request Broadband Pty Ltd. The interim determinations provide that: The LSS Annual Charges payable by a party to Telstra for the LSS are $38.40 per LSS per annum ($3.20 per LSS per month). The interim determinations were made on 21 December 2006,and the charges will apply between the parties for no more than one year. However,the ACCC intends to progress the arbitration of these access disputes towards a final determination as a matter of priority,and is looking to make final determinations by no later than 31 March 2007. The charges specified in the interim determinations will replace Telstra's LSS annual charges of $9 per month,which Telstra has continued to apply notwithstanding that the ACCC (2005) and the Australian Competition Tribunal (June 2006) has each ruled that a charge of this amount is not reasonable. In making the interim determinations,the ACCC has applied its long-standing LSS pricing principles (2002),and also the previous rulings that have been made by the ACCC (2005) and the Australian Competition Tribunal (June 2006) concerning a reasonable approach to setting LSS annual charges.

Consistent with the ACCC's published approach since declaration of the LSS (August 2002),a contribution to the costs of providing a telephone line has not been included in LSS annual charges at this stage,as line costs are being fully recovered in other charges. It should be noted that since 2000,Telstra has significantly increased line rental prices paid by consumers and businesses (such as from $11.65 to $27.23 (GST exclusive) for the majority of its retail residential customers) to recover line costs from line rental revenues. Allowing a contribution to line costs in LSS charges at this time would permit Telstra to double-dip from revenues earned on fixed-voice and ADSL services in over-recovering line-related costs. While Telstra has to date chosen to set line rental charges at a level that fully recovers line costs,following consultation on a draft interim determination in these disputes (October 2006),Telstra proposed an alternative approach to the recovery of its line-related costs,that could have consequences for the pricing of the LSS and for the wholesale line rental (WLR) service. Under Telstra's proposal,a contribution to the recovery of line-related costs would be included within LSS annual charges,with a reduction in charges for the WLR service. While Telstra's willingness to reconsider its approach to the recovery of line costs is welcome,the initial suggestion of Telstra as how to implement this initiative was not acceptable,as: it results in charges across LSS and WLR that are too high,and an immediate introduction of a new price structure could unduly harm competition,due to the consequences for competitors who have relied on Telstra's previous price structures in making investment decisions.

The ACCC does not consider it is appropriate for the access seekers to continue to pay LSS annual charges at the rate of $9 per month while alternative price structures are considered by the parties. It is noted that Telstra has long been able to implement a rebalancing of LSS and WLR charges but had not sought to do so prior to the circulation of the draft interim determinations. The ACCC strongly encourages Telstra to take this opportunity to put forward a reasonable rebalancing of the pricing of LSS and WLR. The ACCC remains open to considering alternative approaches for the purposes of setting prospective LSS annual charges in a final determination. It is also strongly encouraging the parties to negotiate a resolution of the dispute that has regard to charges applying across the LSS and WLR service. However,the ACCC considered that an interim determination should be made in these access disputes that reflects current circumstances,including Telstra's long-standing approach to the recovery of line costs. The ACCC will publish on its website further details of its reasons for making these interim determinations so as to inform the debate on the LSS and encouraging more reasonable LSS prices to apply across the market. * The Line Sharing Service (referred to as a Spectrum Sharing Service by Telstra) has been regulated since 2002. The line sharing service allows the copper wires that provide voice telephony to also be used to supply broadband internet services by using the low frequency part of the copper line spectrum for voice and making the high frequency spectrum portion available for data. Access seekers obtain access to the high frequency portion of the spectrum to supply broadband internet. Telstra retains the ability to provide voice services obtain line rental revenue and voice call revenue.


From http://www.accc.gov.au/ 01/16/2007

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Centrelink on the Job

CENTRELINK has set a mid-year target for completing the delay-plagued installation of an $125 million national data network. Contractors have begun the rollout of fresh bandwidth,including fibre cabling,to hundreds of the agency's offices around the country as it beefs up its numbers of web-based applications. The rollout is taking place as part of Centrelink's $312 million IT Refresh project,which will upgrade or replace much of the agency's computer and communications infrastructure. Centrelink put the data network project to tender in October 2003 but the tender process was affected by a series of delays,including an early decision to expand the initiative to make it more competitive for Australian companies. Carriage services contracts were eventually awarded to Optus,Uecomm,Soul Telecommunications and Nextgen in late 2005. Dimension Data picked up a network hardware deal in January 2006. The value of the contracts pushed the estimated cost of the project up by $25 million to $125 million. A Centrelink spokeswoman said all of its customer service centres and call centres were expected to be connected to the network by the end of June and some sites in Queensland and Victoria had already been hooked up.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/06/2007

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Feds Adjust to Skills Shortage

THE federal Government has begun rationalising information and communication projects in commonwealth agencies as the skills shortage in information technology starts to bite. Special Minister of State Gary Nairn announced the strategy in December at an industry conference in Stockholm. Mr Nairn said government agencies should stop using siloed and segregated approaches to e-government. The Government's lead information and communications technology governance body,the Australian Government Information Management Office,had established a committee to stop the government making multiple investments in projects that achieved much the same goals. "If there is a common investment that has already been made,it should be reused,and if there is scope for common processes and systems to be redeveloped,this should be done once rather than multiple times," he said. Early last year,AGIMO appointed 10 senior departmental officials to make up a committee to manage technology reforms. Called the Business Process Transformation Committee,it has been working closely with chief information officers in key federal government agencies. Mr Nairn said the committee had found four major areas of federal government practice that needed reform: business reporting,grant management,record and document management and online recruitment. Australian Bureau of Statistics chief information officer Jenine Borowik said the review would help the federal government to manage the IT skills shortage.

"There are so many IT-related opportunities out there concerning what government wants to do with IT and concerning what the sector wants to do,and there aren't enough school leavers choosing IT as a career,so people can see that there's a shortage," Ms Borowik said. Another role of the committee is to help agencies deliver e-government services more consistently and improve adoption of standards across government. "There's probably a number of reasons why citizens expect more consistent services from government," Ms Borowik said. "They don't want us to waste money by doing the same thing in lots of different ways unless there are good reasons,and they expect government to be cost-effective." A spokesman for Mr Nairn said single sign-on access was one area the Government was seeking to standardise across its agencies. Government processes needed to be reviewed whenever new technology was adopted,he said. Although the committee was working towards goals set out in the federal e-government's strategy statements,its targets had not been set out in dollar terms,he said.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/06/2007

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Medicare off Limits Without Smartcard

MORE than 16 million Australians will lose access to Medicare and all other commonwealth welfare services by 2010 unless they sign up to the Howard Government's proposed Access Card. Using smartcard technology,the Access Card is to become the Government's new method of delivering $100 billion in benefits while cracking down on identity fraud estimated to cost taxpayers up to $4 billion a year. The Government wants to sign up to 35,000 people a week to the card from April next year,and intends that all Australians needing it will have one by June 2010. Seventeen separate government cards covering services such as Medicare,Centrelink and Veterans Affairs will be rolled into a single piece of plastic that carries a microchip. The card's surface will include the user's name,digitalised signature,a biometric photo,card number and expiry date. The user's date of birth on the face of the card will be optional. Also stored on the chip will be information including the user's gender,residential address,concession status,Medicare number,emergency payment number and an optional PIN number. The user will have control over the inclusion of further information such as organ donation,health alerts,mobile phone number and emergency contact details. At this stage,the Government has left open the possibility that the card's use could be extended to a wider range of applications,including public transport use. Facing protests that it could be used as a general identity card or subject to "function creep",the Government insists that people's privacy will be protected by law. Access Cards will not be required to be carried at all times.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/07/2007

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NEW ZEALAND: System Promises Better Comms During Disaster Response

A local software company is developing a new technology which they claim will massively improve government responses in disasters and national emergencies. The IP-based technology from TeamTalk Ltd,called P25,allows agencies to talk directly to each other when required,while providing much greater security and privacy. "P25 has benefits for a range of central and local government agencies - particularly emergency services,which need to be able to communicate with each other in cases of major disasters or national emergencies",the company claims in a statement. "However these organisations also need to be able to communicate privately the rest of the time - and P25 ensures their calls and data are encrypted and can't be overheard by anyone outside the organisation",said TeamTalk managing director David Ware. "Over time we can see this being valuable to agencies such as Ambulance,Fire Service,Police,the Ministry of Fisheries,Justice and other government agencies,as well as private organisations like high-end security companies,energy retailers and port companies." P25 technology is standards-based and supports handsets from a variety of manufacturers including Motorola and Tait Electronics. TeamTalk says the P25 network is operating in Wellington and is in the final stages of testing. The company plans to introduce the new technology throughout the country.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/01/2007

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Next Generation Enterprise Information Management Solution

At this year's Online Information Event,NetworkedPlanetgave the first UK showing of TMCore07,a next generation Topic Maps-based information management solution for the distributed enterprise. TMCore07 integrates directly into EPiServer or MS Office 2007 via SharePoint,to provide large and growing organisations with a quick and direct way for employees to locate and present data from across multiple systems. The solution locates and structures information with the aim of 'vastly improving'knowledge sharing and speed up day-to-day processes by ensuring workers can rapidly access relevant data. Kal Ahmed is Founder of NetworkedPlanet: "Employees within large organisations need access to a plethora of data to do their jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible,yet this information is usually located on a range of different systems. A task as seemingly straightforward as generating a customer invoice may require data from invoicing,CRM and financial accounting systems - not to mention any historic order information - all of which take time to locate,as this may require searching or navigating through multiple interfaces. Topic Maps technology provides the solution for bringing those access points together in a single,unified and searchable interface.

"By mapping each respective source of information,data from any source can be viewed and manipulated through a single interface which can be accessed by anyone in the organisation," Kal Ahmed continued. "In the case of the Norwegian Post Office implementation,the TMCore integration ensures valuable corporate assets are easily found using an effective 'concept,role and workflow'based system." TMCore is NetworkedPlanet's server platform for developing enterprise-scale knowledge and information management applications. The TMCore server stores and manages 'topic maps'of an organisation's internal databases,documents and employee knowledge which comprises of different "topics" - employees,departments,services,documents etc. Each topic holds information about itself,links to related documents and can also be connected to any other topic creating a knowledge web of relationships and information resources that can be browsed or searched by end-users. The result is a detailed index of the organisation's information resources across a number of systems via a single unified information portal.


From http://www.networkedplanet.com/ 12/07/2006

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Cisco Pledges M investment for ICT-related Microcredit Financing in Developing Countries

Cisco announced that it will pledge million dollars to support ICT-related micro-financing initiatives within the global ICT Empowerment Network,a new collaborative microcredit financing program launched today by Professor Muhammad Yunus,a Nobel Prize Laureate and managing director of Grameen Bank,in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ICT Empowerment Network is a virtual network of organizations working together to help the underprivileged earn sustainable incomes. Through its network of ITU-Cisco supported Internet Training Centres,Cisco will work with the ITU and Grameen Bank to provide eligible students micro-credit loans to undertake their information and communications technology (ICT) education. In addition,Cisco will work with ITU and Grameen Bank to help eligible graduates of ITU Internet Training Centres receive entrepreneurial business training and/or mentoring as well as micro-credit start up capital to launch their own ICT-related businesses."I am very excited at the level of commitment and support from ITU Connect the World partners,like Cisco,who can translate creative ideas into action to make a difference in the developing world," Yunus said. "The ongoing success of the ITU-Cisco Internet Training Initiative worldwide demonstrates what can be accomplished through effective public and private sector collaboration for sustainable development."

In 2002,Cisco and the ITU launched the Internet Training Center Initiative for Developing Countries with the goal of setting up 50 centres around the world by 2003. The effort has led today to the establishment of 66 such ITU-sponsored centres in 56 countries,including 20 least-developed countries. ITU-Cisco Internet Training Centers leverage the comprehensive curriculum created by the Cisco Networking Academy Program,which will celebrate 10 years of ICT education in 2007. There are Cisco Networking Academies in roughly 165 countries worldwide serving half a million students annually."Education and enhanced ICT skills have proven to expand communities,so increasing access to ICT education in the developing world through micro-credit financing is a great idea," said,Mr. Yoshio Utsumi,secretary-general of the ITU. "The continued growth of Internet Protocol networking in the developing countries,especially through active support from government and private sector leaders,will yield tangible benefits for the global economy as a whole." "The ITU continues to be a leader in ICT development programs and partnerships worldwide that help narrow the digital divide," said Tae Yoo,Cisco vice president of corporate affairs and executive lead for corporate social responsibility. "This opportunity for Cisco to provide a replicable and sustainable platform for people to enter the ICT world through education and entrepreneurial pursuits is a great example of the impact that effective public and private partnerships can have in the developing world."


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 01/01/2007

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E-commerce to Gain Momentum in 2007 Predicts Hybris

According to hybris,www.hybris.com,a product information management (PIM) and e-commerce vendor,2007 will be the year of e-commerce as new trends in consumer and industry practice,coupled with new technology such as Web 2.0,moves the potential of e-commerce to new levels. The company's prediction is in line with many leading analysts and industry commentators who have been speculating on the emergence of e-Commerce 2.0. Ariel Ludi,CEO of hybris,said: "Many new technologies are coming on stream ready for 2007 and end user and business trends mean that the convergence of these will see a massive drive for e-commerce in 2007. Many consumers are willing to adopt new technologies as the benefits of online shopping become widely recognised; this,along with the willingness of retailers and business to try and push out new types of service will see many news types of e-commerce emerging in the market." Robert Garf,Research Director at AMR Research,said: In the late 1990s through mid-2002,retailers invested in first-generation e-commerce applications to meet growing consumer demand. Because these rudimentary,standalone,and often times highly-customized systems thwart retailers' efforts to meet evolving cross-channel consumer expectations,a majority of retailers are in the process of a technology do-over."

Amongst the trends that hybris has identified in the market that will see an upswing in e-commerce activity during 2007 are the following: Better website accessibility and usability thanks to increased use of AJAX,Drag & Drop and One-Page-checkout facilities; More Multi-Channel Commerce solutions for business users based on a single data and pricing information source; More user friendly and socially sympathetic commerce websites thanks to Web 2.0 software tools with greater community and user input and involvement; Increased use of a sales catalogue on retail websites with features such as the intuitive turning of pages; Increased used or ASP multi-tennant solutions which will save money as it can; manage all tenants on a single platform; Comparative online customer service stats will be available so retail sites and others can ensure they are providing top levels of service and competitiveness; Increased accessibility of digital downloads thanks to functionality such as Software as a Service; Greater integration with physical stores (store pickup,returns,POS terminals); More multi-national e-commerce websites will be established which will led to a need for more international payment solutions including automated tax and delivery calculation; Integration of advertorials in shops e.g. of partners (cross selling) as ad spending on the internet further increases; hybris supplies standard software solutions for the media-independent management of product information and its distribution over both online and print channels.


From http://www.managinginformation.com/ 01/11/2007

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Nokia,Motorola Top Cell Makers

Finland's Nokia remains No. 1 in the cell phone industry.The industry's No. 2 player,Motorola of the United States,also maintained its position but fell back slightly.Korea's Samsung Electronics stayed at No. 3 and LG Electronics of Korea was ranked No. 5. The rankings are from Strategy Analytics,a research firm.Nokia and Sony-Ericsson were the only two cell phone firms to improve their operating profit,year-on-year. Nokia,the biggest market share holder,increased its operating profit 15.3 percent,slightly higher than the previous year's 15.1 percent.Profit at Sony-Ericsson rose to 11.8 percent from 7.1 percent the previous year. Motorola,LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics all failed to increase their profit from a year ago. The average price for a Sony-Ericsson phone increased,while all other brands offered lower prices,based on the American Selling Price,or ASP.An average Sony-Ericsson cost $177,while the average at Nokia was $122 and $131 for Motorola. Korean companies Samsung and LG offered their cell phones at average prices of $172 and $160. Competition is lowering the prices,but the growing mobile phone market in developing countries is another reason for the decrease in prices,analysts said.In countries with low income,phones with lower prices tend to sell more. Meanwhile,the annual number of mobile phones sold globally topped one billion for the first time last year.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 01/27/2007

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Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design

Since my first attempt in 1996,I have compiled many top-10 lists of the biggest mistakes in Web design. See links to all these lists at the bottom of this article. This article presents the highlights: the very worst mistakes of Web design. (Updated 2007)

1. Bad Search Overly literal search engines reduce usability in that they're unable to handle typos,plurals,hyphens,and other variants of the query terms. Such search engines are particularly difficult for elderly users,but they hurt everybody. A related problem is when search engines prioritize results purely on the basis of how many query terms they contain,rather than on each document's importance. Much better if your search engine calls out "best bets" at the top of the list -- especially for important queries,such as the names of your products. Search is the user's lifeline when navigation fails. Even though advanced search can sometimes help,simple search usually works best,and search should be presented as a simple box,since that's what users are looking for.

2. PDF Files for Online Reading Users hate coming across a PDF file while browsing,because it breaks their flow. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don't work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper,which rarely matches the size of the user's browser window. Bye-bye smooth scrolling. Hello tiny fonts. Worst of all,PDF is an undifferentiated blob of content that's hard to navigate. PDF is great for printing and for distributing manuals and other big documents that need to be printed. Reserve it for this purpose and convert any information that needs to be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages. Detailed discussion of why PDF is bad for online reading.

3. Not Changing the Color of Visited Links A good grasp of past navigation helps you understand your current location,since it's the culmination of your journey. Knowing your past and present locations in turn makes it easier to decide where to go next. Links are a key factor in this navigation process. Users can exclude links that proved fruitless in their earlier visits. Conversely,they might revisit links they found helpful in the past. Most important,knowing which pages they've already visited frees users from unintentionally revisiting the same pages over and over again. These benefits only accrue under one important assumption: that users can tell the difference between visited and unvisited links because the site shows them in different colors. When visited links don't change color,users exhibit more navigational disorientation in usability testing and unintentionally revisit the same pages repeatedly. Usability implications of changing link colors; Guidelines for showing links.

4. Non-Scannable Text A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read. Write for online,not print. To draw users into the text and support scannability,use well-documented tricks: Subheads; bulleted lists; highlighted keywords; short paragraphs; the inverted pyramid; a simple writing style,and; de-fluffed language devoid of marketese. Eyetracking of reading patterns.

5. Fixed Font Size CSS style sheets unfortunately give websites the power to disable a Web browser's "change font size" button and specify a fixed font size. About 95% of the time,this fixed size is tiny,reducing readability significantly for most people over the age of 40. Respect the user's preferences and let them resize text as needed. Also,specify font sizes in relative terms -- not as an absolute number of pixels.

6. Page Titles With Low Search Engine Visibility
Search is the most important way users discover websites. Search is also one of the most important ways users find their way around individual websites. The humble page title is your main tool to attract new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to locate the specific pages that they need. The page title is contained within the HTML tag and is almost always used as the clickable headline for listings on search engine result pages (SERP). Search engines typically show the first 66 characters or so of the title,so it's truly microcontent. Page titles are also used as the default entry in the Favorites when users bookmark a site. For your homepage,begin the with the company name,followed by a brief description of the site. Don't start with words like "The" or "Welcome to" unless you want to be alphabetized under "T" or "W." For other pages than the homepage,start the title with a few of the most salient information-carrying words that describe the specifics of what users will find on that page. Since the page title is used as the window title in the browser,it's also used as the label for that window in the taskbar under Windows,meaning that advanced users will move between multiple windows under the guidance of the first one or two words of each page title. If all your page titles start with the same words,you have severely reduced usability for your multi-windowing users. Taglines on homepages are a related subject: they also need to be short and quickly communicate the purpose of the site.

7. Anything That Looks Like an Advertisement
Selective attention is very powerful,and Web users have learned to stop paying attention to any ads that get in the way of their goal-driven navigation. (The main exception being text-only search-engine ads.) Unfortunately,users also ignore legitimate design elements that look like prevalent forms of advertising. After all,when you ignore something,you don't study it in detail to find out what it is. Therefore,it is best to avoid any designs that look like advertisements. The exact implications of this guideline will vary with new forms of ads; currently follow these rules: banner blindness means that users never fixate their eyes on anything that looks like a banner ad due to shape or position on the page; animation avoidance makes users ignore areas with blinking or flashing text or other aggressive animations; pop-up purges mean that users close pop-up windoids before they have even fully rendered; sometimes with great viciousness (a sort of getting-back-at-GeoCities triumph).

8. Violating Design Conventions Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same,users don't have to worry about what will happen. Instead,they know what will happen based on earlier experience. Every time you release an apple over Sir Isaac Newton,it will drop on his head. That's good. The more users'expectations prove right,the more they will feel in control of the system and the more they will like it. And the more the system breaks users'expectations,the more they will feel insecure. Oops,maybe if I let go of this apple,it will turn into a tomato and jump a mile into the sky. Jakob's Law of the Web User Experience states that "users spend most of their time on other websites." This means that they form their expectations for your site based on what's commonly done on most other sites. If you deviate,your site will be harder to use and users will leave.

9. Opening New Browser Windows Opening up new browser windows is like a vacuum cleaner sales person who starts a visit by emptying an ash tray on the customer's carpet. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows,thanks (particularly since current operating systems have miserable window management). Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. But even disregarding the user-hostile message implied in taking over the user's machine,the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites. Users often don't notice that a new window has opened,especially if they are using a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen. So a user who tries to return to the origin will be confused by a grayed out Back button. Links that don't behave as expected undermine users'understanding of their own system. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content. Users hate unwarranted pop-up windows. When they want the destination to appear in a new page,they can use their browser's "open in new window" command -- assuming,of course,that the link is not a piece of code that interferes with the browser's standard behavior.

10. Not Answering Users'Questions
Users are highly goal-driven on the Web. They visit sites because there's something they want to accomplish -- maybe even buy your product. The ultimate failure of a website is to fail to provide the information users are looking for. Sometimes the answer is simply not there and you lose the sale because users have to assume that your product or service doesn't meet their needs if you don't tell them the specifics. Other times the specifics are buried under a thick layer of marketese and bland slogans. Since users don't have time to read everything,such hidden info might almost as well not be there. The worst example of not answering users'questions is to avoid listing the price of products and services. No B2C ecommerce site would make this mistake,but it's rife in B2B,where most "enterprise solutions" are presented so that you can't tell whether they are suited for 100 people or 100,000 people. Price is the most specific piece of info customers use to understand the nature of an offering,and not providing it makes people feel lost and reduces their understanding of a product line. We have miles of videotape of users asking "Where's the price?" while tearing their hair out. Even B2C sites often make the associated mistake of forgetting prices in product lists,such as category pages or search results. Knowing the price is key in both situations; it lets users differentiate among products and click through to the most relevant ones. (by Jakob Nielsen)


From http://www.useit.com/ 02/12/2007

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ASIA: A Promising Land for ICT

As so-called "Telecom Olympia" ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom World 2006 dropped its curtain down here Friday,many participants agree the Asian market is a promising land for the world telecom industry and holds great opportunities for international telecommunication technology (ICT). This event,the first ever held outside Geneva in its history,attracted almost all global telecom giants except Nokia and over 140 Chinese enterprises,making a contrast to the last one in which Siemens,Ericsson,Alcatel were collectively absent. "It is not easy for Hong Kong to win the hosting right," elected Vice Secretary General of ITU Zhao Houlin said. Since many multi-national telecom companies agree that China and Asian markets are growing rapidly while the European market is already fostered,so such an event should be held in a place close to developing markets. Over 50 Canadian companies attended this year's expo. "Although I can hardly imagine how important this event will be in ITU history by now,I can say it is one of the best that I have attended," Canada's Department of Industry Communications Research Center President Veena Rawat said,adding that she was very much impressed by the fast development in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong telecom industry. At the two-storeyed Siemens exhibition pavilion,communication official Uta Apel said Asian telecom markets,particularly in China and India,are growing surprisingly fast. Siemens has attached great importance to the Chinese market and has invested 200 million euros (240 million U.S. dollars) in the research of 3G standard TD-SCDMA. It has also established a joint venture with China's Huawei. Allen Timpany,CEO of Vanco,the leading global Virtual Network Operator listed in London,said its company has reached an milestone of 100 percent growth in the Asia-Pacific region and 150 percent in China over the past 12 months. During the period,Vanco has doubled the number of sites under management in the region to 2,300 and opened an office in Shanghai. It plans to open a new office in Hong Kong in two months in order to meet the need of business expansion. China has endorsed TD-SCDMA as its standard for 3G mobile communication and pledged to put it into commercial operation during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Since the timing of 3G issue has yet decided,Chinese government officials,Chinese enterprises'directors and even Chinese reporters were the targets of multi-national companies. China Day,the first in the history of ITU's Telecom World expo,is seen as a climax of exchanges between Chinese telecom industry and its counterparts around the world. "This expo is better than I have imagined," ITU Secretary General Yoshio Utsumi said. Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce,Industry and Technology Joseph Wong said ITU Telecom World 2006 has generated an over-expected 900 million HK dollars (115.38 million U.S. dollars) for Hong Kong's coffers. The event has also attracted 62,000 visitors,including 540 CEOs and officials from 48 countries and regions,another figure over expectation according to ITU.


From http://english.people.com.cn/ 12/09/2007

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eMusic Eyeing Asia After Strong European Launch

CANNES,France (Reuters) - Digital music download service eMusic says it is eyeing a launch in Asia after a successful rollout across Europe in 2006. EMusic became the first service to launch in all 27 European Union member states when it rolled out in September,taking on iTunes in some of the big markets such as Britain and Germany. In its search for further expansion,the New York-based eMusic is looking toward Asia and Japan in particular. "Aggressive international expansion is on the calendar for us. The Asian markets are interesting but they're challenging." EMusic said it believed it was now Europe's second biggest digital music provider,although there were no official industry figures to confirm this. "In 150 days since the launch we've sold 4.5 million tracks and we think that makes us the undisputable number two," Chief Executive David Pakman told Reuters in an interview in London late last week. "On the whole we (have seen) that the convergence rate (of people looking at the Web site to becoming a subscriber) is higher in Europe than the U.S. which suggests that there is pent up demand here for legal,easy to use,digital services." EMusic is second to iTunes in the U.S. market,the world's biggest music market,putting it ahead of well known brands such as Rhapsody,MSN Music,Napster and Yahoo. EMusic differentiates itself as the only one on a large scale delivering songs in the MP3 format,meaning they can be played on any portable music player,including the iPod. Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes can only be used with an iPod while music from other legal services such as Napster or Rhapsody cannot be used on the mass-selling device.

Music Majors EMusic's policy of making tracks available to all formats has resulted in none of the four major music companies,which are responsible for about two-thirds of the music sold worldwide,supplying to the service. Pakman said he was still talking to Vivendi's Universal Music,Sony BMG,EMI Group and Warner Music but until they agreed to distribute in the MP3 format,it would not carry their songs. Instead,eMusic offers some 2 million tracks from 13,000 independent labels covering jazz,blues,classical and everything in between to its 250,000 subscribers. And Pakman is not complaining. "The older consumer is terribly underserved by retail today yet it is the only segment that is still buying music in meaningful numbers," he said,explaining that older consumers were less likely to opt for illegal services. "It's better to have a more diverse selection and cater to a lot of people's taste." As well as providing a wide range of music for a monthly fee,eMusic also offers advice from a team of 120 experts on music while subscribers can rate and review songs. "We have a two million track catalog and just over two thirds of it sell every quarter," he said. "We spend a lot of time guiding people." The company now has Asia in its sights. In a report released last week,the international trade body the IFPI said Japan was the first market where the growth of digital music had made up for the loss in physical sales. But according to Pakman some 70 percent of the music sold there was indigenous Japanese music and each label would need to be licensed before it could be sold on the service. Music experts would also need to be signed up for a Japanese unit and any launch could take a couple of years to prepare. (by Kate Holton)


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 01/21/2007

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IP Telephony Carrier Market Strong in Asia-Pacific Through 2011,Says Research Firm

The Asia-Pacific region will be the strongest regional performer in the IP telephony-carrier market through 2011,according to research firm Dell'Oro Group. The growth in Asia-Pacific will come in part from China and other developing countries in Asia-Pacific that continue to expand voice service availability,as well as from Japan and more advanced countries that are replacing their circuit infrastructure with next generation network (NGN) equipment in order to offer the latest subscriber services,noted the firm. "Large enterprises have led the way in the deployment of IP telephony,and now we are seeing small and mid-sized business also realizing the benefits of VoIP," said Alan Weckel,Analyst of IP Telephony Enterprise Research at Dell'Oro Group. "Large enterprises are now testing the waters with Unified Communications solutions that promise to provide users with a cohesive communications experience in which voice,instant messaging,video,and email are integrated together," Weckel added. The North American market is forecast to grow through 2011,albeit at a slower rate than Asia-Pacific. "North American service providers,possessing mature voice networks,are currently investing in enhanced broadband services,such as IPTV,that enable them to better compete with cable operators," commented Steve Raab,Director of IP Telephony Carrier research at Dell'Oro Group. "During the next five years,the replacement of circuit switch local exchanges in North America will be increasingly linked to the adoption of IP Multimedia Subsystem,or IMS. Service providers will use IMS as a common core to offer converged fixed,mobile,and multimedia services," said Raab. (by Eric Mah)


From http://www.digitimes.com/ 02/02/2007

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EUROPE: Multinational Companies Leaving UK over Taxes

Many big companies are considering moving their headquarters or operations out of Britain because of the rising tax burden. Some companies have already moved to Bermuda,Experian has located its headquarters in Ireland and HSBC has warned that it might have to rethink being based in London because British taxes on business are increasing while those in most other countries are going down.

Free Whitepaper - Winning the PCI Compliance Battle Download this free white paper and see how Qualys streamlines PCI Compliance by helping merchants scan and remediate vulnerabilities,and submit PCI compliance directly to their acquiring banks,all through the same easy to use,on-demand interface. Several multinationals are considering moving their headquarters or operations out of Britain because of the rising tax burden,the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is warning. "I've come across a couple of multinationals,there are one or two others also thinking about it," Richard Lambert,director general of the employers'group,told The Business ahead of the CBI's conference which opens on Monday in London.

Other Options
Several Lloyds of London companies have already moved to Bermuda,Experian has located its headquarters in Ireland and HSBC has warned that it might have to rethink being based in London because British taxes on business are increasing while those in most other countries are going down. "There are others that are brooding about it. Companies have more options,especially big ones," Lambert said. "It's not a flood,more a trickle,but it has to be watched," he said. Issues of concern to business other than tax include infrastructure ,planning issues,regulation and skills,he said. Lambert pointed out that the Conservative Party voted against a compromise European directive on hazardous materials agreed under the British presidency last year. He accused the Tories of "seeking to out-green the government on green issues" by opposing the directive from a green perspective.

Regulating Minimum Wage Increases On the minimum wage,Lambert said that "it is time for a pause in the rate of increase. The national minimum wage brought benefits overall but has risen very significantly in real terms." Britain is now at a point where further real increases would hit jobs and investments,Lambert said. He called for further increases in the minimum wage to be no higher than inflation. The CBI supports a pause before extending the free movement of labor to Romania and Bulgaria,Lambert said. He said that almost all of the migrants that had moved to Britain from the former Eastern European countries had found work,adding to demand and providing a supply shock to the economy,plugging skills shortages. But he acknowledged that the numbers had been vastly greater than predicted,putting pressure on infrastructure. British economic growth will reach 2.7 percent this year before slowing down a little next year,Lambert said. On the renewed housing market boom,he added: "Were I still on Bank of England's monetary policy committee,I would certainly be thinking carefully of the potential inflationary consequences."


From http://www.ecommercetimes.com/ 11/27/2007

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UK IT Recruitment Reaches Its Peak: Local Authorities See Budgets Stabilise

The boom in IT recruitment in local authorities is over,as budgets stabilise following five years of investment in egovernment,according to new research. The study by user group Socitm,IT Trends in Local Government 2006/7,looks at how the move to delivering online public services has affected councils' abilities to sustain a state of change and modernisation. IT recruitment had been growing steadily in the sector,though has now stabilised due to shrinking budgets. ¡®For the past five years the IT functions in local authorities have been taking on more staff. Several thousand new jobs have been created through this period. But this year's results suggest that this growth has come to an abrupt end,' the report says. (by James Brown)


From http://www.itweek.co.uk/ 01/11/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: E*Trade Anticipates Strong '07 Results

E*Trade has traditionally focused on retail investors,but is now trying to capture new sources of earnings growth by targeting assets of the "mass affluent" -- those with $50,000 and $500,000 to invest -- who are considered to be underserved by traditional brokerage houses like Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley.

Free Direct Marketing Lists Consumer and business lists with targeted leads to help you grow your business. E*Trade Financial (NYSE: ET) on Thursday said profit in 2007 could exceed Wall Street expectations in a year the online brokerage hopes to expand overseas and begin to offer customers the ability to trade cross-border stocks. Strong earnings aren't the only big plans for the San Francisco-based online brokerage. The company said it intends to switch its stock listing back to the Nasdaq,its original home after going public in 1996,from the New York Stock Exchange.

Big Year Ahead E*Trade said it expects 2007 profit between US$1.65 and $1.80 per share on revenue between $2.75 billion and $3 billion. Wall Street currently expects earnings of $1.73 per share on $2.68 billion in revenue,according to an analyst poll by Thomson Financial. The figures represent profit growth between 15 percent and 26 percent from its 2006 earnings projections,while revenue is forecast at 14 percent to 24 percent higher. However,the company will take a series of one-time gains in 2006 after unwinding a number of investments -- including its stake in E*Trade Japan. E*Trade is expected to report its fourth-quarter and full-year results in late January. "We're seeing continued organic growth in our targeted customers -- the ones that are active traders,but most importantly the mass affluent," said Chief Operating Officer R. Jarrett Lilien. E*Trade has traditionally focused on retail investors,but is now trying to capture new sources of earnings growth by targeting assets of the "mass affluent" -- those with $50,000 and $500,000 to invest -- who are considered to be underserved by traditional brokerage houses like Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) and Morgan Stanley.

Going Global Lilien also said the company wants to expand internationally,where it currently derives about 10 percent of its business. He wants to increase that portion to 30 percent by 2010 by building out European operations. E*Trade expects to launch or acquire a bank in the UK this year. In addition,Lilien said customers by the second quarter will be able to directly trade stocks in some foreign markets. "We want to flip the switch and let our U.S. customers benefit from our international structure," he said. "We'll be the first mainstream player of any kind to do this." E*Trade currently has operations in Japan,Hong Kong,France,German,the UK,and Canada. At some point,customers in all regions would likely be able to trade stocks from other markets,he said.

Nasdaq Move As for its return to the Nasdaq,the brokerage said it will transfer its listing to the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol ETFC. E*Trade moved to the NYSE in 2001. Lilien said one reason for the move was an agreement with the Nasdaq to promote its corporate services business to companies listed on the exchange. E*Trade currently manages stock option trading on behalf of employees at a number of companies,including Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL). Details of the deal were not disclosed. Rich Adamonis,a spokesperson for the New York Stock Exchange,said it "declined when approached by E*Trade" for a similar agreement. The NYSE is already home to a number of major brokerages that have similar services,and none have any agreements in place with the exchange. "We're looking to grow the corporate base that we have now,and grow the amount of potential new customers and do a better job of retaining that money as people exercise options or stock," Lilien said. Looking toward 2007,he said no major acquisitions are in the works -- and that instead the company focuses on organic growth and spot acquisitions overseas. E*Trade had at one point been in talks with every major player in the discount brokerage space,including Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW). The CEO said E*Trade is still open to the possibility of joining forces with another broker.

"We'd be all right if we're left alone because we'll be the traditional household name five years from now," he said. "But,if someone comes,we have no choice but to listen." Shares of the company rose 35 cents to close at $22.76 on the NYSE Thursday,and added another 37 cents in after-hours electronic trading. (by Joe Bel Bruno)


From http://www.ecommercetimes.com/ 12/15/2007

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US Gates Foundation Expands Web Access Program

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will expand its program to give people access to the Internet in libraries and other public places to Botswana,Latvia and Lithuania. In 1997,the foundation began putting money into Internet access in the United States at a time when only one in four libraries was connected. Email communications are critical business tools that carry a number of risks. MessageLabs free 7 day email audit can help organizations to evaluate their own exposure to these risks. The audit will tell you exactly how your business is faring in the battle against viruses. Learn more. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will expand its program to give people access to the Internet in libraries and other public places to two Eastern European countries and the African nation of Botswana. The foundation on Thursday announced grants totaling US$17.5 million to Botswana,Latvia and Lithuania as a step in a seven-year plan to support increased Internet access in public libraries in other countries.

Connecting the World In 1997,the foundation began putting money into Internet access in the United States at a time when only one in four libraries was connected. Now that virtually all American libraries are online,the foundation has turned some of its attention to the rest of the world,where it says 87 percent of the world's population lacks access to the Internet. The Global Libraries initiative has been moved to the foundation's new global development department because foundation officials see a connection between access to information and escaping poverty.

Wiping Out Poverty Technology can help alleviate poverty by improving the way people can use government services,connect with work opportunities,grow a business,learn about health issues that affect them and communicate with others across the world," said Martha Choe,director of the foundation's Global Libraries initiative. The grants to Latvia and Lithuania are the foundation's first forays of any kind in Eastern Europe,although foundation officials said they expected the global development department to announce other grants in the region. The grants,which will be matched with government contributions from the three countries,will pay for computers,training and planning. In addition to library Internet connections in the United States,the foundation has previously supported libraries in Chile,Mexico and Canada. (by Donna Gordon Blankinship)


From http://www.ecommercetimes.com/ 12/21/2006

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CHINA: Approve Another 5 National Software Export Bases

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has granted five cities -- Guangzhou,Nanjing,Hangzhou,Chengdu and Jinan -- the status of national software export base,entitling them to special treatment and financial support from the government. With the six existing bases -- Beijing,Shanghai,Tianjin,Xi'an,Shenzhen and Dalian -- China now has eleven national software export bases. Vice-minister of commerce Yi Xiaozhun said the ministry will help these bases develop software brands for the international market. Support for the bases will include interest rebates,R&D funding,personnel training,corporate qualification certification,export credit loans,credit insurance,commercial information and protection of intellectual rights. Statistics show that the value of China's software exports were multiplied 14 times in a six-year period from 1999 to 2005,rising from US$250 million to US$3.59 billion. The 11 software export bases contributed 80 percent of the total volume. According to a plan drafted by the MOFCOM,China will boost software exports to US$10 billion by 2010. To attain the goal,software exports will need to grow at an annual rate of no less than 25 percent.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/04/2006

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Hong Kong Ready to Launch 3G

To cope with the demand created by mainland's development of the network in future,Hong Kong is ready to launch 3G services using TD-SCDMA standard,the Office of the Telecommunications Authority said yesterday. Speaking at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World 2006 expo,the authority Deputy Director-General Ha Yung-kuen said he was confident that Hong Kong operators would be interested in providing services using the standard. The standard,currently undergoing tests,is being regarded as a "home grown" standard as its development was spearheaded by the mainland companies,such as Datang Telecom. But it was not officially announced as yet when the 3G licence would be awarded in the mainland. Ha said the four 3G operators in Hong Kong,SmarTone,Hong Kong CSL,Hutchison 3G HK and Sunday,were given frequencies to operate 3G service on both W-CDMA standard and TD-SCDMA standard.

The operators had launched 3G service on W-CDMA standard since 2004/2005. But Ha said the operators could launch TD-SCDMA service at any time in Hong Kong according to their own business plan. He said the situation was mature to develop TD-SCDMA 3G services. The government still holds two licences of TD-SCDMA standard,and would sell them to interested parties if none of the four operators willing to provide 3G service based on the standard. Ha said none of the four operators had expressed plan to offer services on TD-SCDMA standard. He,however,was confident that the service had market demand in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Wireless Development Centre had commenced a test on TD-SCDMA technology,with the support of Datang Mobile. Datang Mobile and Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association had also jointly organized a TD-SCDMA application development program in July.

ITU strategy and policy unit head Tim Kelly said the mainland could afford to have its own standard for 3G because it is the world's largest market. Even if the mainland adopted the homegrown standard,Kelly said manufacturers could easily adopt the requirement and produce phones that could be used for multiple standards. Kelly said it was important for the mainland to spread communication technology use to rural areas in the future and he expected the mainland market would continue to grow.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/07/2006

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Cisco Invests $50 Million in Chinese Communications Firm

Cisco has become the largest foreign investor in China Communications Services after announcing a $50 million investment in the newly public company. With the investment,Cisco has committed more than $700 million in venture funding to nearly 30 Chinese companies.Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced a US$50 million investment in the newly public China Communications Services,making the U.S. network equipment maker the largest foreign investor in CCS.CCS,formerly a subsidiary of the state-controlled China Telecom Group (CTG),went public earlier this month on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. CTG,as well as state-controlled China Mobile and China Unicom,are the other big investors in CCS.CCS helps large Chinese service providers such as China Netcom design and build Internet and other telecommunications networks. With the investment announced Wednesday,Cisco has committed more than $700 million in venture funding to nearly 30 Chinese companies. Other recent investments include e-learning company Ambow and gaming company Shanda.However,doing business in China remains risky even for Cisco,the most highly valued company in Silicon Valley with a market capitalization of nearly $165.5 billion Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) ,Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) came under political fire earlier this year for operating in China.

The country's communist government is holding 260,000 people in ideological "re-education" camps,according to the U.S. State Department.After the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989,Congress prohibited U.S. companies from exporting products used for crime detection and control.The sanctions apply to old-fashioned items such as handcuffs and guns -- not modern technology from blue-chip tech companies. A growing number of human rights advocates and politicians -- including Rep. Tom Lantos,D-Calif. -- are asking the Commerce Department to modernize the list of prohibited items. Advocates say the Department of Commerce should ban some software -- which Chinese officials could use to compile databases of suspected enemies of the state -- and some telecommunications technology that could help the government identify dissidents or censor information.It's unclear how long Cisco -- which is ambitiously expanding in China,India,Russia and other developing nations -- can stave off a political backlash.Earlier this month,the school board in Dover,Penn.,voted to delay the purchase of a $416,661 phone system from Cisco for fear the contract could contribute to oppression in China. The board is studying Cisco's effect on China's human rights abuses and censorship."It's a risky market," said analyst Erik Suppiger of Pacific Growth Equities.

"But with a quarter of the world's population,it's one you can't run away from." Cisco doesn't break out profits by country,but executives are committed to helping build the telecommunications infrastructure in China,the world's largest mobile communications market. They say investing in CCS and startups will help improve human rights."We want to help build innovation and drive middle-class growth. It paves the way for strong economic growth that builds a broader base in the economy within China," said Ned Hooper,Cisco vice president of corporate business development. "China is one of the most important of the emerging and new markets ... not only because of the scale but the innovation that's going on there."£¨by Rachel Konrad£©


From http://www.ecommercetimes.com/ 12/14/2006

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Beijing to Open Online Hotel-booking Center for 2008 Olympics

The Beijing tourism administration will open an online accommodation booking center before March next year for visitors to the 2008 Olympic Games. The Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau's website,www.bjta.gov.cn,will be linked to the official website of the 29th Olympic Games,said Xiong Yumei,deputy director of the bureau on Friday. The administration plans to recommend at least 1,000 budget hotels on the website,providing about 100,000 beds. The website will feature pictures of the hotels and introductions in three languages - Chinese,English and French. "In 2008,these budget hotels will be introduced in eight languages for the convenience of visitors," Xiong said. The bureau announced the first batch of 253 budget hotels on Friday,which have all passed the service standards for quality. According to the standards,the hotels must all have service guides,signs,and menus in both Chinese and English. They must also have facilities for visitors to pay by credit card,and have Internet connections in rooms. All hotels will be issued with a price guide for reference.

The tourism administration also named 134 star hotels in Beijing as "green hotels" on Friday. They have all passed the State standards which require the setting up of eco-friendly managerial systems and facilities,and the adoption of technologies that conserve water,energy and reduce waste. Beijing is expected to receive about 500,000 visitors from abroad during the 17-day games. Xiong said she believed Beijing has the capacity to accommodate the visitors. In the 11 months this year,Beijing has accommodated 3.63 million overseas visitors,an increase of 7.5 percent over the same period last year. Beijing now has 4,023 non-star hotels and 674 star hotels,which provide a total of 570,000 beds. At least 89 hotels have applied to be graded next year. By 2008,the number of star hotels in Beijing will reach 800.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/18/2006

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Online Spending Increases

Chinese Internet users spent 276.76 billion yuan on Internet services in 2006,almost 50 percent more than the previous year,as their number rose to 136 million by the end of 2006,the Internet Society of China said yesterday. The society said in its Internet Guide 2007,jointly prepared with consulting firm DDCI,that Chinese Internet users spent about 170 yuan a month on services like Internet connection,online shopping and online games last year,almost 8 percent higher than the amount in 2005. Total consumption increased as the number of Internet users rose from 111 million at the end of 2005 to 136 million in 2006. The report was the first released by the society on the Internet sector,which covers 50 categories and surveyed over 80,000 individuals and 900 companies. The China Internet Network Information Center,which has so far released 18 sets of statistics on Chinese Internet users on a six-monthly basis,is yet to release its own figures. "The result of this report shows the growth has been very strong,but this industry is still in a very rudimentary stage," said Huang Chengqing,secretary-general of the Beijing-based organization.

The report also said 20.8 million Chinese were frequent bloggers,while 101 million routinely read blogs. Beijing-based Sina defended its title as China's No1 Internet portal,but its peer on the NASDAQ,NetEase,took over Sohu to become the second most popular portal in the world's second-largest Internet market after the United States. "In China,integrated service providers like portals have a natural reason to exist,because the size of the market is small and Chinese users'knowledge of the Internet is highly concentrated," said Hu Yanping,one of the authors of the report. Online advertising,the main revenue source for Internet portals,saw a sustained high growth of over 50 percent to 5 billion yuan in 2006,up from 3.3 billion the previous year. In the highly competitive search engine market,the growth was also brisk from 1.05 billion yuan in 2005 to 1.57 billion yuan in 2006. The report showed 80 percent of Chinese users search on Baidu,while 36 percent have used Google for searches and 26 percent use Yahoo! China. Domestic firm Baidu had only 40 percent of the market share in terms of revenue,while Google claimed 18 percent the smallest gap of recent reports on the search engine market. Recent reports said Baidu's share was twice that of Google's in China.


From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 01/11/2007

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China Mobile to Buy Majority Stake in Millicom's Pakistan Unit

China Mobile Communications Corp.,the world's largest wireless phone operator by users,will buy a majority stake in Millicom International Cellular SA's Pakistani cell-phone unit in the Chinese company's first overseas investment.China Mobile,based in Beijing,will pay $284 million in cash for an 89 percent holding in Paktel Ltd.,Luxembourg-based Millicom said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Rainie Lei,a spokeswoman for China Mobile Ltd.,the Hong Kong-listed unit,confirmed the details of the deal. The Chinese company failed in July last year to buy Millicom,which has networks in 16 emerging markets including Latin America and Africa. China Mobile wants to export to emerging countries the marketing tactics and technology it developed in the rural areas of China,the world's largest market by users. The so-called enterprise value of the transaction is $460 million,including debt,the Millicom statement said. The government in China last month said technology companies should invest more in African and Southeast Asian nations with which the country is deepening ties. Lou Qinjian,deputy minister at the Ministry of Information Industry said in a Dec. 19 speech posted on the ministry's Web site that government departments should adjust loan,insurance and foreign exchange policies to support such overseas technology investments. Shares of China Mobile rose 1 percent to HK$71.50 in Hong Kong as of 10:04 a.m. local time,compared with 0.3 percent gain in the Hang Seng index. £¨By Janet Wong£©


From http://www.bloomberg.com/ 01/22/2007

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Sources: Microsoft to Set Up MSN Center in China

Software giant Microsoft is setting up a research-and-development center in Shanghai for its online MSN service,its first such center outside the United States,sources familiar with the plan said on Wednesday. The move came after Microsoft saw setbacks in its online services in China,including the resignation of a top executive responsible for the company's Windows Live unit in China late last year. The center,which will cost up to $20 million,will also have a technical support team for Microsoft's online communication tool MSN Messenger,which has become part of everyday life for teenagers and young professionals in China. "It's a clear signal that Microsoft won't give up its online MSN service in China even though it may have some problems in its local operations," said one source,who declined to be identified. "Twenty million dollars is really small money to Bill Gates,but it's important to notice that Microsoft has chosen Shanghai for its first overseas MSN R&D center," the source added. The R&D center,based in Shanghai's Zizhu Science Park,where chip giant Intel already has a research office,will develop Internet software,the sources said.

MSN Messenger has more than 20 million users in China,the world's second-largest Web market with around 137 million users. Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment. The plan to set up a MSN R&D center in China also indicates that the company is eager to take advantage of the relatively flexible working environment and large pool of engineering talent,said Doug Crets,Hong Kong-based analyst at Media Partners Asia. "We're seeing things being done in China that are often squelched or squandered in the U.S. or other western countries," said Crets,referring to China's relatively lax attitude toward intellectual property,which may allow for more experimental technology and business ventures. "It's like going back to the old fashioned 'tinkering with the Web'feeling here," he added. The investment by Microsoft,which set up a research-and-development center in Beijing in 1995 but as yet no R&D facility for the popular chat service MSN,may help to consolidate its leading position in China where global players are also hunting for profits. For example,industry sources told Reuters last week that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is finalizing a deal with partners,including private equity heavyweight IDG,to launch a networking Web site venture in China within a few months.

Luo Chuan,former head of Microsoft's Windows Live unit in China and also responsible for the China site of the company's MSN portal,resigned from Microsoft at the end of 2006. Now,Luo is tipped to become the first chief executive for MySpace China,an online networking Web site similar to MSN. "The MSN R&D center in Shanghai is also part of Microsoft's efforts to become localized," said the first technology source. The source said MSN China is also partnering with Shanghai Media Group,one of the country's biggest media companies,on online video and shopping business. The new MSN R&D center may develop software to provide technical support to the partnership.


From http://news.zdnet.com/ 01/31/2007

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Yearning for E-Commerce in China

The Chinese consumer demographic is changing dramatically. The frugal,conservative aging population does not buy online,wear designer fashions or play Internet-based games. The generation of middle-class youth has more disposable income and is not afraid to spend it. This bodes well for multinational companies that hope to tap into China's fever for e-commerce. Many analysts argue that Chinese consumers are conservative spenders and not willing to buy on credit or engage in e-commerce. The numbers initially seem to support such arguments,as China's household savings rate sits at 40 percent versus less than 1 percent in the U.S. Credit card penetration is low,with fewer than 50 million cards in circulation for an emerging middle class of 250 million. While China's Internet users will hit more than 140 million by the middle of 2007 and will overtake the U.S. as the largest group within the next few years,critics believe that e-commerce will never take off here because,as a matter of culture,Chinese do not like it. However,do these numbers and conclusions incorporate the seismic shifts in consumer habits in China that have been taking place in the last decade? The answer is a resounding no. These skeptics fail to look at the changing demographics of China's consumers. Sales are now being led by a younger generation that is willing to buy on credit and shop online.

In surveys and interviews that the China Market Research Group conducted with Chinese youth between the ages of 18 and 28 in Shanghai,Beijing and Guangzhou,more than 80 percent said they were willing to buy items online and over 70 percent said they would use a credit card if they could. The results indicate that old stereotypes of Chinese consumers stuffing yuan under their mattresses can no longer be attributed to the increasingly well-off middle-class Chinese youth segment. This bodes well for multinational companies that hope to tap into China's fever for Web 2.0 and e-commerce. It is true that older generations of Chinese do save a lot -- many have lost their pensions and are worried about paying skyrocketing medical costs. Most economists look at these age groups and argue that China's economy will have problems in the future if the government cannot jump-start consumer spending. However,many of these economists have been far too simplistic in their analysis of the future of China's household savings rates in the coming decades. Consumption patterns are very different for Chinese born after 1978 -- China's baby boomers. They have experienced 30 years of economic growth and political stability similar to those born during the post-World War II years in the U.S. Our surveys show that Chinese between the ages of 18 and 28 save very little or actually buy on credit because they are so optimistic about China's economy and their own earnings potential.

Their salaries are regularly increasing 25 percent a year as the competition for even junior talent is fierce and they job-hop like mercenaries. These young professionals want to show their status in the workplace and spend nearly all of their salary on items such as Nokia (NYSE: NOK) mobile phones,Zara clothing,and Estee Lauder cosmetics. In focus groups we conducted in Beijing,more than 70 percent of young women making between US$500 and $2,000 a month expected to travel to Hong Kong and/or Thailand in the next three years. Instead of running up bills on a MasterCard or American Express (NYSE: AXP) the way consumers in the U.S. do,Chinese youth finance their lives of leisure by borrowing from their parents and grandparents. Having experienced the bitterness of the Communist-Nationalist Civil War and the Cultural Revolution,older Chinese are determined to see their children -- almost always their only child -- happy and want to live vicariously through them and,therefore,shower them with money. Chinese youth overwhelmingly want credit cards. To date,there are fewer than 50 million credit cards in China compared with more than 1.1 billion debit cards.

However,2006 saw the addition of 15.6 million credit cards and 200 million debit cards,so more Chinese are adopting credit cards. This is a big jump from 2004,when only 10 million cards were in circulation. The trend will continue as the Chinese banks up their services to compete with the onslaught of foreign banks such as Citigroup and HSBC that are bulking up their offerings in China due to liberalized regulations. The No. 1 reason so few people have credit cards,according to our findings,is not that they do not want one but that it is simply too difficult for the average Chinese person to get approved for one. They have to spend far too long dealing with an inefficient system of credit checks and subpar service,where consumers regularly have to wait in two-hour-long queues to see a teller,unless they have VIP cards. Another problem is that even if you do get your hands on a credit card,domestic cards still lack viable credit limits because of weak risk-management departments. We interviewed one wealthy Chinese man who charges more than $1 million a year on his international American Express card but cannot get a Chinese credit card with a credit limit of more than $20,000. Even that comparatively high limit was only possible because he knows the chairman of the bank personally and has built up trust through transactions involving his company.

Chinese banks are also pushing to issue more credit cards to stave off flocks of Chinese shifting their money to foreign lenders. The state-owned China Daily newspaper conducted an online poll that showed 57 percent of Chinese wanted to switch their savings to foreign banks once they are able to in March. Chinese banks are continuing to reform and see credit cards as an important component of their futures if they want to compete on an international level. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China have each issued 10 million credit cards to date,and market leader China Merchants is pushing hard to develop credit cards for use in online transactions. China Merchants has done more than any other Chinese bank to come up with co-branded credit cards for use by Chinese consumers -- especially younger consumers. To date,China Merchants has forged relationships with Young Card,Bertelsmann,Rayli,Hello Kitty,MSN mini,Ctrip,Air China and China Southern,to name a few. The rise of virtual currency used in online gaming environments in China shows that Chinese youth love e-commerce -- if taking part is convenient. Because of the lack of credit cards in circulation,for many Chinese consumers the first introduction to e-commerce comes through the use of virtual currency. Several hundred million dollars'worth of virtual currency was purchased last year,and the size of the virtual currency market is growing 30 percent annually.

The numbers have become so large that the Chinese government has issued warnings about the effect virtual currency can have on China's financial stability -- money supply problems,inflation,and avenues for money laundering. Millions of Chinese youth are spending hours each week playing online games,writing blogs,chatting through instant-messaging services such as QQ,and streaming music from portals such as Baidu.com. To facilitate online transactions and retain active users,many of these Internet sites have minted virtual currency that can be exchanged for goods and services. Chinese netizens like virtual currency because acquiring some does not require a credit card or even a bank account. Tencent,the provider of the leading QQ instant-messaging service and leading online game host,is China's virtual-currency leader. Its customers can purchase Q-coins using cash,through mobile phone cards offered in tandem with China Mobile,or up until recently,by winning the coins in online gaming competitions. The coins,which are purchased at a rate of one Q-coin to one yuan,are valuable to online consumers as they can be used to purchase ring tones,use antivirus software,send e-cards and,in some cases,buy tangible goods. When one combines the Q-coins with similar offerings from Netease.com,Baidu and Sina,the virtual-currency market becomes a power that can influence China's financial markets. Although eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) did not do well in China,e-commerce is booming.

Many Chinese are going to online auction sites and stores in search of broader product selection or better deals than they can find around town,and every year more Chinese are flocking to online auction sites such as Alibaba's Taobao or online sellers such as dangdang.com and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) subsidiary Joyo.com to buy products and services. The aggregate of all online transactions in China is impressive. Last year,the total value of all online transactions,both business and consumer,soared to $127.5 billion,up from $85 billion in 2005. The consumer side represented a fairly small portion of this amount,but with an estimated 50 million Chinese engaged in e-commerce,growth is extremely promising. As more credit cards are adopted,then e-commerce will continue to grow. The demand is there,as shown by the eager adoption of virtual currency. China's banks have to catch up to the demand by issuing more credit cards. Multinational companies that can integrate e-commerce processes to tap into China's emerging middle class will do well.


From http://www.technewsworld.com/ 02/10/2007

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JAPAN: Webmoney to Supply E-money System to HMV

WebMoney,an online money solutions provider,has announced an alliance with HMV Japan. Under the partnership,WebMoney will provide the music retailer with its e-money issuance system whereby HMV users can download audio files at the HMV website (http://www.hmv.co.jp/digital/) by entering a 16-digit prepaid number. HMV will also hold a campaign in which those who spend more than 5,000 yen at stores will be given free download cards for three files.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 12/21/2006

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Gov't to Promote Telecom Tech Overseas

The communications ministry will set up a task force to promote advanced Japanese telecommunications technologies overseas in a bid to have them adopted as international standards,officials said Thursday. The task force will support Japanese telecom companies'efforts to market their cutting-edge technologies,such as those for "one-segment" terrestrial digital broadcasts for mobile phones and Internet-based networks,to overseas companies,they said.


From http://www.japantoday.com 01/12/2007

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Internet Initiative Japan Invests in DreamArts

Internet Initiative Japan announced on January 31 that IIJ Technology,IIJ's 72.1% owned subsidiary,acquired a 17.1% of stake in DreamArts Corporation on January 31,2007.Tokyo-based DreamArts is engaged in the development and sales of computer software,internet related services,IT solutions and related consulting. IIJ-Tech hopes to develop synergies between its expertise in IP network engineering and systems construction,and DreamArts'expertise in the development and sales of business applications and group software. IIJ-Tech also plans to enhance cooperation with DreamArts in the systems integration business


From http://www.japancorp.net 02/02/2007

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Online Auctions to Refill Tax Coffers

The National Tax Agency is turning to online auctions to sell art,jewelry and other assets seized from delinquent taxpayers,agency officials said over the weekend. If all goes smoothly,sales eventually will include seized real estate,they said. The program likely will start as early as June. Officials are still deciding which private-sector auction site to use. The agency already sells assets seized for nonpayment of income and other taxes,mostly through tenders. The proceeds go to national tax coffers. Last year,the agency began holding live auctions for some items. In recent years,Tokyo and other local governments have used online auction sites to recoup unpaid tax money by selling seized assets. Internet auction sites post descriptions of items on offer,minimum bid prices and other details. Bidders log in and enter maximum bids. The bidder with the highest bid when the auction time limit expires buys the item. The agency auctions will not accept payment by credit card. The transaction must be paid for in cash. While unpaid national taxes have declined annually with the improving economy,929.8 billion yen in total remained owing in fiscal 2005. In the year from July 2005,the agency sold about 6,000 seized items,earning 18 billion yen in revenue,primarily from real estate and other high-value assets. Personal items earn a relatively low rate of return compared with their handling costs,however,and have thus had lower priority. In July 2004,the Tokyo metropolitan government tied up with Yahoo Japan Corp.,which operates the nation's largest Internet auction site,to sell off seized assets. The move spread to other local governments,with more than 100 now using the Yahoo site. Tokyo has conducted 15 online auctions,selling off about 450 items and taking in about 175 million yen. Prices have reached about 1.4 times the initial estimates.


From The Asahi Shimbun 02/05/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: To Launch Commercial Service of Internet TV

Korea will introduce its long-awaited Internet broadcasting service within the year to lead the world in the potentially profitable convergence market,the nation's information minister said Thursday (Jan. 11). IP-TV,or Internet Protocol TV,is one of the Korean government's newly introduced growth engines. IP-TV will allow users to view TV broadcasting through broadband Internet. But efforts have been hampered for the past few years as broadcasting and communications industries remain conflicted on how to regulate the new medium. "Through negotiation with the Korea Broadcasting Commission,we plan to submit a bill to the National Assembly during the first half of the year,and step up efforts to launch the commercial service of IP-TV later in the year," Rho Jun-hyong said. "(A further) delay in the introduction of IP-TV could cause Korea to lose its momentum in the market," he added. Currently,KT Corp.,the nation's largest fixed-line operator,plans to launch the service this year. Hanarotelecom Inc.,the second-largest,is now providing video-on-demand (VOD) Internet TV,a prototype version of IP-TV. Asked about regulation of the communications sector this year,Rho said that the ministry will make efforts to finalize its policy by March on discounted "package services" that bundle mobile and fixed-line products for cheap prices.

"We must inject a boost in the market through competition,while simultaneously providing cheaper communications services for customers," he said. So far,telecom giants such as SK Telecom Co. and KT have been virtually banned from providing such services to their customers,mainly due to concerns that market dominance in one area will undermine fair competition in other service sectors. The government is under pressure to ease related regulations on package products at a time when the local communications market is nearing saturation,with more than four out of five people owning a mobile phone and nearly 70 percent having access to the Internet. Local telecommunications firms are also busy unveiling combined services for their customers. Hanarotelecom has already unveiled the nation's first "triple-play service" that combines fixed-line,wireless and VOD Internet products at discounted prices. "The focus is on how to help customers benefit from the new package services,rather than intervening in the pricing policies of individual communications firms," he noted. Market observers say that the introduction of such new package services would change the landscape of the local communications market by promoting cooperation among fixed-line,Internet and other service carriers.


From http://www.korea.net 01/11/2007

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Medical Tourism Could Be Next Local Attraction

The government will spend 570 million won ($609,000) this year to build a network between local hospitals and foreign travel agencies to allow medical tourists to combine treatment with sightseeing.It's part of the government's efforts to develop medical tourism as a major service product of the nation,emulating Thailand and Singapore. The Ministry of Planning and Budget said yesterday it set aside 570 million won of the new budget for construction of the "one-stop medical tourism service network." For that,the government will choose about 20 qualified hospitals and clinics in Korea and will set up a joint organization with them. The organization will employ coordinators with knowledge of the medical sciences and language skills.The organization will then invite foreign medical institutions,travel agencies and insurers to Korea or will host overseas briefing sessions to advertise the quality of local medical services and start a network with them.Through that network,foreign patients would be able to book medical consultations or treatments at Korean institutions from their home countries and then visit Korea."About 10,000 foreign patients visited Korea last year due to the high quality and affordable prices of the nation's medical services," a spokesman for the Planning Ministry said,expecting the new system will help that number increase to about 15,000.Quoting the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences,the ministry said the nation has reached the world's top level in terms of quality of cancer treatment and organ transplants. And the level of the nation's general medical services has reached 76 percent of the United States' and 85 percent of Japan's. Medical fees in Korea are only one-ninth to one-fourth of those in the United States and one-third to one-half of Japan's,the ministry said.Also,a ministry survey of 190 Japanese people showed they think Korean clinics provide higher-quality services than Japanese clinics for plastic surgery and LASIK eye surgery.The ministry pointed out that the governments of Singapore and Thailand are also nurturing medical tourism services.Medical tourism was one of the saviors of the Thai economy immediately after the 1997-98 financial crisis.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 01/26/2007

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IT Beats Effects of Currency

Korean exports of information technology goods rose more than 10 percent in January from a year earlier,boosted by robust sales of semiconductors and flat panel products,a government report showed yesterday.Korea shipped $9.8 billion worth of IT products last month,up 11.6 percent from a year earlier,the Ministry of Information and Communication said. During the month,the nation had a trade surplus of $4.8 billion in the IT sector,it added.January's export growth comes despite a firmer local currency against the U.S. dollar,a seasonal decrease in demand for products and price cuts in memory chips and flat screens.The ministry said exports of semiconductors jumped 60.6 percent from a year earlier to $2 billion. Overseas shipments of flat panel goods also rose 16.8 percent to $1.4 billion,the ministry said.Mobile phone exports grew 2.1 percent to $2.2 billion,snapping a three-month losing streak,it added.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 02/03/2007

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INDONESIA: RI Mulls New Broadcasting Technology

Indonesia may adopt European digital broadcasting technology that allows high-resolution television sets to receive sharp images and better sound,the Information and Communications Ministry says. Indonesia should opt for the standard Digital Video Broadcasting for Terrestrial Television (DVB-T) from Europe,said Alexander Rusli,an advisor to the communications minister,on Saturday. He said DVB-T was similar to the PAL system currently in use in Indonesia. "The PAL system is also European. DVB-T,in our assessment,is the most widely used system and it will be economical for us to adopt it because many other countries also use it," he said. The ministry has also looked at the Advance Television System Committee of the U.S.,Japan's Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (IDSB) and Digital Mobile Broadcasting from China. "We can't recommend ISDB from Japan because it's not widely used despite its Asian origins," he said. Before issuing the advice,the National Team for the Switch from Analog to Digital Broadcasting studied the literature,conducted testing and analyzed the potential growth of the Indonesian market. The government also needs to choose a receiver system,known as a set-top box. The current analog TV sets can also connect with the receiver for maximum results in picture and sound. The ministry has invited academics from local universities to assess the most marketable device for Indonesia. The ministry expects local broadcasters to be ready for the change and to plan for all aspects in relation to the conversion. "The government and broadcasters will discuss the time for the introduction and frequency allocation. Hopefully the agreement on a standard system can be finished within a couple of weeks," he said.

Alexander said it could take up to two years for the government to put the whole system into effect and eight years to cut off the old analog technology. In Japan,he added,the government needed 10 years to completely cut off the analog system. "Now,people who have the digital receiver can sample digital output as several local broadcasters are testing the new digital technology by turn," he said. A member of both the Indonesian Consumers Association and the National Team for the Conversion from Analog to Digital Broadcasting,Priyadi,said that the decision on when to terminate the older system should depend on the market. "If within 10 to 15 years many people are still using their old television sets and do not have the required receiver as suggested,then the cut-off period to terminate the analog system should be extended," Priyadi said. Consumer protection activist Agus Pambagyo said Indonesia should also draft a new bill because there was the chance for disputes between the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. "A new law should anticipate potential disputes over the frequency that will be used," he said. The ministry's and local broadcasters'judgment may not be the only opinion that matters. The Information and Communications Ministry is asking for the public to comment on the new policy by Feb. 16. People can send comments by filling a form available through the Information and Communications Ministry web site (www.depkominfo.go.id) or by sending an e-mail to info@depkominfo.go.id.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 02/05/2007

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Microsoft Defends Multimillion Dollar Deal with RI Government

Microsoft Indonesia has spoken out on a controversial recent deal with the government,arguing that the deal was initiated by the government as part of its efforts to improve Indonesia's information technology sector as a whole. Microsoft Indonesia president director Tony Chen told reporters Thursday that the agreement had been clinched against the backdrop of the government's efforts to reduce software piracy,including negotiating with major software vendors for the use of their products by government institutions. "As a majority of the computers in government institutions use Microsoft products,we were among the first the government invited," he said. The Communications and Information Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Indonesia in November last year to provide a total of 35,496 licenses for the Microsoft Windows operating system,and 177,480 licenses for the Microsoft Office productivity suite to government institutions. The MoU will also offer long-term guarantees for the new software investment,ensuring free upgrades for up to three years.

Microsoft Indonesia is also required to work closely with the government in a partnership to improve IT literacy in the country,including providing computers and IT training to schools across the country. Tony said that the MoU -- with a 70 percent discounted licensing price -- would result in savings of up to US$200 million for the government,compared to the $250 million it would cost if the government was to buy licenses at regular prices. The government would also save $60 million on the free upgrades. He said that the agreement also showed the government's seriousness about fighting software piracy,which would help attract more investment to the country's IT sector. Yet the deal has come under fire,including from the House of Representatives,with the critics arguing that it would create a monopoly for Microsoft,and undermine the government's own "Indonesia Goes Open Source" program,which encourages the use of free and open source software in the public sector.

The trend to use free and open source software has emerged in recent years around the world based on various reasons,including antimonopoly sentiment,transparency,cost efficiency and national security. Among the countries and institutions that have gone open source are Peru,the Extremadura region of Spain,the municipality of Munich in Germany,and a number of government agencies in China. Microsoft and other proprietary software developers do not disclose the source codes of their products. Tony said that the government had opted to sign the MoU due to the still-limited use of IGOS,while it needed to move fast to improve both Indonesia's IT sector and public services. Tony's arguments were confirmed by Communications and Information Minister Sofyan Djalil.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 01/19/2007

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New Website Aims to Boost Business

A new national website that links businesses with government agencies was launched this week in Batam as part of a pilot project to boost trade. The National Single Window (NSW) site is being trialed in Batam,a busy trading hub and Special Economic Zone. NSW task force deputy chairman Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said during the launch the system was being set up in line with an agreement between the leaders of ASEAN countries. During the Second Bali Concord in 1993,the group's leaders agreed to form an integrated economic community by 2015. Member countries agreed to use the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) communications network to design national trading websites,facilitate the international movement of goods and services and coordinate customs and trading regimes. The system is also expected to cut through bureaucratic red tape and prevent costly corruption. The portal,which can be accessed at insw.beacukai.go.id,has been linked to 20 state agencies authorized to issue trading permits. However,Hatta said the system would only work properly if the officials manning it had the right attitude.

"The system that we have set up is well-intentioned,but it depends on the mentality of those operating it. Our image is at stake here. If we are able to run it well,then we will be ready to join the economic community that will be established later," Hatta said. The national NSW team plans to implement the system in the Customs Directorate and regional offices first. Customs director general Anwar Supriadi said Batam was selected for the pilot because of the large amount of trade occurring there and its strategic location near Singapore and Malaysia,which made it easier to carry out integration tests with other ASEAN countries. "The NSW website is also intended to support Batam,which has been established as a Special Economic Zone. The system will be able to respond to complaints from Singaporean investors who are subject to bribes from corrupt officials," Anwar said. Businesspeople's applications for import and export and licenses can be filed and processed online,meaning they spend less time in contact with officials and shortening the process. Officials operating the system would be paid well but punished severely if they were found attempting to pervert it,Anwar said. Sumatra

Region and Riau Islands Industrial Areas Association chairman Jhon Sulistiawan said the NSW could give Batam an important regional edge. "Singapore already did this 10 years ago. The system will benefit industrial areas that accommodate many investors from Singapore. It will shorten the time for licensing procedures and reduce production costs," Jhon said. After the trial,the system will be set up at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port this year before it is established nationally.


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

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MALAYSIA: ICT Market Sees 12% Growth This Year

Malaysia's ICT market was soft for most of 2006,but it achieved the 12% growth forecasted earlier this year by the Association of the ICT Industry Malaysia (Pikom),compared to an estimated 10% in 2005. The most promising industry segment was services; business in the "old-line" segments of hardware,software and systems integration was flat,according to Pikom chairman Lee Boon Kok. While the services segment is still relatively small,it is growing rapidly and should be a major growth engine for ICT over the next few years,he said. Meanwhile,the consumer market segment enjoyed good overall growth. Lower prices and the trend towards mobility had made notebook PCs popular. "The market for notebook PCs has grown much faster than for desktop PCs,and there is strong demand for PDA- (personal digital assistant) type products," said Lee. In 2007,Lee said,Pikom expected the ICT market to grow around 13%. The Government sector should remain the main driver of growth,since the Ninth Malaysia Plan's allocation for ICT projects was double the previous plan's. Pikom hoped to see the Government focus more on consolidating inter-agency application and processes,to provide more advanced public services. Another bright spot in the ICT industry was outsourcing. "Outsourcing companies have started to come and set up operations here,particularly in Cyberjaya. At the same time,local service outsourcing businesses are also coming up," Lee said. He urged Malaysian outsourcing companies to band together to face the highly competitive global market. Lee also said that the digital content and media segment had tremendous potential. But to realise it,Malaysia must address certain infrastructure and market issues: Broadband penetration,local market acceptance of locally-developed content,and positive adoption of technology in schools,universities and homes.


From http://star-techcentral.com 12/20/2006

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Pahang to Start Tech Park in Gambang

Pahang will develop 432ha of land in Gambang here as a technology park that would include components such as a halal food hub,biotechnology,an information and communication technology (ICT) centre and an agritech centre. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the project would create activities that would bring about value-added products and boost growth in related sectors under the 9th Malaysia Plan. "The state will work closely with the Federal Government to develop Gambang as the main technology park in the eastern corridor. "We are also drafting a biotechnology masterplan to exploit the rich natural resources in the state," he said during the launching of the draft Pahang Structural Plan at the MS Garden Hotel here recently. He said the state has the biggest permanent forest cover in the peninsula at 1.55 million hectares while peat land was 97,400ha. With tax incentives and competitive land prices,investors would be drawn to set up their plants and make products such as vaccines and medicines through biotechnology research,he added. Adnan said Biotech Corporation,an agency formed to realise the national biotechnology objectives,had already identified 100 potential companies that could churn out products commercially. "Activities generated from biotechnology are expected to contribute products worth between RM45bil and RM3.15tril from 2006 to 2010."

He said the industrial sector was expected to see rapid growth once a biodiesel berth measuring 240m is completed in the second quarter of next year. It would be used to handle biodiesel cargoes from factories in the Kuantan Port industrial area,he added. "Pahang has some 500,000ha of land planted with palm oil trees and its potential in the biodiesel production is huge. "As such,value-added activities should be expedited and more factories must be encouraged to set up operations here," said Adnan. The mentri besar also said the state would work with Malaysian Development Corporation to draw up a blueprint on developing ICT,agro-biotechnology,education,logistics and services,telecommunications and defence. The venture,expected to cost some RM12bil,would be the state's new source of income and guide Pahang to obtain the Multimedia Super Corridor status,he added. The centres of growth would be at Putra Square,Tanjung Lumpur and Gambang,he said. On the development of the Eastern Economy Corridor,Adnan said the state had held a series of meetings with Petronas which would play a key role in an area that stretched from Chukai in the north to Pekan in the south.


From http://star-techcentral.com 12/20/2006

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PHILIPPINES: Zamboanga to Become Major Hub for ICT

THE City Government is gearing up to become another major hub for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) firms as they look for expansion sites outside Metro Manila. The City Council is pushing for the training of youths in ICT-related skills,like call center agent,animation and software development in a bigger scale in a bid to attract ICT firms. "We would like the ICT companies to put up their facilities here as we strive to meet their requirements like manpower and fiber optic," Councilor Kim Elago told Sun.Star Zamboanga. The City Government,he said,visited call centers in Metro Manila and invited them to set up their branches here. "What we have learned in our visit is that many are eager to put up call center facilities here so long as the infrastructures,like fiber optic,and reliable power (source) are in place," he said. The other prerequisite is that of manpower skills. Call center agents,for instance,require high proficiency in oral English,he said. Henceforth,he sponsored a resolution in the City Council that will allocate funding coming from the Youth Summer Program to be used in giving out scholarship to out-of-school youths and newly graduates in enhancing their proficiency in English similar to Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Scholarship Coupon for Work Program. The Youth Summer Program,which pays about P3,000 to students who render job during summer break,has an allocation amounting to several millions of pesos,a considerable amount that would benefits hundreds of job seekers,he said.

The funding would then be re-channeled to pay for training of beneficiaries in call center agent training,according to the councilor. "We would like to show to ICT companies that we are responding to meet their manpower requirements as a precondition for putting their investments here. We would like to project that our city is investment-friendly to ICT companies," Elago said. Beneficiaries to scholarships for call center agent training will be selected by prospective ICT companies like G-Com and People's Support,by way of a prequalification exam,he explained. The opportunity to work in a call center is open to all who are,at least,second year college students,18 years old and above,he said. He said the best training center will be selected from among the existing training centers in the city. The ICT is a growing industry in the Philippines as evidenced by the increasing number of ICT companies that have set up their facilities in the country,and are also aggressively seeking other cities,like Cebu,Davao,Cagayan de Oro,as sites for their expansion,he said. "The advantage of this scheme is that we train the youth for sure employment," he said. Training for other ICT-related skills,like animation and software development,will also be provided in the future,he said.


From http://www.sunstar.com.ph 01/05/2007

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SEAIR Expands Online Ticketing Services,Expects More Traffic

The company,which specializes in domestic tourist destinations,also said it is expecting more domestic traffic as the summer season nears. "While still in its infancy stage,SEAIR's e-ticketing sales continue to grow from mostly foreign sales in Europe,America and even as far as South Africa,accounting for 60% in sales," Patrick Tan,VP for commercial affairs at SEAIR,said. The executive said booking demands will continue to pick up,and SEAIR forecasting as much as 25% of its revenue coming from its e-ticketing services. "On the average,we are able to process 1,000 etickets per month. This translates to about a business of PhP 6 million per month," Tan discloses,predicting that the e-ticketing system will generate as much as a 30% growth in new businesses next year. The executive said with the expanded e-ticketing system,SEAIR will be able to accommodate more reservations to popular destinations such as Boracay,in Kalibo,Aklan,which,he said,continues to be the most popular tourist destination as far as SEAIR is concerned. "About 40% of our traffic going to and from Boracay," he said. Tan meanwhile said SEAIR is also planning to implement a mobile version of its e-ticketing services,called the SEAIR's Mobile Check-In Moduel. Tan said this application will enable passengers from rural destinations such as Busuanga,Camiguin,El Nido,Tawi-Tawi,and Jolo to electronically check-in for flights. The executive said further enhancements on the system are still being added,with the target launch for the service slated early next year.


From http://www.mb.com.ph 01/06/2006

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SINGAPORE: IDA,Cisco Expanding Partnership in Internet Protocol Networking in Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Cisco are expanding their partnership to take Internet Protocol networking further in Singapore. The move builds on a memorandum of intent signed in October last year. Under the latest deal,the two partners agree to explore and implement technologies that will help achieve a ubiquitous computing environment and fuel greater innovation of next-generation networking solutions in Singapore. The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Minister for Information,Communication and the Arts,Lee Boon Yang,and Cisco's chairman and CEO,John Chambers


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/08/2006

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OCBC Offers Mobile Banking Platform for Greater Convenience

OCBC Bank says it wants to put a bank into everyone's mobile phone. It aims to enable all customers with a 2.5G or 3G mobile phone to make payments and even open a new account without visiting a branch. And this,the bank believes,will provide banking access 24/7 to its customers anywhere and everywhere. OCBC Bank is hoping to take mobile banking literally everywhere. As it is,banking has taken on a new meaning with the launch of internet banking which allow customers to go online for their banking needs. But OCBC Bank says its latest mobile banking platform will offer even greater convenience. For a start,it has been configured specially for handsets. Patrick Chew,Head of Delivery - Consumer Financial services,OCBC Bank,said: "What we have done is to optimise the screen-size and the technology for a mobile device. So the surfing experience or the banking experience on our mobile phone banking would be all the much better."

The service which was soft-launched in June this year,is available to mobile phone subscribers with all three local telcos - SingTel,StarHub and M1. One of the main problems in using a mobile device for financial transactions is security. OCBC says it addresses this by making the mobile phone - which is a very personalised item - an authentication tool. Patrick Chew said: "But what we have done is to use the same internet banking security which is as secured as it is today. What we have also done is to add on a 2-factor authentication recently to both our internet banking and mobile banking to ensure that our customers enjoy a peace of mind when they go online with us." The service is available either through GPRS or StarHub's i-mode giving relatively quick access to the bank's mobile banking site. OCBC says several thousands early adopters have subscribed to its mobile service to date - a figure it hopes to grow to 10,000 over the next 6 months.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 12/08/2006

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Singapore Gov't Funds Mobile Game Developers

The Singapore government has launched a new scheme to support the development of the mobile phone game. Channel NewsAsia reported Saturday that the Media Development Authority (MDA),the Singapore government agency to develop media industry,has introduced a new initiative to fund and mentor mobile phone game developers. Each selected Singapore-based team will be eligible for up to 25,000 Singapore dollars (more than 16.000 U.S. dollars) mobile game prototype development funding and be mentored by local or global game studios and publishers. Up to 10 teams will be selected. Commenting on this new scheme,Seto Lok Yin,director of Industry Development,the MDA said,"Through it,we hope to encourage these teams to enter the arena of mobile game development and showcase their creative and production talents." "We are also looking out for breakthrough concepts with the potential for commercialization in the global marketplace," he added.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/09/2006

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Small Online Businesses Get Boost with New Payment Scheme

Small-time online sellers now have a new payment system that is affordable,fast and easy to use. Singapore's largest online payment gateway,eNETS,has tied up with online payment services provider Chainfusion to launch this service called BuyButtonz. It enables sellers to register themselves and conduct transactions through any website or email within 10 minutes. eNETS said the service creates new opportunities for small-time users,selling any number of items. At present,sellers need to be at least 18 years old and have a registered organisation to do business online. Since its introduction,more than 250 users have registered at http://www.buybuttonz.com Most of the transactions have an average selling price of between S$20 and S$60.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 02/21/2007

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VIET NAM: E-commerce Can't Grow Without E-transactions

HA NOI ¡ª The Viet Nam e-Business Forum opened yesterday in Ha Noi with the participation of representatives from Government agencies and businesses operating in information technology and e-commerce,from multinational corporations to small- and medium-sized enterprises. The two-day conference is focusing on Viet Nam e-business in the post-WTO era,the legal framework for dealing with cyber security issues,infrastructure for e-commerce,successful case studies and solutions for small businesses. The past year experienced a significant growth in e-commerce as domestic businesses attempted to access and apply e-commerce to enhance their competitiveness and speed up their entrance into the global market,said Deputy Trade Minister Le Danh Vinh. It was also the first year e-commerce was formally recognised in the law as the Law on Electronic Transactions and a decree on e-commerce took effect,Vinh said. Currently,there are 15 million internet users in Viet Nam and the number was expected to reach 30 million in the next three years,according to the Viet Nam Internet Centre. A large market with a high economic growth rate was likely to drive the strong development of e-commerce in the next few years. A Ministry of Trade survey,however,conducted on 1,000 enterprises in 2006,indicated that only 20-25 per cent maintained a web presence,and the e-commerce function of the websites remained modest. Most websites (93.8 per cent) served only to introduce the company,while 62.5 per cent went on to introduce products and services. The use of e-transaction to allow for on-line orders occurred on only 27.4 per cent of the sites,and on-line payments could only be accomodated on a mere 3.2 per cent of the sites. US Embassy commercial counselor Miguel Pardo de Zela suggested that e-commerce would remain in an initial stage in Viet Nam until more commercial transactions were able to take place over the internet.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 01/18/2007

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BANGLADESH: D.Net Offers Lady-info Programme in Rural Bangladesh

Development Research Network (D.Net) is making relevant ICT for the poor people of Bangladesh by providing information and knowledge services,which are related to their livelihood. D.NET has deployed multiple ICT channels for testing also channel suitability of the contents. One of the innovated programme from D.Net is "mobile lady",which allows mobile phone in hand roaming door-to-door in villages for making poor people to access livelihood advices through advisers at help desks. D.Net has developed an animation character with the mobile lady,which is named as "MONI",a lady with a by-cycle moves door-to-door to promote telecentre and help line for improving people's access to livelihood information and knowledge. D.Net has decided to change the name of 'mobile lady'with 'info-lady'by using Smartphone. D.Net has decided to use Smartphone to use all benefits for livelihood information and knowledge dissemination system. The info-lady can also offer Pallitathya Help Line services to the every villager.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/24/2007

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Bangladesh Gets IP VPNs

LONDON -- Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel),Asia's leading communications group,today announced that it has formed an alliance with Advance Data Networks System Limited (ADNSL),Bangladesh's leading provider in satellite and wireless solutions,to offer the first international IP-VPN network in Bangladesh. They will jointly deliver Multi-Protocol Label Switching IP-based Virtual Private Network (MPLS IP-VPN[1]) solutions to corporate customers in South Asia,including Bangladesh,India,Pakistan and Sri Lanka. With this landmark agreement,SingTel ConnectPlus IP-VPN now covers all major markets in South Asia,strengthening SingTel's position as Asia's leading IP-VPN provider. Currently SingTel ConnectPlus IP-VPN has extensive coverage in key business cities throughout Asia,Europe and North America. It is a high quality,fully managed and secure networking and integrated communications solution for corporate customers. Mr Wong Soon Nam,SingTel's Vice President of Business Marketing,said: "Through this alliance,companies that have business in South Asia can enjoy a one-stop service from SingTel to connect their regional offices in Bangladesh,India,Pakistan and Sri Lanka. "Trade and investment liberalisation have led to strong economic growth in Bangladesh. This solution is especially effective for businesses in the manufacturing industry that require seamless and reliable communication within a secure network of suppliers,customers and financial institutions with multiple offices. We are proud to announce that one of our first customers is Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation,a top US apparel and sports wear company with interests in Bangladesh. "With our innovative services and reliable infrastructure,SingTel is the partner of choice for enterprises that wish to expand into South Asia."


From http://www.lightreading.com/ 01/30/2007

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INDIA: Andhra Pradesh Government Ties with MIT for Open Source Software

The State Government is tying with the US based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to collaborate with government in the field of e-Governance,data standards and service-oriented architecture in Andhra Pradesh,India. Hyderabad based Institute for Electronic Governance (IEG) has signed MoU with MIT to provide funds and technological assistance for developing and promoting different software components including an open source platform. This initiative step will help to transform and e-Governance and enterprise systems. The state government is also organizing a three-day GITEX seminar-cum-exhibition. The Government is planning to extend its IT education programme for students to regular degree colleges. Satyam Computers and Genpact have bagged the award for the top exporter in the ITES category. States like Bihar,Gujarat,Jharkhand and Chattirsgarh have expressed interest to participate with the government for such programmes.


From Economic Times 01/08/2007

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IT Exports to Touch $31b in '06-07,Says Nasscom

The software and services exports sector is all set to scale new heights with revenues exceeding $31 billion in the current fiscal said Nasscom. According to its yearly Strategic Review report,India is on track to double that figure by 2010. In the last decade the Indian information technology industry has grown its revenues ten-fold,from $4.8 billion 1997-98 to $47.8 billion in 2006-07,the report noted. This pegs the estimated contribution of the industry to GDP to about 5.4%,which has grown from 1.2%since 1998. The similar trend continues in the domestic market too said the report,this year the revenue is pegged at USD 15.9 billon which is a growth of a good 21% from last year. "The last decade is testament to the growing impact that the Indian IT industry is having on the global and local economies," said Nasscom chairman,B. Ramalinga Raju. The top sectors still remain BFSI,Telecom and Hi-Tech,which continue to bring in about 60% revenue of the pie. But other verticals such manufacturing,retail,transportation,healthcare and utilities are also growing rapidly,said the report. The sector would employ 1.6 million people March-end.


From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 01/24/2007

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Nasscom to Set Up Rs100-crore Fund for IT Innovation

Mumbai: The National Association of Software Companies (Nasscom) is planning to set up a Rs100 crore fund to promote innovation in information technology. Innovation at various levels has been identified as the next imperative to sustain growth and maintain the edge of Indian IT industry in global markets,Nasscom president Kiran Karnik said in a statement. "The first-of-its-kind initiative by the apex body,the fund would be supported by the industry and would be for driving innovation by IT companies," he added. Meanwhile,seven companies,including Bharti Airtel & IBM India,Evalueserve.Com,HP Labs India,Ittiam Systems Pvt Ltd,Kale Consultants,Strand Lifesciences Pvt Ltd and Monsoon Multimedia India Pvt Ltd,would be awarded for innovation in information technology by prime minister Manmohan Singh on February 9. Bharti Airtel and IBM India were selected for the business model under which the telecom major outsourced all of its IT operations to IBM. Evaluserve.Com was selected for its business intelligence services,customised reports and value-added research,which cater to industries across a wide spectrum. HP Labs India is being awarded for its Gesture Keypad,which is a pen-based input device for phonetic scripts while Ittiam was selected for its advanced digital audio and video signal processing. Kale Consultants'BPO product Revera got wide recognition while Strand Lifesciences has developed a comprehensive and modular data mining and predictive modeling platform. Monsoon Multimedia's `Hava'is the world's first integrated video 'time-shifting'and 'place-shifting'product. The seven companies were selected from a list of 18 companies,which were short listed.


From http://www.domain-b.com/ 02/07/2007

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SRI LANKA: Dialog Pilots WiMAX Service

Sri Lankan mobile operator Dialog Telekom announced yesterday the launch of a pilot wireless broadband internet access service for selected corporate users in Hambantona,Matara,Galle,Kurunagala,Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The GSM market leader's data communications subsidiary Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN) has deployed a WiMAX network delivering maximum theoretical download speeds of 10Mbps,and plans to extend it across the island later in the year. DBN is also planning to launch fixed wireless telephony based on CDMA technology shortly.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 01/24/2007

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NEPAL: NT Cuts Internet Tariffs by Up to 83%

The Kantipur Report says that state-owned telecoms company Nepal Telecom (NT) has cut the cost of internet services for ¡®business purposes' by up to 83% five days after the incumbent started buying bandwidth from Indian counterpart BSNL's fibre-optic network,laid along East-West highway,for cross-country data transfer. Until now Nepal's ISPs have been forced to use more expensive means ¨C such as satellites ¨C to gain access to international bandwidth from vendors.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 01/11/2007

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PAKISTAN: 'Appearing on IT's World Map'

KARACHI (January 26 2007): Pakistan is coming on the international map especially in the realms of IT for the past few years. The Country General Manager of IBM Pakistan,Humayun Bashir,said. He was speaking at the launching of the GBM at a local hotel on Wednesday. Humayun Bashir said Pakistan is coming on the international map owing to the steady GDP growth of six to seven percent which the country has achieved as well as its foreign exchange reserves besides and better governance today. He was of the view that the journey is more or less reasonably clear in terms of improving the governance process. The IBM Pakistan chief pointed out that this is the result of the stability and the growth that the companies like the GBM,banking sector and others are interested in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has seen foreign direct investment (FDI) in excess of three billion dollars a year on average. This should go up to five billion dollars next year in Pakistan not just in the field of IT,telecom or banking but we are seeing a lot of investment in the energy as well as the construction sector. Humayun Bashir said that some of the initial movers are our brothers and friends from the Middle East. He said that this started with the PTCL,Bank Al Falah,United Bank,Faysal Bank,Union Bank.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/26/2007

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Modern Telecom Facilities for Northern Areas

ISLAMABAD (January 27 2007): Director General Special Communications Organisation (SCO) Major General Shahid Maqbool has said that we are determined to provide modern telecom system facilities to Northern Areas. SCO started SCOM (GSM) mobile service in eight different cities of the Northern Areas said the DG on Friday while addressing a large gathering of government officials and notables on the eve of inauguration of Khaplu digital exchange which has been connected with optical fibre and Shiger digital exchange of 500 lines. Major General Shahid Maqbool,DG SCO is on a visit to Northern Areas in connection with inauguration of a number of digital exchanges linking exchanges with optical fibre and to see physical progress of ongoing revolutionary development works at various far flung locations of Northern Areas. He said that government is ensuring uplift of social and economic prosperity and urban and rural areas of Northern Areas are being connected with modern telecom system by SCO. 26 new digital exchanges installation,provision of SCOM (GSM) mobile phone facilities to eight different cities and laying of 776 kilometres optical fibre plans have been completed,added the DG. He underlined that internet service in all districts of Northern Areas and broad band dialup networks facilities will also be provided by the end of March 2007. Major General Shahid Maqbool said that development activities in telecom sector are not only aimed at providing and expansion of modern telecom facilities in NAs but to provide variety of job opportunities objected for the dividends to be drawn by the local populace having direct bearing on the uplift of their living standard. He also inaugurated completion of laying of optical fibre at Danyore Communication Complex where Danyore exchange has also been digitally and capacity wise upgraded.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/27/2007

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Ufone Expands Network in Rural Punjab And NWFP

ISLAMABAD (January 27 2007): Country's second largest cellular phone operator,Ufone has further expanded its coverage to 16 more destinations in Northern and Central Punjab and North West Frontier Province (NWFP). This is part of Ufone's network expansion plans in the current year and to reach every nook and corner of the country. This step is very much a part of the largest ever expansion of its network rollout worth $550 million. The envisaged plan focuses on the expansion of the network in terms of capacity and coverage in existing and new cities besides providing high-speed wireless data services based on EDGE technology. It is estimated by the end of June 2007,Ufone will be extensively covering all major cities,towns,villages and highways in the country. The cities include Matta,Thanna,Jand,Pindi Gheb,Dir,Lachi,Bafa,Khala Butt,Macklod Ganj,Chak 463/JB,Dijkot,Makkuana,Awagat,Lalian,Dalowal and Rang Pur.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/27/2007

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IRAN: Tupolev Technical Center Planned

Kazan Aircraft Factory (KAPO) is holding talks on the creation of an aircraft maintenance base to maintain and repair Russia's Tupolev Tu-214 and Tu-334 aircraft in Iran. "A recently signed memorandum of intentions envisages the creation of such a base," KAPO deputy general director,Eldar Mingaleyev,told Interfax-AVN. "Iran is going to purchase a large batch of Tu-214 and Tu-334 aircraft from Russia in the near future," he said. A modern aircraft maintenance base is expected to be created in Iran to guarantee a required maintenance level. The official announced that Iranian companies have already placed preliminary orders for some 70 Tu-214 and Tu-334 aircraft. "The creation of a base in Iran is aimed at reducing costs of exploiting Russian aircraft and guaranteeing the due level of airworthiness," he said. Mingaleyev further said the licensed production of Tu-334 aircraft may be organized in Iran in the future,adding that parties will return to the discussion of the issue after Iranian companies get accustomed to the aircraft.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 12/11/2006

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Electronic Certificate-Issuing Center Operational

Increase in trade exchanges and emergence of sophisticated economies highlights the need for electronic trade,announced the first vice president on Tuesday. According to ISNA,Parviz Davoudi,who was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate a digital certificate-issuing center,appreciated the efforts of the Commerce Ministry for collecting,saving,transferring,distributing,classifying and securing data and the Information Technology Council for planning and managing these activities. "Commerce Ministry has taken great strides in the field of information security,which is,in fact,a guarantee of a (successful) electronic trade," he said,adding that with the electronic trade security system becoming operational,businesses would conduct routine affairs without any apprehension about information theft.

Asked about the advantages of the center for Iranian expatriates,he said they can open a wideband and use it for international transactions and benefit from the security services offered by the center. Referring to the cooperation between the center and the High Information Council,he said the council is responsible for information management and defines the responsibilities of each organization,adding that the need for electronic services was felt in banking,social security,health and medicine sectors. He noted the Information Technology Council,which is supervised by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,regulates the information systems in different organizations. "Commerce Ministry,Imam Khomeini Relief Committee and State Welfare Organization have carried out parts of activities," he said,stressing that the provisions of electronic trade are stipulated in the Constitution,for example,those pertaining to money laundering. Davoudi concluded there would be no need for new ratifications and laws for the groundbreaking project.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 12/14/2006

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Free SIM Cards After 40m Subscribers

Managing director of Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) has said the company is prepared to offer free SIM cards to new mobile phone subscribers as soon as the number of its existing subscribers passes the 40-million mark. However,Saber Feizi told Fars that free SIM is not on the agenda of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology. He stated that once the market becomes competitive enough and the company already has more than 40 million mobile phone subscribers,then it might be possible to consider registering new subscribers for free SIM cards. TCI was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main administration for the entire telecommunication affairs,and Iran Telecommunication Industries (ITI) was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the national long-distance network.

TCI has taken great steps in the development of telecommunication networks and,for this purpose has utilized the most advanced equipment and services such as digital switching centers,optical fiber cables,mobile phones,data networks,satellite services,and telephone special services. It has also succeeded in manufacturing more than 80 percent of the required equipment inside Iran. Regarding the privatization of the subsidiaries,Feizi said the ministry has already submitted a proposal to the Privatization Organization and the government concerning the subsidiaries. However,a final decision on this will have to be made by the government. He said some 6,000 telecoms shares have been sold to the general public and 35 percent of company shares owned by the ministry will also be ceded to the private sector by the year end (March 21,2007). TCI's main subsidiaries are Iran Telecommunication Manufacturing Company (ITMC),Iran Telecommunication Industries (ITI),Telecommunication Network Planning and Development Company,Optical Fiber and Solar Cell Fabrication Company and Shahid Qandi Communication Cables Co.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 01/14/2007

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Progress Linked to IT

Planning and preparation are vital for having specialist human resources in the field of Information Technology (IT) since the notions of research,development and creativity are part and parcel of IT,reported ISNA. Stating the above at a one-day Electronic Trade Seminar at Shiraz University,secretary of High Council for Information Technology,Abdolmajid Riazi said that the market of ICT was worth well over 2,680 billion euros in 2006 and the only way for the country to ensure sustainable development in the field would be by paying closer attention to computer professionals/specialists,applications (software) and infrastructures. According to him,IT specialists have been neglected to a great extent and without them there will be no applications or infrastructures. Regarding electronic trading,he said that electronic trading is a mode of trading that uses Information Technology to bring together a buyer and a seller through electronic media to create a virtual market place. Thus it is important to assess the performance and the situation of IT in Iran and compare it with the rest of the world.

The country needs to have a comprehensive IT management system in place as this can pave the way for setting up macro projects such as silicon valleys or electronic towns. Meanwhile,Mohammad Hadi Sadeqi,head of Shiraz University,told the same gathering that science plays a decisive role in political,economic and military fields and if neglected it could have irreversible adverse impacts on the national economy and development plans. According to him,the country has no other alternative but to join the race to make optimum use of its advantages and potentials in Information Technology by employing it in managing and processing information,especially in large organizations. In particular,IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert,store,protect,process,transmit,and retrieve information. In conclusion,Sadeqi said despite shortfalls at all levels,Shiraz University has managed to take major steps to develop IT,warning that any delay in developing the field could cost the country dearly.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 01/14/2007

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Call for Rapid Cellphone Sector Progress

Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mohammad Soleimani said here on Saturday that if Iran fails to develop its mobile phone network fast enough to catch up with international developments,it will lose its current status to some regional states. The minister told Fars that the ministry has committed to work under Vision 2025 and the Fourth Plan (2005-2010) and that it has to materialize the objectives,which include rapid progress in the cellular phone sector. He said Iran ranks 11th in the Middle East in terms of mobile phone penetration rate,adding that if the country does not develop the industry properly,it will lose ground to Afghanistan in the ranking. The minister blamed his predecessors for the slow progress in the cellular phone industry,stressing that had the sector developed as fast as it does today,the national mobile phone network would not have faced such difficulties now.

Soleimani's remarks come one month after the news of counterfeit SIM cards shook the country's already fragile mobile phone market to the core. A senior telecommunications official said last month that the Special Headquarters for Combating Mobile Phone Network Offenses will identify and disconnect cellphones operating on counterfeit SIM cards. Seyyed Ali Alavian,who heads the Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran's board of directors,said that the issue of counterfeit SIM cards is not new in the world,stressing that cellphone SIM cards have been duplicated in almost all countries. He said the technologies used in producing new SIM cards are so sophisticated that have made it very difficult to duplicate them,stressing,however,that old SIM cards could be counterfeited with much less trouble.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 01/21/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: Around 4,000 Cases of Using Mobile-Phones While Driving Recorded

Some 4,000 cases of using mobile phones while driving a vehicle have been recorded since the beginning of the year 2007,UzA quoted Head Department for Traffic Safety. As reported earlier,on 21 November 2006 the Cabinet of Ministers passed a Resolution "On additional measures to ensure safety on the roads" according to which,starting 1 January 2007 drivers are prohibited to use telephone while operating a vehicle. The Law passed on 26 December 2006 "On introduction of amendments to the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Administrative Accountability" identifies the measures of administrative punishment for using telephones while driving a vehicle.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 01/24/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Feds Hope for Spectrum Bonanza

THE federal Government is hoping for a huge windfall from spectrum auctions this year,but industry observers warn that bidders will baulk if the licences come with strings attached. Communications Minister Helen Coonan has been talking up the sale of two unassigned 7MHz television channels as part of the latest action plan to hasten the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. Senator Coonan says the two new licences,dubbed channels A and B,offer "a very real opportunity for exciting new services to emerge". One channel could offer in-home digital services delivered by television,while the other may be used for more innovative services such as mobile television outside the home. Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the sales could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars: "It's no longer just mobile phone operators bidding. Media companies and other content providers are also very interested. "The value will depend on exactly what you can and can't do with the spectrum. "Obviously if the Government seeks to protect the free-to-air broadcasters by restricting uses,it will be very difficult for others to come up with a good business model and make money out of it." The immediate prospects for mobile television are in doubt,as the Australian Communications and Media Authority has warned that mobile signals cause unacceptable interference to adjacent analog and digital television channels. In a confidential report obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws,ACMA says it is "highly unlikely" the distorted reception around repeater stations will be tolerable for ordinary television viewers.

Mr Budde said the concerns were largely "scaremongering" by the free-to-air broadcasters,which had been resisting change for decades. "As soon as there is a new technology,they've got all sorts of arguments about why it should not be introduced," he said. All wireless systems were subject to some interference,but new technologies had been "finetuned" to minimise problems. "These technologies are global technologies. This is nothing unique to Australia," Mr Budde said. "If mobile television operates in 60 or 70 other countries,obviously it can be done." Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum chair Ross Henderson said proper management of transmission and reception of signals should eliminate interference. "Back in the days of analogue,you had to leave a gap between adjacent channels to avoid uncontrolled interference. In essence,free-to-air broadcasters still need a 7MHz pipe,but digital broadcasters can put many more channels down the same-size pipe." If there was interference,digital uses could be limited until analogue services were shut down,Mr Henderson said. Meanwhile,the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers'Association has called for a firm date for the end of analogue transmissions. The switchover to digital in capital cities was scheduled for December next year but Senator Coonan now says the transition will begin between 2010 and 2012. AEEMA chief executive Angus Robinson said uncertainty over when analogue would end was affecting industry planning. "Unless there is a certain date for switch-off,as opposed to a period during which switchover can commence,the necessary product and content messages cannot be sent to consumers," he said. "Their confusion may develop into resistance and that will further reduce digital uptake."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/09/2007

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Majors Crank Up Web Wars

THE battle for Australia's $300 million online classifieds market has resumed,with News Limited appointing a new chief to beef up its automotive site and James Packer's PBL Media preparing to launch a property site. The automotive classifieds market in Australia was worth about $560 million in the 2006 financial year,according to News Digital Media operations chief Nick Leeder. But he said barely $50 million of that was spent online. "The market will grow by about 40 per cent this year," Mr Leeder said. NDM,whose parent News Limited publishes The Australian,has appointed Ed Smith to run CARSguide.com.au. Mr Smith,who was previously head of retail segments at St George Bank and chief executive officer at dotcom venture Virtual Communities Ltd,will report to Mr Leeder. "It's a new position," Mr Leeder said. "We are in the process of upgrading the management team at NDM." Mr Smith's appointment follows last year's naming of Stephen Hollings to head NDM's jobs site CareerOne. Mr Leeder said NDM would soon announce a new chief for its search play TrueLocal. Automotive,property and employment classifieds are the "big three" categories online and competing for dominance are the major traditional media companies News,PBL and Fairfax Media along with Telstra's Sensis directories business. Carsales.com.au,controlled by PBL Media,is the leading car classified site,according to research group Market Intelligence. Sensis's Trading Post group is second. Carsguide and Fairfax's Drive.com.au are neck and neck for third place. Carsguide has doubled its monthly unique browser numbers in the past 12 months. The next big move is expected to be PBL's property website Myhome.com.au,which will challenge the dominance of News's realestate.com.au and Fairfax's Domain. Myhome will have equity involvement from real estate companies and Microsoft,which co-owns Australia's leading consumer portal,Ninemsn.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/18/2007

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Minister Welcomes National 3G Network Investment

The Minister for Communications,Information Technology and the Arts,Senator Helen Coonan,today welcomed the announcement by Optus that it would invest up to $800 million to boost the capabilities of its 3G mobile communications network. "This is great news for Australian consumers ¨C particularly those in rural,regional and remote areas ¨C who will soon reap the benefits of a more competitive 3G market," Senator Coonan said. "Next generation networks enable consumers to access advanced voice and data services that can support innovative applications such as wireless broadband and video phone services. Increasingly savvy consumers are demanding the always-on,anywhere freedom that next generation networks offer." Optus states the investment announced today will extend the coverage of its 3G network from 55 per cent of the population to 96 per cent with services expected to commence early next year. "Coupled with Telstra's recently launched Next G network,Vodafone and Australian 3G pioneers ¡®3',consumers will now have more choice of provider which leads to greater competition and ultimately lower prices for Australians," Senator Coonan said. "I am particularly pleased that Optus has indicated it will give other competitors access to its 3G network which can only further boost competition for the benefit of consumers. "Encouraging investment and competition is at the heart of the Government's approach to communications in Australia as it will deliver more choice and lower prices for consumers. "And where the competitive market needs encouragement,the Government offers targeted assistance through the $1.1 billion Connect Australia package. Connect Australia is the single largest investment in telecommunications services in this country and will improve broadband speeds and rollout,deliver better mobile phone coverage and help connect our schools,hospitals and universities to the communications services they need. "Over the coming months I will be considering applications for up to $600 million under the $878 million Broadband Connect element of Connect Australia. "This is big picture thinking for broadband in this country which will as an incentive for large scale investment in much needed broadband infrastructure in rural,regional and remote Australia. "The Government will continue to look after the communications needs of this country both now and into the future."


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 01/30/2007

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State Prepares for CBDs to Go Wireless

PRIVATE-SECTOR technology and communications companies have been asked to put forward proposals for supplying free wireless internet access in major NSW business centres. This follows November's announcement of the proposed project,although many details are still to be settled. The NSW Government hopes to begin nailing down some of those by the end of next month. A request for expressions of interest was issued yesterday to establish basic requirements and proposals for the project. "Universal wireless broadband access will increase opportunities for government and business to deliver services more efficiently to more people,while residents and visitors will have better email and internet access," state Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said. "This initiative will mean that wireless access currently available in hot spot locations,such as some workplaces,cafes and parks,would be available universally in CBD areas." The NSW Government has proposed an entry-level service free to tourists and businesses needing temporary access,and high-capacity user-pays services for commercial use. The networks would be introduced first in Sydney's CBD,Gosford,Liverpool,Newcastle,Parramatta,Penrith and Wollongong,although the Government has flagged the possibility of expanding the project to other regional centres. It has called for an outline of proposals by February 28,saying it will make available to the private sector some government-owned infrastructure,such as water towers and street lights,to support wireless equipment.

"The NSW Government is seeking interested parties to build,own,operate and maintain their own wireless broadband networks," documents say. "The call for expressions of interest seeks to identify the extent to which respondents will require access to government infrastructure,the type of access required and the terms and commercial conditions that are necessary to make this initiative a reality." It remains unclear when the networks will enter service,but NSW chief information officer Paul Edgecumbe said broadband would be one of the Government's main technology concerns this year. "One of the issues for technology strategy is to improve broadband access in regional and rural NSW," Mr Edgecumbe said. "As we want to deliver more and more services online,we need communities to have better access and cheaper access to broadband." "Within the cities we would like to have wireless access to the internet,as much as is practical." Companies that can be expected to lodge expressions of interest either alone of as part of consortium include Telstra,Optus,Soul,Intel and wireless broadband provider Unwired.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/30/2007

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Fairfax Tries to Crash News'Adelaide Party

FAIRFAX Media's online arm,Fairfax Digital,is trying to nudge its way into the Rupert Murdoch-dominated Adelaide media market with the joint launch of a property magazine and website. Fairfax Digital has teamed with niche South Australian publisher Independent Weekly in a push to boost online listings from Adelaide real estate agents. The joint venture will launch a website called in.domain.com.au,linked with domain.com.au,that will display South Australian property listings. Online advertisements will also be published in a newly launched glossy Saturday colour magazine produced by Independent Weekly,which is owned by publisher Paul Hamra and 70 South Australian shareholders. Initial circulation will be 20,000 copies. The move is a Fairfax Media attempt to break News Ltd's control of the Adelaide market. News owns more than half of realestate.com.au as well as. The Advertiser and community media group Messenger Newspapers. Independent Weekly,which was established in 2004,has a readership of 39,000 and an audited circulation of 7200 copies,Mr Hamra said. He said the Adelaide market continued to be buoyant,with record median houses prices. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures,the Adelaide property market grew 6.4 per cent in the year to December 31,modest compared with other capital cities.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 01/31/2007

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Startups Aim to Use Web Conveniences to Make Some Aspects of Business Less Work

Running a business does not have to involve so much work. At least,that is the claim of several entrepreneurs at this week's influential DEMO emerging-technologies conference. These people are using Web technologies to give businesses simple tools for automating what otherwise would take armies of people and reams of paper. Many DEMO presenters are using their six-minute windows on stage to show off slick video and audio tools for,say,augmenting MySpace pages. By contrast,the business-focused exhibitors generally have less sexy demonstrations,given over to such things as transferring contact information to mailing labels or tracking the work of software coders. That is not to say the business-oriented presenters have no pep. Damon Schechter,for one,bounds with confidence that his Shipwire Inc. gives small businesses a degree of power they have never before enjoyed in the costly,complex process of shipping goods worldwide. With a quick set of clicks on Shipwire's website,a small business can arrange to have inventory sent to Shipwire warehouses and on to customers. Shipwire handles the storage,the packing,the shipping and other logistical details from warehouses in Chicago and Los Angeles,with more scheduled to come online around the world.

Although this is everyday stuff for big companies,basement startups,craft makers and other homegrown vendors generally do not have inexpensive access to such services,Schechter contends. Joining the Shipwire network starts at $30 (euro23) a month and is easy enough to operate online that Schechter showed pretty much the whole process in his six-minute presentation. He said the company,self-funded,is already profitable after one year. If Shipwire can turn the Web into a small business'supply-chain department,then Honeypitch can serve as its deal-brokering engine. Honeypitch arose out of an internal application that a San Francisco design firm,Thunk Inc.,built for its own proposals to clients,including far-flung customers the company could not meet in person. Eventually founder James Tucker decided that Honeypitch itself had developed into a product worth selling to other firms. Through a centralized Web interface,co-workers can collaborate on a proposal _ they can upload videos,pictures or charts,for example _ and send the package off to potential customers for viewing online. Fine points of contracts can be negotiated and sealed in the same Web-based package. Sure,it is something for the office,but Tucker notes that Honeypitch has multimedia-combo features found on many of today's most dynamic websites.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 02/02/2007

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Mobiles,Lower Tax and IT Create Gloss

Telecom signed up 100,000 new mobile subscribers (more than rival Vodafone) in the December quarter,but half-year trading profit fell. The company reported adjusted net profit of $461 million,up from $395 million for the six months ending December 31,on revenue of $2.93 billion up from $2.85 billion. Forsyth Barr senior analyst Jeremy Simpson said the result was below expectations at the operating level. "The headline number was better ... the reported profit for the quarter was higher than people were expecting but it was boosted by lower tax being paid," Simpson said. The adjusted earnings reflected a $65 million tax credit from the writedown of Australian assets in the previous year. "But if you look at the actual operating earnings of the business they were slightly lower than we were expecting and that was driven by operating cost growth in New Zealand being a little bit higher than we were forecasting." Operating expenses grew 5.9 per cent for the half-year to $1.89 billion - a larger rise than the 2.6 per cent rise in revenue. The closing cost-revenue gap meant adjusted trading profit (earnings before interest,tax,depreciation and amortisation) fell 2.9 per cent to $1.04 billion.

Mobile revenue for the half-year rose 8.7 per cent to $413 million,with a net 100,000 new mobile customers in the December quarter compared to 89,000 at Vodafone. This was the eighth quarter out of the past nine that Telecom has trumped Vodafone in the race to secure more mobile customers. Chief executive Theresa Gattung - who resigned yesterday - said the December quarter included a strong performance from both mobile and IT services. "Mobile penetration in New Zealand is now close to 100 per cent so we expect connection growth will slow in the near to medium term," she said. "Future revenue growth will be determined more by applications and content." The result included an abnormal gain of $20 million from the sale of a 90 per cent stake in Telecom Samoa Cellular,restructuring costs of $27 million and provision of $16 million to fix billing issues. Telecom's calling revenue was up 2.9 per cent at $503 million and broadband revenue grew 4.6 per cent to $137 million.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/03/2007

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Watchdog Attacks ISP Contracts

THE telecoms industry watchdog has warned internet service providers over a growing number of complaints coming from consumers who say their service contract has been changed without their agreement. Telecoms Industry Ombudsman JohnPinnock said service providers were often not aware of their obligations under the Consumer Contracts Code. He said customers had been told his office that shortly after their contracts had elapsed,"they have received notification from their provider that the price of their plan will increase or that the speed or usage limits will be reduced". However,the Consumer Contracts Code specifies that customers must be given 21 days written notice of any change,and be given 21 days to cancel their contract without penalty. "For example,an internet service provider may significantly lower the usage limits of its broadband plans and then seek to charge customers an early termination fee if they wish to cancel," Mr Pinnock said. In such an example,the ISP would be expected to provide the customer notice and allow them to break the contract without penalty. The only charges the ISP could levy on the customers would be to recover any outstanding charges and the cost of any equipment used to access the service,but only if that equipment could be used with another service provider.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/07/2007

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ABC to Create Digital Earner

MANAGING director Mark Scott has made sweeping structural changes to the ABC to enable the broadcaster to exploit its rich digital content across radio and television. Mr Scott said a newly created division,ABC Commercial,would replace Enterprises and would pursue the possibility of charging the public for digital downloads of television and radio programs. Podcasting of radio programs has been very successful for the ABC,which at present does not charge for downloading programs. Mr Scott said buying programs directly from the website would be no different to buying them from an ABC Shop. Plans include video-on-demand,access to digital archives and new partnerships that allow content to be more widely available. "These will,of course,be compatible with the ABC Charter and will comply with the requirements of the ABC Act," he told staff in an email. In his first major move since taking over last year,Mr Scott abolished the separate new media division to streamline the creation of online content. "Digital media is now integral to everything we do," Mr Scott said. "It is not an add-on,it is not a novelty,it is the present reality as well as the future. The proposals I am announcing today reflect the shift of digital and new media from the fringe of our operations 10 years ago to the very centre of our television,radio and news and current affairs output today." The new media division had been seen internally as competing with the radio and television divisions in an attempt to create its own online content. The digital channel ABC2 will be folded into ABC Television ahead of plans to start up additional digital television channels in the future.

The corporate redesign is the ABC's first big shake-up since former ABC managing director Jonathan Shier's disastrous restructure of 2000,in which he created 21 programming units and separated production from content development. Mr Scott's predecessor Russell Balding had slowly demolished much of MrShier's blueprint. Robyn Watts,who was appointed to the executive by MrShier seven years ago,is a casualty of Mr Scott's move. He said she would not be offered a new position. "Robyn's work in leading the ABC's activities in rights management and,for the past 3 1/2 years,the Enterprises division has been an important factor in maintaining and enhancing the ABC's brand and profile in a changing media environment," Mr Scott said. Media understands the head of legal Stephen Collins and the head of human resources Colin Palmer are also expected to leave. The former director of new media and digital services,Lynley Marshall,is the winner: she will head the new ABC Commercial division. "Building on the success of our ABC stores with ABC books,music and videos,we are looking to expand our ability to reach the Australian public through the delivery of our content via a full range of digital services," MrScott said. The new media division evolved from ABC Online,which was started by Radio National staff more than 10 years ago. MrScott said the new organisation is in line with the ABC audience wanting content "when they want it,not just when we want to schedule it".

Specialist areas such as science and children's programming will develop "cross-media content teams" to consolidate knowledge and improve the services across the platforms. The ABC staff union welcomed the restructure,which does not involve budget cuts or job losses. The secretary of the ABC section of the Community and Public Sector Union,Graeme Thomson,said staff were pleased Mr Scott had recognised the innovation and creativity of staff in his announcement. In a message to staff,Mr Scott said: "The only way to deliver our strategy is through the encouragement of the innovation,creativity and skill of our people,and through the provision of strong leadership and sound management."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/08/2007

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Exchanges Begin Systems Merger

THE recently-rebadged Australian Securities Exchange has launched a project to consolidate primary and back up data centres following the $2.3 billion merger last year of the Australian Stock Exchange and Sydney Futures Exchange. The data centre consolidation will take part under the second phase of integrating the Australian Stock Exchange and SFE,which was renamed the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in December last year. According to ASX's half year accounts,the merged company completed its first phase of integration in December last year and launched a second stage of work that will run from January until the end of June this year. The first integration phase included staff cuts and office consolidation,as well as reductions in discretionary expenses such as travel,entertainment and marketing costs. The second phase involves further office consolidation,but also encompasses the rationalisation of data centres operated by SFE and the Australian Stock Exchange,including the SFE's primary and backup data centres. Phase two additionally involves planning for the convergence "over coming years" of equity and derivative trading and clearing platforms operated by SFE and the Australian Stock Exchange. ASX said that it did not expect to fully realise savings from the data centre consolidation until the 2008 financial year. ASX is also expanding its Sydney infrastructure hosting facility alongside the data centre consolidation project. The hosting centre is used by ASX customers who wish to place technology systems close to the stock exchange in the Sydney CBD.

ASX's Austraclear division,meanwhile,will implement the second phase of the Victorian government's $24 million Land Exchange (LX) electronic land titles system by the end of March. The first phase of the LX platform was rolled out in August last year. The Australian Securities Exchange used its half year results announcement to highlight two core infrastructure internal projects that went live during the six months to December 31. EXIGO replaced the FINTRACS OTC clearing,settlement and depository system in August,while the new cash and equity derivative trading platform CLICK XT replaced the ageing SEATS system. ASX said that implementation of CLICK XT went off without a hitch but some "teething problems" that are still being resolved were experienced with the changeover to EXIGO. "Additional functionality upgrades to both the CLICK XT and EXIGO applications are scheduled for the fourth quarter of the 2007 financial year to the benefit of market users," ASX executives wrote in the company's half year accounts. "Both of these new systems represent a substantial investment of time and money by ASX in core infrastructure for the exchange-traded and OTC (over the counter) markets in Australia,and are designed to ensure that ASX remains at the forefront of the contemporary technological developments in the sector."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/15/2007

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NEW ZEALAND: ACP,O'Reilly Team in NZ Web War

JAMES Packer and Irish billionaire Tony O'Reilly are teaming their online assets in New Zealand to form a joint venture to take on Fairfax's $NZ700 million ($619 million) trading giant. The internet arm of Mr O'Reilly's APN News and Media has taken a 50 per cent stake in the free classified trading site created by Mr Packer's local media group,ACP Media. The site,sellmefree.co.nz,was launched 15 months ago and has 300,000 registered users,or 8 per cent of New Zealand's population,according to ACP Media chief Heith Mackay-Cruise. "The point of difference is it's a free classified trading portal so it's free for buyers to place their ads for sellers to engage them," Mr Mackay-Cruise said. "It allows engagement with web and mobile technologies." Fairfax Media,publisher of The Australian Financial Review,bought what is considered the New Zealand equivalent of eBay,TradeMe.co.nz,last year for $NZ700 million ($619 million). "With eBay and TradeMe you have to pay to put your product on the site,whereas this is a free classified trading model," Mr Mackay-Cruise said. Instead of charging for listings,sellmefree.co.nz secures revenue when sellers upgrade their listing with bold type or to have their products placed first on a search query. "The business model involves upscaling the placement of the ads," Mr Mackay-Cruise said. Since launching,the site had delivered double-digit revenue growth each month,he said. APN is believed to be paying between $2 million and $3 million in cash and promotional equivalents for its half share.

That means the site will be advertised across APN's media products,which include nzherald.co.nz,various radio stations,and outdoor media interests. An APN spokesman said the company did not believe the site would cannibalise online classified revenues from its own sites,such as nzherald.co.nz. "It's different,as it's limited to the consumer-to-consumer market," he said. The partners are planning to accelerate development of the product offering and invest more in marketing. "The marketing investment will drive awareness and listing content for sellmefree.co.nz,primarily using media assets at APN and ACP Media's disposal," said APN Online chief Warren Lee. Despite the threat,shares in Fairfax Media closed 3c higher yesterday at $4.87,while APN's shares were 17c lower at $5.99. Shares in Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd,ACP Media's parent group,were 6c lower at $20.45.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/17/2007

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ASIA: To Drive Home Network Growth

The worldwide installed base of home networks will rise by over 20% CAGR from 2005 to 2010,and will be driven heavily by Asia,particularly China,a recent report revealed. The In-Stat study said the increase in demand for networking non-PC consumer electronics devices will in turn help fuel the growth of worldwide home networks and network-capable devices. More home network users,it said,are beginning to use or considering to use their networks for uses other than sharing Internet access. "The average number of PCs in a household is on the rise,and currently stands at approximately 2.4 networked PCs per average US household with a home network," said Joyce Putscher,an analyst at In-Stat. "By 2010,we expect that average to climb to about 2.6 per household. The more PCs in a household,the greater the likelihood that the household will have,or install,a home network." The research also found that although the use of WLAN in the home is fast becoming the medium of choice,it still does not overshadow Ethernet in all countries. Moreover,it was revealed that most WLAN home networks have wired connections of various flavors. The results was contained in report entitled,"Digital Domicile 2006: Is China the Next Gold Mine?" which covered the market for home networking gear and home networking connectivity.


From http://www.telecomasia.net/ 01/19/2007

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EUROPE: Agreement on a Single EU Hotline Number for Missing Children

A committee of EU Member State representatives,at an extraordinary meeting convened by the European Commission,have endorsed the Commission's initiative to reserve throughout the EU common freephone numbers for services of social value. This means in particular that the 116000 number will be made available for hotlines for missing children. Member States are asked to make this major initiative for children's rights a reality as soon as possible. "Having a single number for reporting missing children represents a concrete example of how the EU has made children's rights one of its priorities," said EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding. "I therefore call upon all EU Member States to be very active in implementing the '116 initiative'. The safety of our children does not tolerate delay". The Commission's '116 initiative'allows a single number to be reserved for the same service across Europe. Services provided through 116 freephone numbers will benefit citizens by helping those in difficulty,or by contributing to their well-being or safety. Hotline telephone numbers for parents to report missing children already exist in several EU countries,but they currently use different telephone numbers in different countries. Having a common hotline number,116000,will greatly help parents if they lose their child while travelling or on holiday in another European country. The Commission's draft Decision to reserve numbers beginning with 116 for harmonised services of social value in Europe has today been endorsed by the Communications Committee,an expert group of Member States'representatives. Approval by this committee paves the way for the Commission to adopt this Decision,which will be binding on Member States,in early 2007. On 11 December 2006,Commissioner Reding had at the Telecom Council called upon all Ministers to support urgent progress on this Commission proposal. A public call will be launched early next year to identify other services that may benefit from 116 numbers.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 12/22/2006

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Spain's Basque Country Achieves Its Broadband Dreams

The four hundred-odd residents of Arreita,a pretty mountainous area near Bilbao in the Basque country,Spain,enjoy a benefit perhaps few European communities as minuscule as Arrieta's do. All of them have access to commercial broadband connectivity that not only improves the efficiency of mundane activities like daily government administration,but also provides residents with the ability to indulge in a few more interesting pursuits like online shopping and learning English. But even as Arreita's residents may be the smallest community in Europe with top-class broadband connectivity,they can't claim they are the only ones in the Basque Country. Thanks to the Basque Government's policy that wanted to expose the Basque Society to the digital era,almost all its over 2.1 million residents will have access to basic broadband connectivity by the end of this year. By then,the second and the final phase of the two-year long project,called Konekta Zaitez@Banda Zabala (or KZ@Banda Zabala),will have extended broadband infrastructure throughout the Basque region covering 7254 square kilometres.

When completed,KZ@Banda Zabala will be the first broadband project in rural Europe to offer broadband connectivity to match services now generally available only in larger cities. "There are several similar projects brewing throughout Europe,but most of them are pilot deployments,due to the absence of a network for providing commercial availability of the same way as they do in the cities," says Naiara Goia,from ITELAZPI,S.A.,the government-owned telecom company that has been entrusted with responsibility implementing the project. Indeed KZ@@Banda Zabala,born in 2004,is easily one of Europe's most interesting digital inclusion projects. It is a part of the Basque Country in the Information Society Plan,(PESI in its Spanish acronym),an initiative started in 1999 with the objective of fostering a cultural change in the Basque Society through the use of ICT technologies. The goal of the plan is to fundamentally improve the quality of life and take advantage of the benefits that the information society brings for the economic development. As part of this,KZ@Banda Zabala is to guarantee that all rural areas of the country get access to broadband services,especially those that might be excluded due to the lack of commercial interest.

According to Goia,the main driver of this project was the concern of Basque Government to develop the rural areas and to bridge the digital divide that was widening in the region. A study conducted by the Basque government in early 2004 to analyze the coverage of the private broadband networks in the rural areas,including future plans of private operators to extend coverage,revealed a definite lack of commercially interest to offer broadband services. Basque Country has a total population of just 4 percent of Spain's population. Altogether,the study found that 102 municipalities in the country would likely be excluded from the broadband roll out by the private sector. These municipalities make up about half of the territory of the country but are home to only about 3 percent of the total population.

Therefore to take matters in its own hands,the Basque Government designed KZ@Banda Zabala based on "the open network and neutral technology guidelines formulated by the European Commission for public intervention." It has just two strategic objectives: to extend the broadband network to all villages and economic areas of Euskadi (the Basque Country),and to guarantee that the broadband services are provided to the users of these areas with quality levels and prices similar to urban areas. And since,such objectives are would be difficult to realise through private enterprise,the Basque Cabinet of Ministers chose the publicly held ITELAZPI,S.A. to carry out the task.

Innovative Business Model "Low population was the primarily reason why broadband services by private operators were eluding the Basque region," says Goia. "Typically,projects like these require high investments but low population and lack of density that provide limited business development,make such areas unattractive for deployment of broadband infrastructure by private operators." Still KZ@Banda Zabala is not a pure government venture. "The most interesting feature of the project," says Goia is its "Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach." Although ITELAZPI has been given the crucial responsibility of funding the project (with the help of the Basque Government) as well as providing the necessary infrastructure -- the communications network,land space,and the customer premise equipment (CPE) -- the operational maintenance of the project was handed over to a private telecom company,Euskaltel,the leading cable TV service provider in the Basque region. In a win-win business model,ITELAZPI has provided the investment needed to create the infrastructure while the operator (Euskaltel) provides the services of running base stations at the customer premises,data management and transfer service between base stations and the network,and covers all expenses associated with the base stations. For all these services,it charges the end users/customers and of course pays ITELAZPI a fee for the use of this infrastructure. The public ownership of the broadband network -- through ITELAZPI -- thus guarantees that the rural areas do not depend on the commercial interest for actual deployments. At the same time,the fact that a private operator is allowed to charge the end users/customers for broadband services delivered on the infrastructure ensures that the private operator can also make a profit. The actual deployment consists of a wireless network that uses a radio-based backhaul and a point-to-point pre-WIMAX access network capable of also providing voice services. Base stations and repeater stations are managed by ITELAZPI and serve as access points for end users. To connect,users generally require an exterior antenna and a wireless modem that connects to their computer or network.

Life-Changing Impact KZ@Banda Zabala was designed in two phases with a total project outlay of 6.5 million Euros. According to Goia,much of this outlay is funded jointly by ITELAZPI and the Basque Government but there is also co-financing by European Union,through its structural funds,DOCUP PAIS VASCO. The first phase was completed end of 2005,which saw deployment in 102 municipalities. Currently,according to ITELAZPI,97 percent of phase two has been implemented and,on completion by this year end,the network would be expanded to 177 population centers. So,how has this project changed the life of Basques? For one thing,"It is very important to have quality Internet access for schools located in rural areas," says Goia,"so thanks to this project many schools have access to broadband. It is also aiding small and medium sized companies to extend their businesses and compete and deal better with companies and customers." Moreover,small town city halls have started participating at Basque Public Administration e-administration programs. And the project also has encouraged economic development,enabled a number of companies to locate in the region and to start up their businesses there. But perhaps even more important for the region's prosperity,the Basque country is now starting to draw more tourists. "There are more rural hotels now,which through their broadband connections,are attracting tourist from larger cities," says Goia. As far as Goia is concerned,KZ@Banda Zabala has proved that geography and private-sector profitability need not be a barrier limiting Internet broadband access. The proof is in the pudding as they say and the residents of Arrieta find little need to go into the city these days. (by Indrajit Basu)


From http://www.govtech.net/ 01/02/2007

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Romania Expands Its Information Society

Romania is extending its "knowledge-based economy" project to 251 rural communities and towns throughout the country. A pilot phase of the project has already been successfully rolled out to nine rural areas. The new initiative,scheduled to run from 2007 to 2010,aims to "contribute to increasing competitiveness in the single European market by creating an information-based society,fostering the efficiency of electronic information in education,and facilitating the interaction between citizens and administration," according to Romania's minister for communications and information technology,Zsolt Nagy. The project's objective is to roll out a Local Community Electronic Network that will connect 472 public schools,260 local administration offices and 260 local libraries to the internet. In addition,260 Public Access Points will be established. Around 8 percent of the population,or 1.7 million people,are expected to be impacted by the project.


From http://www.enn.ie/ 01/31/2007

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UK GGP Community Information Portal Boosts Local Services

GGP Systems has developed a Community Portal to help local authorities provide easier online access to council information. This latest eGAZ development represents a significant advance in interoperability with the Portal allowing centralised access to information,according to the company. As well as boosting the provision of online services to the public,the system is also key for centralised services such as contact centres or multi-service partnerships involving organisations such as the police,education and private contractors. One of the biggest challenges for local authorities in delivering effective e-government services is gaining access to the information that exists in different departments and organisations,and also in different databases and formats. GGP's Community Portal provides a one-stop shop for all information using a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) to tie information together.

For example,by entering a postcode or street name to identify a property,users can immediately view information about that property and also nearby local services through "Find My Nearest" searches. Using cross-referencing,the Portal can match properties to planning records for example to give answers to questions such as "Am I in a preservation area? How do I apply for planning permission? Is that tree protected?" "The eGAZ Community Portal truly facilitates data interoperability and data deployment,maximising the exploitation of information and offering a synergistic approach to multiple data holdings" says Robin Sheehan Commercial Manager at GGP Systems. "The Portal provides a cornerstone to centralised services and fast-tracking of joint working. It enables access to existing records eliminating the need to centralise data which is complex and very costly. Data can remain where it is making sure that the investment in data and data management is retained." The Portal acts as the super-glue between data holdings,and an information conduit. It can be used within an organisation,connecting departments or within groups of organisations such as regional local authority partnerships or for emergency services in adjoining areas. It can also be used within multi-agency initiatives such as connecting police,local government,other emergency services,and utilities for a wide variety of purposes,such as homeland security,crisis management and emergency planning.


From www.ggpsystems.co.uk 12/07/2006

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UK Issues 10 Millionth Oyster Card

Transport for London has announced that the 10 millionth Oyster card has been issued. This is a major step towards TfL's aim of making Oyster smart card electronic ticketing the predominant means of payment throughout London's transport system. Around three quarters of all underground and bus payments in London are now by Oyster card. In the three years since the introduction of Oyster card the proportion of cash payments on London's Underground and buses has fallen to just five per cent. The benefits of Oyster card payments in speed on the transport system are huge. Almost three times as many passengers can pass an underground payment gate using Oyster card as can using printed tickets - 40 a minute compared to 15 a minute. Even greater time savings exist on buses of Oyster card payment compared to cash.

The main gap in payments on Oyster card remains on surface rail where the Train Operating Companies are yet to accept Oyster pre-pay. This affects 180,000 passengers a day.

In May 2006 the Mayor offered a funding package of ¡ê20 million to the train operators,which will finance the technology to accept the pay-as-you-go system to be bought and installed at every station in zones 1-6. The companies have until the 31st of January to accept this offer. With the introduction on the rail system of the familiar six zones already used for Underground and Travelcard tickets London can move to a unified ticketing system based on the Oyster smart card.

The Mayor of London,Ken Livingstone said: "Around three quarters of journeys on London's buses and underground are now paid for by Oyster card compared to only five per cent by cash - bringing huge time savings to passengers and the transport system. Ten million Oyster cards have now been taken out by the public. 'But most of the train operating companies still continue to deprive their passengers of the benefits of Oyster payment for single journeys with pre-pay. With the introduction of a zone system for rail fares in London,and my offer to train operators to pay them ¡ê20 million to install Oyster equipment,there is no reason why the Train Operating Companies cannot sign up to our proposals by 31st January. Oyster has already proved itself to many millions of Londoners and it seems amazing that these companies haven't yet agreed to a deal which would meet their capital expenditure and would save their customers time,money and inconvenience."

"The Train Operating Companies are in talks with TfL about adopting Oyster and particular progress is being made by some towards selling Oyster products outside of London. But what London travellers really want is to be allowed to use Oyster pay-as-you-go on their rail services. "Only five per cent of journeys on the tube and bus are paid for by cash,but the continued lack of availability of Pay-As-You-Go on a large proportion of the National Rail network in the capital means that Londoners who rely on rail services are missing out on the cheaper fares and easier journeys that are available on Oyster. In just over three years since its launch,Londoners have snapped up more than 10 million Oyster Cards,and now only five per cent of journeys on the tube and bus networks ¨C just one in 20 - are paid for by cash.

NOTES TO EDITORS: With Oyster Pay-As-You-Go you can place,for example,¡ê10 on your Oyster card and when you touch in and out at the yellow readers with your card on the Tube,DLR,tram or bus the reader automatically deducts the correct fare. Oyster is available to buy or be topped up at all 275 Tube stations and there are also more than 2,200 Oyster Ticket Stops agents across the capital. 85% of all Londoners live within 400 metres of an Oyster Ticket Stop.


From The Mayor of London 01/10/2007

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Digitising Five Centuries of UK Life

JISC has announced the successful bids in a further ¡ê12m investment in the digitisation of major resources of national importance. The 16 winning bids represent a wide range of rich and vivid perspectives on the history,culture and landscape of the UK and beyond. Projects will capture a wide variety of aspects of UK life,from Cabinet papers to First World War poetry,radio news to East End music hall archives,political cartoons to British borders,and in a wide range of media,including sound,film,images,journals,newspapers,maps,theses,pamphlets and cartoons. The successful consortia include nearly 60 organisations from education and other sectors,including the British Film Institute,The National Archive,the BBC,ITN,the British Library,the National Library of Wales and the Bodleian Library,alongside nearly 30 universities. The 16 projects will join six current projects funded in 2004 which are delivering resources of enormous value to education and research,widening access to otherwise inaccessible and in some cases fragile and unique resources.

The successful bids (with their lead institutions) are: First World War Poetry Archive (University of Oxford) ¨C Preserving and sharing memories of the Great War through the words of its poets; Voices ¨C Moving Images in the Public Sphere (British Film Institute) ¨C Watch the key social,political and economic issues of our time unfold; British Governance in the 20th Century,Cabinet papers 1914-1975 (The National Archive) ¨C The British Government at peace and war; Historic Boundaries of Britain (University of Portsmouth) ¨C Mapping the past ¨C a digital library of Britain's borders; British Cartoon Archive Digitisation Project (University of Kent) ¨C Browse the largest online archive of cartoons in the UK; Welsh Journals Online (National Library of Wales) ¨C Free,online searchable access to the best Welsh periodicals ¨C past,present and future; Electronic ephemera (Bodleian Library)¨C Discover hidden treasures of everyday life from the 16th to the 20th centuries; 19th Century Pamphlets Online (University of Southampton) ¨C Polemical voices from the past on the great debates of the 19th century; Discovering the Poles ¨C Historic Polar Images 1845-1960 (Scott Polar Research Institute,University of Cambridge) ¨C Making historic Polar resources accessible to all; A Digital Library of Core e-Resources on Ireland (Queen's University Belfast) ¨C Visit a one-stop shop for Irish studies e-resources; Archival Sound Recordings 2 (British Library) ¨C A critical mass of rich audio materials from all over the world,at your fingertips; UK Theses Digitisation Project (British Library) ¨C Opening access to over 5,000 of the most popular British research theses; British Newspapers 1620-1900 (British Library) ¨C Read the first three centuries of newspapers from all regions of the British Isles; Digitisation of the LBC/IRN Archive (University of Bournemouth) ¨C From apartheid to Blair ¨C hear history being made with the UK's largest commercial radio news collection; * Pre-Raphaelite Resource Site (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery) ¨C Trace a movement that changed the face of English art; The East London Theatre Archive (University of East London) ¨C Putting the spotlight on East End music hall heritage.


From http://www.jisc.ac.uk/ 01/29/2007

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CHINA: Digital Divide Between Urban,Rural Areas to Be Bridged

Vice-Minister of Information Industry of China Jiang Yaoping said on Tuesday that China will take more effective measures to bridge the digital divide between its urban and rural areas. Addressing the opening ceremony of the China Day of the current International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2006,Jiang said that the rural and urban areas of the country are still provided with unbalanced level of information industry infrastructure. Jiang said that as a developing country,China still has a long way to go in providing universal telecommunication services. In the past years,China has made some progress in this regard through carrying out projects like "telephone linkage to villages",said Jiang,citing that 98.8 percent of Chinese villages are now connected with outside world with telephones. China Day,the first in the history of ITU's Telecom World exhibition in 34 years,is seen as a climax of exchanges between Chinese telecommunication industry and its counterparts around the world. Secretary-General of the ITU Yoshio Utsumi and Secretary for Finance of Hong Kong government Henry Tang also gave speeches at Tuesday's opening ceremony of the China Day.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/06/2006

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Chinese 3G Standard Finds Support

TD-SCDMA,a Chinese home-grown standard for third generation (3G) mobile telephony,is gaining wider industry support,especially from mobile phone manufacturers,an industry alliance chief said yesterday. Currently about 20 manufacturers have developed more than 100 mobile phone models based on the TD-SCDMA standard,Yang Hua,secretary-general of TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance,told China Daily at the ITU World Telecom 2006 in Hong Kong. The moves have given a major boost to the TD-SCDMA standard,which has been playing catch-up with rival standards WCDMA and CDMA 2000. WCDMA is a European-initiated 3G standard,backed mainly by companies such as Ericsson and Nokia. CDMA 2000 is a US-backed standard. Unlike WCDMA and CDMA 2000,TD-SCDMA has yet to be commercially deployed. A lack of mobile phones based on the standard has been one of the largest bottlenecks thwarting the development of the Chinese technology. It has even slowed down the trials of TD-SCDMA network equipment,engineered by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII). In the past months,an increasing number of handset makers,including foreign makers such as Samsung,have ramped up efforts in developing TD-SCDMA terminals. Yang revealed Motorola is also testing a TD-SCDMA handset model.

The support from Motorola,the world's second-largest mobile phone maker,could give a boost to the standard,as the awareness of handset brands among consumers could be crucial to the success of TD-SCDMA after the 3G services are rolled out. Without support from leading handset manufacturers,TD-SCDMA operators could find it hard to woo consumers. Currently,most TD-SCDMA handset developers are Chinese brands,which have under-performed in the domestic 2G (second generation) handset market compared to major foreign brands. Nokia and Sony Ericsson are still adopting a wait-and-see attitude in the TD-SCDMA handset market,but Yang said with the prospects of TD-SCDMA becoming brighter,more and more foreign makers will join the camp. "TD-SCDMA is now ready for commercial deployment. We are awaiting the government to award operators with the licences to build 3G networks," he said. MII chief Wang Xudong yesterday said the government could "very soon" hand out the 3G licences to operators. The increasing momentum TD-SCDMA has gained in the past months has accelerated the 3G licensing process in China,which has been stalled in recent years.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/09/2006

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CNNIC Published "The Survey Report on Chinese Instant Message Market 2006"

On Dec.19,2006,CNNIC released key statistics of "The Survey Report on Chinese Instant Message Market 2006". The samples of the report were collected from Beijing,Shanghai,Guangzhou,Wuhan,Chengdu and Xi'an through telephone survey. The report mainly analyzed the current situation,social effects and market problems of the six cities. The report shows that 40% of Instant Message (IM) users changed their main communication methods,60% of the users had been harassed by virus,80% of the users had experienced junk information. The report shows that those active IM users (defined as people who used the IM tools in recent one month) had reached 59.8%. Among the active IM users in the six cities,73.4% of the users regard IM as necessary. IM tools impacted other communication methods - over 40% of the users regard IM as their "the most frequently used communication approach". For the convenience and low cost of the IM tools,over 60% of the users reduced the use of Email,over 70% of MSN users and nearly 2/3 of OICQ users reduced their use of telephone. Nearly 60% of IM Users' Computers were infected by Virus,Junk Information Matches Junk Mails. Among active IM users in the six cities,over 80% had received IM junk info from strangers.

The proportion of MSN users is lower than that of OICQ users,while still close to 80%. Meanwhile,nearly 60% of IM users got their computers infected by virus through IM tools. OICQ Dominates IM Market,MSN Stands High in White Collar's Favor in Beijing and Shanghai In the six cities,OICQ dominates 84.4% of the IM market,MSN ranks the second,accounting for 13.9% of the market. MSN takes lead in certain user groups in Beijing and Shanghai. The report shows that among active users who use IM tools in office,MSN possesses 49.5% and 67.5% of the market in Beijing and Shanghai respectively,which are larger than the share of OICQ. MSN's advantages are more obvious among high-end users,the market share in the two cities are 54.3% and 66.0%. However,the same user groups in other four cities still prefer OICQ. (Note: the definition of high-end user of the survey ¨C aged 25+,monthly income 3000+,bachelor degree and above) Most of Users Do Not Know Message Could be Transmitted between Different IM Tools. The report shows that less than 1/5 users know about the intercommunications between IM tools (Yahoo and MSN),most of users have no idea about the function. Analysis shows that much more MSN users know about the function than QQ users (nearly 2 times),although less than 30% of total MSN users. The cognitive rate in Beijing,Shanghai and Guangdong is 18.7%,and the rate in Chengdu,Wuhan and Xi'an is 15.9%.

Although the real intercommunication between different IM tools is in general trends,yet they still have long way to go. CNNIC's "The Survey Report on Chinese Instant Message Market 2006" touched the current situation of domestic IM market (both computer-ends mobile-ends),users' characteristics and users' behavior,providing Internet users and enterprises with valuable references for making decisions.


From http://www.cnnic.net.cn/ 12/27/2006

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Macao to Launch Studio City Project

Macao has launched a multi-functional leisure project of Studio City,local press reported Thursday. The Macao Post Daily reported that the center,located in the special administrative region's Cotai island,will combine theater,television,film productions and retail facilities with gaming,entertainment properties. The project was developed by Cyber One Agents Ltd.,a joint venture between Hong Kong-based eSun Holdings and Macao's New Cotai Ltd. The project was divided into two phases,the first of which was slated to be completed in 2009,according to the newspaper. Macao,with a population of 500,800 and a land size of 28 square km,is set to build its fame as Las Vegas in an Asian version.


From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 01/11/2007

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Guangzhou Aims to Become Digital City

Imagine shopping ,booking tickets or even applying for official permits anywhere and anytime at the click of a mouse! Well,that would no longer be a dream for the Guangzhou citizens. The folks will be able to do so by 2010. Xie Xuening,director of Guangzhou IT Application Office,said that Guangzhou would work on 36 massive IT application projects in the coming four years and this would improve city's IT infrastructure substantially turning Guangzhou into a digital city by 2010. The 3G mobile telecom network,digital TV network and next-generation Internet will be the highlight of the 36 projects. "Guangzhou will improve the Internet broadband and diversify connections by developing fibre broadband connection,wireless connection as well as interactive digital TV connection at any corner of the city," he said. "Citizens will be able to log on to the Internet anywhere downtown and anytime by then." He said the city would apply information technologies to diverse sectors that are closely related to citizens'livelihood.

Education,medical service,social pension and public transportation are some of such sectors that will be made much more convenient through IT applications. Xie said that Guangzhou would set up Internet training centres on all the streets across the city,and will set up Internet service centres in the city's 1,177 administrative villages for the low-income citizens,rural households and migrant population so that they could use Internet. Xie said that e-commerce would become a very important transaction mode by 2010 and the e-commerce transactions are expected to reach 225 billion yuan ($27.74 billion),making up 10 percent of the city's annual retail volume. Besides,95 percent of the government approvals will be done online and much more information about government affairs and public services will be available online. He said every 100 urban household in Guangzhou is expected to have 130 computers in 2010; and rural households will have 45 computers. Qi Ming,a professor of South China University of Technology's e-business school,believes that it will not take very long for Guangzhou to become a digital city.

Qi makes his analysis on the basis of significant advancement Guangzhou has made in IT applications. Citing statistics,the professor said,every 100 household in Guangzhou has 91.3 computers and its current Internet subscribers have surpassed 4-million mark. Moreover,1,267 governmental or public services can be handled online. Qi said that the city's e-commerce transactions worth 65.2 billion yuan ($8.04 billion) in 2005 reflects the growing popularity of e-payment,online deals and credit card consumption among the Guangzhou citizens.


From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/12/2007

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Beijing to Set Up Information Databank to Stop Marriage Cheats

A marriage databank is to be set up in Beijing this year to help the authorities prevent bigamy and bogus marriages. Information on the database will be available to public security,civil affairs and population departments and women's federations. At present,the marriage registration procedure in Beijing was quite simple,requiring only an ID card and residence booklet,said Li Ziwei,an official with the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau. This failed to stop the use of fake documents by fraudsters intent on swindling their partners. Meanwhile,some people who had already married in other places married again in Beijing,Li said. Beijing civil affairs departments set up a network two years ago to share marriage information,so that bigamy could be avoided,but the network only included information less than two years old. The new databank would hold information such as ID numbers,residency,and marriage and divorce records from the public security,civil affairs and population departments and women's federations,Li said. It is believed the information will be more comprehensive and complete. Marriage and divorce registrations done two years ago will also be available.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/17/2007

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More Than 10 Mln Chinese Subscribe to Digital TV

The number of digital TV users in China exceeded 10 million at the end of 2006,double the number in 2005,an industry insider has said. "There were only 1.2 million digital TV subscribers in China in 2004 and four million in 2005. The number is expected to reach 20 million by the end of 2007," said Wang Yan,general manager of China DTV Media (CDM) whose 49 digital pay channels reach 4.05 million subscribers in China. China launched its digital TV industry in May 2006 and now has 92 digital pay channels,said Wang,adding that CDM collected more than 90 percent of all digital pay-TV service subscription fees in China. Specialist programs on sport,fashion,music and cuisine as well as documentaries,high-definition movies and TV series are available on digital TV. But cable TV is still a very popular and economical alternative in China. Whereas CDM charges five to 180 yuan (22.5 dollars) per month for each of its digital pay channels,viewers can get more than 30 cable TV channels for only two U.S. dollars per month. Wang said the quality of digital pay-TV programs needs to be improved in order to compete with free channels.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/17/2007

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Survey: Chinese Youth Prefer Internet Surfing for Fun

Chinese young people's favorite leisure time pursuit is Internet surfing,the China Youth Daily reported here on Tuesday. Internet surfing is the number one entertainment choice for most people,the paper said,quoting a survey of 2,952 respondents. The survey said 81 percent of respondents surf on the Internet in their leisure time,rather than watch TV or read books. Entertainment is changing and young people rely more on the Internet. The survey showed 43 percent of respondents do not set aside a particular time to read books,21 percent read before going to sleep,and 12 percent reserve their reading for the restroom. A report released by the China Juvenile Research Center early this year showed that Chinese youth are reading less and less - the downward trend has continued for five years in a row. The survey also indicates that young people pay attention to the quality of their leisure time. About 37 percent had one to three hours leisure time per day on average,36 percent had three to five hours and a lucky minority of 18 percent had more five hours.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/23/2007

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Digital Map to Provide 3D View of Downtown

By the time the World Expo opens in 2010,travelers will no longer have to visit Shanghai in person to enjoy a three-dimensional tour of its downtown core. They will only have to boot up their computers. The city plans to create a digital,three-dimensional map of Shanghai that can be easily searched online. The project will be similar to Google Earth,a site that lets you study satellite images of the planet,but will provide an even better look at the city's architecture,according to Shu Rong,a researcher with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics,which will provide airborne camera technology for use in the project. Users will be able to view the map using a PC or cell phone. "The map will provide a vivid city tour," Shu said,noting it will include pictures of the sides of buildings,unlike the Google site which only provides a birds-eye view of cities. City officials expect the project will be complete in time for the World Expo,which is expected to attracted 70 million visitors to Shanghai. Airplanes and helicopters equipped with several cameras mounted at different angles will take pictures across the downtown core - an area that covers about 600 square kilometers.

The pictures will pick up objects as small as 15 centimeters. Shu said it will take more than two weeks to take the thousands of airborne pictures and an unspecified period to put the pictures together in a digital map. PC users will be able to point and zoom to any local area but cell phone owners may need additional hardware and mobile Internet access support to use the system. "Similar to Google Earth,our atlas will also need very efficient and fast computer equipment," Shu said. He didn't say how much the map will cost to build,or if users will be charged for using it. Huang Guofu,a taxi driver with Shanghai Qiangsheng Taxi Service Company,said: "The atlas must be updated very frequently because many streets are changing."


From http://www.chinaview.cn 02/10/2007

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12 Websites in HK Win Merit Awards

Twelve healthy and resourceful websites in Hong Kong Saturday received merit awards and two others won "Meritorious Website Hall of Fame Awards" as part of the "2006 Meritorious Website Contest" organized by the government. The 12 awarded websites cover a variety of topics including general information,education,psychology and environmental protection,including Yahoo Hong Kong,the Ocean park,and Radio Television of Hong Kong. The "Meritorious Website Hall of Fame Awards" goes to Hyper Earth Rescue Team,which promotes ideas of environmental protection and www.mcdull.hk,which provides useful information and resourceful stories through a famous cartoon pig,named mcdull. Speaking at the prize presentation ceremony,the Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing Lorna Wong said,"The Internet has become a common tool for information search and communication. On the Internet,there is beneficial information but also objectionable articles which could have bad influence on youngsters." "It is very important to strengthen the education for youngsters for a correct concept about the correct use of the Internet,to combat the possible bad influence," she added.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/20/2007

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JAPAN: Hotels to Get Fire Alert E-mail Software

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency has decided to offer the nation's hotels and inns free software to enable them to e-mail fire alerts to guests'cell phones,government officials said Sunday. The agency will post the software in fiscal 2007 on its Web site,where hotels and inns will be able to download it,the officials said. The aim is to benefit guests with hearing difficulties,including the elderly,who may not hear conventional alarms but who tend to keep their phones in vibration mode. The agency also hopes the system will be useful at hotels and inns that usually do not have a sufficient number of staff to wake every lodger during the night in the event of a fire,the officials said. The software automatically compiles a list of all guests who register their e-mail address when they check in and alerts them when a fire is detected.


From The Japan Times 12/04/2006

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NEC Recalls 15,000 Desktop Computers Because of Fire Risk

NEC Corp said Monday it will recall some 15,000 of its Valuestar desktop computers because of fears that they may catch fire. The company said two of the desktops caught fire due to a defective part near their power source.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 12/19/2006

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News Portal Site Involving 52 Japanese Newspaper Firms to Open Sunday

A portal site carrying news provided by a total of 52 newspaper companies across Japan will open Sunday,featuring a function to search news from a map of Japan on its website. The website,47NEWS,shows Japanese-language news written by about 10,000 reporters of the 52 newspaper companies in Japan's 47 prefectures. It is the first online news site of such a scale in Japan,enabling users to search news from domestic newspapers on a single website. Although Japan's domestic media till now have tended to focus on news dispatched from major cities,the participating newspapers have decided to cooperate to show what is happening in Japan,not only in Tokyo but also local cities across the nation on the website. In the near future,47NEWS will also be available in English and Chinese,according to Press Net Japan. The address of the website is: http://www.47news.jp.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 12/23/2006

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Emergency Info in 6 Foreign Languages to Go Online

A Web site containing emergency information in six foreign languages for non-Japanese residents is being prepared by the Kagawa prefectural government. The number of foreigners registered in Kagawa Prefecture has increased from 3,801 in 1995 to 8,068 in 2005. But they have largely been left out of the loop with limited access to emergency information and little,if any,systematic support. The Web site will offer information on shelters,water supplies and other important matters in Chinese,English,Korean,Portuguese,Spanish and Tagalog. It will probably go online this spring. "We'll use special software to save time in translation so we can make vital information promptly available to foreigners," a prefectural government official said. He was referring to lessons learned from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people and left foreigners at a loss about what to do and where to go. The software was created at the initiative of the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations,a nonprofit organization that has 62 branches in Japan and seven abroad.

Stored in the database are sample sentences such as "This toilet is available." Audio examples are also available. The prefectural government sent a questionnaire to about 400 organizations engaged in international exchanges or those that hired non-Japanese in the prefecture. About 200 organizations responded. Of them,12 said they conveyed information to foreigners as soon as it became available. Seventeen organizations said they do so "several times a month," while 35 others said "several times a year." Ninety-seven organizations said they did not provide any particular information to foreign residents. In the same survey,77 organizations said they did not contact foreign members to confirm that they were safe in the event of an emergency. Twenty-four organizations said group communication networks were in place. Asked whether they wanted to join a disaster information network,121 organizations replied in the affirmative.


Fromhttp://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 01/22/2007

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52% Online; 33% Internet Holdouts

About 52 percent of the nation's population use the Internet,a Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found.Of the 47.9 percent nonusers,14.8 percent expressed a wish to use it,while 33.1 percent said they had not thought of using it,even in the future,according to the survey conducted on Jan. 20 and 21. Among those who use the Internet through personal computers or cell phones,27 percent said they were frequent users,14.6 percent said they used it quite often,and 10.2 percent said they used it occasionally. By age,those in their 20s--constituting 91 percent of users--access the Internet most frequently,with the user rate decreasing exponentially with higher age brackets: Only 11 percent of those aged 70 and over use the Internet. By gender,the figures were 59 percent and 45 percent for male and female users,respectively. Permitted to give multiple reasons for going online,71 percent said they used the Internet to "collect information from Web sites" and 64 percent said they used it to "exchange e-mails." Asked whether the rise of the Internet benefits society or not,74 percent said yes,while about 15 percent said it brought disadvantages.

Of those who answered positively,about 34 percent said the Internet was very advantageous for society,while 40 percent said it was quite advantageous. Of those who answered negatively,11 percent said it was disadvantageous,while 4 percent said is was very disadvantageous. Permitted to give multiple reasons why they believe the spread of the Internet is beneficial,62 percent of respondents replied,"It's possible to obtain a variety of information," 60 percent said,"We can access information we need," and 24 percent said "work efficiency has improved." Asked for reasons why they believe the spread of the Internet is a bad thing,59 percent of respondents said,"Crimes using the Internet have increased," 56 percent said,"It's too easy for private information to be leaked" and 55 percent cited the availability of "massive amounts of harmful information." In the face-to-face survey 3,000 eligible voters were chosen at random from 250 locations across the nation,with 1,780,or 59.3 percent,giving valid answers.


From The Yomiuri Shimbun 02/10/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Web Site Will Serve Foreign Investors

In an effort to cater to foreign investors in Korea,the Financial Supervisory Service announced yesterday that its Web site for regulatory filing would be available in English,starting in January. The Web site is commonly known as DART,short for data analysis,retrieval and transfer system. It is a Web site where listed companies can post their regulatory filing data directly online without submitting it in hard copies. The development of the site began in the summer of 1998,and the comprehensive filing service covering companies listed in both the Kospi and the Kosdaq launched four years later. The data are available for public viewing. Under the plan announced yesterday,the financial regulator would encourage local listed companies to submit their online filings in English so that foreign investors can read the information. Firms listed in both local and foreign stock markets would be the first group asked to submit their filings in both Korean and English. Domestic companies would be asked to post material from investor relations presentations conducted in foreign countries. The agency added that it would link the English section of the listed companies'Web sites to DART. The English sites of Korea Exchange,the operator of local stock and futures markets,and of Korea Listed Companies Association,would also be linked with the DART site.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 11/23/2006

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High-Speed Internet Population Exceeds 14 Million

Korea's high-speed Internet population has hit the 14 million mark. The Ministry of Information and Communication reported on Thursday (Dec. 21) that the nation's subscribers to the broadband Internet access service numbered 14,011,419 as of the end of November,up 67,242 subscribers from a month earlier. Korea Telecom (KT) and Hanaro Telecom have seen a decline of subscribers,while LG Powercom has seen a growth. The number of KT subscribers decreased by 893 from the previous month to 6,438,618 in November,with its market share falling by 0.2 percentage point to 45.3 percent. This is KT's 14th consecutive month of decline since September last year. Hanaro Telecom saw a decrease of 3,923 subscribers,or 0.1 percentage point,to 3,609,096,or 25.8 percent. On the other hand,LG Powercom increased the number of subscribers by 80,056 to 1,115,839,bringing its market share to 8 percent last month from 7.4 percent in October.


From http://www.korea.net/ 12/22/2006

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Switching Internet Service to Get Easier in New Year

Beginning next year,high-speed Internet users will be able to switch more easily to other service providers,one of several plans the government intends to implement for consumer protection.The Korea Information Society Development Institute,a research body under the Information Ministry,presented a roadmap yesterday on regulations for service providers in the highly competitive broadband market. The presentation was made after ministry officials met with heads of major high-speed Internet companies and consumer groups and discussed medium to long-term telecommunication policies. According to the plans,Internet service providers must give consumers a contract that guarantees the quality of the Internet connection speed and pledge to guarantee protection of the consumer's information privacy before starting a service. Until now,most high-speed Internet applications were made without exchanges of any forms of contracts.

Internet users will also be able to freely switch to another service. The government required companies to take out clauses that made it difficult for users to switch to other services by setting various conditions.The ministry said that the market should be open so that anyone could freely enter it and that the government is thinking of introducing such a system next year. Until now,the telecommunication market in Korea was strictly managed by the government and companies had to bid to do certain services. In order to boost new services,the ministry proposed that services such as Internet phone services and Internet protocol television,or IPTV,should be encouraged. In support of the innovations,the ministry will let people keep the numbers for their fixed-line phones even if they change to Internet phone services. IPTV is now only in pilot service. The service has been pending over the past several years. Firms wanted to start the service several years ago but were delayed because the broadcasting committee and Information Ministry were in dispute as to whether Internet TV would fall under the realm of telecommunications or broadcasting.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com/ 12/28/2006

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Personal U-Learning Terminals to Be Piloted Next Year

Time is like gold for students preparing for college exams or written tests for jobs. They can't lengthen their days,but they can make better use of their time,for instance,by working while in transit from one place to another. According to the government,a pilot run of a personal ubiquitous-learning system is planned for next year with the aim of a commercial launch in late 2008. The system is expected to enable students on the road to access the Web at an affordable price as well as connecting them with friends and teachers. The state-backed Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) on Thursday (Dec. 14) unveiled two types of terminals for the system -- one for elementary school students and another for high-school students. "In an alliance with domestic producers,we are developing handheld devices for ubiquitous learning. We seek to start a trial at six schools next year," KERIS official Ko Beom-seog said. "The terminals,which can act as a hub of ubiquitous learning,will hit the market full-fledgedly in late 2008 or early 2009," said Ko,who is in charge of developing the system. The terminals for elementary school students are equipped with a 10.4-inch display. Those for high school pupils have a 7-inch monitor. Both will use chips made by Intel,the world's biggest chipmaker,and the operating system will be provided by Microsoft,the leading vendor of computer software. "The terminals will have a touch-sensitive screen as well as built-in cameras. Students can take a picture of anything so they can ask teachers about it," Ko said. "Teachers will assign homework to students through the system,then they will discuss it via the network to come up with the best results," he said. The wireless network for the envisioned ubiquitous-learning scheme will be either WiBro,Korea's homegrown portable Internet platform,or Wi-Fi. The terminal will sell for about 550,000 won. The price could dip further. "If terminal manufacturers provide subsidies,the price will be less than 400,000 won. This means students can buy the device with monthly installments of 10,000 won during their three years in high school," Ko said.


From http://www.korea.net/ 12/15/2006

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Damaged Underseas Data Cable Snarls Operations of Wired Korea

Many of Korea's telecommunications firms and banks affected by an earthquake off Taiwan on Tuesday night were back in normal operation by yesterday afternoon. The quake reportedly damaged an underseas communications cable.But a few companies are still struggling with unreliable network connections,and the Korean units of HSBC and Citigroup Inc. are scrambling to soothe angry customers who were unable to get into their Internet banking systems during the two-day-long outage. KT Corp.,Korea's largest fixed-line phone and broadband Internet service provider,said yesterday that services on 92 leased lines were shut down because of the earthquake; 12 lines were back in operation by late Wednesday. Those leased lines carry point-to-point communications rather than switched services with dial-up numbers or addresses. These lines can be used for telephone,data transfer and high-speed Internet service.The electronic systems using those 12 lines ¨D Kookmin Bank,Posdata and Samsung Networks ¨D instantly returned to normal operation when the lines were restored. KT said that these lines were not directly affected by the earthquake,but from a secondary problem involving power amplifiers in the cables that the original cable loss triggered.The other 80 lines were in that original cable and will require at least two weeks to repair,KT said.

About 20 lines used by the Korea Exchange Bank,LG CNS,and the Foreign Ministry were rerouted through cables in China,and 17 used by Met Life,Reuters,Kookmin Bank and the Foreign Ministry were switched to satellite connections. KT said that it was negotiating with telecommunications companies in neighboring countries to set up alternate routes for the remaining lines. Yesterday afternoon,the company said that it believed it would restore service on 90 percent of its Internet connections by the end of the day.Twenty-six leased lines used by LG Dacom were damaged,the company said,and half had been restored by yesterday morning,rerouted through land cables via Hong Kong. It predicted 80 percent would be restored by last night. Hanarotelecom,which had four leased lines shut down,brought one back into service Wednesday and two more yesterday.Most online systems of the Korean units of HSBC and Citigroup Inc. returned to normal operation yesterday afternoon. Automated teller machines and other online systems at HSBC branches were working normally,HSBC said in a statement. But the bank's Web site is still experiencing disruption,making it hard for customers to bank online. The Web site of HSBC Korea was up but extremely slow late yesterday afternoon. Citibank Korea Inc.,another foreign bank affected by the cable problem,said its operations were back to normal yesterday afternoon. HSBC said it would consider reimbursements to customers who can document financial damage caused by the operational disruption. Citibank said it would offer a several-day extension to customers who failed to make credit card or loan payments on time because of the problems.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com/ 12/28/2006

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Keyword Service to Make Mobile Surfing Easier

Netizens are scrambling to reserve new mobile addresses to make their Web sites easier to call up on wireless Internet devices.The new addresses would be simple keywords that,when typed into a mobile device,would lead directly to a Web site with a longer URL. Web addresses can be difficult and time-consuming to type into such devices. Moin,an online information company,offers the service,called Unicdom.Unicdom is similar to existing PC shortcut services based on the idea that typing one word into the address bar is easier than remembering a long URL. These keywords can be in either Korean or English. For example,the word "Seoul" alone could be linked directly to the Web site of the city metropolitan office ¨D no need to worry about whether it ends in ".co.kr," ".go.kr" or ".com."Moin will accept reservations for keywords until March 18,and it said that names of major companies and celebrities have already been taken. Foreign firms are also in line to make reservations. Some of the words already taken include Yahoo,Google,MSN,YouTube,MySpace,KBS,Amazon,Rain and Naver.If several people have made reservations on the same word,the company will conduct an evaluation. The rights of the domain go first to the person or entity who actually owns the name,the company said. However,when actual services start,those evaluations will cease,and people won't be able to challenge the keywords.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 02/07/2007

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Korean Internet Users Grow in January Amid Wide Digital Divide

The number of broadband Internet users in Korea grew in January but the digital gap between urban and rural areas remained wide,a government report showed Thursday (Feb. 22). According to the report by the Ministry of Information and Communication,14.1 million Koreans had access to the broadband Internet as of the end of January,up 600,000 from a month earlier. The January figure represented 28.96 percent of the nation's population of 48.7 million,it said. Most Internet users,however,are concentrated in major cities,highlighting a wide gap in the Internet environment between residents of urban and rural areas,the report showed. Experts attribute the lower Internet use in rural communities to an increase in the number of elderly people,who sometimes have difficulty learning how to use computers,and low profitability for operators in providing services to customers there. The so-called digital divide is one of the challenging issues for the Korean government,which has been seeking to narrow the gap by providing free computers and setting up a nationwide broadband network.


From http://www.korea.net/ 02/23/2007

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MONGOLIA: E-professional Control to Be Introduced

The State Professional Control Agency Will Carry Out A "E-Professional Control" Program. The Agency Has Conducted A Survey In Order To Become A Corruption And Bureaucracy-Free Staff. The Program Will Be Implemented In 2007-2010 Taking Into Account That Introduction Of The Infotechnology Will Be Conducive To Eliminate Corruption And Bureaucracy. Thanks To The Program,Activities Of The Agency Will Run On The Basis Of Factual And Comprehensive Information,Transparency Of The Activities Will Be Provided And Corruption And Bureaucracy Will Be Eliminated.


From http://www.montsame.mn 02/05/2007

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INDONESIA: Eye-Scanning Service to Ease Airport Traffic

In the blink of an eye,frequent flyers will now be able to skip the long queues at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport by using its new immigration system based on state-of-the-art iris-scanning technology. The Smart Automated Passage for Holders of Immigration Regular Entry permits,or Saphire service,is being offered to all travelers and comes with extra parking and check-in privileges. "The system creates more efficiency in air traveling and improves the immigration system," Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin said Thursday when launching the facility at the airport. Saphire was developed by PT Angkasa Pura Schiphol,a joint venture company between state-owned Angkasa Pura II and the Schiphol Group of the Netherlands. "We expect from 3,000 to 4,000 (Saphire) members in 2007. If this is a success,then we may also set up the system in other local cities,such as Medan and Surabaya," APS president director Djoko Santoso said. Members use a gate called an Automatic Border Passage at the airport's terminal 2 upon departure or arrival.

To register,applicants must go to the Saphire office at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport's Terminal 2F and pay Rp 2 million (US$220) for a year's membership. Registration takes about 20 minutes,and includes an iris scan and card imprinting. Immigration officers will also verify passengers'nationalities and identities and the validity of applicants'travel documents. To be eligible for the service,applicants have to have a current passport that will not expire in less than 18 months and be at least 1.4 meters tall to use the 1.3 meter scanner. Non-national users are required to hold either a Multiple Business Visa,a Multi Re-entry Permit with KITAS (work permit),a KITAP (permanent residency permit) or a Free Visa. Free Visa holders are those from Thailand,Malaysia,Singapore,Brunei Darussalam,the Philippines,Hong Kong,Chile,Morocco,Peru and Vietnam.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 12/22/2006

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3G Revolution Spurs Content Innovation and Growth

With the advent of the third generation of cellular technology (3G),the term "value added services",which used to refer to all services beyond voice calls,may be in for a new definition.The new technology literally allows the user to have a broadband internet connection in the palm of his or her hand,offering an endless list of services. For cellular content providers,the technological revolution has opened up new frontiers for innovation and growth. Iqbal Farabi,head of the information technology division at the Young Indonesian Businessmen's Association,said the content industry's revenues of about Rp 200 billion in 2006 were expected to grow by 15 percent this year. "In general,the revenue pie chart consists of 50 percent text-based content,30 percent incoming call ring tunes and the rest is internet downloads," he said. "Religious content still ranks as the biggest revenue contributor. Nowadays,many users prefer seeing their preacher directly through streaming video rather than just plain text. It gives them a stronger emotional feeling," he said. Iqbal said the share of text-based content was expected to decrease this year as more content was being developed for 3G,such as games,music and video downloads. Izak Jenie,technology director at PT Jatis Piranti Solusindo,said his company's revenue from its cellular content division alone could reach more than Rp 3 billion per month and was expected to grow by 25 percent this year. "With 3G,the content race has just entered a new chapter. We need to be more creative with our products," he said.

The company currently offers hundreds of products in music,video and games,some locally made and some foreign. The company's products are also distributed in Europe and Asia. Recently,the company's mobile karaoke service won it an award from the country's largest cellular operator,Telkomsel,as the most innovative content provider. Both Iqbal and Izak said the industry was threatened by the irresponsible conduct of some players,including foreign companies,which could jeopardize public trust in the industry. "These players came in with a lot of capital and advertised their products on television. The problem is,many users have complained that it was easy for them to register for the services offered but almost impossible to cancel the registration,which was supposed to be as easy as sending a text message," Iqbal said. The problem was confirmed by Post and Telecommunication Directorate director general Basuki Yusuf Iskandar in Jakarta last week. He said the government was preparing regulations amounting to a code of conduct for the industry. Another force in the industry,Joseph Lumban Gaol,CEO of PT Antar Mitra Perkasa,agreed that government intervention was needed. However,he suggested the regulations not be too limiting. Joseph said 3G technology could help increase internet penetration in the country,adding that registered users currently number only about 5 million of the total population. "The future of this business is huge. As long as there is further public education and investment in 3G services,the internet revolution will happen through mobile technology," he said.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 01/29/2007

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PHILIPPINES: CA Phils. Promotes Computer Literacy,Brings IT Expertise to the Community

Demonstrating that CA is a global corporation with a local commitment,a team of consultants from the leading software company recently visited Sergio Osme?a High School in Tondo to conduct one of a series of lectures dubbed "CA Para sa Eskuwela." In partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross,the program is aimed at teaching tomorrow's technology leaders through lectures on computer basics,the impact of IT and new emerging trends in IT. "One of our missions is to share our resources and to enrich the community for the Filipino youth ¨C both through education and technology," shared Joy Balmadres,country manager of CA Philippines. "This is also our way of contributing to the industry's future workforce." Corazon Alma G. de Leon,Secretary General of PNRC,added: "The Philippine National Red Cross is a staunch believer in the importance of technology and education,and strongly supports projects that will inspire students to take their studies seriously and enjoy it at the same time." "I'm pleased by the number of students showing up for the CA Para sa Eskuwela sessions," expressed Mr. Florendo,principal of Sergio Osme?a High School. "Instead of giving in to potentially negative and harmful distractions,the kids are showing a tremendous interest in learning more about computers and technology." CA Para sa Eskuwela provides Saturday sessions of interactive lectures and practical lessons in IT that are not typically included in the curriculum of public high schools in Metro Manila. This is part of CA's efforts to promote computer literacy as an essential component of a learning society,and as an integration of technology into classroom instruction.

Through the partnership program,CA hopes to equip and inspire students to take up further studies in information technology and eventually pursue a career in IT. Although most of the students in the Tondo public school don't have access yet to the basic tools and technologies,the selection of employee volunteers from CA believe they are making a sound investment in shaping the future of the students and the industry. And as the receiving end of the philanthropic program,Florendo is quick to support the initiative that helps students reach their fullest potential. "We're delighted that CA chose to bring their team here in our school to share their knowledge of IT," he said. "It is best to learn when the students are excited about the subject,as ours are with lessons on the rudiments of PC use and digital applications." "We hope that programs like "CA Para sa Eskwela" will not only raise interest in information technology but also spur Filipino students to believe that a good education would help them achieve success," said Corazon Alma G. de Leon of PNRC. Balmadres added: "In implementing the program,we hope to realize our vision of bringing IT literacy to the schools,and in the process,empower the youth to achieve.


From http://www.mb.com.ph 01/01/2007

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Cebu as Animation Hub Seen

"The Philippines used to do big share in hand-drawn animation all over the world but it was overtaken by China and Vietnam. However,the country is a hub for world-class animators," said Gary Forbes,Cebu Animators Society for Talent (Cast) mentor and producer. Forbes,an American engineer based in Cebu,said he foresees project outsourcing,such as animation,three-dimensional (3D) animation in particular,to be an "absolute" trend in Cebu,especially since the province is now adapting new technologies in computer-added designs. He said the movie industry is now shifting towards the creation of 3D animations that aims to prevent audiences with a "virtual reality" of any given object. Forbes said 3D modeling is ¡®textures on objects defined by math equations" and where every minor detail is mathematically computer for accuracy. "3D animation today is at the point where I create a virtual image of yourself,put you in a movie,and you become an instant celebrity," Forbes said. He said though Cebu has not yet fully embraced the new technology,he is optimistic that Cebuano engineers can easily grasp the concept. "Animation is a science,not an art,therefore it's easy to teach engineers to be artists than vice versa,' said Forbes. He said Cebuano engineers are sure to spur interest in 3D animation talents,encourages self-study and cooperative learning to promote homegrown,hand drawn and 3D animation movies.

Cast,a Cebu-based cooperative society that aims to develop animation talents,encourages self-study and cooperative learning to promote homegrown,had drawn and 3D animation movies. The group has recently competed its latest project "Cebu Heritage Tour," which is a 20-minute 3D video showcasing Cebu's historical landmarks. Apart from well-known destinations like Fort San Pedro,Plaza Independencia,Magellan's Cross,Basilica Minore del Santo Nino,the video includes new sites such as the Cebu city hall and Park,Pilgrim center,Colon street marker,Heritage Square,Plaza Humabon,North and south portions of Osmena Blvd.,Fuente Osmena,Cebu Provincial Capitol,Cebu Provincial Hall of Justice and the Malacanang sa Sugbo. The documentary,which took six months to produce,uses open source software and an animation software called the Art of Illusion. Forbes said the video hopes to attract tourists,particularly the Koreans and Japanese. About 1,000 copies of the 3D heritage tour are currently in production while the group is working on presenting the video to foreign journalists during the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit this month,he said. "We are hoping to distribute free copies to the foreign press during the summit," Forbes said. (PNA)


From http://www.mb.com.ph 01/08/2007

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SINGAPORE: Free Wireless@SG Launches 1 Dec 2006,One Month Ahead of Schedule

Singapore's Prime Minister reveals extension of Wireless@SG network services from two to three years Wireless@SG is the Government's wireless broadband programme that aims to extend broadband access beyond the homes,schools and offices,to public places. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) called a Wireless Broadband Market Development (WBMD) Call-For-Collaboration in March 2006,to grow Singapore's wireless broadband market and catalyse broadband adoption. It is part of the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure which when ready by 2012,will also comprise an ultra-high speed wired network. Following the announcement on 10 October 2006 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,that Singapore will get to enjoy two years of free wireless broadband connections from January next year,the IDA today announced that the three Wireless@SG operators have extended this free offering to three years. Users can also begin to enjoy wireless connectivity from 1 Dec 2006,one month ahead of schedule at selected hotspots for a start.

Wireless@SG will be available at public areas with high human traffic such as the Central Business District,downtown shopping belts like Orchard Road,and HDB Town Centres. Network coverage will be made available progressively from 1 December 2006 and subscribers are encouraged to provide feedback on how to improve the Wireless@SG service via email to their respective operators. In addition to the free ¡®basic tier',there will be a paid ¡®premium tier' for those hungry for bandwidth beyond 512 Kbps,or for connectivity options with higher-quality of service. The three operators have different packages to suit different needs and there is no limit on the number of premium accounts users can sign up for. The three operators supporting Wireless@SG,iCELL Network Pte Ltd,QMax Communications and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd will extend the free access period till December 2009. To enjoy the free Wi-Fi basic-tier access with surfing speeds of up to 512Kbps,users can sign up with any of the three Wireless@SG network operators starting 1 December 2006. This offer is open to all residents and visitors in Singapore,and users can sign up with any operator to access all the hotspots in Wireless@SG. By September 2007,the numberof Wi-Fi hotspots in Singapore will increase by more than five-fold from 900 today to about 5,000.

There are various ways users can register for the free basic services. These include online registration,where users can complete an online registration form at any of the three operators' websites. A password will then be sent via SMS to subscribers' mobile phones. If they happen to be at a Wireless@SG hotspot,they can also select the Wireless@SG network and click on the ¡®New User Sign Up' button found on the log-in page. Similarly,a password will then be sent via SMS. Alternatively,those without mobile phones or online access can visit any of the operators' customer service centres to register and collect their passwords. Users can also check with their operator of choice for other registration methods. Mr Khoong Hock Yun pictured top-left,IDA Assistant Chief Executive,Infrastructure and Manpower Development Group said,"Infocomm connectivity has the power to enrich lives. With Wireless@SG,we're another step nearer a truly mobile lifestyle for Singaporeans as the country progresses to becoming a globally connected and intelligent nation by 2015."


From http://www.pstm.net/ 11/30/2006

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NTU Launches School of Communication and Information in Honour of the Late Wee Kim Wee

Nanyang Technological University has launched the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in honour of the late Dr Wee Kim Wee. The launch was held at the Istana - the former office of Singapore's fourth President. NTU said naming its School of Communication after the late Dr Wee is a fitting tribute to the former diplomat who carved a successful career in journalism spanning 40 years. It hopes Dr Wee's lifelong passion for the truth,his fighting spirit and enduring values of sincerity,integrity,humility and empathy for the common man would inspire future generations of journalists. To support the vision and work of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information,a Wee Kim Wee Legacy Fund was launched. President SR Nathan is the patron of the Legacy Fund,which has raised $27m so far. Donations ranged from $5 to $5m,and came from ordinary Singaporeans from all walks of life,all wanting to preserve the fond memory of the well-loved former President.

The Wee Kim Wee Legacy Fund will help put in place scholarships for outstanding students and help those in hardship with bursaries. The Fund also supports GO-FAR,which stands for Going Overseas for Advanced Reporting. NTU's president Dr Su Guaning said such programmes aim to encourage students to venture beyond their comfort zones,to challenge themselves with new experiences and expose themselves to diverse cultures. It is hoped more students would walk in Dr Wee Kim Wee's footsteps,and follow his fearless reporting as in the Congo and his adventures interviewing rising strongman President Suharto and the pirate chief from Sulu. President Nathan also presented a commemorative book titled "On the Record" to Mrs Wee Kim Wee. The book,published by NTU,documents the journalistic legacy of Wee Kim Wee.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 12/06/2006

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SINGAPORE: SingTel Rolls Out New Integrated Service Based on Internet Protocol Network

Singaporeans can now have easier and cheaper access to all their communication needs at home. SingTel - the dominant telco player in Singapore has launched an integrated super highway for homes called Generation MIO - short for more-in-one. Riding on the backbone of its internet protocol network via SingTel's fixed telephone lines,it promises to deliver multiple services,like mobile,Wifi and internet access on a single platform. SingTel says Generation MIO - a range of digital integrated services,is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. At the core of its latest offering is the MIO box - a device that goes beyond being a simple modem. Through the box,users can be connected wirelessly at home to their computers,mobile phones,fixed-line phone and cordless phone. Mobile phone users can also use it to make free calls while connected via Wifi. "It's targeted across all segments of the consumer population in Singapore.

At one end of the spectrum for people who are using our direct exchange line or phone service - it allows them to basically pay a fixed fee of $15.75 a month and they can make unlimited local calls from their home phones,and on top of that they get broadband access at 256kbps download included in that monthly package," said Allen Lew,CEO,SingTel Singapore. For its existing mobile and broadband customers,the telco is offering 9 different fixed price packages ranging from $68 to $148. It believes competitive pricing and ease of use would help attract users to switch from its competitors. Compared to similar offerings by other telcos,SingTel says users could enjoy savings of up to some 30 percent. "Today our copper wires enable us to provide broadband access up to 25 Mbps. We're looking at other technologies that will allow us to increase it even further and even look at the commercial feasibility of rolling out fibre to the homes and obviously this is something that we will do in concert with the government's iN2015 plan," said Mr Lew. SingTel says the future-proofed box will enable it roll out other services like Pay-TV,home security and other remote monitoring services. (By Johnson Choo)


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 01/08/2007

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Govt to Introduce Medical Standards Enabling Info-Sharing of Patients'Records

The Health Ministry is taking the next step in making sure that electronic medical records "talk" to each other. It will provide a national IT backbone for doctors from hospitals and GP clinics to tap into these records,and the aim is to improve long term care since a family doctor will now know exactly what a patient has gone through in hospital. The new system,still being developed,will give your family doctor access to your health screening results,medical treatments and the drugs you have been prescribed. This seamless care will become more critical with an ageing population,and with family doctors managing chronic diseases. Right now,electronic medical records are linked only at public hospitals. "We need to build an IT infrastructure that enables electronic medical records to be shared. We don't need to share everything that a hospital may know about a patient because it might not be relevant,so it's about sharing what needs to be shared that's relevant to the patient's long term care," said Yong Ying-I,Permanent Secretary,Health Ministry.

However,the Health Ministry's stand is that the system needs to make sense,so doctors will be roped intensively to develop it,to make sure it is usable. In fact there is no single vendor who can provide such an integrated system right now. "The clinicians themselves must feel ownership for this; they must believe that this is something useful to them. IT is a supporting element; it is not the driving element. What the clinicians want to do,what the doctors want to do must be the main objective and we want to support that," said Chan Yeng Kit,CEO Infocomm Development Authority. Regarding privacy of medical records -- there will be authentication framework so that only those approved will be given access to the information. The system is part of the Health Ministry's vision of One Singaporean,One Family Physician,One Electronic Medical Record.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 02/07/2007

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MALAYSIA: MDeC Promotes Technopreneur as Career Choice Among ICT Graduates

Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) is promoting the job of a technopreneur as a career choice among the local information and communication technology (ICT) graduates,said its senior vice president,Datuk Dr Abu Talib Bachik. This is because Malaysia still lacks technopreneurs coming to the mainstream business environment,he said. The move is part of MDeC's effort to encourage local ICT graduates to get involved in the ICT business field,he told reporters at the "Awareness and Opportunities in MSC-Malaysia" seminar,here Saturday. The seminar is organised by MDeC together with the Malaysian Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association (PERDASAMA). Dr Abu Talib said MDeC,through its technopreneur development division,is providing guidance to assist and facilitate local technopreneurs build business plan as well as approach venture capitalists and investors. "Our aim to help them (entrepreneurs) to build a sustainable business,marketing strategy and to commercialise their products," he said. It has recently launched Pre-Seed Fund Programme,which is expected to catalyse the creation of new,local technopreneurs and K-SMEs in ICT towards building an innovative ICT industry. He said under the fund,a total of five approved projects have been given the grant.


From http://www.bernama.com.my 01/06/2007

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BANGLADESH: Tribal Community Finds a Voice Through ICTs

Bangladesh: "We migrated to Sitakund,hundreds of years ago and have since adjusted to the local Bengali culture. Only a handful of the elderly people in my village now remember songs in our language" says Lakshmi Tripura. These were the reactions that staff of the Youth Community Multimedia Centre (YCMC) Sitakund encountered when they visited the village of the indigenous community's called Choto Kumira Tripura Para,situated 14 kms from the Chittagong city in Sitakund upazilla,Bangladesh. The YCMC uses the local cable network for content dissemination reaching about 1200 households. The Tripura adivasis (indigenous community) have been living in this area for over a few centuries. Most of them have no knowledge of their ancestral history and the wealth of their oral indigenous knowledge and culture is now lost in time. Out of the seventy families in this village,only a hand few are literate and almost all work as labourers because they do not own land. Since they live scatteredly in remote isolated hills,the community has no access to any kind of media like cable television or computing technologies.

In January,2006 the members of this community approached local NGO and CMC partner,(Youth Power in Social Action) to support them with a television. They also approached the Chairman of the Sitakund Municipality with the request for a Video Compact Disc (VCD) player. They fundraised within their community and came up with the money to buy a diesel generator. On a weekly basis now,they borrow local programmes produced by volunteers of CMC Sitakund and watch it in their community school. Recording and broadcasting programmes is the first step towards preserving a culture that is soon disappearing. ¡®Though we are citizens of this country we have no civic rights. No government service ever reaches our doorstep. We have no source of pure drinking water; education or heath services. Our men are paid lesser than the Bengali labourers and our women have no social security. It's like we have no voice in anything whatsoever' commented Rabindra Tripura,the village leader. As part of its mission the Youth CMC has taken the initiative to partner with the indigenous communities.

Lakshmi Tripura,the school teacher from Choto Kumira Tripura Para joined the CMC management committee as secretary to ensure that his community use the CMC facility to voice their concerns. In a recently held sustainability workshop by UNESCO,they formed an action plan to develop a series of audio-visual documentaries on their problems,needs and concerns which they plan on using as an advocacy tool. Cable broadcasts and narrowcasting of these programmes will sensitise the local civil society and thus build public opinion in favour of their issues. ¡®We have no wealth,nor power or respect,what was the use of taking birth in this world'- this was the literal translation of the indigenous song performed by an elderly singer ¨C one of the last remaining indigenous artist of Sitakund. "Now we need to see if new media technologies can play a role in transforming this situation and how". The Youth CMC in Sitakund developed out of a UNESCO supported cross-cutting theme project on ICT innovations for poverty reduction. The establishment of the community multimedia centre is currently being supported by UNESCOs International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

SOURCE: Story contributed by Debobroto Chakraborty (Debu) and Seema Nair of UNESCO. Debu works as a Programme Officer in local partner NGO,Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) and can be contacted at debobroto.c@gmail.com IPDC (International Programme for the Development of Communication) is a major forum in the UN system designed to develop free and pluralistic media with a global approach to democratic development. By integrating traditional and new media,community multimedia centers link local and global networks and bring digital tools and new opportunities within the reach of millions,opening new gateways to information,communication and knowledge. A community multimedia centre (CMC) combines traditional local media,like radio,TV and newspapers,with new technologies,such as computers,internet,photocopiers and digital devices like cameras and audio players. CMCs are a unique way for poor communities,often in remote rural areas,to overcome common obstacles to their full and profitable use of ICTs,including the vast potential knowledge resources of the internet and other digital media. UNESCO's global pilot project with CMCs is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. (by Rahul Kumar)


From http://www.digitalopportunity.org/ 12/04/2006

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Cellphone Subscription to Reach 60m by 2011

Cellular phone subscription in the country over the next five years will grow by 200 percent increasing the number of subscribers from the existing 20 million to 60 million in 2011. Some 95 per cent of the country's total population will be covered by mobile phone network by that time,officials of Ericsson Bangladesh yesterday said at a press conference. Ericsson,world's largest telecoms infrastructure provider,organised the press conference in Dhaka to describe it's overall growth,market share and activities in the country. Analysing Bangladesh's current cellphone market growth,Arun Bansal,managing director of Ericsson Bangladesh,said,"Bangladesh is one of the largest growing markets in the world where Ericssion supplies 70 per cent of the total mobile phone infrastructures and technology. While mobile phone subscription is showing single digit growth globally,it is double digit in the case of Bangladesh,he said. Ericssion also increased its direct purchase of materials and services to Tk 200 crore and the headcount from 110 to 581,he added. Bansal also said his company is now engaged in network expansion activities with the leading operators of the country and it has recently signed a $150 million deal with Warid Telecom. Ericsson maintains cellular infrastructure of 60 operators around the globe and will provide Warid Telecom with similar services,which would be a unique example in Bangladesh. "We have been negotiating with different other operators here so that they hand over the maintenance of their network bases to us," Bansal said. Roberto Mina,director,among others,was also present at the press conference.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 02/06/2007

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INDIA: E-Learning Campaign for Kerala Prisoners

Now,Kerala's e-Learning initiative,Akshaya has been introduced in prisons of Kerala,(India). The Chief Minister of Kerala,V.S. Achuthanandan has inaugurated the e-Literacy campaign for prisoners at the Kannur Central Prison. The prison has about 1350 inmates. Currently,the project is in operation at the eight districts of the state. The Akshaya centres will provide IT training to one member in every household at a cost of INR120. A 15-hour lessons in computer basics would be given to each person.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/04/2006

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District Courts to Go Online

Information about old and new cases being heard at the Chandigarh district courts,including their latest date of hearing,will soon be available at the click of a mouse. The district courts are all set to go online. With the assistance of the National Informatics Centre (NIC),all preparations have been made for the launch of a website of the district courts by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A court official said with complete computerisation of the 19 subordinate courts,including the District and Sessions Court,the launching of the website had become significant. Although the exact information about various facilities being offered on the website was not known,sources said it would contain the cause list,basic information about the courts,judicial officers,information about lok adalats,legal aid and the complaint redressal system. It was also expected to contain the old and new judgments. On an average 1,000 cases are listed every day in the 19 courts in the district courts complex here. Hundreds of advocates and litigants have to face problems to go through the old files manually to know the exact status of their cases. In 1997,the NIC took up the computerisation of all 430 district courts in the country on the lines of the High Courts Computerisation Project. The objective was to provide information to the litigants and advocates,help the judicial administration in streamlining its activities and provide judicial and legal database to the judges. Officials have been trained to handle computers. They have been trained on the "District Court Information System" (DCIS). The software is a general purpose package developed for the computerisation of courts. It takes care of all need of the district courts.


From http://www.tribuneindia.com/ 12/07/2006

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Indian Adopts E-Ticketing System

Indians have adopted the globally accepted e-Ticketing system. The e-Ticketing would be available for travel between Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata,Chennai,Hyderabad and Bangalore. A passenger can log on www.indianairlines.in and make a booking for their tickets. Passenger can take print of the Itinerary Receipt (ITR) and would be ready to fly. All that would be required to check-in is a print of the ITR and photo identification of the passenger.


From The Hindu 12/08/2006

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Drishtee Offers E-Health Initiatives in Rural Bihar,India

An e-Governance initiative by Drishtee,a network orchestrator is delivering free based services in rural population of Madhubani district in Bihar,India. Drishtee is expanding its e-Governance initiatives by providing free based services in rural area of Bihar through ICT kiosks. Drishtee is providing fee based services on e-Health. The cost of the project is $3,000. Drishtee will set up kiosk cooperatives in villages to help villagers communicate with respective health centers. The centre will be equipped with mobile phones and computers,which will be connected with hospital computers through Internet. Doctors will send reports through the internet and prescribe medicines accordingly. The centres will also store reports of blood pressure (BP),ECG and pulse rates or regular patients. Drishtee has tied up with Bangalore-based Nerosynaptics and local NGO,Janani,for the project. Nerosynaptics will provide systems at the kiosks centres. Currently,Drishtee will provide e-Governance,computer education,health,photo studio,insurance,communication and local services,village to business e-Com,BPO for villagers,agriculture,rural finance,retailing for FMCG and consumer goods. Drishtee's network will cover 1020 kiosks and Vistaar dealers will provide services in 46 districts in nine states. Initially,the organisation will introduce a rural e-Commerce,Drishtee Haat,to provide a marketing platform for rural artisans.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/12/2006

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Online Water Bill Payment in Hyderabad,India

The Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board are introducing electronic bill payment of water in the Tamil Nadu,India. Customers can make their payments through their credit and debit cards of ICICI and UTI banks. Even customers can also select for the electronic clearance service mode where the amount would be deducted directly from their bank accounts. Customers,who have have creadit and debit cards of these banks can visit water board website hyderabadwater.gov.in and make their payments online. However,ICICI and UTI bank accountholders can opt for the electronic clearance service straightaway without writing to the water board. Once the payment is done the system processes it automatically and gives a transaction document number for further reference According to G.K. Rao,Director,Finance,HMWSSB,now there is no need to pay water bills on water board offices or the e-Seva centres,customers can pay their bill through online also.


From The Hindu 12/15/2006

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E-Policing System in Nagpur,India

All villagers of Nagpur city are part of video conferencing between village and the district police headquarters. In India,about 8000 residents of Nagpur city have used computers,e-mailed scanned documents and part of regular video conferencing between village and the district police headquarters. Villagers can make complaint directly with chief police and also receive hard copies of their compliant. Kiosks have been installed in the 22 villages of the districts. The state government has formed a committee to look into whether it can be replicated all across rural Maharashtra. According to the police chief,S Yadav,the department is also planning to launch a publicity drive to draw the villagers'attention to the facilities. According to estimates,over 10,000 villages in India have already joined the IT revolution under different schemes.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/26/2006

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E-Shishu Project Takes IT Skills into Schools of Orissa,India

The e-Shishu project is trying to make ensure education for all children up to age 14 in the Orissa,India. The State Government is trying to initiate ICT skills in e-Governance and education sector. The main of the e-Shishu project is to make a way for Universal Elementary Education for all children in the state up to age of 14. The project will also ensure for generating funds for school infrastructure and children's education. State government will create a live database of all children from age 14 to 26. The Government will also provide a technology framework in e-Governance,which will include track child progress and prioritise resource allocation. The data would also be available on web to maintain the transparency between government and public. The project would be implemented in schools of 52000 villages and it will also include EMIS (Education Management Information System) code generation and Intelligent Character Recognition/Non-Intelligent Character Recognition sheet designing for data collection. The Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority has conceived the e-Shishu project. Two sub-projects under e-Shishu have been initiated. While the Orissa GIS School Mapping aims to map the available infrastructure in each school in the State,the Educational Personnel Information System will help gather information on teachers and teacher-to-pupil ratio in the State. In future,the IT department of the State Government,the Orissa Computer Application Centre,Software Technology Parks of India and CSM Technologies will involve in this project.


From The Business Line 01/02/2007

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E-Payment Solutions in Airports

Airport Authority of India (AAI) has declared 2007 as 'e-Administration year'. AAI will launch the e-Payment services at Bajpe Airport,Mangalore,India. According to Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of AAI,Durgashankar Mishra,the complete computerisation of bill payment,electronic data exchange will help both agencies and passengers to pay online. AAI has approved INR 147 million to deploy the e-Payment project in the airport.


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

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SHCIL Launches E-Stamping Project in India

The Stock Holding Corporation of India (SHCIL) has launched a pilot e-Stamping project in Gujarat,India. The Indian Government has appointed SHCIL as a central-record-keeping agency,responsible for registration,imprest balance administration and e-Stamping. The National Securities Depository or Central Depository Services will technically regulate the SHCIL. Sebi in turn regulates the depositories with regard to their market operations. SHCIL's website also does not reveal its shareholding details or those of its stock-broking subsidiary,SHCIL Services Ltd.


From Indian Express 02/13/2007

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IRAN: Cellphone Production Begins

The first cellphone handset production line in Iran was launched in Madiran Industrial Factory in Hashtgerd Industrial City near Tehran in a ceremony attended by Industries and Mines Minister Alireza Tahmasbi. The cellphone handset production line was inaugurated following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between South Korean firm LG Electronics and Madiran Company,IRNA said. The company will eventually have the capacity to manufacture a total of 1.5 million cellphone handsets. In the initial phase,the handsets will be produced from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits and in less than four months after installing advanced machinery,production will switch to completely knocked down (CKD) format. Only few international companies have access to mobile phone technology. LG Electronics ranks fifth by producing more than 66 million mobile phone handsets per year.

Earlier,Tahmasbi said that Iran cannot accept conditions set by major international mobile phone manufacturers for joint production in the country. He,however,stressed that talks are still underway with world's leading producers. "Foreign firms demand certain privileges in return for entering Iran's markets,which is not acceptable to us," he said without elaborating. He said,adding that the government has levied a 25-percent surcharge on mobile phone production. The government favors the mobile phone industry to enter into partnership with major international producers,the minister said adding that the undertaking will begin with semi-knockdown (SKD) production. "However,we are not going to continue SKD production for good," he said. The implementation of the much-publicized project to manufacture mobile phones in Iran has been postponed several times over the past months. The idea struck the officials' minds when mobile phone import tariffs were increased by 56 percent to reach 60 percent last year.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 02/18/2007

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Fixed Telephone SMS Service Planned

Managing director of the Iranian Telecommunications Company said that in case domestic companies become active in providing SMS service for fixed telephones,ITC is ready to hold tender bid for SMS service providers for fixed telephones. Saber Feizi told ILNA that all companies can provide SMS services for fixed telephones. He noted that SMS system for conventional telephones is presently provided only in Fars and Yazd provinces by Peik Asa Company. However,Feizi pointed out that the system will only be officially launched when the tariffs for such service are determined. Commenting on the ITC's proposed tariffs for fixed telephone SMS system,he noted that ITC plans to consider SMS tariffs at about one-third of the rate for SMS tariffs for mobile phone. "There will be no problem in providing SMS service for fixed telephones given the availability of telecommunications equipment," Feizi added. He further noted that the only problem at present is determining tariffs and providing people with telephone sets that can work with such system.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 02/18/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Govt Pursues National Identity Card

The federal government is pushing ahead with its controversial national identity card,calling for tenders to manage the program. The card,due to be introduced next year,will replace the existing Medicare card,providing access to a range of social services including pensions and veterans'entitlements. The government has called for tenders for a prime contractor to implement the card and its management system. The successful bidder would also design,manufacture,initialise,personalise and distribute the access card,with a contract lasting more than three years. New Human Services Minister Ian Campbell said the access card was vital as it would replace 23-year-old technology and streamline access to government services. He also said it was an important step towards stopping welfare fraud. "This is the single greatest initiative ever undertaken in Australia to combat welfare fraud," Senator Campbell said in a statement. "According to the Australian Federal Police,the Medicare card is used in up to 50 per cent of all fraud cases." Senator Campbell denied the new access card would compromise the security of Australians. "The Australian government has publicly stated its commitment to ensuring the personal information of Australians will be subject to the highest level of security," he said. That meant tenderers would be required to demonstrate how they would meet security and privacy requirements for the access card. The 814-page tender document can be obtained from the government's tenders website. Submissions must be received by March 14.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 01/31/2007

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NT Schools to Trial $100 Laptop

NORTHERN Territory schools will become the first in Australia to test a revolutionary new laptop computer that costs just $US100 ($128). The One Laptop Per Child project - which is shipping hand-cranked laptops to Brazil,Argentina,Libya,Nigeria and Thailand - has sparked the interest of the NT Education Department,which will begin testing the machines when schools recommence later this month. OLPC is the brainchild of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte,and is backed by News Corporation,publisher of The Australian,and by web search giant Google. The project offers children in developing countries a laptop with 128MB of memory and 512MB of storage,along with a camera and microphone and wireless internet access. The machines are designed for use in remote areas,and the group argues they are suitable for regional Australia. The downside for Australian education departments - which have invested heavily in traditional branded laptops - is that the OLPC machines run the free Linux operating system,which is not compatible with Microsoft Windows. Other states are divided on the value of the project. South Australia is considering whether to use the laptops,but the Queensland Education Department has described the machines as "far below the requirements" of students in developed countries.

The NT Education Department received two of the laptops last week and is testing them to see how they could fit in with its existing computing program. The territory has 40,000 students and 3000 teachers,and operates 192 schools. "(The Department) is keen to look at an extended pilot where a whole class of students use the laptops for an extended period to establish the learning benefits and identify the associated teaching strategies and resources required," a spokesman said. "The department is particularly interested in how the $US100 laptops can be used to extend the already substantial computer and network resources installed in remote schools,into the homes and lives of indigenous students." The department announced late last year that it would spend $6 million over the next three years buying 4000 desktop computers for students and 2500 laptops for teachers from US manufacturer Dell. OLPC chief technology officer Mary Lou Jepsen said the group,which is already fielding requests from some US states,was interested in working with Australian governments. "We plan to roll out over time globally,and we'd like to extend to all countries," she said. "We don't want to ignore anybody." Dr Jepsen said Australian governments could agree to sponsor laptop purchases in developing countries in addition to buying machines for their own students. "What's happening in some countries like Finland is that they're sponsoring kids in Namibia," she said. The so-called $US100 laptop currently costs $US140 to make,but the group is working aggressively to lower the price. "I have already started working on a $US50 laptop," said Dr Jepsen.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/12/2007

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Pollies Get Bush Broadband Push

TELSTRA has launched a grass-roots campaign to encourage the federal Government to accept its $600 million proposal to expand its ADSL broadband services into remote communities. A spokesman for Telstra said that the carrier had begun revealing details of the proposal to local politicians in electorates expected to benefit from the new services. Telstra today revealed details of the proposal,which was first announced in December. The carrier said that the plan would see an 8Mbps ADSL service offered to around 250,000 homes and businesses that currently only have access to satellite based internet service,expanding its terrestrial broadband coverage from 91 per cent to 95 per cent of the population. "This ADSL broadband rollout would mean that even remote outback towns would for the first time be able to enjoy all of the social and economic benefits that come from being connected to high speed broadband," Telstra Country Wide group managing director Geoff Booth said. Telstra's wants the federal Government to provide it with $600 million from its Broadband Connect Infrastructure funding program to upgrade backhaul links and equipment in 1560 exchange sites. It also wants to replace 1029 pair gain telephone line sharing systems that prevent the carrier from providing ADSL to customers that use them. Mr Booth was critical of competing proposals put forward by rival telecommunications providers. "All of the other proposals either want taxpayers'funds to needlessly duplicate infrastructure Telstra has already provided,or invest in technology that hasn't really been tested anywhere else in the world in a rural environment and,therefore,cannot be guaranteed to consistently deliver high speed broadband," Mr Booth said.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/15/2007

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Telstra Seeks $600m for Broadband Plan

Telstra says the $600 million it is seeking under the federal government's national broadband infrastructure program would expand fixed broadband coverage to 95 per cent of the population. The telco said the proposal it lodged with the government in December would,for the first time,deliver broadband to 250,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote areas. "The proposal would see fixed broadband coverage expanded from 91 per cent to 95 per cent of the population,including remote communities such as Birdsville,Groote Eylandt,Marble Bar and the Tiwi Islands," Telstra said in a statement. Telstra is asking the federal government for $600 million in funding under the $1.1 billion Broadband Connect Infrastructure Program. It said it plans to use the money to extend backhaul infrastructure to remote communities,install ADSL broadband equipment in 1,560 exchanges and upgrade 1,029 so-called large pair gain systems,which it says currently prevent access to ADSL broadband services in some rural and regional areas. Rival telco Optus,in a joint venture with rural services provider Elders,also has applied for a slice of the funding,while wireless broadband company Unwired Group Ltd has teamed up with regional pay TV provider Austar and rural provider Soul in a joint proposal.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 01/15/2007

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E-Passports Notch 1.4m

MORE than 1.4 million Australians have been issued with e-passports as Customs authorities prepare for the debut of the country's first major biometric passenger control system in Brisbane next month. The electronic passports first became available in October 2005,Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade e-passport office head Bob Nash said. Australia had a total of 8.9 million passport holders,Mr Nash said. "We're adding about 1.2 million a year." Of all Australian passport holders "coming across the line" through customs and immigration checks,16 per cent now had e-passports,a spokeswoman for the Australian Customs Service said. Customs confirmed that the first official use of its SmartGate biometric passport control system would take place in Brisbane next month. Trialled in Sydney since 2002,the system matches pictures stored in the traveller's passport with those held in Customs systems to verify the identity of passengers. Full-scale SmartGate installations are scheduled to go live in Sydney and Melbourne in the second half of the year. The technology would then be gradually introduced at other ports around the nation,the spokeswoman said.

Larger numbers of passports were being issued,but there was no evidence that people had applied for a new passport simply to get an e-passport,Mr Nash said. "There's no indication that people have been chasing this passport for any benefits it might bring to them," he said. The US had introduced requirements for foreign visitors to have "machine-readable" passports,but that was unlikely to have prompted demand for e-passports,Mr Nash said. "Those rules only apply to passports issued on or after October 26," he said. "We've tried to make that very clear to people. Passports issued before that date can still take the old form and will be accepted until they expire." he said. About 375,000 Australians travel to the US each month. Passport issue rates had been running above expectations for about two and a half years,Mr Nash said. It was true that cheaper airfares and a relatively strong Australian dollar could be behind the surge in travel,Mr Nash said,but DFAT had no firm data on exactly why the increase in demand had occurred. It was reported earlier this month that Australian airlines had been forwarding the personal details of travellers to the US government as part of a secret deal that had been in operation since 2004.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/16/2007

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Fires Heat Power Debate

AS the threat of mandatory electricity cuts to cope with shortages caused by bushfires loomed over Victoria last week,one of the state's key environmental sustainability agencies was encouraging companies to use information technology systems that consume less power. The agency,Sustainability Victoria,announced that it had cut yearly power consumption across its IT systems by more than 50 per cent to set an example to business. Sustainability Victoria ICT manager Jan Reiher said the state wasn't in danger of rolling power cuts such as those that were imposed in California early in 2001. Nevertheless,the agency's initiative was timely. On February 2,the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its fourth scientific report on climate change. The report,which taps the intellectual energy of the world's leading climatologists,is expected to assess the probability that human activity has a hand in global warming. Technology analyst Gartner has published an estimate that all the PCs and servers in operation around the world account for 0.75 per cent of global carbon emissions,and that's without considering indirect emissions from cooling equipment. Gartner says the figure is surprisingly high. So far,the IT industry has evaded responsibility as a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions,but Gartner has warned the industry that the holiday is about to end.

Gartner says pressure from consumer groups and government will eventually reach IT departments. "These are very powerful pressure groups - they're customers of organisations asking questions about the environmental attitude of airlines and banks that they use. "The interest is being pushed up the entire supply chain towards individual suppliers," Gartner senior analyst Steve Prentice says. Most of the data centres the industry relies on were built before the global warming issue came to widespread public attention. Gartner has confirmed industry estimates that energy wastage in many data centres reaches up to 60 per cent. Energy Users Association of Australia executive director Roman Damanski says IT managers will be struggling to get their electricity costs down this year. Energy costs are being driven up by increased consumption and mandatory investment in renewable energy schemes. Some suppliers are already starting to factor in a carbon emission cost to their pricing schemes. Government groups are also applying gentle pressure to industry to improve the green credentials of their IT operations. Sustainability Victoria will soon publish an industry paper on its new IBM blade server rollout,which is expected to bring its energy costs down from 100kWh (kilowatt hours) each year to less than 40kWh.

"This will be used to create awareness in the sector and create awareness in business management of IT departments that there are alternative ways of managing their IT platforms," Reiher says. Late last week federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell welcomed IT consultancy Renewtek as the first Australian-operated IT firm to qualify for the federal government's carbon neutrality program,Greenhouse Friendly. The federal government allows companies to endorse their products and services under the Greenhouse Friendly program if they can show that their operations are carbon-neutral. The companies earn carbon neutrality by investing in government-approved activities designed to offset greenhouse emissions,such as tree-planting and carbon dioxide sequestration. Leeora Black,managing director of researcher and consultant the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility,says companies will have difficulty avoiding a review of their IT operations if they want to operate in a carbon-neutral manner. "They can't just plant trees. They will have to look at ways of reducing carbon emissions and offsetting those that they can't reduce," Black says. The message is starting to reach some companies. Late last year Macquarie Telecom said it would review the environmental performance of its data centre operations. ANZ Bank chief information officer Peter Dalton says the bank will take a close look at the environmental impact of its data centres this year.

"We've been measuring energy consumption and we've discovered a couple of things. One is that our data centre is responsible for 30 per cent of the bank's overall energy consumption," Dalton says. "When you add to that IT equipment outside the data centre,such as PCs,printers and some servers,we estimate that between 40 and 50 per cent of the bank's energy consumption is directly attributable to technology. Therefore,we've got a large role to play in reducing our own energy consumption and as a result our environmental impact." Technology industry vendors currently have a higher awareness than their clients of environmental pressures,Black says. Sun Microsystems,IBM,Hewlett-Packard and Intel have all invested in developing and promoting the green credentials of their server-based products. IBM markets its servers under the brand Cool Blue while Sun has coined the phrase "eco-responsible computing". Prentice says the marketing claims need to be taken in context. Gartner research indicates that businesses have been struggling to cope with costs associated with excess computing demands. Macquarie Telecom data centre operations director Greg Thomson says power costs are "by far" the group's largest operating expense outside of salaries. He expects a jump in efficiency from 3kWh per server rack to between 7kWh and 8kWh. But,says Prentice,"the increase in numbers will outweigh anything that's being done in the short term about reducing the power consumption of an individual device".


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/23/2007

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Unis First to Try Low-Cost Assessment Tool

AUSTRALIAN universities will be among the first users of an assessment tool for scrutinising the performance of information systems. Designed by Queensland University of Technology researchers in collaboration with Accenture in Australia and the US,the development is a response to mounting pressure on organisations to justify huge investments in information systems. IT researcher Guy Gable said the tool would enable organisations to measure the impact of an information system,and improve its effectiveness. The information systems impact measurement approach is based on a survey that involved about 1000 participants. The tool provides a score covering four points: the impact of a technology system on an individual user,the impact on the organisation,the quality of the system and the quality of the information it provides. Professor Gable said an aggregate score was used to compare the same system over time and,ultimately,across an entire sector. The IS impact measurement approach provided a support tool for management to identify impacts on a system and to assess quality,which was the best predictor of future developments,he said. The web-based,perceptual survey also provides a comparison of scores from different levels and divisions of an organisation. Several of Accenture's large North American public-sector clients are expected to be among the early adopters of the approach. The simple and low-cost tool should improve the evaluation of large information systems following installation,Professor Gable said. Enterprise systems are often large,integrated application software packages used across an organisation for a range of tasks such as financials,human resources,sales and distribution,and customer relationship management.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/23/2007

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National Do Not Call Register Operator Announced

The Minister for Communications,Information Technology and the Arts,Senator Helen Coonan today welcomed the announcement that Melbourne company Service Stream Solutions Pty Ltd will be the operator of the national Do Not Call Register. "This is a significant step towards reducing the number of annoying unsolicited calls received by many Australians," Senator Coonan said. "Recognising that many Australians find unsolicited marketing calls intrusive and unnecessary the Government announced last year that we would introduce a national Do Not Call Register. Work on the Register has been progressing well and it will be operational by May this year." The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today signed a contract with Service Stream Solutions Pty Ltd to develop and operate the Do Not Call Register following a competitive tender process begun last year. ACMA said that Service Stream has the resources,technical skills and experience to operate the register and its bid was assessed as being good value for money. "The Do Not Call Register is a direct response to the increasing level of community concern about the growth in unsolicited telemarketing calls," Senator Coonan said.

"Individuals will be able to register their telephone numbers ¨C either fixed line or mobile - that are used primarily for private or domestic use. Telemarketers will then be prohibited from making a wide range of unsolicited telemarketing calls to those numbers." Under the Do Not Call Register scheme,ACMA is also working towards a telemarketing industry standard. The standard will govern such matters as permitted calling hours and provision of minimum information by telemarketers and will apply to all telemarketing calls whether they are prohibited by the scheme or not. "The Do Not Call Register will provide peace of mind to individuals who are distressed or concerned by receiving large numbers of telemarketing calls," Senator Coonan said. "Based on overseas experience,we expect there will be a high level of demand for the Register. As many as one million numbers could be registered in the first week alone. It is therefore imperative that a robust Register is developed. "That is why the Government made a major commitment to the establishment and operation of the scheme with Budget funding of $33.1 million. The Australian Government also made passage of the enabling legislation through Parliament a priority so that the Register could be operational as soon as possible. "The announcement of the Register Operator brings the Register one step closer and represents the conclusion of several months of detailed planning by ACMA."


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 02/01/2007

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Next G,Overhaul on Track ¨C Telstra

TELSTRA says it is on track to be the 3G mobile market leader by May,saying its giant systems overhaul project is also running on or ahead of plan. Speaking on the company's half-yearly results,Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo said the telco's 3G next generation mobile network was a growth opportunity for the company. Mr Trujillo told analysts after the release of the company's first half results today that Telstra was on track to meet its forecast of being the 3G mobile market leader by May. "We're on track to live up to our forecast from October (of being market leader)," Mr Trujillo said. Telstra announced that more than 400,000 customers had connected to Next G since it became available in October. He also said the company's five year overhaul was running on or ahead of plan. The transformation program was starting to bear fruit,13 months after it was begun,he said. "We are on or ahead of plan on virtually all fronts," he said. He also said Telstra was continuing to deliver on its transformation milestones and had reached a pivot point. Telstra reported its half-yearly profit fell 20.5 percent,but predicted its full year performance would be better than expected. In its first result since being released from government ownership last year,Telstra said its profit for the six months to December 31 fell from $2.14 billion in the same period last year to $1.7 billion. The company said it expected its full year earnings before interest and tax to rise 3 per cent to5 per cent,up from a previous forecast of 2 per cent to 4 per cent growth. It also raised full year revenue growth guidance to 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent. "Our financial performance is ahead of guidance. We are winning where it matters - in 3G,broadband and digital online offerings," Mr Trujillo said. Telstra's revenue rose 2 per cent to $11.6 billion,and the group Australia,declared an interim dividend of 14c per share.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/15/2007

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Crucial ID Card Systems Lagging

NO decisions about which identity documents will meet the tough standards for an Access Card have been taken,and the Document Verification Service will not be operational until 2010. These revelations came as senior officials were forced into embarrassing admissions during Senate Estimates questioning last week. Attorney General's Department deputy secretary Miles Jordana said the $25 million DVS was on track for delivery in 2010,and there was "no expectation" that the full system would be available for initial access card enrolments. Under the Government's timeline,almost 17 million Australians will be registered between April 2008 and early 2010. After 2010,a card will be needed to access Medicare and other welfare benefits. "There are other ways you can verify documents," Mr Jordana said. "The certificate validation system,for example,links databases of births,deaths and marriages. There's also a national system that links up the state databases of driving licences." No system was capable of weeding out all fraud,he said. There was "consensus" on a proof of identity framework and acceptable documents,but there was as yet no "formalised agreement" on the matter,he said. Human Services Minister Ian Campbell created confusion by suggesting the access card could have prevented the "Cornelia Rau episode",in which a woman was wrongfully detained by immigration authorities for nearly a year.

But Immigration secretary Andrew Metcalfe said the access card would only help "if the person has it on them,and voluntarily provides it". "I don't think the access card would relieve us of the duty to properly and positively establish identity," he said. "A negative presumption that a person's inability to prove who they are means they must be illegal is completely inappropriate," Mr Metcalfe said. Immigration officers would be unable to request the card as it was not an identity document,he said. "However,if a person wished to show us the card of course we would look at it." Greens NSW Senator Kerry Nettle is seeking clarification over what access ASIO and Australian Federal Police will have to information held on the registration database. "While it appears ASIO will have access,it's not clear under what circumstances," Senator Nettle said. "We still don't know what information will be on the database. We're very concerned that this proposal is setting up infrastructure open to abuse by future governments,which may spy on the community." AFP commissioner Mick Keelty said false birth and marriage certificates,driver's licences and counterfeit credit cards had been a long-term problem. Some technical details have been revealed. The use of a proprietary system has not been ruled out,and contract specifications identify the features required without prescribing any particular system. Card readers will be available in agency offices so cardholders can check the details stored on the chip.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/20/2007

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Security Threats Challenge Communications Future

Security threats such as identity theft,viruses,spyware and phishing will challenge the future of global communications if solutions aren't found,according to a panel of experts at ITU Telecom World yesterday. "It's almost a war and there are many,many questions and too few answers," said Robert Shaw,deputy head of ITU's strategy and policy unit. The problem is growing. For example,Verisign,which operates the dot-com and dot-net domains,registers 1.5 billion security events every day,with that figure continuously rising,according to Neil McGowan,EVP of Verisign Communication Services. "Every time the clock ticks,a spoof site goes up trying to imitate a real business," McGowan said.

A similar view was offered by Jae-Suk Yun,senior researcher of the infrastructure protection division,Korea Information Security Agency. He said one of the critical things to be done was to create a "culture of security," while he suggested that solutions needed cooperation among countries and with government involvement. "Some might say that's government interference,but when it comes to security,it's necessary for the government to be there," he said,adding that public private collaboration was necessary.

Robert Higgins,managing director of Motorola's wireless security services division,said that technology alone would not solve the issues. "Everyone looks to technology for the answers," Higgins noted,"but the best companies tightly integrate technology with people,process and procedures." He also noted that carriers are starting to offer security as a value-added service,a trend he predicted would grow. Katsumasa Shinozuka,president and CEO of OKI Electric Industry,said that just as communications was becoming ubiquitous,so too would security need to be ubiquitous. Such security would be able to adapt to changes and allow for personalization. "Dynamic security control that can react to situation changes is vital," he said.

In the meantime,security is already affecting e-commerce and other online services. In a recent ITU survey,almost two-thirds of respondents reported that they avoid undertaking certain activities online due to a lack of trust. For those carrying out the incidents,it has gone beyond a hobby and is now a job,according to Verisign's McGowan. "They're offering vulnerabilities over the Web for money," he noted. "The problem is the rate of growth of the Internet and it's a constant fight to keep up." (by Geoff Long)


From http://www.telecomasia.net/ 12/08/2006

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Mobile Phone Lifeline for World's Poor

A ground-breaking study led by an expert from the London Business School in 2005 concluded that an increase of 10 mobile phones per 100 people in African developing countries would increase GDP growth by 0.6 percent. ¡­ Beyond job creation,mobile phones transform lives for many by presenting a way to communicate regularly with family members for the first time. Almost 100 million Chinese migrant workers rely on mobile phones to talk to the families they have left behind in rural areas. They also enable people to save time and money by allowing them to make inquiries by phone instead of traveling long distances. Now new ways to improve lives are being considered by operators and international donors. It is thought that mobile phones could become virtual bank accounts,being used to send,receive and save money. M-banking,as it is known,might help to serve the three billion people who currently have no access to financial services,according to the World Bank. ¡®Most of those three billion people don't have a safe place to save money. What ultimately gets people out poverty,and prevents them from being vulnerable to crises,is when they have a nest egg to fall back on',says Gautam Ivatury,head of technology at Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP),a division of the World Bank that is promoting m-banking service trials from Mongolia to Pakistan. CGAP is helping the development of services that will allow workers to send money to support their families in rural areas,by mobile phone. Payments,or remittances,are already widespread. But since few of those receiving them have bank accounts,they have to pay a sizeable proportion to money transfer companies to pick up the money. There are even problems when workers take the money directly to their families. Ivatury says many Zimbabweans working in South Africa lose as much as half the amount they take home to their families in bribes at security checkpoints. M-banking would allow them to send money safely from their mobile phones to those of their families,who would be able to redeem cash from mobile airtime sellers where they live. Already a Vodafone affiliate,mobile operator Safaricom,has tested a service called M-PESA in Kenya with various partners,including the UK's Department for International Development. India's largest mobile operator,Bharti Airtel,has also trialled a similar scheme in a Himalayan village,with the help of State Bank of India. However,access to such services will be limited as long as mobile networks fail to reach many rural areas - and as long as mobile phones and services are far too expensive for many in urban areas,as well as rural ones. ¡­"


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 02/20/2007

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EUROPE: EU Speaks Out on European Data Protection Issues

Vice-President Frattini,made a statement at the weekend,on behalf of the European Commission,on the occasion of Data Protection Day (which was 28th January). "Data protection issues affect everyone,but are not always well understood. That is why I welcome and support the Council of Europe's initiative to raise the profile of data protection by declaring 28 January 2007 "Data Protection Day",date of signature of the Convention 108 regulating the processing of personal data." "Events will be taking place all over Europe to inform people about their personal data rights. I wish the many organisations who are preparing events every success in getting the data protection message across to the people of Europe." "We need to balance access to data for those protecting our security and fighting crime with protecting people's privacy rights. This is not a balance which stands still. Rather both sides are able to move forward with technological advances. Today,it is more important than ever that we process personal data according to our European principles. The threat presented by terrorist organisations creates a new challenge to balance with fully respecting privacy and data protection rights. We live in the era of globalisation. Technology enables information to circulate round the world in a flash. This technology also enables us to better control access to data and to pinpoint relevant data. It is in that context I announce my intention to organise in October 2007 a conference on data protection and technology." "All individuals in Europe need to be better informed about these issues which are central to their lives. Every time people surf the internet,make travel arrangements,receive health treatment,use their credit card and in countless other transactions,they supply their personal data which,if misused,could result in a serious invasion of their privacy."

"Data protection in the EU has been enhanced notably by Directives 95/46 and 2002/58 and Regulation 2001/45 ¨C as well as by the EU Charter of fundamental rights - which set out very clear principles about how personal data should be handled and gave people rights to challenge mishandling of their data. Independent data protection authorities now operate across the 27 Member States of the newly enlarged Europe playing an important role in overseeing data protection principles. These principles should not be perceived as a burden but,on the contrary,as a way of enhancing trust in the ways personal data is processed especially with the development of new technologies. " "Data protection laws are designed to ensure that personal data is handled with the respect and care it deserves. But legal rights and protections are only useful if people know that they exist and know how to use them. Data Protection Day is an excellent opportunity to engage the people of Europe in the debate and,above all,to make them aware of their rights regarding that most precious of assets ¨C their own private and intimate details." "Since the last Euro barometer the Commission carried out in 2003 a lot of developments occurred which put data protection in the centre of political discussions. This is why during the course of this year I intend to launch a new public opinion survey to assess the awareness and the needs of individuals in Europe with regard to the protection of their privacy rights."


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 01/04/2007

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EU's "Safer Internet Day"

Protecting children from the dangers of surfing the web and mobile-phone bullying ¨C Safer Internet Day 2007 on 6 February targets 100 organisations in over 40 countries. Mobile phone use by children and young people has increased dramatically in the last few years. In Germany,figures for 2005 showed that 92% of 12-19 year-olds and 47% of 6-13 year-olds had a mobile phone. But while mobile phones have many benefits,new risks are also emerging. A UK survey revealed that 14% of children had been bullied via their mobile ¨C 10% of respondents said that unpleasant pictures had been taken of them and 17% feared that pictures of them had been posted online and forwarded to others. People clearly need to be more aware of the issues surrounding safer internet and mobile phone use,a fact stressed recently by the EU in a public consultation on child safety. The Safer Internet campaign aims to respond to this need and hopes to reach parents,carers,teachers and the children themselves. The highlight of the day will be the results of a competition to create internet safety awareness material that will be showcased during a worldwide blogathon. The competition involves more than 200 schools in 29 countries,all paired up to create safety material on one of three themes ¨C e-privacy,netiquette,and the power of images. Safer Internet Day is an annual event organised by the European Internet Safety Network INSAFE,co-funded by the EU's safer internet programme and supported by the EU's media commissioner Viviane Reding.


From http://ec.europa.eu/news/ 02/06/2007

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Belarus 430 Hi-tech Crimes Disclosed in 2006

According to Igor Chernenko,the chief of the hi-tech crimes department of Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs (Department K),the number of crimes in the sphere is constantly growing: 180 criminal cases in 2006 as compared to 28 in 2005. In 2006,272 "information security",12 "unauthorized access",45 "modification of computer information",and 19 computer virus programmes developing cases were brought to court. (by Mikhail Doroshevich)


From http://www.e-belarus.org/ 01/04/2007

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Threat to Online Communities in UK

Lack of volunteers and of funding mean that the future of the Online Communities - which started and flourished in Hampton before being launched in other parts of the borough - is in serious doubt. The founder,and manager of the sites,John Inglis,has decided that he cannot keep the system going in its present form because of the enormous amount of time involved,and lack of support. Vincent Cable,MP,commented that: "It would be a major loss for the local community if the Online Communities were forced to close. They have created,particularly in areas where they are well used like Hampton,a real sense of community,an electronic village. Moreover residents who use the sites have access to immediate local news,ahead of the weekly newspapers,and to debates around the local issues". "In the last parliament I secured a debate on Online Communities since it was clear that although the government,and councils,spend a fortune of tax payers money on e-government,and their own websites,the voluntary groups,like ours,reach more people,better,yet are largely ignored,disadvantaged and unsupported. Because the voluntary,network,services are free,they are largely taken for granted and their loss will only be fully appreciated when they are gone".


From London Liberal Democrats 01/04/2007

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New British System Combats Online Grooming and Cyber Bullying

A new British system,available in January,will strike a major blow in the battle against online grooming and the cyber-bulling of children. Child protection technology specialist,Crisp Thinking,has developed the Anti-Grooming Engine (AGE),which protects young people from external threats rather than moderating what they can look at on-line. AGE,which is due to be installed with UK Internet Service Providers and Instant Messaging networks in the New Year,adds greater peace of mind for parents who may not understand the internet or have the time to monitor their children's activities. The need for this technology has been made clear by two independent studies of both parents' and young peoples' views on Internet usage.

According to a new ICM poll,commissioned by Crisp Thinking,the availability of anti-paedophile and anti-bullying technology is the most important factor when buying a computer. The poll also revealed that parents have the greatest responsibility for protecting their children from online grooming or bullying. A second survey carried out for Crisp Thinking by Dubit Limited,discovered that two thirds of parents make no attempt to monitor their children's online activities. In addition,less than one in three parents check which websites their children visit,check who they chat to on-line or set limits on the time spent on the web. The study,which questioned 1,000 seven to 16 year olds,revealed that many children are ignoring safety warnings and putting themselves at risk online. Almost three quarters of those surveyed admitted they had given their email address,a photograph of themselves or their phone number to a stranger they have met online.

Crisp Thinking has developed AGE to provide a much higher standard of protection than any other child protection software on the market. The technology analyses conversations taking place in public and private chat rooms to understand whether a relationship poses a threat to a young person. Adam Hildreth,CEO of Crisp Thinking and the inventor of the Anti-Grooming Engine,said,"Although child protection technology is seen as an important factor for parents,many of them do not understand how it operates or how best to monitor the Internet usage of their children. In many households children are just left to get on with it as some parents don't have the time to keep an eye on their online activities." "It is also disturbing to consider that young people are ignoring safety warnings and are openly divulging private information to strangers. I believe that part of the solution is the development of our AGE technology that will provide the peace of mind protection families need to safeguard young people from potential grooming or bullying." "By monitoring the language of developing conversations online,AGE can flag up any potential attempt to draw young people into an unhealthy relationship."

AGE is installed at the ISP level and provides secure recording of all online interactions. It includes heuristic techniques to spot possible grooming activity,according to pattern matching it has developed. The system allows parents to specify how warnings are handled. Crisp is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and has incorporated IWF list filtering into its Child Protection Gateway (CPG) - a first for the industry. ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,010 adults aged 18 plus by telephone across the UK between 27 - 30 October 2006. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Dubit Limited surveyed 1,000 seven to 16 year olds.


From www.icmresearch.co.uk 01/11/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: US PNC Financial Helping Customers Fight Online Thieves

Almost 50 percent of financial services institutions -- including credit card companies,credit unions and mortgage lenders -- have shored up their online protections so far. PNC's new strategy also requires customers logging on from computers other than their home PCs to answer a preselected question,such as "What's the name of your cat?"

CRM White Paper: Configuration vs. Customization Understanding the difference between "configurable" and "customizable" CRM is critical to your selection process and could make or break your future CRM success. Find out why in "Architectural Flexibility," a new Pivotal white paper. PNC Financial Services Group is joining the brigade of banks pulling out new stops to fight online thieves. PNC bank customers accessing their bank accounts online are now being asked to choose an image -- for example,a snapshot of a snowy winter's day -- and then type out a description. The customer subsequently will have to select the image and type in the exact description to access the online account.

Tightening Security It's just one tool that banks across the country are using to comply with federal regulations to tighten online security safeguards by the end of the year. Almost 50 percent of financial services institutions -- including credit card companies,credit unions and mortgage lenders -- have shored up their online protections so far,leaving just a few weeks for the rest to meet the deadline to make the roughly 35 million Americans who manage their money online less vulnerable to cyberthieves. PNC's new strategy also requires customers logging on from computers other than their home PCs to answer a preselected question,such as "What's the name of your cat?" PNC is spending "several millions" to add the additional layers of security,many of which exist behind the scenes,according to Tom Kunz,the bank's director of e-business .

onitoring Activity Suspicious online banking activity -- which Kunz declined to specify for fear of alerting cybercriminals -- will prompt a phone call to PNC customers. "You'll never get an e-mail from PNC that asks you personal information and has a link [to the bank] in it," he said. Such e-mails often are used by thieves to steal information. The trick is to show consumers they are fighting online crime but not turn the simple act of checking a bank balance into a hassle,said Bruce Cundiff,a senior analyst at Javelin Strategy and Research in Pleasanton,Calif. Servicing customers online,rather than in person or at a call center,has proven lucrative for financial institutions,and has helped them cut costs. But to maintain that momentum,new security measures must be safe and easy to use.

Individual Plans Regulators have been careful not to be too specific about exactly what steps banks should take to make sure their customers are safe from Web-based predators,leaving it up to them to figure out what kind of security upgrade works best for them,said Cundiff. Other local banks say plans are in the works for new online security measures. National City said it planned to roll out anti-fraud measures before the end of the year,and Citizens Bank said it expected to introduce its program next month. About 4 percent of adults in America have fallen victim to identity theft,which has siphoned billions from consumers and the financial services industry in recent years,according to the Federal Trade Commission. (by Corilyn Shropshire)


From http://www.crmbuyer.com/story/ 12/11/2007

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US FCC Proposes Nationwide Broadband Interoperable Public Safety Network

The FCC Wednesday adopted a Ninth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes a national interoperable broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band which would have a centralized approach to maximize public safety access. In addition,the initiative seeks to promote the deployment of advanced broadband applications,related radio technologies,and modern,IP-based system architecture. "I believe this proposal could offer many public safety benefits," said Chairman Kevin J Martin. "Many national and local public safety organizations have expressed support for a public-private partnership approach for a single,national licensee to achieve an interoperable public safety broadband network in the context of other public safety proposals." The proposals contained in this item are designed to meet the following public safety objectives: opportunities for broadband,national,interoperable use of 700 MHz spectrum; new sources of funding for the build-out and operation of the national public safety network; economies of scale and scope in production and competition in supply to maximize cost effectiveness; efficient spectrum use; network robustness and survivability; and flexible,modern IP-based wireless system architecture. "Earlier this year,I had an opportunity to hear local public safety personnel recount their experiences on the ground during the tragic events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate. "Their eyewitness accounts underscore how important it is that our nation's first responders have access to reliable and redundant communications in the event of an emergency,and how much remains to be done before those tools are available ... Therefore,it is critical that we take steps to improve public safety interoperability for all types of disasters -- whether terrorist,natural or even a health pandemic."

Specifically,this item proposes that the Commission allocate 12 megahertz of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum from wideband to broadband use; assign this spectrum nationwide to a single national public safety broadband licensee; permit the national public safety broadband licensee also to operate on a secondary basis on the narrowband public safety spectrum in the 700 MHz band; permit the licensee to use its assigned spectrum to provide public safety entities with voluntary access to a public safety broadband service on a fee-for-service basis; permit the licensee to provide unconditionally preemptible access to its assigned spectrum to commercial service providers on a secondary basis,through leases or in the form of public/private partnerships; (6) facilitate the shared use of CMRS infrastructure for the efficient provision of public safety broadband service; and establish performance requirements for interoperability,build-out,preemption of commercial access,and system robustness.

Commissioner Jonathan S. Adekstein cautioned against hasty decision making on this issue. "While I wholeheartedly support the launch of this proceeding today,I do want to counsel for taking a cautious and deliberate approach to an ultimate resolution. It is important to acknowledge that our proposal today talks in very broad strokes and looks to commenters to fill in many important details and specifics." This Ninth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment generally on the above proposals or alternatives,as well as on spectrum leasing and Section 337 issues. (by Gina M. Scott )


From http://www.govtech.net/ 12/22/2006

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CHINA: Public Warned of Internet Risks in Guarding State Secrets

China's National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets (NAPSS) on Friday alerted the public to the possibility of state secrets leak on to the Internet. Cong Bing,vice director of the NAPSS,said China's Criminal Law and Law on Guarding State Secrets prohibited the release,discussion and dissemination of state secrets through bulletin board systems,online chat rooms and Internet newsgroups. The theft or purchase of state secrets and their provision to institutions,organizations and people outside the country was illegal,he warned. The public had a duty to report the discovery of leaks of state secrets and to return classified documents to the relevant departments if they acquired them,he said. "In the market economy and information era,new issues have emerged in state secrets protection. Some people's awareness of state secrets protection is quite weak," said Cong. However,the capability to protect and control information concerning state secrets had a direct bearing on national security,competitive ability and development,he said.

The NAPSS on Friday announced measures to improve awareness of state secrets protection and to balance the protection of state secrets and the protection of the public's right to know,prior to "Legal Popularization Day" on Dec. 4. Cong said the NAPSS would enhance the legal awareness through radio and TV programs,films,exhibitions and Internet programs. Guarding state secrets was a fundamental public duty under the constitution. "Our objective is to make every citizen aware of state secrets protection," he said. "We should strictly guard state secrets,while releasing other information in a timely and transparent manner," he said. Cong said much progress had been made in protecting the public's right to know. Death tolls in natural disasters and related information were no longer classed as state secrets and the government had established a real-time epidemic situation reporting system and fulfilled timely reporting of major production safety accidents.

Under the Law on Guarding State Secrets,state secrets include classified information concerning major policy decisions on state affairs,national defense and the activities of the armed forces,diplomatic activities,national economic and social development,and science and technology,state security activities and the investigation of criminal offences,and other matters that are classified as state secrets by the state secret protection department.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/01/2006

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Copyright Alliance Formed to Fight Piracy

Chinese companies formed a copyright alliance on Monday to protect their copyright and fight against piracy. The alliance comprises six leading Chinese companies,including Shanda Entertainment,Netease,Sina,Microsoft China,Kingsoft and Sunchime Cartoon Group. The alliance will act as a bridge for companies,international copyright agencies,governments and media to support the Chinese government in international cooperation,said the organizing committee. It will work to raise Chinese companies'awareness of the damage piracy has and will do to the interests of companies,society and the whole country,it said. A national anti-piracy platform for software should be established with the government's support,it said. It also called for more financial support and favorable policies from the government to help Chinese companies succeed in global competition.


From http://www.gov.cn 12/11/2006

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China to Crack Down on Illegal Online Broadcasters

China's State Administration of Radio,Film and Television (SARFT) has issued a circular Wednesday ordering a crackdown on companies illegally broadcasting TV programs on the Internet. The SARFT circular prohibits cooperation between SARFT-affiliated institutions and "online TV stations" that have been broadcasting TV programs including news programs without legal permission,using names such as China international economic TV (ccnettv.com),and China network TV (cntv.net.cn),according to the circular. Some of the illegal "online TV stations" even forge government permissions to recruit reporters,set up branch stations,and profit from advertising revenue. According to China's Regulations on the Management of TV and Radio Stations,TV and radio stations can only be established by government departments and government-affiliated radio and TV groups. China's Management Measures for Transmitting A/V Program over Internet and Other Information Networks,which took effect in October 2004,also stipulate that online broadcasters of audio and video programs must obtain permission from SARFT before broadcasting. Online program broadcasters are not authorized to make their own programs. Broadcasters in violation of the regulation could be fined up to 30,000 yuan (3,750 U.S. dollars) and even prosecuted.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/28/2006

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China Reports Soaring Online Racketeering,Declining Porn Sites

China's Internet watchdog last year received a surge of citizen's reports on online racketeering,many of which involved distributing forged information to people who are eager to hit the lottery jackpot. According to China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center,the agency last year received more than 142,404 reports,29 percent of which were related to racketeering,rising 20 percent over a year earlier. The sharp rise was caused by the growth of bogus websites that provided lottery foreseeing services or simply tell people they have won lottery prizes and need to remit taxes,postage or insurance charges,said the non-government agency,supported by the Ministry of Information Industry,Ministry of Public Security,and the State Council Information Office. "Many defrauded people thought they could get huge profits with a relatively small cost,and they are often lack of common sense of judgment and basic Internet knowledge," said a staff member who only gave her surname as Zheng. However,the report on "online obscenity" has dropped,thanks to the government's continuous crackdown on Internet porns,she said.

Obscene websites,though still the most reported online problem,accounted for 60 percent of all reports last year,compared to almost 95 percent in 2004. Teachers and parents are all the time active reporters of Internet porn,and they are very concerned about students'growth in such unhealthy Internet environment,Zheng said. After receiving the report,the agency will first check it and then issue the rectification notice to the reported websites. The report can also be forwarded to government departments for closure of these websites,the agency said in its work obligation list. But Zheng said the agency do not handle overseas websites even if they are reported.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/16/2007

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Beijing Olympic Organizers Vow to Punish Online Spoof of Olympic Symbols

Fans of online pranks in China have taken a break from parodying big-budget Chinese movies to focus on the Olympic emblem,triggering anger and criticism from game organizers. Internet users have transformed the emblem for the 2008 Beijing Olympic into signs for male and female public restrooms. The original emblem,dubbed "Dancing Beijing",shows a human figure in mid-stride,arms stretched out,and looks like the Chinese character "jing",which means capital and forms half of the word "Beijing". The Beijing Olympic mascots,the five Fuwas,have not escaped the attentions of the online parodists either. In one case,the heads of the mascots were replaced with famous Chinese comedians. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) was not amused,condemning such behavior as "tarnishing the Olympic spirit". "We will take legal measures should things get any worse," Wednesday's Beijing Youth Daily quoted an official with the BOCOG law department as saying. The official said the online pranks violate Chinese laws and regulations "whether or not they are driven by commercial motives".

But Beijing-based Mirror quoted Fang Yu,a lawyer from Beijing Dadi Law Firm,as saying that the Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols effective from 2002 only prohibit the unauthorized use or redesign of any Olympic symbol for commercial gain,so the regulation may not apply in this case. Chinese internet users appear divided in their views about the emblem prank. Some echoed the official opposition,saying that the Olympic Games should not be made fun of. But others shrugged off the accusation and said that the pranks were just jokes with no evil intention. Chinese internet users aroused public interest in their online parodies in 2005 when a netizen named Hu Ge made an applause-winning short film spoofing Chinese director Chen Kaige'sbig-budget movie,The Promise. Director Zhang Yimou's blockbuster "Curse of the Golden Flower" has also been the butt of online parodies. But online short film parodies are not supported by the government. China's State Administration of Radio,Film and Television announced a new regulation last August to rein in the fad by ruling that only authorized websites can show short films online in order to protect morality and intellectual property.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/17/2007

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Man Detained over Online Donation Fraud

Police in north China have arrested a man who pocketed funds intended for poverty-stricken rural students,local police said. Zhang Shenling,an unemployed 31-year-old in Qinhuangdao City,Hebei Province,is accused of spending 32,000 yuan (4,100 U.S. dollars) of netizen donations,said Liu Menglong,a policeman with Shanhaiguan District,Qinhuangdao. Zhang built a website last March and posted photos he had taken himself of 30 primary schoolchildren in poor mountainous areas near the city,together with a bank account number,claiming the website was devoted to collecting donations for them,according toLiu. In less than two months,Zhang collected about 20,000 yuan (2,560 U.S. dollars),which went straight into his pocket. Using the same approach,Zhang got another 10,000 yuan (1,280 U.S.dollars) from donators by posting pictures of poor elderly people. But a donator discovered the fraud after paying a visit to one of the pupils who Zhang claimed had benefited from the donations. In November,the donator,who declined to be identified,visited an 11-year-old pupil named Zhou Qingqing from an impoverished family in a remote village of Qinhuangdao.

According to Zhang's website,the child had received donations totaling 1,400 yuan (180 U.S. dollars). To the donator's surprise,Zhou said he had not received any money from Zhang but it was true that a man had come to take photos of him. Suspecting fraud,the donator reported the case to police. Zhang admitted that he had spent all the funds,according to Liu. According to Zhang,more than 400 netizens made donations through his website last year. Zhang's website has been closed and he will face criminal charges. In China,non-governmental charity organizations,including online organizations,have emerged in the past few years,with many people preferring to donating money to the needy via these organizations. China collected 10 billion yuan (1.28 billion U.S. dollars) of charity donations last year,and 6.5 billion yuan (82 million US dollars) was channeled through non-government charity organizations,according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. "The problem is that many non-governmental charity organizations are not licensed," said Liang Yong,a professor with the Shijiazhuang Academy of Social Sciences in Hebei.

Some individuals or organizations,like Zhang,carry out fraudulent and illegal activities under the guise of charity donations,Zhang said. "The government should strengthen supervision of these grass-roots charity organizations,making them register and operate with maximum transparency," the professor said.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 01/19/2007

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China Pulls the Plug on Internet Pirates

China has closed 205 websites in a crackdown on video,music and software piracy,authorities said Thursday. Investigators checked out 436 reports of intellectual property theft between the end of September and January - including 130 complaints from overseas industry associations - and ordered 361 offenders to halt their activities. They also handed out fines totaling hundreds of thousands of yuan and confiscated servers and other equipment. "Piracy of intellectual property on the Internet has seriously harmed the interests of copyright owners,leading to a large number of disputes and disrupting order on the Internet," Yan Xiaohong,deputy director of the National Copyright Administration,told a news conference in Beijing yesterday. Authorities imposed fines totaling 705,000 yuan (91,000 U.S. dollars),confiscated 71 servers and transferred six cases to prosecutors for court action,Yan said. One has already led to a conviction,he added. The overseas complaints came from the Motion Picture Association,the International Federation of Phonographic Industry and the Business Software Alliance,Yan said. "China treats domestic and foreign copyright holders equally,without discrimination," Yan said.

"The administration will prosecute all proven cases of intellectual property infringement." A Chinese regulation that bans uploading or downloading Internet material without the permission of the copyright holder went into effect last July. Prominent cases included sites that offered downloads of software,textbooks,music and television shows. In one case,all the Internet cafes in Changchun in northeast China's Jilin Province were found to be linked to a database of pirated films. One Website in southern China's Sichuan Province was found to have provided illegal downloads of 400 movies since it was set up in 2004. Authorities closed the site and fined its operator,Sichuan Telecom,10,000 yuan. Sichuan Telecom is a subsidiary of the state-run China Telecom Group. "This latest action had a limited time frame and limited results," Yan acknowledged. "It did not solve all the problems we are facing on the Internet." China is home to about 843,000 Websites and 140 million Internet users,making it the world's second-biggest Internet market. The Internet penetration rate in China has developed at lightning speed in recent years.

The country's online population is expected to overtake the United States as the world's largest in about two years. About 210 million of the America's 300 million people are online,according to the US government. China currently has 137 million people online. Yan said there are 843,000 Chinese Websites at present.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 02/09/2007

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JAPAN: Gov't Considers Copyright Law Change in Favor of Web Search Engines

A government panel plans to propose amending the copyright law so as to let Internet search engines in Japan process data without winning consent from copyright holders,sources familiar with the matter said Thursday. The planned legal revision will be a boon to web search service providers as they will be allowed to maintain search server computers,they said. Web search engines copy information on the Internet and edit copied data for easy browsing. But the existing copyright law limits the processing work to personal use and requires search engines to secure consent from copyright holders if they use the data for other purposes. In contrast,the United States allows them to copy and edit such data without copyright holders'consent as long as they are used for proper purposes.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 01/19/2007

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T-SS to Release Graphics Copyright Protection Solution for Windows Vista

Trinity Security Systems announced the release of Pirates Buster for Pictures.The system offers a copyright protection solution for graphic images (PNG,BMP,JPEG,and GIF) downloaded from the web. If the files are encrypted users will only be able to view,though not be able to copy,edit or print them. Pirates Buster is tailored for Windows Vista and its Digital Rights Management (DRM) and is certified by the Japan Photographic Copyright Association (JPCA). Pirates Buster for Picture will be available from mid February 2007.


From http://www.japancorp.net/ 01/29/2007

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Illegal Net Access Highest Since 2000

Stolen passwords were used to gain illegal access in 703 reported Internet-related crimes in Japan in 2006,2.5 times the number reported in the previous year,the National Police Agency said Thursday. The figure was the highest since the NPA began collecting data on illegal access in 2000. Police uncovered 4,425 cases of Internet-related crimes during the same period,up about 1,300 from the previous year. Many of these cases involved Internet auctions or sexual exploitation of children under 18,the NPA said. Internet auctions were the focus of 394 cases of illegal access,or 56 percent of the total.Cases of illegal access to online games,which are popular with young people,increased five times to 223.A type of fraud called phishing,in which users are tricked into entering passwords on fraudulent Web sites,rose to 220 from just one in 2005. Crimes via spyware,a type of software that monitors computer use and sends the data to hackers over the Internet,rose sixfold to 197.


From The Japan Times 02/23/207

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Customer Data Stolen from Japan Post Worker

A Japan Post employee's bag containing personal information on 290,000 customers was stolen last month from a parked car in Soka,Saitama Prefecture,according to Japan Post. On the night of Jan. 31,a bag belonging to a man who works at the Postal Savings Business Center in Saitama,was stolen from his car. The bag contained a USB flash memory data storage device that was found and recovered on Wednesday in Noda,Chiba Prefecture. However,the memory device contained about 290,000 postal transfer account holders'names,addresses,account numbers and account opening dates as well as the names and account numbers of 31 postal savings account holders. According to Japan Post,the data contained on the memory device would not allow a third party to withdraw cash because registered personal seals are required to make cash withdrawals.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp 02/25/2007

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INDONESIA: Internet Security Committee to Start Work Next March

After less than six months'preparation,the government-backed internet security committee will officially start work in March next year to protect the country's Internet infrastructure from cyber crime.The committee,which was established in September and is officially called the "Indonesian Information Infrastructure Security Incident Response Committee" (Id Sirtii),will be responsible for monitoring and recording all internet-based communications and transactions as part of the effort to curb cyber crime in Indonesia,which has one of the highest incidences in the world for this sort of crime. Director General of Posts and Telecommunications Basuki Yusuf Iskandar said in Jakarta on Wednesday that the committee's work would not interfere with the privacy of Internet users as monitoring would only be conducted in respect of internet protocol (IP) transactions,rather than content. "Even though the committee is sponsored by the government,it will work as an independent body and its members include IT experts,academics and professionals," Basuki said. The committee will monitor all internet protocol transactions in log files,comprising IP addresses,protocol identities,source and destination ports,and time stamps. "This information can be used as evidence to support the efforts of our law enforcement agencies in combating cyber crime,not to mention piracy," Basuki said.

Based on the ministerial decree establishing the committee,the National Police and the Attorney General's Office will also have representatives on the committee and will launch investigations should the information obtained by the committee indicate the commission of a crime. Meanwhile,Heru Nugroho,the secretary of the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association,lauded the establishment of the committee,saying that Indonesia badly needed to improve its image among global Internet-based vendors. "I recall that my friend's credit card was rejected by Amazon. This means that Indonesia is being excluded by the international community. We receive a lot of reports saying that people have been unable to conduct online transactions as their credit cards were refused." Heru said. The latest figures from the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center show that Indonesia has the highest level of cyber crime in the Asia-Pacific region,including carding,hacking,phishing (the practice of using e-mails to trick consumers into handing over personal information),and money laundering. As a result,Indonesia has been sidelined by global internet vendors. An estimated US$50 billion in goods and services are sold over the Internet every year. In order to restore international trust in Indonesia,the government has called upon all telecommunications operators,and network access and internet service providers to support the committee in its work.

"Everybody using the Internet,including corporations,must compile their log files within the set period of time so that if we need them to verify the commission of a crime,we can find the data we require," Basuki said. "In addition,Internet kiosks must record the identities of their customers so that we can trace those who use the Internet for criminal purposes." In relation to the preparations for the setting up of the committee,the Posts and Telecommunications Directorate General will hold a second tender at the end of January for the procurement of system monitoring software,as well as the hiring of system operators. The tender will be worth about Rp 12 billion ($1.3 million). After the first tender for the procurement of hardware in early November,the government selected IT firm PT Esa Mandiri Teknologi,which submitted the lowest bid of Rp 4.09 million,as the tender winner. The runners-up were PT Dinamika Mandiri with a bid of Rp 4.1 billion and PT Sigma Caraka with a bid of Rp 4.7 billion.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 11/23/2006

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Open-Source System Sought for SMEs,Ministries

To help protect intellectual property rights and reduce costs,the State Ministry for Research and Technology is urging state institutions,and small and medium enterprises to adopt open-source software for their computers. "Not only could we restore our bad image arising from rampant piracy by using this open-source,legal software,the government could also save on its IT budget,and by itself develop software using local experts," Richard Mengko,a senior IT advisor to the ministry,said Monday. Citing a thesis by a University of Indonesia student,he said that the government could save up to 60 percent of its IT budget if it were to use open-source software. Open-source software allows the downloading and use of software for free. He cited as an example how the Information and Communications Ministry had saved on its IT budget after deciding to migrate. "We can save a lot of money using open-source software that is offered for free compared to if we choose proprietary software that costs about US$200 to $300 per program for the total of 100 computers that we have in our office," the director general for information and communications technology at the Information and Communications Ministry,Cahyana Ahmadjayadi,told The Jakarta Post. Not only would open-source software save governmental institutions money. Budi Wahyu Jati,Intel Indonesia country manager,said that it could also benefit cash-strapped businesses,such as SMEs.

"The usage of open-source software by SMEs can provide a huge multiplier effect as the country's economy relies heavily on them," Budi said. According to the latest figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC),an independent research institute,businesses account for 78 percent of software usage in Indonesia,with 60 percent of these businesses being SMEs. Figures from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) show that the total number of SMEs in Indonesia stood at around 42.4 million in 2005,representing an increase of 28 percent from the previous year's 33 million. To increase the availability of open-source programs,the State Ministry for Research and Technology launched the Indonesia Goes Open-Source (IGOS) Nusantara 2006 package Monday,which can be downloaded for free at www.igos-source.or.id. IGOS Nusantara 2006 is a desktop software based on Linux Fedora Core 5,which has the capability to operate applications such as Open Office for text documents,Firefox for internet browsing,Thunderbird for e-mail and Gaim for chatting. On the website,the ministry also lists a range of open-source software websites,both domestic and foreign,from which material can also be downloaded for free. Open-source software enables users to develop and modify the system and create new kinds of software. Also on Monday,the ministry announced the establishment of a laboratory to test the quality and reliability of new kinds of open-source software.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 12/05/2006

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Intellectual-Property Rights Still Not Secure in RI

The government still has a lot of work to do as regards the protection of intellectual property,despite a pat on the back last year when the U.S. upgraded Indonesia's status in the fight against piracy. The U.S. trade representative moved Indonesia from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List last November thanks to the government's improved commitment to fighting piracy. However,the government is still lagging behind many other countries in promoting the concept of intellectual property rights among small and medium enterprises,especially as regards patenting their designs. As of 2006,only 27 small and medium enterprises had registered industrial designs,as compared to 4,899 larger businesses. "Many small and medium enterprises are still reluctant to register their designs as they regard the process as being too time-consuming and expensive," said Ansori Sinungan,the director of copyright and industrial design at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights,in Jakarta on Wednesday. Firms have to pay Rp 600,000 (about US$66),and wait for nine months for the official registration of industrial designs,pay Rp 450,000 and wait for 14 months for the registration of a trademark,and pay up to Rp 575,000 and wait for 36 months for the registration of a common or simple patent. However,the patenting process can take longer and end up costing many millions of rupiah. Meanwhile,the registration of an individual copyright costs Rp 75,000,and a corporate copyright Rp 150,000,with no set deadlines for processing.

The government is currently conducting a campaign stressing the importance of intellectual property rights. According to Ansori,the patent office is offering a discount of up to 50 percent of the fee for the registration of an industrial design. "Under the intellectual property rights system,applicants who are in the process of registering receive what is known as preliminary protection so that they can continue to run their businesses without having to wait for the issuance of their certificates," he explained. This,he said,was contrary to what was believed by many entrepreneurs. The latest figures from the State Ministry for Cooperatives,and Small and Medium Enterprises show that the number of micro,small and medium enterprises nationwide currently stands at about 45 million,employing 78 million workers. They contributed 54.2 percent to 2006's GDP,which was worth Rp 1.48 trillion. According to Ansori,the government takes the issue of intellectual-property rights very seriously. "The enforcement of the Intellectual Property Law has led to the arrests of some 500 people believed to have infringed copyrights." However,he gave no figures on how many of these had actually been convicted and sent to jail. Most of the violators are vendors who sell counterfeited VCDs and DVDs in shopping centers. According to the Intellectual Property Law,the maximum punishment for violators is seven years in jail and/or a Rp 5 billion fine.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 12/05/2006

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MALAYSIA: Cyber Threat to Online Banking

Intrusion and fraud cases on the Internet are on the rise. In the last six months,175 fraud cases and 376 intrusion incidences were reported,Ma-laysian Cyber Security Centre training and outreach manager Philip Victor said. He said about 80% of the fraud cases involved phishing schemes where hackers gained access to personal information of Internet users by getting them to log on to fake links or reveal their passwords. "Hackers nowadays are financially driven unlike many years ago when hacking was just a fun activity," he said,adding that clients of financial institutions were the ones mainly affected. "Poor awareness among In-ternet users and unsecured computers are among the reasons phishers are more active nowadays," Victor said. He was presenting a talk on Security Outlook in Malaysia: Cyber Threats,Myth or Reality? at the recent Penang ICT Week organised by the MCA ICT Resource Centre. He said if phishing activities were not curtailed,the public would shy away from using Internet banking services,thus hampering the growth of the banking industry. "Online transactions are safe but users and companies providing the services must be aware of the cyber threats that are out there so that they can protect themselves," he said,adding that the acts of intrusion mainly involved web defacements. Malaysian Cyber Security Centre is a body under the Science,Technology and Innovation Ministry.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 12/28/2006

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PHILIPPINES: S'Pore-Based Security Solutions Distributor Puts Up Local Office

M.Tech,which is part of the Singapore Exchange listed Multi-Chem Group,said that with the inauguration of its Philippine office,it is now the leading regional IT security solutions distributor with 11 offices in 8 countries in the Asia Pacific region. Officially named M.Tech Products Philippines Inc.,the company said it is entering the local market with the hope of providing companies with best-of-breed inter-operable IT solutions,products,and services. M.Tech currently has an alliance with Nokia and Check Point for the provision of Firewall and Virtual Private Network (VPN),Riverbed for wide-area data services (WDS) solutions,and TippingPoint for Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS). These alliances,the firm said,would allow it to provide a full range of products and services to support the needs of local corporations. Paul Lim,regional business manager for the Philippines and Singapore,said M.Tech's decision to put up an office in the country is a sign of its confidence in the Philippines as a fast-growing market in the region. "The Philippines is a huge emerging market for data security and protection especially now,as more and more data intensive companies like banking and financial institutions,call centers,medical transcription companies,are reaffirming their commitment here," Lim added. Established in May 2002,M.Tech is headquartered in Singapore and,in addition to its presence in Singapore and the Philippines,it has regional offices in the fast-growing markets of China,Indonesia,Malaysia,Thailand,Hong Kong,and Vietnam. (Melvin G. Calimag)


From http://www.mb.com.ph 01/08/2007

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SINGAPORE: Infocomm Enterprise Programme to Develop Sector-Wide Projects and Create Intellectual Property

Local infocomm companies (iLEs) can look forward to more assistance in expanding overseas under a new programme announced today by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan,Minister for Community Development,Youth and Sports,and Second Minister for Information,Communications and the Arts at the SiTF 2007 ICT Business Outlook Forum. The Infocomm Enterprise Programme,or iEP,aims to develop the capabilities of iLEs in the implementation and delivery of large-scale,sector-wide projects and to create new intellectual property (IP). As iLEs build up their capabilities in implementation of large-scale projects this will in turn enhance their credentials and export potential. The programme will also accelerate the development of sector-wide transformational projects to increase infocomm adoption amongst user organisations in the sector. The BackPack.Net project in the education sector and the integrated clinic management system in the primary healthcare sector are examples of these sector-wide projects. This programme is managed by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and it will help co-fund approved projects and in the facilitation and marketing assistance to overseas markets. Dr Balakrishnan also launched "Infocomm Singapore",a unified brand for "Made-by-Singapore" infocomm products and solutions along with the Infocomm Singapore Portal. This branding initiative is a joint effort between the government and the infocomm industry to fight for mindshare in the highly competitive global market. The brand hopes to elevate the perceived value and generate stronger recognition of the quality and uniqueness of Singapore's infocomm products and services both locally and overseas.

A brand management committee comprising industry leaders will oversee the management of Infocomm Singapore. To help iLEs build up their own brand,a series of branding seminars and workshops for iLEs has also been planned. To create a strong market presence,iLEs can profile and promote their products and services at the portal (www.infocommsingapore.sg/industry) which is a virtual storefront. The portal has a one-stop directory listing and capability maps of iLEs. Besides a listing of success stories of local infocomm products and services,a match-making engine for companies to source for partnerships and business opportunities will be introduced. These programmes are in support of the strategies under the Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015 masterplan1 to realise the long-term vision for Singapore's infocomm industry. These programmes will help to achieve the goal of a three-fold increase in infocomm export revenue to $60 billion. Mr Chan Yeng Kit,Chief Executive Officer of IDA said,"For Singapore to remain competitive we need to establish an internationally recognised brand for our innovative infocomm solutions. IDA continues to work closely with the industry to nurture iLEs with export potential and create opportunities for the creation of new IPs." Mr Stephen Lim,Co-Chair of Infocomm Singapore Brand Management Committee said,"It is our vision to be the world's most trusted,intelligent and results-oriented solutions partner with the power to transform how people live,work and play. This vision will serve as a beacon for our infocomm companies and guide them in positioning themselves overseas."


From http://www.ida.gov.sg 01/18/2007

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S'pore Good Role Model in Managing Software Piracy Problem

Singapore can be a role model for the fight against software piracy in Asia Pacific. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) said this is due to the country's campaign against software piracy through awareness building and strong enforcement. As part of the move to protect intellectual property,Singapore criminalised software piracy in 2005. A year later,it successfully prosecuted an offender,PDM International,in court and is now taking another company to task for software infringements. Tarun Sawney,Director,Anti-Piracy,BSA,said: "We think that the action taken by the police and the steps taken by the Singapore government are having a very good effect in reaching out and changing mindsets over here that IP is crucial to Singapore and we should respect it." The BSA,which represents major software industry players,said the authority's action has successfully created greater awareness amongst companies to stay on the right side of the law. "The nice thing about Singapore is that most companies are legal voluntarily. Occasionally,we do come across companies (that do not abide by the law),but once we bring the matter up to the attention of the management,most of them act very responsibly and expediently to get it legal," said Mr Sawney. Studies show that a 10 percentage point reduction in piracy rate can add US$770 million to Singapore's economy and help create about 3,700 new jobs. The BSA said it would continue with public education as a means to create greater awareness and drive piracy rates down.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 02/21/2007

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INDIA: Hackers Target 4,000 Websites

Even amid growing concern over cyber security,hacker groups defaced at least 340 Indian websites during November 2006,up from 244 sites targeted during last month. This takes the total number of Indian sites (government and non-government),that came under attack by hackers in the first nine months of the year,to over 4,000. Almost half of the websites targeted during November were in the .com domain (for commercial websites),according to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). While 172 reported incidents of defacement pertained to .com domain websites,91 belonged to the .in (country specific) domain,43 in .org (organisation) domain,12 in .net (network) domain,21 in .info domain (for informative websites) and only one in the .edu (education) domain.


From http://www.first.org/ 12/26/2006

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India Was Hacker's Paradise in'06

New Delhi: According to an analysis by the Department of Information Technology India remained an Internet hacker's paradise in the first half of 2006.A survey conducted by Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) shows that till June this year,39 '.gov.in'sites were defaced,which is 15 per cent of the total number of hacked sites in the '.in'domain while 81 '.co.in'websites were defaced.The Emergency Response Team at Cert-In handles computer security incidents in India.Of the total 1,752 Indian websites defaced,67.5 per cent were '.com'domain websites and 15.9 per cent were '.in'websites.There has been a phenomenal increase in the '.in'domain (India specific) defacements. The first half of 2006 saw 278 '.in'websites being defaced - the majority of these were commercial websites. This is a huge leap from 2005,when the number of websites that were defaced in the whole year amounted to 373.A high number of Country Code top level domain sites -- .co.in,.net.in,.gov.in,.org.in,.nic.in,.ernet.in,.ac.in and .res.in -- were defaced with commercial sector contributing 68.3 per cent of the defacements and Government sector had a share of 27.3 per cent of this.Three Indian Government sites were also defaced on the VSNL network were -- www.fmc.com,www.railnet.com and www.ieg.com. Government officials have told PTI that most defacements result from hackers using pre-fabricated exploits to gain administrative control of the target system and then replacing the web pages hosted on the system with their own systems.On rare occasions,attackers may not have had an opportunity to gain any user-level privileges on the target server but were able to take advantage of poorly written web scripts or vulnerability of web servers to carry out thedefacement.


From http://in.tech.yahoo.com/ 12/26/2006

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iPods,MP3 Players Are Data Thieves' Latest Tools

Business Process Outsourcing firms (BPOs),multi-national corporations,financial firms and government run-organisation globally are facing a new challenge in data theft and the culprits are none other than the common iPod and MP3 players. With a capacity between 1 to 80 GB,these entertainment devices are proving to be ideal storehouses for entire projects,which otherwise would not be possible with any traditional method of data theft. According to Wayne Madsen Report website,there were 204 cases of data thefts in America in 2006-07,India reported 300 data theft cases in 2006,while UK topped the chart with 600 cases. In India,no formal cases were registered in any of the thefts,which included thefts in banking,corporate,and financial sectors. According to a report published in a UK magazine,Info World,the Detective Chief Inspector for the Specialist Crime Directorate e-Crime Unit of London Metropolitan Police,Charlie McMurdie has admitted that the British electronic-crime detectives were investigating a massive data theft operation that led to loss of sensitive information of 8,500 people in the UK and others in 60 countries. IT expert Vijay Mukhi,President,Foundation of Information Security and Technology (FIST),told DNA,"In foreign countries,people are more willing to lodge cases of data theft with the police. But in India it's a different scenario,with organisations feeling insecure about their name being spoiled in the market."

"In fact,in 2006,India topped the credit card fraud cases in South-east Asia," Mukhi added,expressing fear that though UK leads the 2006 data theft chart,very soon India may top the list with most number of data thefts. Moreover,to make it easy for the offenders,India is yet to devise a way to handle data theft and e-crime in general. The laws for data theft in foreign countries are ten times more severe than in India. "People indulge in data theft as they know the loopholes in the law¡ª which treat the theft as a non-cognisable offense." He added that a complaint of data theft can be lodged only in New Delhi. Maharashtra does not even have an administrative office for these complaints. This implies that the affected corporates must approach private agencies to detect such cases. Although the Cyber Crime Investigation team,Asian School of Cyber Laws (ASCL),Pune,has solved about 50 cases of data theft from different cities and states,they say the number of unsolved cases figure might be five times more. "In majority of the cases,the affected organisation hardly approaches the police. They generally seek help from private agencies," said R Narayanan,ASCL's Technical head.

According to Rohas Nagpal,Director,ASCL,Pune,"Data theft means some information is illegally copied or taken from a business or an individual. When this information is used for fraudulent or unlawful purposes,it is called Identity Theft. Technological advancement have made it possible for thieves to use ordinary day-to-day electronic gadgets for stealing databases from accessible computers." Vishal Kumar,faculty member at ASCL,adds,"Though we had informed the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell,we are unaware about the current status. (Mumbai Cyber Crime). We have investigated the case and the employee could be charged under Section 43 and Section 66 of the IT Act. The civil liability could attract a fine of of Rsone crore while criminal liability would attract three-year imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs two lakh or both. So far,no cases of data theft have being registered with the Mumbai Cyber Crime Cell. But in May 2006,the Anti-extortion Cell arrested seven Dadar-based call-centre employees for leaking the confidential information of many businessmen to Fahim Mach Mach to extort money. SV Mishra,Assistant Commissioner of Police,Cyber Cell Crime Branch,New Delhi,told DNA,"In 2006,we have registered two cases of Data Theft. While a case of data theft for the current year is under investigation." ACP Mishra said that apart from this,hardly any organisation approaches us fearing it will cost them their brand name if publicised. Most Data Theft cases are detected by private Cyber Crime agencies.


From http://www.dnaindia.com/ 01/24/2007

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5200 Websites Defaced Last Year

NEW DELHI: Over 400 Indian websites came under attack by hacker groups during December 2006,compared to 340 sites that were defaced during the previous month. This takes the total number of websites that were defaced during the full year (2006) to about 5200,according to data by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). About 37 security incidents were reported to CERT-In from various national and international agencies in December,2006. "About 67% phishing incidents were reported in this month; 22% unauthorized scanning incidents and 11% incidents related to virus/worm under the malicious code category,were also reported. As compared to previous month the number of phishing incidents have decreased while virus/worm incidents have increased," it said. Of the total number of sites that were hacked and defaced,an overwhelming majority were in the `.com'domain (303 incidents),while 54 incidents occured within the .in domain. As many as 47 defacement incidents were recorded in the .org domain while the .net and .info domains accounted for 18 and eight incidents,respectively.


From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 01/05/2007

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PAKISTAN: Death,Life Imprisonment Penalties for Cyber Crimes Suggested

ISLAMABAD (January 18 2007): The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2007 passed by the federal cabinet on Wednesday suggests death or life imprisonment under 'Cyber Terrorism'for those who are involved in plotting or hurling threats to a segment of population,a government or entity. It suggests whosoever commits the offence of cyber terrorism and causes death of any person would be punished with death or imprisonment for life,the offence would be non-bailable,non-compoundable and cognisable. Business Recorder learnt that the bill was prepared after studying cyber laws of 42 countries,reviewing international convention,consenting almost all ministries besides 200 experts from Information Technology,legal,academia,stock exchanges,financial institutions and banks. It is comprehensive in the form that it covers almost all the electronic crimes and proposes an Information Communication Technologies tribunal to deal with such crimes. It would comprise seven members with principal seat in Islamabad and a judge each in all the four provinces. However,the person punished by a single judge tribunal would have the right to file his appeal to the two-judge tribunal before invoking apex court in case he is not satisfied with the tribunals'decisions.

The bill deals with the electronic crimes included,cyber terrorism,criminal access,criminal data access,data damage electronic fraud,electronic forgery,misuse of electronic system or electronic device,unauthorised access to code,misuse of encryption,misuse of code,cyber stalking and suggest stringent punishment for offences involving sensitive electronic crimes. It proposes seven years punishment on charges of electronic fraud and electronic forgery and would not have the right of bail whereas those tried for data damage,system damage and criminal data access,misuse of electronic system or electronic device would get maximum three-year punishment with the right of bail. The bill suggests maximum punishment of death or life imprisonment for those booked under cyber crimes or involved in sensitive electronic systems offences. It suggests what is called enhanced punishment,imprisonment of either description for a term,which may extend ten years,or with fine not exceeding Rs 1 million or both,to those involved in offences of sensitive electronic system.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/18/2007

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IT Tribunals to Probe E-crimes

ISLAMABAD (January 22 2007): The government will set up special information technology (IT) tribunals in the Federal Capital and provincial headquarters to investigate and check the incidents of e-crimes,which have remained unpunished for lack of specific law. The special tribunals,having seven members,including one as chairman,would hear appeals against electronic crimes,an official of Information Technology Ministry said here on Sunday. He said that a single member would hear the case,and first appeal would go to a larger bench of the same tribunal. He said the proposed law,titled as 'Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill-2006'would be tabled in the parliament very soon and would help draw more business and improve Pakistan's e-readiness ranking as reflected in the indices maintained by various agencies and business journals of the world. He said that the Bill proposes penalties ranging from six months imprisonment to capital punishment for 17 types of cyber crimes,including cyber terrorism,hacking of websites and criminal access to secure data. The Bill,approved by the Federal Cabinet,is the need of the hour as crimes related to information technology (IT) were increasing day by day,he said,while explaining salient features of the proposed law. "Financial frauds and identity thefts are increasing cause of concern for banks besides hackers who are earning bad name," he said,and added that the law would enable the government to seek extradition of foreign nationals through Interpol for their involvement in criminal activities punishable under the law.

"This law would operate like other laws of the country,and the agencies would be able to seek extradition of foreign nationals residing in countries which have mutual extradition treatises signed with Pakistan," he said. The official said the implementation of the Bill would give sense of safety and protection to users and curb electronic crimes in the country. The official said the need of electronic crimes laws were felt as highly sensitive data and electronic systems,including control and command system,did not have proper legal protection from perpetrators of electronic crimes. He said that the government has set up a committee,headed by Prime Minister's Advisor Shariffuddin Pirzada to recommend constitution of a specialised agency to ensure implementation of the law. He said that the committee would submit its recommendations to the Prime Minister within a month,with the proposal for either setting up a new specialised agency or assigning the implementation task to any of the existing law enforcement agencies. He said that the IT Ministry would give special training to the Judges to increase their capacity and understanding of electronic crimes. Either one of existing law enforcement agencies,after receiving specialised training would investigate electronic crimes,or new investigation agency would be set up for this purpose. He said it would promote the IT sector and build confidence among IT professionals,software exporters,bankers,financial experts and stock brokers.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/22/2007

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AZERBAIJAN: Public TV Website Attacked by Armenian Hackers

This morning the web site of Azerbaijan Public Television Channel www.itv.az was attacked by Armenian hackers. Information on behalf of the Armenian special services was placed on the web site. The Armenian hackers wrote that they know the name of the Azerbaijani hacker that attacks web sites of Armenian state institutions,and if the Azerbaijan does not take measures to prevent his destructive actions,Armenia's special services will annihilate him. The information is addressed to Azerbaijan's security services. Representatives of Public Television have not commented on the incident.


From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 01/22/2007

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IRAN: Anti-Smuggling HQ to Launch Information Website

A senior official of the anti-smuggling campaign here on Tuesday criticized domestic media for their failure to follow up the news of major smuggling cases,adding that the Headquarters for Combating the Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange will soon launch an Internet site to announce the details of such cases and the names of offenders. According to ISNA,Hamid Reza Mohammad-Taqizadeh,secretary of the headquarters,told reporters that a major smuggling band,which had brought in truckloads of perfumes,shoes and cosmetics under guise of transit,has been busted. "The smugglers used to unload trucks inside Iran instead of letting trucks transit goods to foreign destinations," he said,adding that the lorries used in the smuggling activity belonged to two Iran-based transportation companies. He said that some 24 people have been arrested in connection with the case,stressing that the three gang leaders were found to have been involved in similar cases before.

The official said the accused are expected to face a cash fine of 280 billion rials ($30 million). Iran announced in November that it has busted a major smuggling gang after several months of round-the-clock intelligence work. Intelligence Ministry agents managed to arrest 38 members of the band,which is estimated to have at least 100 members some of them operating from European and Southeast Asian countries. The smugglers had hired several people on the country's western borders,particularly Kermanshah province,as well as some people acting as liaison between the band and some state institutions,it said. Members of the mafia group had also managed to avoid justice several times after being indicted. The group smuggled in goods mainly from European and Southeast Asian countries into Dubai and then brought them into Iran under guise of exporting goods to neighboring Iraq. The band is said to have pocketed millions of dollars in the past years from the illegal business.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 01/17/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: Digital Security to Audit Information Security at AGMK

Digital Security company and Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (AGMK) have signed an agreement on audit of information system security and information system management system for compliance to ISO 27001 international standard. The methodology of active audit used by specialists of Digital Security allows carrying out entire analysis of the real level of information system security,which helps customers to develop a complex of measures for improvement of their information resources security in line with the best international practices. AGMK is the only producer of copper in Uzbekistan and has the right to explore deposits of copper-molybdenum and lead-zinc ores. The plant accounts for nearly 90% of silver and 20% of gold production in the country. Some 70% of manufactured products are exported. Digital Security is the leading Russian consulting company in the field of information security management,as well as evaluation of information systems conformity to the requirements of ISO 27001/ISO 17799. The company is leader in the market of specialized information security management systems in accordance with ISO 27001.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 12/21/2006

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2nd Edition of Development Aid Coordination Platform E-newsletter Launched

Development Aid Coordination (DAC) component of UNDP "Support to Uzbekistan's Welfare Improvement Strategy" project,launched the second edition of its e-newsletter. Newsletter provides information on the most important and interesting news of the month covering development issues,including events within donor community of Uzbekistan. It also contains links to publications on aid coordination and management,MDGs,PRSP,monitoring and evaluation,TA manuals and guidelines,as well as information on funding opportunities. Newsletter is formed basing on information published at DAC web-portal devaid.uz. Current edition includes information about visit of the management team from the ADB's Central and West Asia Department (CWRD) led by its Director General Juan Miranda; IDB's 15 million USD worth financing to three Uzbek banks; link to "Learning from experience - a review of recipient-government efforts to manage donor relations and improve the quality of aid" publication prepared by Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in 2006; as well as many other useful information. Devaid.uz portal was launched in May 2006 and is aimed at improving foreign aid coordination and management by integration of offline and online ICT tools. In December 2006 the portal was granted the winning prize for being the best CA website in promoting poverty reduction within the framework of the competition/contest jointly organized by the UNDP office in the Kyrgyz Republic,Information Agency "Akipress" and Central Asian Gateway project for the best MDG-based Internet resource in Central Asia.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 02/21/2007

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AUSTRALIA: NAB Fails Net Balancing Act

NATIONAL Australia Bank customers have been hit by a major software glitch that mistakenly shows credits as debits on credit-card accounts through the bank's internet banking system. A problem with the NAB's internet banking platform,refreshed just months ago,results in the debt balance of a credit-card account increasing when a payment is made by cheque. When the cheque has cleared,the balance returns to normal. Staff at NAB call centres said they were dealing with angry customers every day as a result of the glitch,which junior staff had been aware of for some time. The bank's call centres have been telling customers to wait for their cheques to clear before working out their outstanding credit-card balances. Senior executives were unaware of the glitch until notified by The Australian. "It's a display problem that doesn't affect the balance of the account," the bank's head of internet banking Ean van Vuuren said. "What's happened is it's made a mistake in accounting for uncleared funds." The bank has assigned a team of six from its internet banking division to fix the problem and expects to have the balance calculation function working correctly sometime this week. A programming error is understood to be behind the problem that affects the live calculation of running or live balances. The error is highly embarrassing for the bank,particularly as financial institutions are keen to convince customers of the safety and reliability of online platforms,shifting them away from expensive branches and onto far less expensive internet services.

Reassuring customers of the accuracy and security of the information shown in their accounts is critical. Like other banks,the NAB has been hit by repeated phishing attacks this year. In July,it introduced two-factor authentication,delivering a second one-time password to customers via text message in an attempt to block fraudulent transactions. It also displays fraud warning messages on its login page in an effort to stop consumers passing on login and password details to fraudsters. Although the NAB revamped the front-end of its internet banking system with new graphics and a fresh interface recently,bank-end glitches are causing the cheque payment problem,the system not knowing what to do with uncleared funds. The bank introduced running balances - on-the-fly balance calculations displayed in real time after each transaction - several months ago without being aware of the calculation problems. Executives insist the display glitch affects the customer-facing internet banking application only and not the underlying balance shown on the bank's internal systems. "It's taken the transaction and added it instead of ignoring it," Mr van Vuuren said. "It didn't know what to do with the credit amount." He has assured clients the problem will be dealt with this week. "We have found a fix," he said. "Interest charges and available funds won't be affected."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/12/2006

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Card Bidders Sign Up for Secrecy

THE federal Government has clarified the timing of the release of a second major procurement tender for the $1.1 billion welfare smartcard but has raised the prospect that documents may hit the market as much as two weeks after originally planned. Prospective suppliers are also now being asked to sign a confidentiality agreement for the tender,which will cover card issuance and management services for the $1.1 billion human services access card project. Suppliers that sign the agreement will be issued a password that will allow them to access tender documentation once it has been released. The Department of Human Services,which is responsible for the controversial initiative,has begun registering prospective suppliers for the second tender and said that documents will be issued in the fortnight following January 29. The timing means that the department may get documents out in keeping with its initial hopes of putting the tender to market by the end of January. However,it also means that the government may miss its original target by up to weeks. A spokeswoman for the department said that the tender documents were being given final quality checks before their release. The card issuance tranche is likely to yield some of the best opportunities for Australian technology companies such as Keycorp and ERG Group to secure access card work as the Office of the Access Card is seeking up to three card suppliers. The Office has previously said it will sign a master card supply agreement and two card subcontractors and has also said it will require local industry participation in the card issuance component of the project. Suppliers will have until March 13 to respond to the tender,which will be the second major tranche of product and services work put to market. Earlier this month the Department of Human Services called for bids for systems integrators. A further two tranches covering transaction services and the supply of Eftpos terminals are expected to be put to market in the first quarter of the year.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/25/2007

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Banks Upgrade Web Security

It's a secret how much money is lost through online fraud but a simple device promises protection. Electronic "tokens" are a must-have gizmo for security conscious online banking customers and the Commonwealth Bank is now issuing these authentication devices to the most active users of its online retail banking service,NetBank. The bank will also provide the option of an SMS security code service to other users. The Commonwealth joins National Australia Bank,ANZ,Bendigo Bank and HSBC in giving its retail customers two-factor authentication,a level of security that goes beyond the standard requirement of a user name and password. The token,which is small enough to fit on a key ring,generates a single-use password at the press of a button. This code is entered along with the user's name and password at the start of an internet banking session. The code,which is valid for 30 seconds,is generated using a piece of software that runs an algorithm. The bank's database knows what number will be generated by a given token at any given time and only that customer's token will come up with that right number. A fraudster would need the token as well as the other log-on details before he could steal from a customer's online account. The action being taken by the banks is an acknowledgement that consumers need to take greater interest in the security of online and other electronic banking.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission administers a voluntary industry code of practice,called the EFT Code,that covers all forms of consumer electronic payments transactions. Under the terms of the code,a bank will cover its customer for any losses due to fraud as long as the electronic account is used according to the bank's terms and conditions. In January,ASIC called for submissions for a review of the EFT Code. One of the matters to be examined is the liability issue arising from the growth and growing sophistication of internet fraud. There have been suggestions,denied by the banks,that they will urge the watchdog to make consumers bear some of the cost of losses suffered as a result of fraud. Should this occur it would mark an important change in banking practice and would put more responsibility on consumers to look after their banking security. The Commonwealth says the new tokens are one of several measures it has taken over the past year to improve online security. Last year it introduced an electronic monitoring system called Hawkeye.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 02/07/2007

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NEW ZEALAND:Broadband Users Face 100 Attacks a Day

New Zealand broadband computer users are being attacked by would-be intruder more than a hundred times a day,a study released today says. The study by NetSafe and IBM New Zealand -- to mark International Computer Security Day on Thursday - shows computers in New Zealand,connected to the internet,were targeted more than a hundred times a day by a variety of worms,viruses,trojans and hackers. The study examined the type and frequency of threats exposed to a computer accessing popular websites via a broadband connection. The threats were monitored by intrusion detection software running on a computer equipped with an updated firewall and operating system that automatically downloads system updates and security patches. NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said the study was aimed at finding out what happened when New Zealanders who used basic internet safety precautions,like an updated firewall,went online to access popular websites. The first suspicious activity was detected within 20 seconds of being connected to the internet,he said.

More than 4500 suspicious or malicious events were recorded when the computer was protected with an updated firewall for the first 27 days of the study,he said. The number of attacks per day soared dramatically when the firewall was disabled for three days at the end of the experiment,to approximately 538 per day,he said. Among the threats included malware,designed to hijack control of the computer. IBM New Zealand security specialist John Martin said there were thousands of malware programmes roaming the internet daily. New Zealanders could expect internet security risks to intensify if trends in other countries were anything to go by,he said. "Hijackers can use your computer to steal your bandwidth or personal information like your credit card details. "They can also connect to other hijacked computers,creating a zombie network that can launch attacks against commercial organisations." Mr Cocker said there was good news from the study. "New Zealanders can easily minimise security risks by being careful online,and by doing the net basics,which include implementing basic internet security measures such as an updated firewall and operating system."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 11/29/2006

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Spammers Face War on Two Fronts

Industry and the Government are gearing up to fight a war on the spam that accounts for more than 90 per cent of email traffic. Telecom said a huge spam assault on Xtra's email network was to blame for some emails taking days to be delivered in recent weeks. "We are fronting on a global basis another spam war," said Mark Ratcliffe,Telecom's chief operating officer. Spam is growing aggressively. Anti-spam legislation - the Unsolicited Electronics Messages Bill - aims to prevent New Zealand becoming a haven for spammers and provides a basis for international co-operation. Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe said spam accounted for more than 90 per cent of email traffic. The bill - expected to be enacted in mid-2007 - proposes to expand the powers of a monitoring agency,understood to be the Department of Internal Affairs,to clamp down on domestic spam and monitor the spam industry. It also provides for penalties of up to $500,000 for spam organisations and $200,000 for individuals. Also,Internet New Zealand,with the Marketing Association and the Telecommunications Carriers Forum,is to release a draft anti-spam code of practice for internet companies. It would require them to provide information to customers about ways to deal with spam and how companies can work with the Department of Internal Affairs. Internet New Zealand executive director Keith Davidson said that up until now,internet companies had been solely responsible for fighting spam. "There has been nothing to stop spammers coming to New Zealand and setting up,except for the intolerance of the internet companies towards their activities. Luckily Government saw,in its wisdom,and as a result of our submission,that a central monitoring agency was required." The legislation would not make any real difference to the quantity of spam,but it was "part of co-operation internationally to make it harder".


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/18/2006

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7th Global Symposium for Regulators

7th Global Symposium for Regulators identifies best practices to encourage the design of regulatory frameworks that foster innovation,investment and affordable access to NGN Dubai,7 February 2007 - Bringing together regulatory authorities from all around the world,the 7th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) has identified best practice guidelines needed to facilitate the migration of Next Generation Networks (NGN). The 38-point roadmap is designed to encourage regulatory frameworks that foster innovation,investment and affordable access to NGN. "Our goal is to encourage the design of regulatory frameworks that foster innovation,investment and affordable access to NGNs and that facilitate the migration to NGN and ultimately lead to bridging the digital divide," said Dr Hamadoun I. Tour¨¦,ITU Secretary-General. "We believe the best practices adopted at this meeting will ultimately offer the possibility of delivering real benefits to providers and consumers,through cost reduction as well as offering innovative new services". The best practice guidelines underscore the importance of embracing the principles of a clear and transparent regulatory process including the adoption and enforcement of rules; technology-neutral and competitive network provision under a coherent approach that address the issues raised by convergence.

The guidelines also call on regulators to adopt forward-looking regimes subjected to regular reassessments to ensure that undue regulatory barriers to competition and innovation are removed. This on-going monitoring would also ensure that users and providers are able to migrate to future networks whenever market conditions are met. Mohamed Al Ghanim,Director General of the TRA of the UAE and Chairman of GSR 2007 said,"GSR is the industry's premiere symposium for ICT regulators and we are delighted that it has concluded on such a high note. We at the TRA of the United Arab Emirates are firmly committed to adopting the best practices identified at this symposium and tailor them for the UAE market",Al Ghanim added. "We encourage all to reap the benefits of these guidelines in order to collectively raise the standards of the telecommunications industry." Regulators are also urged to adopt investment friendly regulation considered as of paramount importance for the success of NGN network deployment,while maintaining a level playing field and protecting consumer interests. The adoption of flexible but accurate interconnection models are also encouraged to allow smooth transitioning to NGNs.

In particular,participants agreed that regulators should take steps to ensure that the market suffers no undue distortion of competitiveness. In view of the high level of convergence both at the transport and service level,participants felt that there was a risk that NGN providers and operators could be in a position to restrict service level competition to their own advantage. There was therefore agreement that regulators should be vigilant and monitor any incident that could require a regulatory response in a way that would not act as a deterrent for NGN service providers and operators. Regulators are also asked to keep in mind the need to create regulatory certainty for both incumbent and competing or alternative providers. "NGN is seen as somewhere between the telecom and Internet worlds,creating a whole new range of issues to be tackled by regulators," said Mr Sami Al-Basheer Al-Morshid,Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)". "The best practice guidelines endorsed by over 100 CEOs and board members of national regulatory authorities come a long way in addressing the issues and provide the way forward for all regulators around the world," he added.

Because the deployment of NGN will not happen overnight,the best practices encourage regulators to define policies that allow for the co-existence of legacy and IP networks,alternative voice services such as VoIP or bundled services that can offer voice together with TV and Internet also called triple play. In doing so,regulators are to consider applying the same obligations to all operators and providers of telephony services whether traditional irrespective of how they are delivered to consumers,under the symmetrical regulatory approach. Commenting on the success of the Symposium,Professor Ibrahim Kadi,Senior Advisor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) of Saudi Arabia said,"GSR 2007 met its set objectives of providing networking opportunities and the symposium format facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experiences amongst regulators from all over the world." The best practice guidelines cover all aspects of service provision including authorization,access,interconnection and interoperability,numbering and NGN identification systems,universal access,quality of service,consumer awareness,security and protection. The full text is available here.

This year's event introduced a new feature,Speed Exchanges,to provide additional opportunities for participants to meet informally and exchange views. Topics discussed in the Speed Exchanges included interconnection,the enabling environment,consumer protection,quality of service,regulatory implications of VoIP,why holding public consultation on NGN,international roaming,regulatory issues for convergence and what to do with regulatory bottlenecks. Speed Exchanges were also held on building confidence and security in the use of ICT as called for by the Action Plan of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and on the next steps in the negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). "The Speed Exchanges proved extremely useful and came at the right time," expressed Roxanne Maria McElvane,Senior Counselor of International Development at the US Federal Communications Commission International Bureau. "After two days of high-level presentations and discussions,the exchanges allowed us to address specific topics and areas of interest with other regulators from around the world providing greater interaction and networking opportunities." The Symposium was organized by ITU and hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates (TRA). More than 470 participants took part in the Symposium,with Heads and Board Members from 100 national regulatory authorities as well as private sector representatives and international organizations.


From http://www.itu.int/newsroom/ 02/07/2007

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European Symposium to Study E-Government and the Web

The European W3C Symposium on eGovernment is 1-2 February 2007,in Gij¨®n,Asturias,Spain. Attendees will meet to discuss eGovernment services,identify aspects that put Web interoperability at risk and find how governments can deliver better and more efficient services through computer technologies. "We hope that participants at the symposium provide us with critical information to help us develop new technologies that meet citizens'needs and goals," said Ralph Swick (W3C). Registration is free and open to the public.


From http://www.w3c.es/ 02/07/2007

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Internet Governance Forum to Hold Stock-taking Session

Geneva,Feb 08: Following the first-ever gathering of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF),held in Athens from 30 October to 2 November 2006,a special stock-taking session will take place next Tuesday,13 February,at Geneva's Palais des Nations where Forum participants will assess the achievements of the inaugural meeting and pave the way forward to the next phase of the Forum taking place in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil,from 12 to 15 November. Next week's meeting will be attended by a host of experts specializing in various aspects of Internet governance,such as freedom of expression on the Net,cybersecurity,multilingualism and connectivity in developing countries. Participants will evaluate the progress made at the opening meeting and make suggestions with regard to the preparation of the Rio meeting. The meeting will follow consultations by members of the Forum's Advisory Group,which will gather in Geneva on 12 February to assess their own functioning and to discuss how to move forward in the preparations of the second IGF meeting. The Advisory Group comprises 46 people,representing all regions and all stakeholder groups. Tuesday's meeting will be chaired by the Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Internet Governance,Nitin Desai,who served as his representative in Athens. The Executive Coordinator of the IGF Secretariat,Markus Kummer,will introduce a paper synthesizing all contributions received on the IGF Web site.


From http://www.digitalopportunity.org/ 02/08/2007

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ITU TELECOM Forum Explores Digital Society

Hong Kong,6 December 2006 - From disaster prevention and relief to healthcare or remote education the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in today's society is becoming increasingly important. At the same time,the technologies and applications themselves are becoming ever more innovative. But just how much do ICTs really transform our society? And what kind of role do governments and regulators need to play to ensure that the reach of ICTs is extended,for the benefit of all? Join a high-level set of speakers,moderators and panelists at the Digital Society domain of the ITU TELECOM Forum to look for answers to these and other key questions,and help set down the foundations for the digital world's future. The Society domain is one of three of the ITU TELECOM Forum domains,each designed to enable a closer look at a different aspect of our Digital World. The other domains look at Digital Lifestyles and Digital Ecosystems. Keynote speakers in the Digital Society domain encompass top-level representatives of regulators and policy makers,as well as leading ICT industry players,guaranteeing a debate that is both broad-based as well as constructive.

Top-level regulator and government representatives speaking include: H.E. Boris Antonyuk,Deputy Minister for Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian Federation; Mohamed Amir,Chief Executive,Telecommunications Authority of Maldives,Maldives; H.E Sofyan Djalil,Minister,Ministry of Communication and Information Technology,Indonesia; Michel Feneyrol,Commissioner,ARCEP,France; H.E.Seri Lim Keng Yaik,Minister,Ministry of Energy,Water and Communications,Malaysia; Nripendra Misra,Chairman,Telecom Regulatory Authority,India; Keng Thai Leong,Director General,Telecoms,Infocomm Development Authority,Singapore; Major-General Malik Shazada Alam,Chairman,Pakistan Telecommunications Authority,Pakistan. Neil McGowan,Executive Vice-President,VeriSign Communications Services - International,VeriSign; Zhengmao Li,Vice President,China Unicom; Papi Molotsane,Chief Executive Officer,Telkom SA; Katsumasa Shinozuka,President and CEO,OKI; Joe Wright,Chairman of the Board,Intelsat; Michael Zafirovski,President & CEO,Nortel; Shimmy Zimels,President,CEO and Director,Deltathree.

"Every community has shared norms and values,and in some cases laws and regulations,that are in place to make its inhabitants feel happy and safe. Just like any neighbourhood,our shared Digital Society needs to be based on a common understanding and consensus on what is fair,what is right and what is wrong. But,in the case of ICTs,it is not always the most vocal members of the community that express the mainstream view" says Tim Kelly,Head of the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit. "New issues are emerging all the time,for instance over the rise of spam and phishing,theft of digital identity,cyberaddiction,or the regulation of online gambling,on which governments and regulators need to take a position. The Digital Society sessions at the Forum will help to pinpoint ways in which we can create help to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs,so that we can all be citizens of the Digital Society."


From http://www.itu.int/ 12/06/2006

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The First International Conference on ICT Solutions for Socio- Economic Development

The first International Conference on ICT Solutions for Socio- Economic Development "ISED - 2007" will be hosted by ICT research and Training Centre,CDAC,Bangalore,India,Feb. 12-13,2007. This is a step towards bringing global recognition for the role of ICT for development interventional programmes. This two-day conference will be preceded by Tutorial sessions,and followed by Exhibitions and Poster sessions along with the main conference event. The outcome of the Conference would be to: a) Address the social,economic and technical issues in development of ICT solutions; b) Address the ICT challenges faced in developing economies; c) Establish rational strategies at the national and international levels; d) Determine the parameters that count for the success; e) Identify successful models and explore their replication; f) Serve as a platform for Researchers,Practioners and Actual Users.


From http://www.cdacbangalore.in/ 01/06/2007

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eHealth Asia 2007

Location: Putrajaya,Malaysia; Date: 6 - 8 February 2007; Organised by : CSDMS; Email: info@csdms.in. There is a significant action,which is taking place in the sphere of e-Health globally by leaders in health care and hi-tech industries to fully harness the benefits available through convergence of the Internet and health care. In fact,e-Health is today's tool for substantial productivity gains,while providing tomorrow's instrument for restructured,citizen-centred health care. There are many examples of successful e-Health developments taking place in Asia including health information networks,electronic health records,telemedicine services,wearable and portable monitoring systems,and health portals. There is a lot more which can be done in the health sector for providing better health care and services,especially for the poor communities. eHealth Asia 2007 aims to provide a platform to discuss the recent trends and emerging issues in the development of Information & Communication science and technology and its integration in healthcare systems.


From http://www.ehealthonline.org/ 01/11/2007

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Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries

The Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries was held on 5-6 December in Bangalore,India. Jataayu Software hosted. Participants discussed mobile Web access within developing countries in terms of needs,blocking factors and potential uses. "We must ensure that the Web is designed to meet the needs of sparser populations and of those whose only access to the Web may be on their phone," said Tim Berners-Lee (W3C). Read the press release,about W3C Workshops and about the Mobile Web Initiative.


From http://www.w3.org/ 12/08/2006

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CHINA: Telecom World 2006 Opens in Hong Kong,China's Top Legislator Delivers Speech

China's top legislator Wu Bangguo said here Sunday that China will stick to the basic state policy of opening up and continue to enhance cooperation with all countries in the sector of information and communication technology (ICT) in the principle of equality and mutual benefits. Wu,chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee,made the remarks when delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the World Telecom 2006 of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). On behalf of the Chinese government,he extended congratulations to Telecom World 2006 and welcome to all participants of the event. Wu also thanked the ITU for selecting Chinese Hong Kong as the venue for the exposition. He said that in the process of reform and opening up,China's ICT industry has realized leap-forward development and has become a pillar industry and pioneering industry of the country. "China is now an ICT market with the greatest potential of development in the world," he said.

The Chinese government will continue to push the development of information industry with a development strategy of industrializing the country with information industry as the locomotive and promoting the information industry through industrialization. "China sincerely welcomes enterprises of all countries and regions to invest and jointly tap the Chinese market," he said,adding that China welcomes multinational companies to set up R&D centers to carry out coordinated research and development of technologies and products with Chinese companies. "The Chinese government will protect the legal rights and interests of all foreign investors and their intellectual property rights (IPR) in accordance with laws,and firmly crack down on IPR infringements and copyrights piracy," Wu said. Meanwhile,China encourages its well-established enterprises to "go out" and actively carry out international technological cooperation,he said. Telecom World 2006 is the largest exposition in terms of attendance and exhibition space since the exposition was launched in 1971,and this is also the first time the exposition is staged outside Geneva,the headquarters of ITU.

More than 600 ICT enterprises from over 40 countries and regions attended the exhibition,which covers 60,000 square meters and displays the latest products,services,new technologies and the development trend of the ICT industry. Speakers at the opening ceremony included Yoshio Utsumi,ITU secretary general,Muhamad Yunus,winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2006,and Donald Tsang,chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Hong Kong enjoys exceptional advantages in developing ICT industry,Wu said,citing the local excellent ICT enterprises,its successful experience in business development and management and its world-recognized prestige. He also pointed to Hong Kong's high degree of free and open economy,sound and healthy legal system,its broad links with international markets and many economic talents who are familiar with international practices.

Meanwhile,Hong Kong,adjacent to the Chinese mainland,has forged indispensable,mutually-complemented and win-win cooperative economic links with the motherland,enabling it to tap the vast market on the mainland and get endless momentum for its development,he said. After the opening ceremony,Wu attended the welcoming reception hosted by the HKSAR government. Before the ceremony,he met Utsumiand senior executives of renowned foreign ICT companies for the exposition. In the morning,Wu visited the preview of the exhibition. Present at the opening ceremony included Liao Hui,vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 12/03/2006

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'China Wind'Sweeps ITU Expo

As the largest emerging telecommunication market in the world today and the host country of the so-called "Telecom Olympic" expo,China becomes the focus of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom World 2006. Compared with the previous ITU Telecom Exhibition,the Chinese enterprises participating in this expo is the most extensive in the history. In Hall One where holds many booths of world telecom giants like Ericsson,Microsoft,LG and Samsung,Chinese participants including China Telecom,China Mobile,ZTE,and Huawei occupy over 30 percent of the floor area. Since China has promised to provide 3G services before Olympic 2008 in Beijing,it is widely rumored that 3G licenses will be issued early next year. As the developer of the TD-SCDMA technology,which has been accepted by the ITU and 3GPP as an international standard,Datang Telecom Technology & Industry Group booth attracted most visits. Under the theme of "Connect to the Future",Datang exhibited its TD-SCDMA 3G mobile communication system,SCDMA wireless access system,micro-electronics industry,core exchange network and access network,fully showing its powerful strength in the area. China Netcom exhibits a diversity of broadband applications ranging from informationalizaiton application solutions for SMEs and broadband-based smart home applications to CNCMAX channels and the application of triple play IPTV services.

In its 504-square-meter-booth,China Mobile builds an "information ocean" which conveys the notion that information helps to live in harmony. Its various service and products include mobile music,mobile gaming,MMS post card,intelligent home,corporate mailbox (PM) and animal tracing mark,etc. China Day,the first in the history of ITU's Telecom World exhibition in 34 years,is seen as a climax of exchanges between Chinese telecommunication industry and its counterparts around the world. Elected Secretary General of ITU Hamadoun Toure visited Chinese enterprise booths and watched the exhibition of "Development of China's Telecommunication". He said he was happy that this expo was hosted by China because "China's telecommunication industry has been growing so fast that its mobile phone subscriber number ranks No. 1 in the world." President of SK Telecom,South Korea's largest telecom operator,Shin-Bae Kim,told Xinhua to stage the expo in Hong Kong has significant bearing in the telecom history. "It is the first that ITU has staged its expo in a city other than Geneva,and what's more,in a city near the Chinese mainland. China's telecom is recording a surprisingly rapid development in recent years,which brings a brighter future for cooperation between foreign companies and Chinese companies," he said.

An Ethiopian businessman told Xinhua that he came to this expo just for Chinese products. "We only want to buy Chinese telecom products this time," he said,adding that his company has signed a contract with ZTE for a "considerable volume" of products. According to a report recently released by the U.S.-based Gartner Inc.,emerging markets today account for more than half of the world's total telecom connections and this will grow to 69 percent by 2010. Emerging markets will offer major potential for communication expansion in the future.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/07/2006

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ITU Youth Forum Calls for Equal Information Access

A declaration announced by the Youth Forum of the World Telecom 2006 show called for more joint efforts to annihilate the digital divide in Hong Kong on Friday. The declaration,inked by around 250 young talents from some 150 member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),said the ITU youth fellows envision a world of greater understanding and diversity. It called for a digital world where information and communication technologies (ICT) are distributed more equitably and the opportunities are available for all. The declaration said the digital divide is a consequence of diverse failings across multiple sectors that differ from country to country and region to region. It urged for the setting up of a Fair Trade label with the aim of increasing the incentives for companies to act in more socially responsible ways. It expressed the wish to establish 10 ICT clubs in universities across all continents by January 2008. It also pledged to launch a bi-annual electronic publication by January 2008,for all ICT stakeholders,in particular,governments. The publication will hopefully provide a platform for the young talents'views and ideas covering issues as regulation,entrepreneurship,infrastructure and accessibility,and investment,it said. The Youth Forum was launched on Monday on the sidelines of the ITU Telecom World 2006 show,which concluded on Friday.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/09/2006

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CNNIC and NIDA Jointly Held the First"Naming Services Symposium"

CNNIC and National Internet Development Agency of Korea (NIDA) jointly held the first "Naming Services Symposium" in Xiamen,China from Dec.5 to 8,2006. The two parties deeply discussed over technical issues on ENUM,RFID,Keyword,IPv6,DNS and wireless keyword,from aspects both of current situation and develop trends. CNNIC and NIDA were all satisfied with the achievement they had made on the meeting and planed to collaborate on relevant technology and application fields. The venue and time for the second symposium have been set as well. As registries for country code top level domains,CNNIC (China) and NIDA (Korea) are all responsible for constructing national Internet infrastructures. For the past several years,the two organizations had collaborated well on drafting international standard,carrying out online survey and providing domain name resolution services. Exchanging technical experiences can further benefit mutual understanding and collaboration on Internet-oriented technology researches.


From http://www.cnnic.net.cn/ 12/27/2006

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INDONESIA: High-Tech Management Conference Scheduled

The Bandung Institute of Technology and Universiti Utara Malaysia are holding a two-day international conference on technology and operations management in Bandung starting Friday.State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the conference. The meeting aims to bring together researchers,engineers and others interested in business applications for technology and operations management. The conference,organized by the Bandung university's School of Business and Management is targeted at academics,consultants,students and managers.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 11/30/2006

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Expo to Be Held to Bridge Digital Divide

An international exhibition on information and communications technology (ICT) is to be held in May next year,featuring top global market leaders. Hidayat Tjokrodjojo,vice chairman of the Indonesian Infocom Society,said Tuesday the main objective of the event was to promote awareness among Indonesians and the international community about the country's commitment to developing the ICT sector. "Indonesia's ICT industry has experienced exhilarating growth over the last couple of years,and there's still huge potential for the business to develop. That's why we need a forum to facilitate all stakeholders in building a competitive ICT industry in this digital convergence era," he explained. Scheduled for May 3-5,2007,at the Jakarta Convention Center,the exhibition will focus on information technology,mobile telecommunications,broadband and internet services,integrated solutions and business applications,wireless technologies,3G,and Next Generation Networks (NGN). Indra Putra,chairman of event organizer PT ECMI,said the exhibition would particularly focus on corporate-to-corporate commerce,with an estimated 5,000-8,000 visitors per day from all business sectors,including communications,finance and manufacturing. It event would be supported by the Information and Communications Ministry; the Industry Ministry; the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce; and a number of ICT market leaders,including Alcatel-Lucent,Bakrie,Cisco,Ericsson,Excelcomindo,Hewlett-Packard,IBM,Indosat,Microsoft,Nokia,Qualcomm,Siemens and Telkom. It would also feature a conference on NGN and a summit titled "ICT Indonesia: Bridging the Digital Divide".


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 12/14/2006

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Bali Spirit Promotes Media and Technology for Peace

The three-day Global Peace Forum conference concluded here Tuesday with the issuance of the Spirit of Bali,a strong commitment to build a new mechanism through which media,information technology and emerging means of communication can contribute to enhance mutual understanding among peoples and cultures. The meeting,organized jointly by UNESCO and the Indonesian government in Jimbaran,Bali,discussed ways to optimize the use of conventional and new high-tech forms of communication. Those include the Internet,cell phones and satellites. Participants said these tools could be used to narrow the wide disparities that led to conflicts,including the increasing religious,social and ethnic tensions in many parts of the world. "Today,we find ourselves in the fortunate position of being able to carry out communications and dialogue on a global basis more efficiently than ever before," Abdul Waheed Khan said during the closing of the meeting. New information and communication technology provide possibilities for global access and participation that the conventional and mainstream media cannot afford. While in the past the notion of media convergence was an abstraction pushed by communication theorists and technological innovators,now people all over the world are sending their own version of news via short message service (SMS),videos on their cell phones,the internet and other devices.

The World Wide Web has vaporized national perimeters of media flow,bringing content from anywhere in the world to anyone with an internet connection. The availability of broadband has spawned platforms such as YouTube,My Space and other leading-edge websites that are constantly developing to keep pace with audience trends. "We have the means,motive and opportunity to be everywhere at once," said Khan,adding that these abilities can foster democracy,transparency and a strong civil society for the betterment of the world's people. The meeting,involving 100 participants from 34 countries,proposed the establishment of a steering committee to explore the possibility of building the Power of Peace Network,connecting all member countries through communication. Arief Rachman,Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO,explained that the recommendations are not legally binding for the member countries. "UNESCO has the ability to establish standards. Each member country should follow up with enforcing actions such as creating laws and infrastructures," Arief said. In the case of Indonesia,he said the government had a lot of homework to do to provide an adequate communications infrastructure for its 230 million people,so that they can catch up with the rapid developments in economics,science,technology and other fields. State Minister of Communications and Information Sofyan Djalil recently acknowledged that Indonesia still lags behind other countries.

Data from the Indonesian Internet Business Community is not encouraging. Compared with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region,Indonesia has the lowest growth rate in Internet users,mostly due to a lack of infrastructure. Currently,only around two million Indonesians,or less than 1 percent of the total population,use the Internet. Malaysia and Singapore are at 20 percent to 30 percent. In addition to inadequate infrastructure,low buying power also affects people's access to computers and the internet. Currently there are only 5 personal computers (PCs) per 100 households in urban areas here. In rural areas,a rate of 1 per 100 per households is still an elusive dream. Arwin Rasyid,president of PT Telkom,the state-owned telecommunication and internet provider,previously said that building telecommunication infrastructures is expensive and difficult in an archipelago such as Indonesia.

"It would require an investment of billions of US dollars to get everybody equal access to telecommunication facilities," he said. There are only 20 million telephone land-line users in Indonesia,while there are more than 60 million with cell phones. "Connecting to the Internet is still quite expensive at Rp 165 per minute," Rasyid added. PT Telkom is presently building new networks and infrastructures in several remote areas across the country. The company has been launching a number of programs,such as Internet Goes 2 Campus and School and Internet Goes 2 Villages to boost the number of internet users in the country. "The programs involve 2.2 million school and university students,while by the year 2020,we hope to reach 6,060 villages through our rural internet program," he said. Despite his optimism,the road to equal communication access in Indonesia is still long,and putting UNESCO's Spirit of Bali recommendations into action will be a significant challenge.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 01/24/2007

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PHILIPPINES: Global Sourcing Exec to Speak at E-Services 2007

Agoncillo-Reyes is concurrently executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM),DTI's export promotions arm. CITEM annually organizes ESP,which has developed into a major regional outsourcing event for providers of business process outsourcing (BPO) services since its inception seven years ago. "We are committed to providing a conference that is substantial and responsive to current industry trends,as we've consistently done for the past six years," Agoncillo-Reyes explained. "Over the past year,we have seen serious players in India and the Philippines moving up the value chain to establish niches in the high-value outsourcing landscape. In response to this trend,this year's e-Services will focus on knowledge process outsourcing (KPO). We intend to make ESP 2007 the region's primary resource on KPO," Agoncillo-Reyes said. CITEM has invited a slate of internationally respected speakers such as Schonenbach to speak at the CEO Forum on the first day of ESP 2007. Schonenbach is also known for his work in the financial services industry. He has worked extensively with high-level executives in multinational firms to help them improve service management and delivery. Schonenbach is a sought-after speaker and author of several publications. At ESP 2007,Schonenbach will share his insights on how focus can help organizations seamlessly transition from low-end to higher-end processes. His session is titled "Survival of the Focused: Raising the Bar towards KPO." He will explore trends that point to KPO as "the next big thing" in global sourcing,as well as its effects on the global outsourcing landscape,particularly in Asia.


From http://www.mb.com.ph 01/06/2006

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23rd Asia Pacific Advanced Network Conference Set Jan. 22-26 in Manila

The APAN conference is a biannual meeting held among APAN member countries. The five-day event highlights tutorials,oral presentations,and demonstrations covering topics on advanced network technologies and applications. Local participants are given the opportunity to interact with researchers and practitioners from member-countries. APAN,a non-profit international consortium,was established on June 3,1997 at the APII Test-bed Forum in Seoul,Korea. But the initial concept of it was first broached during the APEC Symposium in Tsukuba,Japan in March 1996. APAN is designed to be a high-performance network for research and development on advanced next generation applications and services. It provides an advanced networking environment for the research and education community in the Asia-Pacific region,and promotes global collaboration. In furtherance of its objectives,the organization also works closely with interested individuals and organizations to promote the adoption and research of advanced network applications and technologies. In the Manila conference,there will be various sessions covering the use of advanced networking topics in the following tracks: Network Technology,Application Technology,Natural Resource,and e-Collaborations. ASTI is the local organizing committee for the 23rd APAN meeting. Those interested to attend may send e-mail inquiries to apan2007manila@gmail.co or visit the event website at http://www.apan.net/meetings/manila2007/index.html.


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 01/08/2006

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SINGAPORE: iFuture Exhibition Gives Glimpse of Futuristic Technology

If you want to know what the future looks like,all you have to do is take a trip to the Singapore Science Centre. That's what President S R Nathan did,when he opened iFuture - A Touch of Tomorrow. Put together by the Science Centre and the Infocomm Development Authority,iFuture is the largest technology exhibition of the year. Visitors can check out some of the most recent developments in artificial intelligence,simulation and android technology. Visitors will be awed by a mixture of classical automatons,contemporary robotics and futuristic high-tech gadgets. Besides being fast-tracked to the not-so-distant future,an omni-theatre screening will take visitors on an out-of-this-world journey to Roving Mars.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/10/2006

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Singapore's First Infocomm Reality Game Show Launched to Strengthen Talent Attraction Efforts for Infocomm Industry

To boost Singapore's talent pool for the increasingly buoyant infocomm industry,the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA),together with the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and industry players,has collaborated to launch Singapore's first infocomm reality game show called "iWhiz". Part of IDA's Student Infocomm Outreach efforts,iWhiz is the latest in a slew of outreach programmes such as Infocomm Clubs and the National Infocomm Competition,to attract the youth to an infocomm career. Mr Khoong Hock Yun,Assistant Chief Executive,Infrastructure and Manpower Development Group of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said,"As Singapore surges ahead to realise our iN2015 vision to become a globally connected city powered by infocomm,we must ensure that we have an excellent talent pool with the expertise to harness infocomm technologies to gain strategic advantage. iWhiz,Singapore's first infocomm reality game show,will reinforce our talent attraction efforts and further the prospects of infocomm as an exciting and dynamic industry." The iN2015 Masterplan is expected to generate 80,000 new jobs in 2015,out of which 55,000 are infocomm jobs and 25,000 are supporting jobs in the infocomm industry. While Singapore moves ahead with its iN2015 ambition to be an infocomm hub,there is a need to develop globally competitive infocomm professionals,who are both technologists and business strategists to transform key economic sectors and propel Singapore's growth into the future. The youth will be looked upon to be the champions of the next phase of growth in the thriving infocomm industry. In 2006,the infocomm industry revenue is expected to hit the S$40 billion mark for the first time.

The infocomm industry has been growing steadily,registering revenue growth of 6% to 9% growth from 2004 to 2005. iWhiz,mirrored after the National Infocomm Competition launched in June 2006,will span ten 30-minute episodes starting 5 February 2007,8pm on Channel 5,every Monday. Meticulously crafted to challenge budding infocomm talents in various popular and emerging infocomm areas1 such as network & security,software & programming,iWhiz promises to be a reality game show to educate and excite all about the world of infocomm. 12 contestants,aged 15-21 years old,are grouped in three teams of four (For more information on the contestants,please refer to factsheet,Annex A). Over 10 challenges,they will have to pit their wits,creativity and infocomm knowledge to emerge as Singapore's ultimate iWhiz. The losing team will have one member eliminated from each challenge. Shouldering the responsibility to determine the results in each episode will be three resident judges from the public and private sectors. The chief judge is Mr Lee Kwok Cheong,better known as KC Lee,an IT veteran with vast experience in the infocomm industry,who will be represented as Chairman of the Infocomm Manpower Council. He is accompanied by Mr Andrew Sansom,Vice President of Singapore Computer Society and Mr Colin Png,Director,Business and Marketing Organisation from Microsoft Singapore. (For more details on the judges,please refer to factsheet,Annex B). In each episode,they will also be joined by guest judges from the IHLs who will provide the necessary subject expertise for each challenge.

"MediaCorp TV,Channel 5 is proud to telecast iWhiz,Singapore's first local reality show that champions excellence in infocomm amongst youth. We are confident that viewers will be entertained by this unique reality format and learn more about the dynamic and exciting infocomm industry." said Ms Selena Ho,Vice President,Network Programming and Promotions,Channel 5. Hosting iWhiz will be TV artistes,Julian Hee and Tracy Tan. Both artistes are young,bubbly and infocomm savvy. They have been picked for their ability to relate to the young. Singapore's ultimate iWhiz will stand to win an all-expenses one-week paid trip to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond,USA. They will meet with key Microsoft executives and researchers; tour the Microsoft Home of the Future,Microsoft Centre for Information Worker and the Microsoft Museum. "iWhiz's unique and fun format will help to prepare the next generation of infocomm leaders in Singapore and excite a whole new generation of Singaporeans about the potential,possibilities and promise of information technology." said Colin Png,Director,Business and Marketing Organisation,Microsoft Singapore.


From http://www.ida.gov.sg 01/24/2007

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INDIA: MP Govt. Provides IT Training for Tribal Students

The State Government is planning to provide training on Information Technology (IT) for tribal students of Madhya Pradesh,India. The State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) to launch a three-year project providing training in Information Technology (IT). Unders the project,a special three-year computer training would be provided to the students of Eklavya Model Residential School in Barwani. Students from VI th to VIII th standard will receive the computer training. NIIT would provide 10 computers,trainers,furniture,stationery and generator for the training.


From Daily Pioneer 01/25/2007

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10th National E-Governance Conference in Bhopal,India

Today,a two-day 10th national e-Governance conference has been started in Bhopal,India. The conference will deliberate on various subjects,including community participation in e-Governance and display IT enabled services and e-Governance initiatives of states. The Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will inaugurate the conference. Principal secretaries of different states,IT advisors and representatives of several IT firms are attending the theme of the event,titled 'Enabling government to accelerate transformation'. Central IT ministry,department of administrative reforms and public grievances and the Madhya Pradesh IT department have sponsored for the conference. Union Minister of State Suresh Pachouri would present the national award for excellent efforts to promote e-Governance. It will also feature discussions on subjects including,change in government processes,purchase of hardware and software and setting up of computer kiosks in rural areas. Pachauri will release 'e-Readiness Report 2005'on the occasion.


From Indian Muslims 02/02/2007

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IRAN: Seminar on IT-Based Tourism

The First Seminar on IT Applications in Tourism Industry opened here on Wednesday. According to ISNA,Abdolkarim Shadmehr,secretary of the two-day event,told reporters that the seminar is the first step towards materializing electronic tourism in the country. He further noted that the Information Technology Department of Iran's Cultural Heritage,Handicrafts and Tourism Organization is trying to make best use of information technology in boosting interactions between private and state tourism organizations and drawing up a roadmap for improving its own activities through an IT-based management system. He further noted that the seminar will discuss prospect of creating electronic tour guides,rendering tourism services to visitors via the Internet and boosting Internet-based tourism marketing. Shadmehr said that the seminar has received 30 papers of which 10 have been chosen and will be presented. He said the seminar will also host joint meetings with the Foreign Ministry to discuss the prospects of electronic visas. The official said the organization has made a comprehensive ICT plan covering the three key areas of cultural heritage,tourism and handicrafts sectors.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 01/18/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: UNDP Supports the Second ICT Training Course in the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament

The Second ICT training course for the Members of the Parliament (MPs) organized by the UNDP Project "Enhancing legislative and institutional capacities of the Parliament" in the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament of the Republic of Uzbekistan was completed. The aim of the training course was to enhance ICT skills of the members of the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament. A special ceremony was organized by the Project to award the Parliamentarians with certificates of successful completion. During the training course Parliamentarians have acquired skills to use computer software such as Microsoft XP Professional,Microsoft Office suite and other productivity tools. This knowledge will help to significantly improve the quality of day-to-day work of the MPs,and increase its output. Moreover,the M's have studied the basics of Internet research,which is extremely important to find necessary information in the World Wide Web and,on this ground,to seek and provide better solutions for implementing international standards in the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

These courses have proved not only necessary for the MPs,but also essential for further deepening of reforms in different aspects of social life of the country. Whereas the first training course that took place from March to June contributed to improving law-drafting skills and enhancing knowledge on law-drafting process of the MPs,the second set of ICT sessions can be seen as its logically congruent continuation. This course is also a good example of cooperation between the UNDP projects and national partners. The training course is facilitated by trainers of the UNDP project "Capacity Building for Internet Technologies Development and Promotion in Uzbekistan" that is implemented jointly with the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. The key objective of the project "Enhancement of the legislative and institutional capacities of the Parliament" is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of legislative processes and procedures through modernization of existing and development of new information resources,provision of easier access to legal and other relevant information,capacity building and training of the Parliamentarians and staff,introduction and application of ICT tools,organization of substantive workshops and conferences,and improvement of the library resources.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 01/25/2007

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National Electronic Media Association Holds Media Forum

National Association of Electronic Mass Media (NAESMI) held a media forum in Tashkent to sum up the results of its activities in 2006 and discuss plans for 2007. Set up three years ago,the association provides technical and practical assistance to almost 40 non-state TV and radio stations,as well as cable TV stations across Uzbekistan,UzA reported. In 2006,NAESMI implemented more than 15 projects aimed at supporting media workers,providing equipment to TV and radio channels and journalist training. The association has set up a special information center,which gathers information from the stations all over Uzbekistan and further disseminates it to interested parties. The participants of the media forum in the capital approved the program of activities of NAESMI for 2007.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 02/07/2007

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Second Intl Mini-Technologies Fair to Be Held in Tashkent Early May

Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations,Investments and Trade of Uzbekistan is planning to organise the second international specialised fair of mini-technologies and equipment for the Uzbek agriculture industry players "Agrominitech Expo-2007" in Tashkent early May. According to the administration of Uzexpocenter,the venue for the fair to take place,the participants of the forthcoming exhibition,as it has been the case last year will have the exhibition areas for free and other relevant services ¨C for discounted prices,reported Pravda Vostoka,a local state-owned newspaper. The producers from many countries around the world have also expressed an interest to this prestige international event including Russia,the Ukraine,Germany,China,Israel,Hungary and Italy,the report concluded.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 02/09/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Apprentices Logging On

THE federal government will next week induct the first 60 IT apprentices employed through a program designed to provide an alternative to university as a path to a career in government IT. Special Minister of State Gary Nairn said the apprentices would be inducted on Monday. "They will be going into a variety of government departments," he said. The apprentices were recruited quickly,and the program gave school leavers an alternative to university study,he said. "It demonstrates that you don't have to have a degree in IT. There are many other opportunities." The program,which involves the students studying at the Canberra Institute of Technology,was announced in November. The news comes amid a flurry of activity in IT skills and training. Yesterday industry association CompTIA announced an agreement with training services group Thomson Education Direct to provide membership in CompTIA's IT Pro association and extend a range of discounts to IT Pro members. As part of the agreement,Thomson general manager Malcolm Kinns will join the organisation's board. IT Pro director Edward Mandla said the association had about 5000 members,making it the fastest growing organisation of its type in the country. The association's goal was to expand the pool of IT professionals in Australia,with women and older workers identified as two under-used sources,he said. Meanwhile,IT services group Dimension Data's industry education arm has launched a tailored recruiting and education service for government and corporate customers. Mr Nairn said the recent downturn in enrolments for IT courses at universities had eased,and in some cases turned around.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/30/2007

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Unis Face New Web Challenge

UNIVERSITIES have been warned to adapt to the next generation of online learning or lose ground to cyber-savvy private providers. "Those private providers are going gangbusters because they're flexible," said Ian Macdonald,director of the University of New England's teaching and learning centre. "Universities are going to have to learn very quickly that that's the market and (they need to) learn how to get into that market with their higher quality,accredited courses to compete with those providers or we're going to miss out," he said. A decade after dotcom hype predicted the empty lecture hall Professor Macdonald said student demand for interactive learning was driving online education into its next stage of development. He said the start-up costs of e-learning would be offset by long-term savings as face-to-face teaching declines. Health sciences and languages are among the disciplines leading the way in online education,with La Trobe University taking a close look at the University of Queensland medical model,where web-based programs are doing away with traditional lectures. And a multi-campus pilot in online language teaching,to begin in March,could come up with survival strategies for archeologists and others in the humanities threatened by small enrolments.

But the rise of e-learning will add to the workloads of academics and demand they develop new expertise in online technology,according to Shirley Alexander,deputy vice-chancellor (teaching,learning and equity) at the University of Technology,Sydney. Professor Alexander said universities would have to become more discerning in their use of precious face-to-face teaching time as they worked out how to get the right blend of online and in-person education. "If we're going to be doing face-to-face lectures and providing online versions of them and providing podcasts,it's really significantly adding to academics'workload and I don't think we can afford to do all of those so we need to be rethinking what face-to-face is good for," she said. She said lecturers and students could work face-to-face on small-group problem-solving but there seemed little point in booking a lecture hall to read aloud notes that could be delivered online. Yet most universities had failed to undertake the rigorous research and clear thinking necessary to understand the effective use of e-learning,said Stephen Quinton from Curtin University of Technology's Digital Ecosystems and Business Intelligence Institute. "Apart from a handful of universities in Australia there is no set agenda,no set policy,and no clear understanding as to how e-learning should take place and how it should be designed or delivered," Dr Quinton said.

"(E-learning) is not actually seen as a discipline in its own right. It's seen more as a add-on like distance education." At UNE,strong in distance education,Professor Macdonald said institutions had to recognise that the way students get their education had changed. "Universities are finding fewer people are applying (to enrol) and they're saying: 'where are the students?'(but) they're out there working so they're not accessing us in the traditional way," he said. "We've either got to shift or we're going to die." Students who found universities "too structured and too demanding" could pull together collections of units from private providers,including those in vocational training,TAFE and registered training organisations. Tim Smith,from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training,said up to 15per cent of accredited higher education courses offered by his members were online,and this delivery method was growing. For La Trobe,the Queensland medical model suggested how technology might better serve health science students spread across the five campuses of the Victorian institution. "It's the interaction and the ability to provide equality in learning experience irrespective of campus: they're the things that we're interested in doing - and making our programs accessible for students irrespective of where they live," said Kerry Fitzmaurice,associate dean of teaching and learning for the health science faculty at La Trobe.

In languages,Monash University,the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University will road-test web-based lectures and tutorials for their 20 fourth-year German students,under a project of the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts,Social Sciences and Humanities. "The main reason we're doing this pilot is to find out how it could work for other languages and how it could work possibly for other disciplines,for instance,in archeology or religious studies where you have very small numbers," said Anne Pauwels,dean of UWA's arts faculty and the project's leader. Declining enrolments and shrinking budgets had forced languages into an early embrace with e-learning. Although the video conferencing and web-based programs had saved many faculties,Professor Pauwels warned that face-to-face teaching could not be done away with entirely. "Overall,the language academics do embrace e-learning but what they say over and over again is you cannot actually teach languages without a face-to-face component," she said. "But what is good about the more advanced aspect of e-learning is where they have web chats and where they've got a form of podcasting and they can actually see the other person speaking. Then the impact of not having face-to-face teaching is less dramatic - but that alone is a very costly exercise," she said.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/31/2007

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