Spring 2013 Issue 41

 

Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  ICT Development

 


Contact Us: unpan-ap@sass.org.cn

 

 New Intl Telecom Regulations Treaty Drafted

 Beyond ICT: The Newest Digital Revolution

 Best Broadband Cities in the World

 World Bank Publishes Report on ICT in Africa

 AUSTRALIA: New Cyber Security Policy

 Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry Announces Plans for 2013

 CHINA: Internet Speeds to Be Among Asia's Fastest

 INDIA: Capacity Building for Better E-Governance Leading to Good Governance

 The Philippines Introduces E-payment System in E-procurement

 U.S.: Federal IT Priorities in Obama's Second Term

 

 

 

 New Paper from the Association for Progressive Communications and the Internet Society Connects Internet Protocols and Human Rights
 New Intl Telecom Regulations Treaty Drafted
 Laws to Protect Internet Freedom Required
 AFRICA: Nigeria to Launch $20m ICT Fund
 ASIA: Electronic Arts Should Make a Much Bigger Push
 EUROPE: European Commission Proposes Rules to Make Government Websites Accessible for All
 European Parliament Endorses First Ever Digital Freedom Strategy
 Boosting the European ICT Sector - Turning the Spotlight Towards the Next Generation

 EU Cyber Security Strategy and Directive Announced Today

 Trust and Cooperation Key to EU Cyber Strategy, Says EC

 Denmark: 63 New Public Services to Become Digital by 2015

 Finland’s ICT 2015 Group Publishes Recommendations
 Slovenia: Data Protection Laws
 UK Government Introduces Digital Health Strategy
 NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Future Cities - IT Priorities for Urban Transformation
 Federal IT Priorities in Obama's Second Term

 Cyber Information Sharing Bill Gets New Life in House

 

 

 CHINA: Ready to Enhance Communication
 Laws Urged to Cover Theft of Online Data
 Huge Smart City Plan Covers Shanghai

 Mobile Payments to Be Launched in Taiwan

 2 Zhejiang Cities Launch 4G Service

 JAPAN: University Deploys Cloud to Empower Business Continuity Plan

 Web Use for Campaigns to Be Liberalized

 NFC-Based Guide App Launched in Tokyo

 MONGOLIA: Sky-High ICT Goals

 

 

 PHILIPPINES: Govt Unveils “Smarter Philippines” Programme
 Philippine City to Computerise Land Titles

 The Philippines Launches Prepaid Cards for Easier Loan Disbursement

 The Philippines to Test E-Tax System by July

 SINGAPORE: To Set Up Two Bodies to Manage Personal Data Protection Act

 THAILAND: True Plans to Launch 4G Service in April

 Thailand Launches New Facility for Geoinformatics Development

 Thai Govt Expands Free Wi-Fi Project to the Province

 Thailand Issues 3G Licenses

 Thailand to Implement E-Tax Invoice

 Thailand G-Cloud 2013 Plan Revealed

 Thailand Plans to Integrate CCTVs Nationwide with Analytic Software

 VIETNAM: National Assembly Debates New Law on Electronic Transactions

 Vietnam Launches E-Customs Procedures

 Vietnam to Launch National Credit Information Database

 

 

 BANGLADESH: Work on to Formulate Guidelines for More Media Freedom Inu

 INDIA: IT Among Key Sectors to Offer Jobs in 12th Plan

 Creating World Class IT Infrastructure in India

 Goa’s New IT Policy to Have Thrust on ESDM Sector CM

 SRI LANKA: Apparel Group Takes MillenniumIT Communications Solution

 MALDIVES: To Introduce Passenger Information System

 

 

 AZERBAIJAN: Joining New ITU Regulation

 Broadband Internet Development Project in Azerbaijan to Be Adopted by Month End

 Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry Announces Plans for 2013

 Azerbaijani IT Company Presents Tax Administration Modernization Project in Kyrgyzstan

 Information Kazakhstan 2020 Draft Program Approved

 4G Communication Standard to Be Introduced in Astana and Almaty by End of Year

 TAJIKISTAN: Adopting New Media Legislation

 TURKMENISTAN: Law on Mass Media Comes into Force

 UZBEKISTAN: Special Information Systems to Be Created in Judicial Sphere

 

 

 AUSTRALIA: New Cyber Security Policy

 Cloud Computing Trial to Be Launched in Australia

 Victorian Government Reveals Revamped ICT Strategy

 New Standards Impose Rigorous Process for E-Waste Disposal

 NSW Government - Plan Will Make Sydney ‘Global Magnet’ for ICT Industry

 ITU Stalemate Could Spur National Regulation

 NSW Govt Plan to Make Sydney an ICT Talent Hub

 Govt Acts on Cyber Bullies

 

 

 

 E-Democracy: Isn’t It a Key to Cease Corruption?

 Government-backed Monopoly May Be Needed for Broadband Networks, ITU Says

 AFRICA: Tanzania - Isles Keen on e-Government Implementation

 ASIA: Management World Asia Reveals Innovative New Revenue Generation Through Digital Service Delivery

 EUROPE: Putting Accessibility at the Heart of e-Government

 European Commission Releases Open Data Portal

 Bulgaria: After 13 Years of Preparations, Bulgaria Launches E-government

 German Government Should Make Its Software Available as Open Source, Committee Advises

 German 'Egovernment' Transition Encouraged

 Moldova’s E-Government to Slip

 Russian Opinion: E-Democracy – A Tool or a Toy?

 NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Big Data Pushing Faster, Better Decisions
 U.S.: Wireless Broadband - Ready for Government Work?

 CIO Council Report on Barriers, Gaps, & Opportunities for Government Use of Mobile Technology

 Federal Communications Commission Streamlines and Modernizes International Reporting Requirements

 Transparency - What to Consider Before Releasing Data to the Public

 6 Ways to Optimize Gov-to-Citizen Communication

 USA Utilities Commission Revamps IT System

 More Mobile Devices Will Impact Government IT Operations

 US State Adopts Cloud Collaboration Platform

 

 

 CHINA: Governments Go More Transparent on Web

 E-Government Services Reach More Chinese Cities

 Gov't Staff Credit Cards Widely Adopted

 JAPAN: Institute Upgrades Private Cloud Infrastructure

 SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Devices Crucial for Seoul's E-Govt

 Website on Integrated Information on Dokdo Opens

 MONGOLIA: Gemalto to Help Egovernance Project

 

 

 INDONESIA: Putting Financial Data in the Cloud

 Indonesia to Increase Transparency with an Online Programme

 MALAYSIA: Local Council Launches Online Portal for Ratepayers

 Malaysia Launches Election Monitoring Portal

 Government Call Centre Expanded in Malaysia

 PHILIPPINES: Launching Online Portal for Local Govt Finances

 Philippine Gov't Mulls of Taxing Online Stores

 Philippine Province Adopts E-Accounting System

 The Philippines Improves Emergency Loan Processing System

 The Philippines Introduces E-payment System in E-procurement

 The Philippines Beefs Up Anti-Crime Campaign with E-Gallery

 SINGAPORE: App Provides Real-Time Info on Budget

 VIETNAM: Ministry of Defence Launches e-Portal

 Residents Can Rate Civil Servants Online in Vietnam

 Bank Data Released for Turbulent 2012

 

 

 INDIA: e-Governance 10 Mantras for Success

 Evolving e-Governance Systems

 UP Plans to Roll Out 60 e-Gov Services by 2013

 “E-Governance Has Gained Momentum in the Country”

 Issue of Internet Governance

 Solutions for e-Governance

 Challenges and Opportunities in e-Governance

 e-Governance Initiative of MoUD

 E-Gov Road Map for Varanasi Civic Body Ready

 Panel Submits Report on HR Policy for E-Gov Projects

 Assam’s E-Gov Module Wins Top Award

 Capacity Building for Better E-Governance Leading to Good Governance

 Creating Foundations for Effective e-Governance

 E-Governance Is Reaching the Citizens Directly

 New Technologies for e-Governance

 

 

 AZERBAIJAN: Taxes Ministry Creates Organisation to Deal with Electronic Audit
 E-Service Application for Licensure in the ICT Field Integrated into “E-Government” Portal

 Azerbaijani Communications Ministry Introduces Mobile Platform for E-Government Access

 Newly Established Commission to Consider Online Media Complaints in Azerbaijan

 UZBEKISTAN: To Create ‘E-Government’

 Creation of "Electronic Government" to Be Accelerated in Uzbekistan

 

 

 AUSTRALIA: Tax Regulator Moves to Cloud Services

 Australian Govt Fights Against Internet Governance Changes

 Aust Gov Drives High-Tech Transport Reforms

 Super Fast Broadband and Government Service Delivery

 Queensland Govt Launches Open Data Portal

 Opening Up Government for Citizen Engagement

 Australian Council Launches Town Planning Portal

 NEW ZEALAND: Government Boosts Digital Services

 

 

 

 Global IT Spending to Hit US$3.7 Trillion

 Global Telco Revenues Hit $2trn but Growth Slow

 Global Mobile Ad Revenue to Reach $11.4B in 2013

 AFRICA: Nigeria - Minister Says ICT Contributes 5.7 Percent to GDP in Third Quarter of 2012

 Asia-Pacific PC Market Contracts for First Time in 2012

 EU: EC Launches Consultation on Cross-Border Ecommerce Issues and Needs

 German ICT Exports Up 3.5% in First Nine Months of 2012

 Poland Fastest-Growing e-Commerce Market in EU: Report

 UK IT Sector Missing Out on 280m Worth of R&D Tax Relief

 NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Online Holiday Spending Topped $2.8 Billion - Report

 

 

 CHINA: Smartphones Boost Usage of Mobile Internet

 More Chinese Translating Online: Report

 China Mobile to Develop Own-Brand Smartphones

 Income from Phone Video Clips Set to Soar

 China's Telecom Sector Revenue Rises 9.2%

 Chinese Private Firms May Offer Mobile Services Directly to Users

 E-Commerce Service Sector Expands 83% in 2012
 4G Trials to Continue, Firms See Potential

 Revenue in Online Games Surges 36%

 Taobao Mall Expects Home Appliance Sales to Double

 IT Service Income Set to Expand 15%
 Baidu's Net Surges 36%, Revenue Up 42%
 JAPAN: Consumer Attitudes and Online Retail Dynamics
 SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Advertising Industry Grows Exponentially
 IT Trade Surplus Hits Record in November
 Samsung Becomes World's No. 1 Mobile Phone Maker
 Smartphone Makers Race to Beat Market Saturation

 

 

 VIETNAM: IT Firms Shy Away from PPP Mechanism

 Smart-phone Sales Up 83% as Consumer Interest Grows
 More Ha Noi Enterprises Declare Taxes Online
 VNPT to Pull Plug on Pay Phone Service

 

 

 BANGLADESH: SEC Launches New Market Surveillance Software

 E-commerce Week Begins
 INDIA: CMSS to Roll Out e-Procurement Solution

 NEPAL: Telecom Mobile Service Obstructed Across Country

 

 

 AZERBAIJAN: Mobile Number Portability Service to Be Free in First Mobile Operator’s Network

 Microsoft Azerbaijan, Ataholding Sign Cooperation Agreement

 Non-Cash Payments in Azerbaijan Increase by 18.5 Percent in 2012

 Azerbaijani Company Receives License to Provide E-Insurance

 ICT Sector Revenues Increase by 14 Percent in Azerbaijan in January

 KAZAKHSTAN: Software Market

 Increasing Numbers of Kazakh Residents Prefer Electronic Payments

 TAJIKISTAN: Total Income of Communication Companies Amounts to Over $ 470 Million in 2012

 TURKMENISTAN: First Private Mobile Communications Operator Set Up

 

 

 Western Australia Boosts US$23 Mil GIS Project

 Cost Cutting, Productivity Gains Driving Government ICT Spending

 Australian Consumers Drive Demand for Mobile Apps

 NEW ZEALAND: Christmas Boosts Electronic Card Spending

 Telcommunications Cable Cuts Prices

 

 

 

 UNESCO Calls for Wise Use of ICT in Education

 Evidence Lacking on Mhealth Effectiveness in Poor Countries

 Facebook’s Mobile App Dominated in 2012

 AFRICA: Internet Exchange Project Aims to Keep Traffic Local

 EU: 700.000 Job Openings in the ICT Sector

 Germany: Internet Access Declared a Basic Right

 UK: City of London Gets Free Wi-Fi Access

 UK University Launches App for Distant Learning

 NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Mobile App Simplifies Recycling
 Online Traveller Information Service Launched in Canada

 U.S.: Health IT Bubble Is No Bubble at All

 U.S. Postal Service Continues to Explore Digital Services

 

 

 CHINA: Online Philanthropy More Popular

 Smart TVs Become Smarter but Still Early Days for the Technology

 China's Internet Users Reach 564 Mln

 Shanghai Revs Up Internet Speed with Network Upgrade

 Wi-Fi Service Extended to Some Bus Routes

 JAPAN: Cloud Service for Senior Care Introduced
 Better Info-Sharing to Aid Disabled in Disasters
 SOUTH KOREA: New Mobile Payment System Aims to Replace Wallets
 S. Korean TV Goes All Digital Starting Monday

 Nearly Half of Smartphone Users Have 4G Handsets
 Online Use of Resident Registration No. Restricted from Monday

 

 

 INDONESIA: Jakarta to Launch E-Payment System for Public Transport

 MYANMAR: Telemedicine Service Launched
 MALAYSIA: To Launch Emergency App for People with Disabilities
 Malaysia Determines Suitability of Project Locations with GIS
 Managing Malaysia's Water Utilities with GIS
 PHILIPPINES: To Introduce Personal Controlled Health Data
 The Philippines Releases Pension Payments with E-Banking

 The Philippines Enhances Performance Monitoring with IT

 The Philippines to Deploy Smart Bus Management System

 The Philippines Introduces App for Vocational Education

 SINGAPORE: Wants More Interoperable Health Data - Survey

 Intelligence Software Brought into Classroom

 THAILAND: Schools Pilot E-classroom Project

 Thailand to Launch Disaster Warning App

 Thai Government to Optimise Smart ID to Connect with Farmers

 Thai Traffic Police Engages Motorists Via E-Survey

 

 

 BANGLADESH: Access to ICT to Disabled Stressed

 INDIA: License Goes Online
 Policing Takes a Giant Leap Through CC TNS

 Govt to Set Up 500 Community Radio Stations by 2017

 E-Stamping Introduced in All Delhi District Courts

 

 

 ARMENIA: Artsakh President - IT Development to Start from Primary School Level
 AZERBAIJAN: Minister - Informatization Level of Educational System to Be Satisfactory

 E-Services for Cargo Transportation Introduced in Azerbaijan

 Some 11,000 People Visited Azerbaijani www.b2b.az Portal Services in 2012

 Nearly 90% of Tax Declarations in Azerbaijan Submitted Electronically
 Central E-Library System to Be Implemented in Azerbaijan

 

 

 AUSTRALIA: Gov Launches Mobile App for Health
 Aust Wiki Launches Social Media Kit for Disabled

 Laying the Groundwork for G-cloud in Australia

 Social Media Drives Aust Emergency Management

 Aust Gov Launches Mobile App for Seniors

 Tenders Available Through New App in Australia

 NEW ZEALAND: Broadband Cost 'Too High' - Survey

 Free Service to Ease Skills Shortage

 

 

 

 Research Shows “Dramatic Growth” in Global Cyber Attacks
 ARAB STATES: ITU-IMPACT Establishes First Cybersecurity Innovation Centre for Arab Region

 European Commission Launches Cybercrime Centre

 EU Cybersecurity Plan to Protect Open Internet and Online Freedom and Opportunity

 EU Cybersecurity Agency Warns About Over-reliance on Cloud

 Latvian Web Site at Center of Cyber-Bullying Inquiry

 NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Senate Panel Takes Up Electronic Privacy Issues

 9 Ways Hacktivists Shocked the World in 2012

 GovTech's Top 10 Cybersecurity Stories of 2012

 New Defense Budget Aims to Improve Cybersecurity

 Cyber Threats, and Agency Costs, Expected to Climb in 2013

 Obama Signs Executive Order for Cybersecurity

 Obama’s Cyber Security Plan Lacks Muscle: Experts

 US to Share Cyberthreat Data with Private Sector

 

 

 CHINA: Nearly 100 Telecom Ring Scammers Going to Jail

 China Threatened by Overseas Hackers

 JAPAN: Police to Add Cybercrime to Bounty System

 National Competition Held to Find 'White-Hat' Hackers

 Over 10% Help Hackers by Using Same Info for All Online Accounts

 Survey: 14% of Net Users Use Only 1 Password

 'Cyber-Attack' Strikes Govt Again

 Net Banking Scams Seen on the Rise

 Japan Steps Up Cybercrime Investigation

 SOUTH KOREA: Twitter Hit by Cyber Attack

 Korea’s IT Secures the Safety of Special Olympics

 

 

 INDONESIA: To Improve Government Website Security

 SINGAPORE: Government Amends Law to Deal with Cyber Attacks

 More Cyber Extortion Cases in Singapore Last Year

 THAILAND: To Develop Public Offering System for Securities

 New Law on Cybercrimes to Deal with New Techno

 

 

 BANGLADESH: Forming Tribunal to Try Cyber Criminals

 INDIA: Over 10K Government Email IDs Hit in Cyber Attack

 Securing the Telecom Network

 India Setting Up National Cyber Security Architecture

 PAKISTAN: Transparency to Be Ensured in 3G Licence Auction at Every Cost

 

 

 AZERBAIJAN: Azerspace Satellite to Be Used for Security of Export Energy Routes

 TAJIKISTAN: Internet Providers Told to Unblock 131 Websites

 

 

 AUSTRALIA: Gillard to Announce Cybersecurity Centre

 NEW ZEALAND: Clear Way to Secure Online Identity

 NZ App Users at Risk of Cyber Attacks - Survey

 New Zealand Fights Crime with Smartphones for Police

 

 

 

 Information Economy Report 2012

 Global Internet User Survey 2012

 Beyond ICT: The Newest Digital Revolution

 Local Software Can Spur Development, Says UN Report

 Best Broadband Cities in the World

 Big Data Grows in 2013
 The Public Cloud Arrives in 2013
 Global Internet Connection Speed Up 11%
 ICT in Energy and Utilities: Frost & Sullivan's Top Predictions for 2013

 Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast Projects 13-Fold Growth in Global Mobile Internet Data Traffic from 2012 – 2017

 World Bank Publishes Report on ICT in Africa

 ASIA: IT Recruitment to Slow in 2013

 EUROPE: Estonia Decodes IT Future

 UK G-Cloud Enters Second Phase
 North America: U.S. - 2013 IT Trends Predicted

 2012 Year in Review: Big Data - It’s Really Happening

 10 Smartest Cities in North America

 The Best Open Data Releases of 2012

 10 Transformational Impacts of the Cloud in 2013

 4G, 5G and the Future

 

 

 CHINA: Boost for Mobile Internet Industry
 Report Says 'Smart City' Construction Faces Risks

 100m New 3G Users Seen in 2013
 Internet Speeds to Be Among Asia's Fastest

 JAPAN: “City Innovation” to Take the Stage at Smart City Week 2013 in Yokohama

 'S. Korea, World’s Second-Most Innovative Country'

 

 

 Unlocking the Cloud: Enhancing Efficiency and Accountability

 PHILIPPINES: Pushing Ahead National Worker Database with Local Government

 

 

 INDIA: Enhancing Mobility Through ICT

 AISECT Wins Manthan Award for eFinancial Inclusion

 India Drafts Agenda to Spread IT Literacy

 India’s IT Spend to Go Up by 10.5% in 2013 Gartner

 SRI LANKA: Outsourcing Specialists Join International Grouping

 NEPAL: ICT Conference 2013 Kicks Off

 

 

 AZERBAIJAN: Revenues from ICT Sector May Reach $9 Billion by 2020

 Azerbaijani Communications Ministry Announces Promising Directions in Connection with Announcement of 2013 as Year of ICT

 Over $ 131 mn Allocated to the Development of Broadband Internet in Azerbaijan

 Azerbaijan to Make Considerable ICT Achievements in 2013

 Azerbaijan to Invest in Afghanistan’s ICT Sector

 Revenues of ICT Sector to Grow Fivefold by 2020

 

 

 AUSTRALIA: ICT Integration Underway

 Smartphones Use Doubles in 2012

 NEW ZEALAND: Ranks Midway for Innovation

 

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New Intl Telecom Regulations Treaty Drafted

 

A new global telecommunications treaty was agreed to on 13 December, during the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12) convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for ICT, in Dubai. Attended by nearly 2000 delegates from 193 member states of the ITU, the WCIT-12 was called to review the 24-year-old International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), the current binding treaty to facilitate international interconnection and ensuring efficiency and public usefulness and availability of information and communication services. The new draft of the treaty sets out general principles for ensuring the free flow of information around the world, and includes new provisions emphasising efforts to assist developing countries and the right to freedom of expression over ICT networks, and promote accessibility of ICT technologies for persons with disabilities. The treaty also contains a resolution to create a single global number for access to emergency services, and new text mandating greater transparency in the prices set for mobile roaming. In a statement released at the end of the conference, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, said, “This treaty contains many gains and achievements including increased transparency in international mobile roaming charges and competition, an extremely important win for consumers.” “Information and communication technologies can now play a greater role in driving sustainable development, in particular with new Articles that provide recommendations for dealing with the growing scourge of e-waste and promoting greater energy efficiency.” The treaty, however, has only been signed by 89 nations. Disagreement over provisions granting governments greater control over the internet led to 55 countries either refusing to sign or reserving the right to sign later. USA, UK, Australia and Canada are among the nations refusing to sign. Opponents object to proposals which would give governments greater powers to control international phone calls and data traffic. Several states also maintain that attempts in the treaty to control spam email can be used by governments to censor content in the name of attacking spam. The regulations of the new treaty will come into force in January 2015.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/28/2012

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Beyond ICT: The Newest Digital Revolution

 

The history of human social development is, to some extent, the history of human scientific and technological progress. Humanity achieves scientific and technological progress by pushing its physical and mental limits and breaking away from the restrictions of time and space. This has been true in times both ancient and modern. Our ancestors built beacon towers and invented the wheel, while we have ubiquitous Internet connection and vehicles capable of reaching outer space. In the course of our scientific and technological development, two epoch-making inventions have been the steam engine and the computer. The steam engine ushered in the industrial age by providing far more power than what manual labor and beasts of burden could generate. The computer brought us into the information age through data processing capabilities that far outperform the human brain. The past century has witnessed several waves of progress made possible by information technologies, including those used for communications (telegraphy, telephony, and broadcasting), home entertainment (radio, TV), computing, and the Internet. Information technologies drive economic growth worldwide and reshape the way people live and work. At present, we are evolving from a "society on wheels" to a "society on the network." However, information systems are still regarded as aid tools and support systems, keeping the digital and physical worlds somewhat parallel and compartmentalized. Now, as the digital and physical worlds begin to merge, the development of the Internet of Things has proven to be an effective catalyst of information-based developments and is sure to bring groundbreaking changes to all of humanity. Beyond information and communications, the increasing integration of the digital and physical worlds will lead to a new digital revolution. British philosopher Karl R. Popper divides human society into three parts: the physical world, the mental/psychological world, and the world of products of the human mind (also known as the world of objective knowledge). In the future, the physical world will be married with the digital world to form a new world. This integration will bring tremendous changes to the way we live and work, the way businesses operate, and the way society functions — a new age of digital citizens, digital enterprises, and digital society.

 

•Heavy reliance on networks will usher in an age of digital citizenry. Nowadays, the ways in which people communicate, acquire information, study, have fun, shop, make friends, and pair-bond are quite different from what we saw just two decades ago. People not only have more means to stay connected and obtain information, but have exceeded the constraints of their physical location or time zone. With the developments in this short time span, rather than waiting days or even months for letters to arrive, people now contact others in real time via email, instant messaging, and social networking. Likewise, people can read the news online anytime, anywhere, rather than clinging to their TVs or radios. Wikipedia and other interactive platforms allow people to easily find answers to their questions, without having to wade through voluminous encyclopedias or wait for office hour-working librarians. Internet users exceeded 2.4 billion in 2012, over 34% of the world's population, with this figure growing roughly 8% each year. There are also as many as 1.1 billion smartphone subscribers right now, an increase of 42% over 2011. However, this is just the beginning. As digital lifestyles are adopted, digital citizenry will shape the behaviors of next-gen consumers, changing the way people live, and shaking up numerous industries. For example, traditional video sales and rental stores are disappearing, and the 244-year old Encyclopedia Britannica is no longer printed. It is very likely that in the next few decades, children will ask why the word newspaper contains the word paper in much the same way as our children today ask why the media is still referred to as the press.

 

•The age of digital business is drawing near, as seen by our commercial dependence on networks for production and operations. Network developments have significant influence on business activities. Which business today can even continue to operate if its network fails? E-commerce is booming and extending its reach into every consumer buying decision, whether involving digital content (e-books and digital music), cars, or home appliances, or even small items like snacks and slippers. In 2012 alone, electronic retail sales worldwide totaled $1.1 trillion. Information technologies will be further applied to enterprise production and operations. Rather than being tools or support components, ICT will become integral to production, decision-making, customer relationship management, service provisioning, marketing, and logistics. ICT will be employed in the building of end-to-end systems that work in real time, playing a role in each and every link, from idea generation to product conceptualization to precision marketing to efficient operations to on-time delivery. In other words, digitization will become a key characteristic of the future enterprise. A borderless internet gives rise to a digital society. Thanks to the boundary-free nature of the Internet, a large number of borderless virtual communities and societies have come into being. A plethora of these communities will combine to form a digital society that transcends borders, cultures, and races. Facebook is home to over one billion users (or netizens), making it the third largest "citizenry" in the world. This type of digital society, which mirrors while extending beyond the physical world, will undoubtedly impact many aspects of social administration and transformation, including politics, economy, law, culture, news & media, security, and ethics, among others. As a communications tool and support system, information technologies have significantly changed the way in which people live and work over the past few decades. They also spawn new economies and industries while reshuffling traditional ones. No doubt, the increasing integration of the physical and digital worlds will have a more tremendous impact on society. Such integration will direct ICT development in a way that can better serve society. Smart infrastructure presents opportunities for further ICT development. Technologically-speaking, ICT innovations mainly fall into five groups: mobility, broadband interconnectivity, social networking, cloud computing, and big data processing. The objective of these innovations is to transform the physical world into a smart world underpinned by smart ICT infrastructure, making the latter key to advancing information-based development.

 

•From big data to "big” wisdom, the IT systems of carriers and enterprises are evolving from post-processing support systems to real-time business systems. This transition marks a fundamental change in how IT functions. We are living in what may be the “big bang” of information. In 2012, up to 2.4 zettabytes of data (that’s 2.4 billion terabytes) was generated globally; it would take as many as three trillion DVDs to store all this data. By 2020, the amount of data generated is expected to grow fourteen-fold. This data will have two major sources. The first is from the huge amount of transactions between enterprises and between enterprises and consumers. The second is from countless interactions on the Internet, social networks, enterprise service networks, and the Internet of Things. Social networking will be particularly pervasive; it will be emblematic of all applications, not just for social networking utilities like Facebook. Typically, big data has four characteristics: variety, volume, velocity, and value. Velocity and value are most important. By combining the analytical capabilities of the human brain to determine behavioral patterns and the data processing capabilities of computers, we can quickly analyze big data and leverage digital assets to develop valuable diagrams that show relationships, intentions, consumption patterns, interests, and mobility. From big data to "big" wisdom, IT systems will be capable of understanding not only the present preferences of customers but also their future tendencies. This will make social administration, corporate decision-making, and individual lifestyles smarter and more logical. Therefore, IT systems for both enterprises and carriers shall no longer function as post-processing support systems. Rather, they will become real-time business systems that facilitate business operations, a transition that marks a fundamental change in IT.

 

•As traditional IT enterprise architecture is no longer capable of processing the huge volumes of data being encountered, an Internet-oriented cloud computing architecture is needed. The rebuilding of data centers will prove the basis of supporting big data. Over the past two decades, most enterprises have applied client-server architecture for their IT. Although these systems were constantly upgraded, their technical architecture was not, making each upgrade repetitive and not transformative. With client-server, the server primarily stores small volumes of enterprise transaction data, leaving most data scattered across employee PCs (clients). As Internet technologies have continued to develop, data has begun its migration from the PC to the cloud, causing a sharp spike in data volume for the latter. The need to store such vast volumes is exactly what is driving innovations in computing and storage architectures, and giving rise to the emergence of cloud computing architectures that feature virtualization, parallel computing, distributed storage, and automation, making for a dramatic change over the traditional architectures. In fact, this new push is considered the third major wave of IT transformation after those related to the mainframe and client/server architecture. Presently, traditional enterprise IT architectures are no longer capable of processing the voluminous amounts of data that they take in. To answer this need, an internet-oriented cloud computing architecture is required. This architecture will form the basis of both big data and "big" wisdom.

 

•Low-bandwidth networks are hindering information-based development and user experience improvement. A ubiquitous Gigabit network is a prerequisite for any digital society. To lay the foundation for a Terabit-network society, next-gen research is needed. As public and private clouds develop, the amount of data they carry is sure to mushroom, as the analysis of data is more effective when its storage is centralized. To drive this migration, ubiquitous networking with greater bandwidth is required to support data upload and data usage. Ubiquitous broadband makes cloud computing accessible. Devices across the entire industry chain, including content creation devices (video cameras), cloud computing devices that process information, and terminals where information is generated and consumed (PCs, tablets, etc.) all now support high-definition video, even smartphones that cost only $150. However, the global network, which has an average bandwidth of only 3.1Mbps, is still unable to support high-definition video, leading to the aforementioned hindrances to user experience. Therefore, we must accelerate the construction of Gigabit networks to enable seamless ultra-broadband access, the basis for building a digital society. We must also intensify our research into and innovation efforts for technologies such as next-generation mobile access, next-generation digital subscriber line (DSL) access, passive optical network (PON) access, next-generation Internet, and all-optical networking (AON). This focus on future networks will lay a solid foundation for building a Terabit-network society.

 

•To support evolution from a "hard" pipe to a "soft" pipe, we should develop programmable, scalable, application-agile, automatic, and open intelligent networks. Software-defined networking (SDN) will lead to the development of next-gen network architectures. Technologies are enablers of network development. In the past two decades, driven by advancements of technologies from time-division multiplexing (TDM) towards all-IP, networks have undergone three different revolutions: analog to digital, fixed to mobile, and narrowband to broadband. At present, All-IP networks are undeniably the mainstay for telco and enterprise networks. However, as networks grow, with information flowing in and out in uncertain directions and technologies being upgraded rapidly, it is important that networks be flexible, intelligent, scalable, and automated. Equally important is a change in how we think about network architectural design. The core concepts for cloud computing development, such as virtualization, software decoupling from hardware, centralized resource pool scheduling, automatic deployment, high scalability, and on-demand service provisioning, provide valuable references for network development. Introduction of these concepts into the design of network architectures and products can form the concepts of SDN, including forwarding and control element separation (FORces) to centralize network control and resource scheduling, software decoupling from hardware to virtualize network functions, network function development of cloud-based architecture to realize automatic deployment and high scalability, and application-aware network development to improve network capabilities, among others. By adopting these concepts, we can lead the developments of next-generation product architectures and network architectures, establish an intelligent application-aware network that can intelligently schedule traffic, improve user experience and network utilization, support traffic-based operations, and generate new revenue streams.

 

•Intelligent terminals will not just be tools for communications; they will become extensions of our own senses. Terminals of the future will be context-aware and have intelligent sensory capabilities. What makes a terminal intelligent is far more than just its CPUs and operating system - It also relates to its sensory capabilities. By using various sensors (compasses, accelerators, gyroscopes, barometers, global positioning systems, light sensors, microphones, cameras, touch screens, temperature sensors, and infrared instruments), we can extend the human sensory and nervous systems in the form of intelligent terminals,  bringing us one-step away from true brain-machine interaction. These intelligent terminals will be context-aware, and able to both sense and predict behavior through features such as auto-completion. By combining cloud-based big data analysis capabilities with context-aware terminals, we can provide personalized and intelligent services that realize true human-machine interaction, enabling a dramatic improvement in the user experience. To respond to the ICT transformation being driven by the integration of the physical world and digital worlds, Huawei has developed a pipe strategy that covers cloud-based data center infrastructure (used for information storage and processing), infrastructure networks (used for information transmission and delivery), and intelligent terminals (used for information creation and consumption). Huawei has also set up its 2012 Laboratories, dedicated to researching next-generation technologies, while developing a SoftCOM (Software Defined Network + teleCOM) network architecture development strategy.  Huawei will openly partner with industry peers to raise information society to a new level.

From http://www.telecomasia.net/ 01/04/2013

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Best Broadband Cities in the World

 

The latest Net Index city statistics revealed that Hong Kong has the highest average broadband speed, followed by Vilnius in Lithuania and Bucharest in Romania. According to the Net Index website, which uses data from millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, the Hong Kong central district has an average real-world download speed of 46Mbps. This is significantly higher than the global average of 12.64Mbps. The latest Ookla Net Index statistics list the following cities as the top broadband cities in the world.

1.Hong Kong Central District – 45.93Mbps

2.Vilnius, Lithuania – 41.41Mbps

3.Bucharest, Romania – 35.58Mbps

4.Singapore, Singapore – 35.47Mbps

5.Taipei, Taiwan – 34.57Mbps

6.Seoul, South Korea – 34.50Mbps

7.Constanta, Romania – 34.16Mbps

8.Iasi, Romania – 33.95 Mbps

9.Tokyo, Japan – 33.37Mbps

10.Sofia, Bulgaria – 32.83 Mbps

 

In South Africa Edenvale is currently ranked as the area/city with the highest average broadband speed, followed by Midrand and Sandton.

1.Edenvale – 6.73 Mbps

2.Midrand – 5.94 Mbps

3.Sandton – 5.73 Mbps

4.Paarl – 5.19 Mbps

5.Johannesburg – 4.42 Mbps

6.Brits – 4.35 Mbps

7.Worcester – 3.91 Mbps

8.Randburg – 3.54 Mbps

9.Pretoria – 3.43 Mbps

10.Boksburg – 3.42 Mbps

From http://mybroadband.co.za/ 01/14/2013

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World Bank Publishes Report on ICT in Africa

 

Africa is still at the beginning of its growth curve in the use of ICT in key sectors of the economy and now is the time for rigorous evaluation, replication, and scaling up of best practice, according to the eTransform Africa report produced by the World Bank and the African Development Bank with the support of the African Union. The report identifies best practice in the use of ICT in agriculture, climate change adaptation, education, financial services, government services and health. It also highlights the role of ICT in enhancing regional trade and integration. The report includes more than 20 case studies of ICT transformation in action in Africa, as well as a statistical annex presenting data on mobile and broadband access in African countries.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 12/13/2012

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AUSTRALIA: New Cyber Security Policy

 

Earlier today, my colleague Graeme Philipson wrote of the establishment of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to be an amalgam of Defence's Cyber Security Operations Centre, the Attorney-General's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia, ASIO's Cyber Espionage Branch, elements of the AFP's High-Tech Crime Operations capability and all-source assessment analysts from the Australian Crime Commission, according to the Federal Government's much anticipated posture document on the future of Australia's National Security. Showing the extreme importance of cyber security, we find the announcement featured prominently on page 40 of the 44 page document. Accepting that this is the Federal Government's current position on Cyber Security, iTWire asked a number of industry experts for their thoughts. Adam Biviano, Senior Manager, Strategic Products, Trend Micro ANZ was generally in favour, "Trend Micro welcomes the Government's initiative as an important move in the fight against cyber crime.

 

"Law enforcement and governments have always played cat and mouse with criminals. The reality is that while there is money to be made from attacking computer systems, then criminals will never give up." Biviano continued, "Combining the key agencies into a single centre is a sensible approach. "With cyber crime, accurate intelligence is critical for implementing strategies to effectively tackle the problem. Having a centralised strategy to stave off cyber attacks. Combine this with the law making and enforcement capability of government and you have the foundation for a solid security strategy." In a press release, the Australian Computer Society agreed, "Besides The risk to critical infrastructure including banking and finance, emergency services, energy and utilities, food, health care, IT and communications, mass gatherings transportation and water, there is also a significant economic risk arising from cyber crime and terrorism. In our past submissions to the government the ACS have made the case that the best form of defence is for the Government to regulate and control practitioners who lead and manage our nations' ICT based critical infrastructure."

 

AVG's Security Advisor, Michael McKinnon agrees, "The establishment of the Australian Cyber Security Centre is encouraging, and not at all surprising given this follows a worldwide trend at the moment." McKinnon continued, "For example, the European Cybercrime Centre announced earlier this month, and New Zealand also announcing a joint statement with the UK on Cyber security." "As one of the world's largest ICT companies, Huawei is encouraged by the Government's vision to bolster Australia's cyber security defences," said Chairman of Huawei Australia Rear Admiral John Lord AM (Retd). "Huawei stands ready and willing to work with industry and Government to make this vision a reality. Globally, Huawei is already working in partnership with Governments and security agencies in this critical area." Identifying the issues with obtaining suitable staff to populate this new body, ACS CEO Alan Patterson comments: "Elevating the recognition of ICT professional standards and skills within both industry and public spheres is a critical step in the future-proofing of our national cyber security. Without suitably qualified and certifiable practitioners, our ability to counter cyber attacks at any level will be greatly hampered.

 

"The ACS will continue our work with the government, industry and ICT practitioners to further the understanding of cyber security in Australia. Another factor in the equation will be the impact of the NBN" added Biviano. "The combination of huge bandwidth and Australia's increasing reliance on the internet will no doubt be a magnet for organised criminals. The Government needs to ensure that business and society operate in the safest environment possible, or confidence in the connected future will suffer. As globalisation continues to be driven in part through the Internet," muses McKinnon, ”it is encouraging to see these security operation centres being created to foster better sharing of intel and knowledge between nations to stop Cybercriminals." Further, McKinnon adds, "In a perfect world these so-called borderless crimes would be prosecuted by an equally borderless legal system, yet in reality it's evident that different interests and sovereignties around the world make this a virtual impossibility; leaving us with the need to defend our own sovereignty which the ACSC also addresses." In a comment to Graeme Philipson's report, iTWire's good friend and regular commenter 'TachyonRider' asked for my thoughts, "seeing as though we already have the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) (http://www.dsd.gov.au/infosec/csoc.htm) in the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). One would reasonably imagine the CSOC already coordinates effectively with ASIO and the AFP."

 

To address this, I would point out that having a number of organisations all covering the gamut of research, investigations, technical advice and remediation work is somewhat wasteful and broadly, I would agree with the proposal. But (and there's always a but!). My concern is that we are very likely to be pushing a lot of civilian-focussed work into an organisation that must, by its very design be subject to all kinds of military-style security levels and restrictions. Prime Minister Gillard's document tends to dwell more strongly on the Government's requirements in this area to the possible detriment of private industry. And the more DoD-based the organisation becomes, the harder it will be for third-party organisations (equipment and service providers, for instance) to get a seat at the table. Trend Micro's Biviano seems to agree with this assessment, "I would be keen to understand further how the new ACSC will interact with not only other tiers of government but also business. It will be interesting to see what tactical actions the ACSC delivers over the medium to longer term. What interfaces will it create for other tiers of government, and businesses? As there is a wealth of intelligence to be shared, what will be their interaction strategy with the private security industry?" Echoing this emphasis on private industry, AVG's McKinnon adds, "For Business and Enterprise this move should be sending a clear signal that if you haven't already started implementing a Security Programme then you're already behind the curve. It's time to step-up and get serious about defending from cyber attack, and don't rely solely on the Government to do the job for you."

From http://www.itwire.com 01/24/2013

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Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry Announces Plans for 2013

 

As 2013 has been declared the Year of ICT in Azerbaijan, it will be marked by launching Azerspace, the country's first telecommunication satellite, Azerbaijani Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov told media today. He said the satellite has already been delivered to the cosmodrome at Kourou, and its launch is scheduled for February 7. The second major project will start this year and lasts for three years. This will be to develop broadband Internet financed by the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund. The main goal of the project is to bring the indices on broadband connections to the level of developed countries. 2013 will be also marked by the transition to digital broadcasting. Analogue broadcasting will be stopped by late 2013. He stressed that the Ministry's plans are to ensure the e-government's portal is developed as a 'single window' principle. E-services rendered to citizens will be further expanded together with the ASAN Service centre. Abbasov added that the decisions taken in 2012 to create regional innovation zones and industrial parks will be developed in 2013.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/21/2013

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CHINA: Internet Speeds to Be Among Asia's Fastest

 

SHANGHAI currently has the Chinese mainland's fastest Internet speed and it is expected to be among the fastest broadband speeds in Asia by 2015, the country's biggest fixed-line operator China Telecom said yesterday. China Telecom's Shanghai branch, which has 2.6 million household subscribers, plans to double broadband bandwidth to 32 megabytes per second (Mbps) by the end of this year with a new wave of network upgrading operations that is due to start in March. Bandwidth in Shanghai will hit 50 Mbps by 2015, it said. Shanghai is way ahead of the industry regulator's target to upgrade broadband networks in urban regions to 20 megabytes per second by 2015 on the mainland, triggering a total investment of 500 billion yuan (US$79.4 billion) last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. By the end of last year, Shanghai's average broadband bandwidth reached 16 Mbps, the fastest on the mainland. Since 2009, Shanghai's average broadband bandwidth has jumped 6.9 times, Shanghai Telecom said. Shanghai will be among the cities with the fastest Internet in the world by the end of this year, said Wu Dongli, Shanghai Telecom's vice general manager. Hong Kong currently ranks No. 1 in the Asia-Pacific in broadband bandwidth of 44.4 Mbps, followed by Singapore's 39.3 Mbps and Japan's 38 Mbps, according to Net Index. China's broadband market is dominated by China Telecom and China Unicom, which have been criticized as providing "fake broadband" because of low speeds and high prices. Net surfers have complained about broadband speed, with industry watchers questioning the real speed available. In December 2011, Beijing-based Data Center of China Internet said 91 percent of users experienced broadband speeds less than 400 kilobits per second by the third quarter of 2011. The average cost of 1 megabyte per second bandwidth on China's mainland was four times the cost in the US and over 400 times that of Hong Kong.

From http://www.shanghaidaily.com/ 02/23/2013

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INDIA: Capacity Building for Better E-Governance Leading to Good Governance

 

NIELIT has been playing a key role in improving the reach and scope of IT related education in the country. What is your vision for the organisation? There is going to be a vast increase in the scope of work that NIELIT has been doing. NIELIT has been set up to carry out Human Resource Development and related activities in the area of Information, Electronics & Communication Technology (IECT). The organisation has its headquarters in New Delhi. It has branches in 23 cities across India – Agartala, Aizawl, Aurang- abad, Ajmer, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Shimla, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Patna, Gangtok, Itanagar, Imphal, Srinagar/Jammu, Shillong, Kohima/ Chuchuyimlang, Kolkata and Tezpur/Guwahati.

 

The organisation is engaged both in the formal and non formal education in the area of IECT. It also concentrates on developing industry oriented quality education and training. It is establishing standards for becoming the country’s premier institution for examination and certification in the field of IECT. Today NIELIT is a National Examination Body, which accredits institutes/organisations for conducting courses particularly in the non- formal sector of IT Education & Training. Our vision for the organisation is to make NIELIT an institute of national importance in the field of IT, electronics, e-Governance and education. NIELIT can become of a stature that is similar to the IIT or IIM, with the permission and the blessings of the Hon’ble Parliament.

 

At times students face problems as they are unable to access course content in their own language. What steps is NIELIT taking to help such students? NIELIT has developed CCC e-content in all the constitutionally recognised Indian languages except in Santhali. The e-contents of CCC has also been devel- oped in Mizo and Kokborok. The e-contents have been made available on a dedi- cated e-learning portal “http://elearn.doeacc.edu.in” for free access by students. We are in the process of developing e-content for other courses and we are also planning to conduct online examinations. NIELIT is now undertaking projects concerned with capacity building in the field of e-Governance. Tell us about it. As you might know, NIELIT will be undertaking projects to conduct e-Governance training for various cadres of Central and State Government officials with funding support of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. NIELIT  has conducted one workshop for the Cabinet of Bihar. It is also conducting e-Gov Capacity Building for senior officers in Delhi Government. Capacity building in the area of e-Governance is of great importance to the nation, and we are keen to contribute our mite in it. To take this up, our team of senior directors was in NISG (National Institute for Smart Governance), Hyderabad, for five days training in e-Governance project lifecycle. NIELIT centres in different parts of the country have been undertaking Capacity Building for improving the IT literacy and employability of ST & SC candidates.

 

Tell us about the work that you have been doing for NPR. NIELIT is the Nodal Implementing Agency on DeitY (Department of Electroncs and Information Technology) for the data digitisation for the creation of National Population Register (NPR) project of Registrar General of India (RGI). Data digitisation work for UT Chandigarh has been completed on pilot basis in March 2012. In Phase I, the data digitisation work of 25 urban zones have been completed and data digitisation in respect of 19 rural zones are expected to be completed shortly. In Phase II, for 48 rural zones, the contract has been awarded to successful bidders and work is in progress and is expected to be completed by March, 2013.

 

You have been associated with IT Industry for almost 28 years. Before taking over as MD, NIELET, you had been serving as Managing Director, RajCOMP, and Director Technical RajCOMP Info Services Ltd. In that capacity you had been instrumental in executing many IT and e-Governance Projects for the Government of Rajasthan. Tell us about the main issues that you have faced in bringing the benefits of IT to the masses. Every IT project comes with its own set of unique challenges. And when the project is from the field of e-Governance, then the challenges become more complicated, as in such cases we also have to look at governance issues, along with IT. When a project is being implemented, multiple issues related to Vendor Management, Technical Management, Finance Management, HR Management, Legal Management and over and above the Expectation Management come to the fore. It is possible that the expectation of the end-users, the citizens, could be totally different from the expectations of the policy makers.

 

It is a difficult task to bridge the gap between the two sets of expectations. Also there can be mismatch in terms of time, cost and even the vision of any project due to changes in government or administrative setup. While conceiving any e-Governance project, we tend to think that automation will automatically result in e Governance becoming a reality. We tend to forget that the IT component in any e-Governance project is only 10 to 15 percent. The major component is management and implementation of the decision and policy of the government, and that is a much tougher task. At times, the financial considerations make it impossible for us to go for the best possible technology in e-Governance projects, so this too is a challenge. We are unable to hire the most talented experts as they require a higher salary, the government norms restrict the salary that can be paid to the experts. Moreover, when we are implementing e-Governance projects, we think of pilots only and pilot hardly get rolled out because of multiple reasons.

 

“e-Governance projects will not be able to deliver at the ground level unless there is capacity building in a big way.” During the last few years Rajasthan has achieved lot of success in e-Governance implementations. In your opinion what is the most critical factor for the successful execution of e-Governance Projects? The capability of government departments to work as a cohesive team is important. A good team leader and support from the seniors are the key factors for success of e-Governance project. In Rajasthan, I achieved a degree of success in execution of NeGP Projects, after joining as the Managing Director of Rajcomp in June 2009. The projects that I was involved with are the CSC, State Data Centre (SDC), State Wide Area Network (SWAN), e-District, State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG), etc. I have also contributed in the successful launch of the RPSC online. This all had been possible because of kind support that I have received from the Secretary (IT), Shri Sanjay Malhotra, Principal Secretary (IT), Shri Shrimant Pandey. I was also guided by the vision of the leader, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Ashok Gehlot.

 

In your opinion what is the importance of field experience in the success of e-Governance projects? Should the government departments focus on having at least a few people who have the experience of working in the field? e-Gov Projects face major challenges in terms of shortage of experts having knowledge of technology with the IT companies. It also faces challenge in terms of commitment from the top and ownership of the project. It has been observed that those who have driven motorcycle in the field are different from those who know how to drive motorcycle on the blackboard. I am pointing out to the fact that issues being faced in the field are different from those discussed at policy making forums. At planning stage a project might seem very a project is very simple but when it is being implemented in the field, multiple issues related to Vendor Management, Technical Management, Finance Management, HR Management, Legal Management and over and above the Expectation Management starts. So field experience is of utmost importance.

 

You have taken over as the Managing Director of NIELET, a Government of India organisation, engaged in capacity building. What are the main challenges that you are facing in the new assignment? The new challenge is a part and parcel of the assignments I have been executing because unless and until capacity building in the field of IT and e-Governance is undertaken for government employees and citizens, we will not be able to bring the real fruits of IT to our citizens. e-Governance projects will not be able to deliver at the ground level unless there is capacity building in a big way. In my humble opinion, my new assignment is nothing more than a continuation of the activities that I have been part of during my earlier years of service. It provides me with opportunities for using my past experiences of working with actual projects to design new course content and better ways of delivery through IT tools.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/06/2013

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The Philippines Introduces E-payment System in E-procurement

 

The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines, introduced a new e-payment system which seeks to enhance transparency in how the government agencies transact and do business with its suppliers. The PhilGEPS is the central portal of all public procurement activities that provides both government agencies and suppliers a more open, transparent and competitive environment. The new e-payment system allows government agencies to pay for procured items through the PhilGEPS portal at any time of the day. In addition, it reduces the time needed to complete purchasing transaction, which normally involves a tedious process of completing financial documents. According to Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad, the new system will help agencies ensure a quicker and more efficient procurement system, as well as boost the Aquino administration’s overall transparency campaign. “The establishment of the e-Payment system effectively brings us to the realm of cashless transactions, where procurement activities can be tracked and accounted very quickly and accurately,” he said. “The development of this online payment facility is particularly important for liquidating expenses that are charged against public funds. Because every step of the process can now be tracked and monitored, we can begin to close off all avenues for irregularity and, ultimately, establish better accountability across government.” Abad revealed that with the PHILGEPS e-Payment facility, LandBank can now offer similar e-Payment services for other government services, such as license applications with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and clearance applications with the National Bureau of Investigation.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/21/2013

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U.S.: Federal IT Priorities in Obama's Second Term

 

Now that President Obama's second term is under way, the IT community is looking to federal CIO Steven VanRoekel to shed some light on technology policy for the next four years. At a Jan. 22 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, VanRoekel spoke on the topic of "Wasting Information Technology Dollars: How can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy?" According to a report in fedscoop, VanRoekel's testimony represented a continuation of priorities set when he first assumed his position in 2011, following the departure of Vivek Kundra. The top three IT priorities of the Obama administration are to innovate in service of the public good, maximize the return from investment in IT and focus on cybersecurity. “Building on the progress of the last four years, my objective is to balance cost savings with innovation by continuing to cut costs while we invest in technology that securely services the American people,” VanRoekel said. Legislators expressed concern over estimates that nearly half of federal IT dollars are devoted to maintaining "obsolete and deficient IT resources." VanRoekel responded that older systems are actually better insulated from the latest cybersecurity threats, which seem to focus on taking down newer systems. Also among VanRoekel's stated priorities, according to Information Week, is a shift from owning physical IT assets to investing in technology-as-a-service. VanRoekel was joined at the hearing by Government Accountability Office Director for Information Technology Management Issues David Powner and former Congressman Tom Davis, as well as industry representatives from SAP, Brocade, VMWare and Microsoft.

From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/24/2013

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New Paper from the Association for Progressive Communications and the Internet Society Connects Internet Protocols and Human Rights

 

“Like Internet protocols, human rights standards attempt to articulate principles that will apply universally over time, as ideas and conditions evolve,” a new paper argues. Commissioned by the Association for Progressive Communications and the Internet Society, the issue paper released today compares the standards-making processes as well as the principles underlying human rights on the one hand and Internet protocols on the other. The technical and the legal come together in this unusual but useful exploration of the fundamental intents behind Internet protocols and the human rights framework. Co-authors Avri Doria and Joy Liddicoat, respectively protocols specialist and human rights advocate, incorporated valuable contributions by the Internet Society’s Nicolas Seidler and Markus Kummer and dialogue from the Internet Governance Forum 2012. “There are some shared principles between Internet protocols and human rights,” the main authors say in their discussion of this interconnectedness. “They generate continuities and discontinuities which could inform and assist those who seek to defend human rights and to maintain a free and unencumbered Internet.”

 

The main contribution of this paper is the examination of selected Internet protocols and human rights and the discussion around the impacts of the points of convergence and divergence. “We see this discussion as a process,” said Markus Kummer, Vice-President for Public Policy at the Internet Society, insisting that comments in reaction to the paper are welcome. “It is our hope that this discussion will engage human rights activists, policy makers and the Internet technical community in a dialogue about ways that they can collaborate. It is our belief that human rights considerations are part of the DNA of the Internet and that a dialogue between these communities will be beneficial to promote a rights-fostering Internet.” “This opportunity for human rights and technical communities to collaborate shows there is more we can do together to promote and protect both human rights and the Internet,” said Joy Liddicoat. “We are grateful for the Internet Society’s support for this research and look forward to more dialogue in 2013.” The issue paper is part of APC’s Connect Your Rights! project, the aim of which it is to make the links between the internet and human rights. The project is conducted with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). It is also part of the Internet Society’s core mission to promote an open Internet as a necessary foundation for people to exercise some of their key fundamental rights in the online environment, including freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

From http://www.apc.org/ 12/13/2012

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New Intl Telecom Regulations Treaty Drafted

 

A new global telecommunications treaty was agreed to on 13 December, during the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12) convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for ICT, in Dubai. Attended by nearly 2000 delegates from 193 member states of the ITU, the WCIT-12 was called to review the 24-year-old International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), the current binding treaty to facilitate international interconnection and ensuring efficiency and public usefulness and availability of information and communication services. The new draft of the treaty sets out general principles for ensuring the free flow of information around the world, and includes new provisions emphasising efforts to assist developing countries and the right to freedom of expression over ICT networks, and promote accessibility of ICT technologies for persons with disabilities. The treaty also contains a resolution to create a single global number for access to emergency services, and new text mandating greater transparency in the prices set for mobile roaming. In a statement released at the end of the conference, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, said, “This treaty contains many gains and achievements including increased transparency in international mobile roaming charges and competition, an extremely important win for consumers.” “Information and communication technologies can now play a greater role in driving sustainable development, in particular with new Articles that provide recommendations for dealing with the growing scourge of e-waste and promoting greater energy efficiency.” The treaty, however, has only been signed by 89 nations. Disagreement over provisions granting governments greater control over the internet led to 55 countries either refusing to sign or reserving the right to sign later. USA, UK, Australia and Canada are among the nations refusing to sign. Opponents object to proposals which would give governments greater powers to control international phone calls and data traffic. Several states also maintain that attempts in the treaty to control spam email can be used by governments to censor content in the name of attacking spam. The regulations of the new treaty will come into force in January 2015.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/28/2012

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Laws to Protect Internet Freedom Required

 

With social networking site Facebook boasting of 1 billion members globally and micro-blogging site Twitter claiming millions, opinion was divided on whether the freedom of expression was under threat in the digital age. "Censorship of content should be the last resort as curbing a particular content online actually amplifies its spread over the internet," said Sunil Abraham from Centre for Internet and Society. He was speaking at a panel discussion organised by London based Index on Censorship and the Editors Guild of India on the issue at the India International Centre Tuesday evening. "The government has refused to amend Section 66(A) of the IT Act which is used to curb free speech on the net," said Guild chief TN Ninan who moderated the debate. "The law treats digital media differently than the print media," he said. Director of Free Speech Debate, Oxford University, Timothy Garton Ash said, "There was no threat to the freedom of speech as Internet was actually an opportunity for spreading freedom of expression." India with the large number of net users could act as swing state between two extremes of China which is trying to control the net and the US which champions free speech, he said. "The question is what are the legitimate limits of free speech rather than asking for unlimited speech," said Ash. Ajit Balakrishnan, CEO and founder of online portal rediff.com, said "there was a sense of powerlessness among nation states as only local laws applied to any such violations." He said the Internet was not so democratic as it sounded as the actual numbers of users who posted content on Facebook were just 8-9 million while the rest just watched. The same was with Twitter with just 7-8 per cent users actually posting messages. Kirsty Hughes, CEO, Index on Censorship, said "freedom of speech was universal" while noting a "worrying trend that increasingly governments were moving to control the Internet."

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/ 01/16/2013

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AFRICA: Nigeria to Launch $20m ICT Fund

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, has disclosed that the government would soon launch an ICT Innovation Fund that would raise about $20 million for ICT entrepreneurs, to boost growth in the increasingly relevant sector. According to BusinessDay, she made the disclosure on Wednesday at the 18th Nigeria Economic Summit which held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, adding that the fund would be launched in early 2013. The minister also said that ICT which is the fourth largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP, contributed about 5.7 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter of the year. Nigeria’s information and computer technology sector is growing at about 29 percent, on the back of creative businesses and innovation by young Nigerian talents, faster than any other sector of the economy. Johnson said the sector presents the best opportunities for financial empowerment to many young Nigerians who have realised its potentials. “Skills are much easier to acquire by young people and it does not require huge capital, compared with other businesses,” Johnson said, in relation to the attraction to information and computer technology in the country. “India is an example where ICT employs 2.5 million professionals and contributes 6.4 per of GDP, which is about 100 billion dollars for India’’, she furthered. According to Johnson, India which shares several key similarities with Nigeria in terms of demography, GDP per capita, human development index and poverty rate has been able to develop a very strong global world class ICT sector, despite various negative economic indices. The minister stated: “We can also do this in Nigeria despite all the challenges we have.” According to BusinessDay, the country’s ministry of communication is also collaborating with the banking and oil and gas industries to launch its software development initiative, Techlaunch Pad. Johnson said that the initiative, which would be launched on Monday, and would present software developers opportunities in more established businesses and industries.

From http://www.ventures-africa.com/ 12/08/2012

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ASIA: Electronic Arts Should Make a Much Bigger Push

 

Video game consoles like Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's ( MSFT ) X-Box 360 are in the last stages of their product cycles, and this has led to a decline in sales for video game developers like Electronic Arts ( EA ). EA reported a 19% year-on-year decline in packaged goods revenue in its last earnings announcement. This might be attributed to the fact the EA is waiting for the next generation consoles, Playstation 4 and X-Box 720, to develop video games specifically designed for the platforms. Since the product cycle hasn't refreshed after 2005, the company has decreased the number of games released per year from 36 titles in fiscal 2011 to 22 in 2012, and plans to release just 14 titles in 2013. While the number of titles and the subsequent sales might increase with the launch of the next generation consoles, we believe that the company might currently be missing out on a big revenue opportunity in Asia. EA earns just 7% of its net revenues from Asia, a surprising fact, given that Japan alone accounts for 15% of the world's video game sales.

 

How Can Electronic Arts Capitalize on Asia?

According to data compiled by Nintendo, Electronic Arts published the best selling games in Europe and U.S. through the first nine months of 2012, for all platforms. Sports games topped the charts with FIFA 13 for Playstation 3 and X-Box 360 in pole position in Europe, followed by last year's version, FIFA 12 for Playstation 3. In the U.S., Madden NFL 13 was at the top for both major platforms. However, looking at the chart for Japan, not a single title published by Electronic Arts shows up in the top 20. Japan is a region Electronic Arts should work on tapping, especially by promoting its sports-based games like FIFA 13. Soccer is very popular in the country, and Japan's national team won the last continental competition, the AFC cup, in 2011. English and European soccer leagues are also popular in Asia and has a huge fan base due to extensive television coverage and marketing. Also the fact that Electronic Arts has an exclusive licensing agreement with soccer's governing body, FIFA, and other regional bodies like the English Football Association Premier League Limited, give it a big edge over competing titles like Pro Evolution Soccer. Electronic Arts is currently trying to promote FIFA Online in Japan and Korea, particularly through its FIFA Online franchise. The company reported a 9% increase in Asia revenues for the six months ending September, but the overall contribution from the region is still small compared to the contribution from North America and Europe.

 

Electronic Arts could boost revenues by as much as 20%, if it is able to bring Asian revenues to even half the level of North American revenues. Electronic Arts has a gross profit margin close to 60%. However, high research and development costs and selling, general and administrative expenditures lower cash flows. R&D costs are around 30% of revenues for the last four years and SG&A consumed around 25% of the revenues. We expect these figures to remain roughly the same in the coming years. However, gross profit margins might increase due to the fact the Electronic Arts is shifting to an online sales structure. Digital revenues accounted for 33% of Electronic Arts's total net revenues in the September quarter of 2011. In 2012, they accounted for 46%. While the exact margin for digital revenues is not provided by the company, the management has suggested that they offer higher margins, and we agree with this view. Zynga ( ZNGA ), which is entirely focused on digital revenues, has margins around 70% and can be used as a benchmark for Electronic Arts. We expect gross profit margins to approach 70% by the end of our forecast period.

From http://www.nasdaq.com/ 01/10/2013

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EUROPE: European Commission Proposes Rules to Make Government Websites Accessible for All

 

Over 100 million EU citizens would find it easier to use online public services to look for a job, register a car, submit a tax declaration and apply for a passport or driving license thanks to new rules proposed today by the European Commission on the International Day of People with Disability. The Commission's proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites would introduce mandatory EU standardised accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites. Mandatory accessibility would apply to essential government services like social security and health related services, job searches, university applications and issuing of personal documents and certificates. The proposed new rules would also clarify what web accessibility means (technical specs, methodology for assessment, reporting, bottom up testing), and governments would be encouraged to apply the rules across all services, not only the mandatory list.

From http://europa.eu/ 12/03/2012

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European Parliament Endorses First Ever Digital Freedom Strategy

 

With a large majority the European Parliament today adopted the first ever Digital Freedom Strategy in the EU’s foreign policy. Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) and Rapporteur for the report is happy with the broad support. Schaake: “The Parliament unequivocally acknowledges that digital freedoms, like uncensored access to the internet, are fundamental rights which deserve equal protection as traditional human rights. I have set out a number of concrete points of action to be incorporated in the EU’s trade and development policies. New technologies bring huge opportunities, but people can only really enjoy them if we also tackle the threats emerging from the rise of ICTs, for example by authoritarian regimes.”

 

Struggle for human rights

Over the past months Schaake has managed to put the revolutionary impact of the internet and new technologies on societies and our day-to-day lives on the EU’s political agenda. “The struggle for human rights increasingly has a technological side”, Schaake says. “Prisons are populated by dissidents confronted with their own internet and mobile communications.Irancontinues the building of a virtual bunker, which eventually will cut off the Iranians from the World Wide Web through the creation of a ‘Halal Internet’. Plans are presented to make anonymous blogging inChinaillegal andRussiais stepping up the monitoring of online traffic.”

 

Concrete actions

Unrestricted access to an open internet is an important enabler of fundamental rights, an indispensable prerequisite for enjoying universal human rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and for ensuring transparency and accountability in public life. Schaake’s report on A Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy includes many concrete measures. EU’s trade and association agreements, development programs and accession negotiations should be made conditional on respect for digital freedoms. Collected digital evidence, like smart phone pictures and clips of human rights violations should be admissible in court proceedings. Moreover, the EU should stop the export of digital arms: technologies used by authoritarian regimes to track and trace human rights activists, journalists and dissidents. “These kinds of exports toIran and Syria are blocked now”, Schaake says. “But we need rules and regulations that ensure accountability of companies regarding the impact of their products and software, like misuse for human rights violations. We should think about ‘human rights by design’ to prevent or limit future harm.”

 

Credibility

The EU should help build the basic ICT infrastructure in developing counties, and provide wireless tablets to enable (online) education. To be a credible defender and advocate the EU domestically has to maintain high standards of digital freedom. The strategy calls on the EU to codify the principle of net neutrality, like the Netherlands did in 2012. European companies forced by third country government to take down online content, should be able to count on political backing from European authorities like the High Representative for Foreign Policy or the EU’s Trade Commissioner.

 

Global player

The EU should globally take the lead in promoting and protecting digital freedoms, Schaake explains. “EU is the world’s largest trading block, but it is also a community of values. It should use its power and act as a global player. The global and borderless nature of the Internet requires new forms of international cooperation and governance with multiple stakeholders. Technologies should be used to promote transparency and freedom.”

 

Crowd-sourced report

MEP Schaake used an innovative way of writing her report. She posted a discussion paper online on the EU’s digital freedom strategy in its external actions, and invited various stakeholders to provide input through crowd-sourcing. Many internet users, NGO’s, governments and businesses did so. “This is one of the many opportunities of the Internet: bridging the gap between citizens and politics”, says Schaake.

From http://www.marietjeschaake.eu/ 12/13/2012

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Boosting the European ICT Sector - Turning the Spotlight Towards the Next Generation

 

BELGIUM, BRUSSELS - As decision-makers around the world were mulling over the question of how to jumpstart the economy and get back to solid growth, the European Commission quietly published a report containing some rather interesting findings. The clear upshot of its Digital Agenda Scoreboard, released in summer 2012, was that there is enough digital demand to achieve sustainable growth in Europe – yet this potential is undermined by a lack of adequate internet connections, research and skills to keep up with this demand. In December, the Commission followed up on these findings by drawing up a ‘to-do’ list of actions to shape up Europe’s digital sector. Unsurprisingly, cloud computing – which has been hailed as the next big thing in the world of IT for a while now – can be found among these priorities. Among the challenges which are currently preventing Europeans from reaping the full benefits of this trend, there is in my view one key issue which is often ignored in debates on how to build adequate cloud services for Europe: the need to provide faster broadband access to more users. Promising initiatives are underway to make this happen; measures to foster investment in high speed fixed and mobile broadband networks top the Commission’s list of digital priorities for 2013 and 2014. In these troubled economic times, however, calls for investments in ICT all too often fall on deaf ears with national governments, as well as operators, who are reluctant to invest in areas where they might not see a short-term return.

 

I strongly hope that we will see a shift to a longer-term perspective on this issue in the months and years to come. Broadband growth is the key to new services and new jobs, and holds huge potential for contributing to the EU’s economic recovery. At Huawei, we are eager to provide the tools European operators need to drive this process forward. As an ICT industry leader, we are well positioned to provide virtually any kind of equipment for both fixed and mobile networks. While we are at the forefront of efforts to pave the way for next-generation networks, we are also developing solutions to enable existing networks to cope with huge amounts of data. We have established close cooperation with all the top telecom operators and will work to take these efforts further in the future. I believe that our leadership, our expertise and our know-how can be of great assistance to the European industry as well as to the next generation of ICT leaders. I would like to make a few points on cyber security in this context. This issue also ranks high on the Commission’s ‘to-do’ list which sets out the objectives of preventing cross-border cyber incidents and stimulating a larger European market for security and privacy-by-design products. Cyber security is a critical issue which cannot be addressed through a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. As information technologies are constantly evolving, so are cyber risks. We need to look at all stages of the value chain – from component development and purchasing to assembly and placement of the final product – and ensure that adequate checks and balances are in place. This will allow us to manage risks, identify threats and make adaptations where necessary.

 

Overcoming misconceptions that can make us the target of protectionist measures is crucial if we want to contribute efficiently to taking the European ICT sector to the next level. There is one more item on the EU’s digital task list for the following two years which I would like to highlight. Investments are needed not only to build next-generation networks, but also to provide the right set of skills to the next generation of ICT leaders. The Commission calls for the launch of a grand coalition on digital skills and jobs to avoid a shortage of skilled personnel: if no action is taken, an estimated 700 000 ICT jobs could go unfilled by 2015. Huawei has taken a proactive approach to the development of ICT skills in Europe. Since 2011, we have been running an undergraduate work experience programme which gives students from different European countries the opportunity to follow a five-week training course in China. Initially targeting undergraduates in the UK, the programme has progressively been extended to cover France, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy and will be opened to more EU countries in the years to come. About a dozen students per country from diverse academic backgrounds including future engineers as well as budding economists and lawyers receive hands-on experience in Huawei’s Chinese headquarters. This initiative is highly successful on a number of different levels. Returning participants unanimously express amazement at the huge difference between their expectations and the highly rewarding experience abroad. The scheme allows participating students to enhance their skills in their specific fields of expertise, but also to acquire an additional set of professional skills and experiences which are a huge asset in an increasingly globalised, multicultural working environment. This programme is but one example of Huawei’s commitment to boosting the European ICT sector. It is indicative of our commitment to fostering economic growth and creating jobs with a focus on young people. Investing in e-skills is a prerequisite to preserving the European social model, protecting our environment and, ultimately, improving our quality of life.

From http://www.neurope.eu/ 01/21/2013

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EU Cyber Security Strategy and Directive Announced Today

 

The European Commission (EC - the executive arm of the European Union) has finally published its long-awaited European cyber security strategy, and supported it with a Directive ‘concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union’ to ensure that the strategy actually happens. Directives are instructions to the member states on what has to be achieved by legislation, leaving each state to implement the legislation in the manner best suited to their own circumstances. In this way the EC’s new NIS (network information security) Directive is attempting to set a standard minimum level of security across the Union without deterring any state from setting the bar even higher. The three key proposals in the NIS Directive are that each member state must adopt an NIS strategy and implement an NIS competent authority; must create a ‘cooperation mechanism’ to share security information across the Union; and that “operators of critical infrastructures, such as energy, transport, and key providers of information society services (e-commerce platforms, social networks, etc), as well as public administrations [are] to adopt appropriate steps to manage security risks and report serious incidents to the national competent authorities.” The key statement in the last requirement is ‘report serious incidents’, which is a significant advance on the Data Protection Regulation that requires disclosure of the loss of personal data. It is noticeable that initial response from the security industry largely supports the EC initiative, while business itself is more reserved. “Firms are concerned that reporting online attacks and security breaches might damage their reputations,” reports the BBC. But this brings a stinging rebuke from Wieland Alge, VP and general manager EMEA at Barracuda Networks: “Businesses’ protests of trade secrets and data confidentiality are quite unfounded. By focusing on their reputation and stock market value only, they forget that what’s at stake in an attack is the customers’ data. And that means us and our data.”

 

More typical of the industry’s response is that from Symantec’s Ilias Chantzos, senior director of government affairs, EMEA & APJ: “Symantec welcomes the EU’s cyber security strategy and shares a commitment to its broad objectives... it is definitely a step in the right direction.” John Yeo, EMEA director at Trustwave, takes a more reflexive view, calling it a curate’s egg. “The threat of harsher penalties for businesses that fail to protect private individuals’ data will undoubtedly cause companies to take a closer look at the measures they have in place to secure sensitive data.” That is a good thing. But he wonders about the EU’s cost saving claims which state the strategy will “save companies costs of up to 2.3 billion EUR per year and increase EU GDP by 4% by 2020.” He suspects that the larger multinationals will benefit the most (despite the fact that they are the ones objecting the most), but that “the elephant in the room is the impact on the 23 million SMEs within the EU.” He notes that the EC already acknowledges that "the most important individual business constraint reported by SMEs is the compliance with administrative regulations,” and suspects that this will only make things worse for SMEs. What isn’t yet known is how the Directive will be implemented in individual countries, and how many of the 23 million SME’s will be drawn into that third proposal of the Directive. Who will benefit, he asks. “Security companies, lawyers and multinational organizations look set to benefit whilst SMEs will be burdened with more expense in an already strained economic climate.” And the key question and the fundamental drive behind the strategy: will it help consumers feel more confident in sharing their data online? “I very much doubt it,” says John Yeo. “The increased publicity around the data breaches and associated fines likely to arise from the changes could easily lead to desensitization, or the belief that suffering a data breach is inevitable.”

From http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/ 02/07/2013

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Trust and Cooperation Key to EU Cyber Strategy, Says EC

 

The strategy and an accompanying proposal for a Directive on Network and Information Security (NIS) across the European Union is expected to be published today, February 7 2013. At the ISSA London 2013 European conference on February 5, Ann-Sofie Ronnlund the EC’s directorate-general for communication networks, content and technology, told the audience that due to increased cyber threats, the European cyber security strategy is focused on addressing insufficient national preparedness and boosting co-operation across the EU. “We need to work together to counteract the cyber risks and the incidents that are happening cross-border. We need to ensure a safe and resilient digital environment in respect of fundamental rights and EU core values”, Ronnlund said. The EC strategy has three main aims: to prevent and fight cybercrime; to strengthen the security and resilience of networks and information security systems; and to establish a more coherent European cyber security policy.

The proposed legislation on NIS, Ronnlund advised, will:

Improve the security of smart grids and industrial control systems

Fight botnets

Raise awareness

Develop cyber security standards and procurement policies

Encourage research investment

Develop industrial and technical resources at an EU level

 

The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol in The Hague will provide support to “enhance national capabilities to investigate and combat cybercrime”, and encourage the fast implementation of cybercrime directives, Ronnlund said. The cyber defence policy strategy, advised Ronnlund, aims to “Gather national initiatives under one EU umbrella” and encourage dialogue and co-operation between the military and civilian sectors, establishing an international cyberspace policy. Such policy would enshrine basic human rights and EU core values, Ronnlund insisted. A further objective of the proposed NIS directive, she advised, is to strengthen the relationship and cooperation between public and private sector. Trust is essential, said Ronnlund, who also emphasized the importance of “better trust between member states” and “increased trust from consumers in relation to online payments. We need to promote trust in a digital economy”. Finally, Ronnlund referenced the risk management component of the proposed directive, which includes the requirement for data breach disclosures to national data protection authorities. The proposal is to extend data breach disclosure obligation to the energy sector, healthcare, credit providers, transport, and providers of search engines and electronic payment platforms. The obligations to report data breaches will apply only to “significant” incidents from a “societal point of view”, Ronnlund assured the audience. “We need to establish trust between states and end users through increased transparency,” she concluded.

From http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/ 02/07/2013

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Denmark: 63 New Public Services to Become Digital by 2015

 

A new analysis - published in November 2012 - shows that the online communication between citizens and business with the public sector should be doubled by 2015 in order to achieve a digital public sector in Denmark.  In this context, 63 new public services that need to become digital by 2015 have been identified. A consulting firm, in cooperation with the state, municipalities and regions, published an analysis that shows how the objective of the Common Public Digitalisation Strategy can be achieved; their conclusion is that 80 % of all relevant communication between citizens and businesses and the public sector should be digital by the end of 2015. Currently, approximately 40 % of citizens' communications with the public sector takes place via digital channels. Furthermore, a plan was produced from this analysis that identifies which areas citizens should have to use internet services instead of filling in paper forms by 2015. In this plan, 63 services were identified; when these are online, the degree of digitalisation will have been increased to 84 %. In this way, it is now clear which services the public sector should focus on in the coming years in order to meet the strategy's objectives. The transition from paper forms to digital self-services will take place gradually, as a new wave of electronic solutions will be introduced each year until 2015. Changing a public doctor, declaring a bicycle theft, a marriage and an income tax return are just some of the services authorities are working on to make them only available electronically from 2013. In total, it is estimated that the state can save up to DKK900 million (approx. 120 million) per year, when these 63 identified service areas have become digitised. These savings will be made because manual data entry and calling back citizens will no longer be required; moreover, working with better and more user-friendly solutions will contribute towards more efficient services for citizens.

From http://www.epractice.eu/ 12/05/2012

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Finland’s ICT 2015 Group Publishes Recommendations

 

More than 200 experts have contributed to the proposals to support long-term growth in the Finnish ICT industry. Finland’s ICT 2015 working group, established by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy following structural changes in the Nokia cluster, has published its recommendations for the country’s ICT strategy. The report proposes reforms concerning ICT infrastructure, research, funding and working practices that are designed to support long-term growth in the sector. Entitled 21 paths towards a frictionless Finland, the report states that digital services offer opportunities for progress in all sectors, including the public sector. The report proposes a 10-year program designed to make Finland a global leader in the application of ICT.

 

Strategy for ICT sector growth

Major proposals in the report include the construction of a unified national IT architecture which would make it easier to create electronic services across organisational boundaries. The report also calls for a ten-year, EUR 20 million programme for research, development and innovation that would bring together the central players in the industry, such as universities, research centres, companies and investors. A new funding programme worth EUR 25-40 million should provide adequate finance for start-ups and companies in the growth phase. The report also calls for more training in the games, security and big data sectors of the industry, more research in the mobile sector, and the creation of an open data ecosystem.

From http://www.investineu.com/ 01/26/2013

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Slovenia: Data Protection Laws

 

The Constitution of Slovenia guarantees protection of personal data and Slovenia legislature has enacted comprehensive laws in the area of data protection, which accords with the European standards. In light of this constitutional assurance and to gain acceptance as a member of the European Union (“EU”), Slovenia enacted data protection legislation that applies to personal data submitted to or collected within its territory, or where the person collecting personal data is located in Slovenia, or is a Slovenia diplomatic representative abroad. This article provides a brief description of Slovenian Personal Data Protection Act. The Inspectorate for Personal Data Protection (the “Inspectorate”) is a special body within Slovenia’s Ministry of Justice, which enforces the Personal Data Protection Act, 1999 (the “Act”). In addition, Slovenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman (the “Ombudsman”) is charged with the role of protecting personal data. The Act is very comprehensive and was amended in the years 2001, 2002, and later in 2005, to accord with Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 24, 1995, on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. The application of the Act extends to any person, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religious belief, or any other personal circumstance. Personal data processed by individuals exclusively for private use is not protected under the Act. In addition to protecting data from being used unlawfully or in a way that may be harmful to the data subject, the Act also ensures that individuals can access, modify, or delete their personal data at any time. Slovenian law prohibits any type of activity concerning personal data collection and processing not expressly authorized by this Act. Moreover, in Slovenia, public entities may only process personal data that they are legally authorized to process, whereas private entities must receive written consent from the individuals who are the subject of such data.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 12/04/2012

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UK Government Introduces Digital Health Strategy

 

The Department of Health (DH), UK has announced a new digital health strategy to embed advanced tools and techniques throughout its work to facilitate communication, and increase efficiency in engaging with audiences and stakeholders. The DH’s new strategy includes its commitments to improve the development of digital skills needed across the organisation, day-to-day efficiency, and impact of its open policy making. At the same time, the DH will also steward the health and care system towards a ‘health information revolution’. “Going digital means that public services can be more efficient, more transparent and more effective,” said Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary under-secretary of state for health. He added that the government’s digital strategy has a bold and simple ambition: to re-design government services, to place them online and to make them straightforward and convenient. To start with early this year, the DH will pilot a formal project to educate policymakers in the use of digital and adopt a ‘digital first’ approach to all communications activity and evaluation. It will also consider building upon the work already completed including the NHS Choices website and app that have been used by millions on UK citizens in the past year. It will also look to build upon the work already completed, such as the NHS Choices website and app that have been used by millions on UK residents in the past year. “There are many advantages to going digital, both for users and for taxpayers. The most obvious improvement will be making public services easier to use, giving people access to services online, reducing the number of forms they need to fill in, giving people the information they need to help them in their everyday lives.” Dr Poulter pointed out. He added that some technologies – notably telehealth and telecare that empowered patients to be treated at home - are a “powerful way to improve services while significantly reducing costs”. He suggested that this strategy can save as much as £1.8 billion (US$2.9 billion) every year. Making the DH more transparent is as part of an effort to share more information, and being more communicative over the digital space. This comes a years after the government led by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley began ‘Maps and Apps’ programme at the end of 2011. The programme is a campaign to crowdsource the most popular apps for health, allow and encourage general practitioners to initiate apps for patients to manage their own health.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/14/2013

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NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Future Cities - IT Priorities for Urban Transformation

 

City planners and their IT teams are setting big goals -- and facing big challenges -- in the development of tech-enabled "Future Cities," our survey results show. The global population recently passed 7 billion, and more of us are cramming into the world's cities, putting more pressure on municipal infrastructures and services. This changing demographic presents a civic management challenge of unprecedented scope and complexity, one that requires innovative technologies and well-conceived implementations to succeed. I live in the New York metro area, where local officials are rethinking everything from building codes to public transportation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. But we didn't need the storm of the century to tell us that the systems and networks used for municipal operations need our attention. Technologies woven into buildings, highways, rail systems, electricity grids, water treatment plants, school systems and hospitals are in need of upgrade and investment, here and in many other cities across the country. At InformationWeek's parent company, UBM, we refer to these burgeoning population centers, characterized not just by their size but the sophistication of their infrastructures, as "Future Cities." InformationWeek has just completed a survey that reveals much about where U.S. cities are in their IT planning and implementation, which technologies are expected to make the greatest impact and how businesses stand to benefit.

 

InformationWeek's Future Cities Survey, completed in October by 198 municipal IT pros, reveals that most are still in the early stages of these efforts. Only 7% of survey respondents describe their city strategies as progressive and well conceived. More than five times that many, 38%, describe those strategies as poor or nonexistent. Half say their cities are somewhere in-between -- well planned in some areas but not others. As a starting point, metropolitan IT teams are looking to make government run more smoothly. The most-mentioned area of initial focus, cited by 39% of survey respondents, is government operations. That includes the systems and applications used for the business of government, such as 311 and other IT-enabled public services. Other areas of Future Cities activity are public safety and crime prevention (30%), communications infrastructure (28%) and transportation systems (26%). New York City's recently unveiled Domain Awareness System, co-developed with Microsoft and to be marketed to other cities, incorporates aspects of all three areas in a citywide surveillance platform -- to the chagrin of privacy watchdogs. The most sought-after benefits of city IT planning and implementation are more efficient delivery of public services (66%), improved infrastructure (44%) and lower costs (44%). That's the low-hanging fruit. More intriguing is that 36% of respondents to our survey see Future Cities technology investments improving quality of life for citizens. For example, the city of Santa Monica, Calif., has deployed a real-time traffic management system to ease congestion and open and close parking spaces as necessary. Commuters there spend fewer hours staring at brake lights. (We recently recognized Santa Monica as a government innovator for its traffic management initiative.)

 

Which technologies have the greatest potential to improve municipal operations? Mobility and bandwidth top the list of our survey respondents. Mobile devices and apps were rated as having very high or extremely high potential by 71% of respondents, followed closely by broadband networks (70%) and wireless services (62%). Many cities are already taking steps to accommodate smartphone-carrying citizens and visitors. San Francisco has created a device-agnostic framework that it uses to develop mobile apps for city services and information, and New York is converting old payphone booths into touchscreen kiosks that double as Wi-Fi hotspots. Municipal IT pros also see potential in information and automation systems for transportation (63% of survey respondents designated them as having very high or extremely high potential) and in cameras and other public safety devices (58%). Other technologies respondents rated highly are virtualization, water management and conservation systems, energy-efficient buildings, and smart meters and other monitoring devices. The biggest obstacle to moving ahead, by far, is finding the money to pay for it. Cash-strapped local governments don't have the revenue to invest in nice-to-haves like predictive analytics for crime prevention or sensor networks for water management. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents point to limited funding as a top challenge to Future Cities initiatives. Municipal CIOs will have to make a strong business case to get projects funded. Other challenges respondents identified include political leadership (cited by 35%), bureaucracy (34%) and outdated IT infrastructure (27%).

 

Mayors and other city officials need help from the private sector to move ahead. When we asked who should lead Future Cities efforts, the vast majority of respondents (66%) cited public-private collaboration. The most promising areas for working together are improving K-12 education (identified as very important or extremely important by 57%), expanding access to wireless and broadband networks (57%) and ensuring the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure (54%). Businesses have a stake in the outcome of these and other Future Cities projects. The most frequently cited business benefit, mentioned by 69% of survey respondents, is access to improved municipal infrastructure and services. Other potential benefits include lower business costs (cited by 45%) and making companies more competitive (38%). Citizens must be involved as well, and social media is seen as the best way to facilitate their input. While social media ranked dead last in our list of 17 technologies that could improve municipal operations, 60% of respondents say the Web and social media are a prime way for the public to participate in Future Cities activities, and 53% cite crowdsourcing technologies. The high marks given to public-private partnerships and man-on-the-street brainstorming suggest that municipal IT pros understand that Future Cities programs have their best chance at success when all stakeholders are involved. To facilitate that discussion, we launched a new online community, UBM's Future Cities, in October. It's a place where city leaders and planners, business executives and municipal technologists can bounce ideas off one another. For example, the site just posted a conversation with Manny Diaz, president of the U.S. Council of Mayors and the former mayor of Miami, on the ongoing transformation of Miami from a "laughing stock" into a model city. More of those conversations must take place in cities around the world, and I plan to join them. Because there's no place like home -- a place I share with 20 million others, and growing.

From http://www.informationweek.com/ 11/28/2012

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Federal IT Priorities in Obama's Second Term

 

Now that President Obama's second term is under way, the IT community is looking to federal CIO Steven VanRoekel to shed some light on technology policy for the next four years. At a Jan. 22 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, VanRoekel spoke on the topic of "Wasting Information Technology Dollars: How can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy?" According to a report in fedscoop, VanRoekel's testimony represented a continuation of priorities set when he first assumed his position in 2011, following the departure of Vivek Kundra. The top three IT priorities of the Obama administration are to innovate in service of the public good, maximize the return from investment in IT and focus on cybersecurity. “Building on the progress of the last four years, my objective is to balance cost savings with innovation by continuing to cut costs while we invest in technology that securely services the American people,” VanRoekel said. Legislators expressed concern over estimates that nearly half of federal IT dollars are devoted to maintaining "obsolete and deficient IT resources." VanRoekel responded that older systems are actually better insulated from the latest cybersecurity threats, which seem to focus on taking down newer systems. Also among VanRoekel's stated priorities, according to Information Week, is a shift from owning physical IT assets to investing in technology-as-a-service. VanRoekel was joined at the hearing by Government Accountability Office Director for Information Technology Management Issues David Powner and former Congressman Tom Davis, as well as industry representatives from SAP, Brocade, VMWare and Microsoft.

From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/24/2013

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Cyber Information Sharing Bill Gets New Life in House

 

Although last year's efforts to pass cybersecurity legislation in Congress were repeatedly stymied by gridlock, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee say 2013's a whole new ball game. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, respectively, cosponsored one of several cybersecurity bills in the last Congress, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). It cleared the House, but died in the Senate in the midst of a White House veto threat. But Rogers said he and Ruppersberger now have mended fences with the White House. Addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday, Rogers praised the President for issuing an executive order this week to strengthen cybersecurity, a step he said would advance the cause of the legislation. He said it also was a good thing that the President brought up the topic during the State of the Union address. "He also acknowledged we need to pass a bill in Congress, another very good thing. It's a tone change, and we're wildly accepting of that change," he said. "And the executive order, we think, takes a little bit of the pressure off of the Senate's insistence on creating [cybersecurity] rules, regulations and standards for private infrastructure. All of that combined, I think, increases our opportunity to get a cyber information sharing bill that we all believe is important." And Ruppersberger said the Intelligence Committee and the White House now are actively discussing the way forward in Congress — a contrast to the environment surrounding last year's veto threat, which the Maryland Democrat described, at the time, as a "kick to the solar plexus." "We had some issues with the White House last time, and we still don't agree on everything. But what we do agree on is that we're going to work together," he said. "Our intelligence staff and the White House staff are working together now. We had a commitment again today from the White House. They will work with us because they know how serious this is."

 

A more narrowly tailored bill

Rogers and Ruppersberger reintroduced CISPA Wednesday in a form they say is more narrowly tailored and that should solve the previous privacy concerns the White House and civil liberties groups expressed last year. As opposed to the more overarching cybersecurity overhaul the Senate considered in the last Congress, the House Intelligence Committee bill focuses only on information sharing. The government's intelligence community would be ordered to come up with a secure way of sharing classified cyber threat signatures with Internet service providers and other private sector companies. Those companies, in turn, could voluntarily share threat signatures with the government and would receive liability protection from any lawsuits that could otherwise arise from transmitting proprietary data. But Rogers said that protection would not be a blank check to violate customer privacy. Companies, he said, would only be able to send to the government information about bona fide cyber threats, not the actual content of email messages, Facebook posts or tweets. "If this was about content, none of this would work," he said. "We're not worried about content. It has to be about trying to find malicious code that's embedded in an email or whatever, but that's not the content. But in order to doubly make sure agencies are following the law, we've said the inspector general must, every year, do an audit and then report to us on how they've used the information, what kind of information they got, if they got it wrong, how they rectified it and properly destroyed the information, and make sure it's not collected on government servers, which we thought was important."

 

Limited use of information

In addition to oversight and an annual report by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, the revised bill would clamp down on the government's use of any information it gets from private companies under the program. Last year's bill, for example, would have let prosecutors use that shared information in child pornography investigations or matters relating more broadly to "national security" investigations. This year's edition says agencies can only use the information they get from the private sector for "cybersecurity purposes." Nonetheless, the new bill drew criticism from at least one civil liberties group. The Constitution Project issued a statement saying it could still be used to authorize domestic spying and hand over personal information to government agencies. "The safeguards for privacy rights and civil liberties contained in this cybersecurity bill are woefully inadequate," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, the organization's senior policy counsel. "While the goal of protecting our nation's networks from cyber attacks is a laudable one, Congress must also address the very real threat this legislation poses to Americans' privacy rights and civil liberties." Ruppersberger claimed he and Rogers have done all they can to solve the concerns of civil liberties watchdogs. "We reached out, and it seemed that there was nothing we could do to change their views," he said. "There's just an opinion out there that the intelligence community is listening in on everybody, and believe me, they aren't. It's against the law for these agencies to spy on an American citizen unless we have an order from the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]. They go to jail if they don't comply with that. We've bent over backwards to make sure we're not invading anybody's privacy, but the threats are so serious that we have to deal with them."

 

Threat level is high

The threats, according to Rogers and Ruppersberger, are two-fold: intellectual property theft and the possibility of destructive cyber attacks on U.S.-based IT systems. To the first point, Ruppersberger cited the National Security Agency's estimate that foreign actors stole $300 billion worth of trade secrets from U.S. companies in 2012. On the second, Rogers worries about an attack that could cause actual destruction of computing systems, similar to last year's cyber assault on the Saudi state-owned oil company, Aramco. "Some have argued that had the system used for that attack got a little farther out than it did before it was caught, it could have come back to impact parts of the United States, including some telecommunications companies. Some of that is still classified, but it was caught within days, not weeks, and think about how much damage that was," he said. "The world's changed. We can admire this problem. We can talk about this problem. We can say we have differences of opinion on how we want to approach it, but the day has come when this kind of attack has reached the shores of the United States, and we'd better be ready for it. If not, we're going to be picking up the pieces of what happens after an attack and I don't think you want to see what Congress does then. We don't do anything well after a significant emotional event."

From http://www.federalnewsradio.com/ 02/14/2013

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CHINA: Ready to Enhance Communication

 

A top government spokesman said China is poised to enhance communication with the rest of the world in a more "proactive and comprehensive" manner in the coming year. China has delivered on the open and timely release of information in the past year, said Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, on Tuesday in an address to more than 400 representatives from major world news agencies and overseas diplomats stationed in Beijing as well as spokesmen from 60 central agencies. So far this year, the State Council Information Office has organized 57 news conferences on heated issues including the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands and China's rare earth export policy — a wide range of topics that aimed to let the rest of the world understand China in a "comprehensive" manner, he said. Next year marks the first year under the new leadership, when documents issued following the 18th Party Congress will be implemented. As all eyes fall on China, which underwent the leadership transition in November, the minister said he welcomes more foreign reporters who wish to visit China and look deeper into the country. "China needs to know the world, and the world needs to understand China. I hope foreign friends come and see China for themselves ... and cover China in a more sufficient way," he said, adding that the office is committed to providing service as usual for all journalists.

 

Foreign reporters said they hope more facilities will be provided to assist their reporting on China in the coming year. Eric Baculinao, Beijing bureau chief of NBC News Worldwide LLC, said that the past year has been an important year for the US and China, and the next year will mean new challenges for reporters. "We will do more reporting about China under the new leadership. We hope that there will be more conveniences for us to report on issues that are important for both countries. I look forward to a more productive year in China in terms of news reporting from here, but this will depend on how convenient it will be for us," he said. Kor Kian Beng, a correspondent with the Singapore-based The Straits Times, said he expects to have more opportunities to attend important conferences and see different parts of China. Chi Zhang, a producer with Brussels-based VRT Nieuws, has worked in China since 2008, and said he hopes to travel to different parts of the country. He attended a media trip to the Ningxia Hui autonomous region last year and produced a TV program on the Hui ethnic group, local wind power plants and control of the deserts, which was "inspiring and eye-opening". "Next year we will keep focusing on people's livelihoods, economic development, rural development and anti-corruption. I would like more chances to go to various parts of China for reporting," he said.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/19/2012

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Laws Urged to Cover Theft of Online Data

 

Specific laws are needed to combat the theft of personal data, according to experts, after seven men were charged in Changsha, Hunan province, with selling more than 100 million bits of personal information online over the past five years. Information included names and addresses of cell phone users, car owners, company bosses and bank customers, Legal Daily reported on Thursday. The data were sold on the Internet and used to spam cell phones and illegal GPS devices, authorities said. Prosecutors said Zeng Zhizhong and Yi Zhijiang spent 4,000 yuan ($640) buying the databases of cell phone users, for instance, in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces over the Internet. Experts said the illegal use of personal data has worsened in recent years, partly because of improvements in the technology used to find it. In a survey by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released in April, 60 percent of respondents said their private information had been stolen, and the same number had received junk messages. To see just how easy it is to find personal information over the Internet, a China Daily reporter searched "car owners' data" on the Baidu search engine and was offered numerous links providing data. An operator on one website, chezhuziliao.com, said it charges 1 yuan for 10 car owners' information. To prove the authenticity, the operator e-mailed a list of 100 car owners in Beijing, dating from May to June 2011. The list included car owners' names and addresses, license plate details, cell phone numbers, car brands and models, and even the serial numbers on car frames.

 

China Daily called one of the owners on the list, who said he received many unexpected calls from insurance salesmen — but he was surprised and concerned to hear his own information was actually being sold. "A thief calling you and standing in front of your home may break in at any time. That's more dangerous than receiving harassing promotion calls," he said. Many laws and regulations cover the issue of private information — including about 40 enacted by the national legislature, 30 by the State Council and 200 by ministries, and banking and insurance regulatory commissions. However, Yang Lixin, a law professor at Renmin University of China, said the legal framework lacks a clear definition for private-information protection. "Courts pay less attention to the offense because there is no detailed explanation or definition on the subject," said Yang. Ruan Qilin, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said many suspects arrested in a police crackdown of the crime last year were released, after the evidence collected failed to be strong enough to prosecute, because of the weak definitions. Ruan added that China needs specific laws on private-information protection that would properly regulate who can handle and manage personal information. Citizen awareness in protecting privacy should also be enhanced through further public education, Ruan said.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/21/2012

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Huge Smart City Plan Covers Shanghai

 

CHINA will invest 80 billion yuan (US$12.7 billion) over three years until 2015 to build 90 smart cities nationwide, including one in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, under a smart city program, a ministry said yesterday. The new high-tech cities will be energy-friendly and intelligent as part of a move to enhance people's daily life, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development said. "It's an activity to improve people's daily life and stimulate domestic economic demand with a huge investment," the ministry said. The project will also elevate the urban environment and better manage city resources, the ministry added. The China Development Bank will extend loans worth 80 billion yuan over three years till 2015 to support the program. Shanghai will build 16 smart communities that will adopt the Internet of Things technology, including in Lujiazui and Biyun regions in Pudong. The Internet of Things, which connects devices through a network, is a promising technology that allows consumers to program, for example, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners via mobile devices or by wearing a Google Glass device or a wristwatch.

From http://www.shanghaidaily.com/ 01/30/2013

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Mobile Payments to Be Launched in Taiwan

 

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) of Taiwan approved the formation of a joint venture to run a platform enabling mobile payment applications for smartphones. A consortium of five leading domestic telecom carriers and a non-contact payment card provider aims to jointly run Trusted Service Management (TSM), a platform enabling mobile payments through near-field communications (NFC). Apps enabling NFC, a technology that enables users to make payments by tapping their smartphones on NFC readers, are projected to become available to smartphone users in Taiwan by the end of 2013. With FTC approval, the mobile platform can be deployed to allow users to pay credit card bills, public transport fares and shopping bills through their smartphones. To prevent the creation of a monopoly in the mobile payments market in Taiwan, the FTC attached several conditions to its approval of the joint venture. For example, members of the consortium are not allowed to bar the entry of other carriers and electronic payment operators into the market. Additionally, they may not reject the integration of services provided by other mobile transaction platforms. Further development of the mobile payment ecosystem in Taiwan is essential to allow large scale deployment of the platform. For instance, financial institutions such as banks must come on board, along with retailers and corporations who must start accepting mobile payments.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/01/2013

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2 Zhejiang Cities Launch 4G Service

 

TWO cities in Zhejiang Province have launched a 4G mobile phone network for commercial use, marking a new age of high-speed mobile Internet in China. With a 500 yuan (US$80) deposit, subscribers to China Mobile in Hangzhou, the provincial capital, and Wenzhou, can access the service, said a company spokesman. China Mobile, the country's largest mobile operator, employs TD-LTE technology, one of two international standards, for the 4G network. Its maximum Internet speed is up to 10 times faster than 3G. The commercial use of the network will target both individual and business users, the spokesman said. He added the firm's subscribers in Zhejiang's Ningbo could also apply for a 4G trial.

From http://www.shanghaidaily.com/ 02/05/2013

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JAPAN: University Deploys Cloud to Empower Business Continuity Plan

 

Kyoto University in Japan, on January 10, announced its ICT progress on virtualising 128 servers and building an on-campus private cloud system to strengthen its business continuity plan capabilities for the university’s all-purpose server system and optimisation of ICT investment. In partnership with Fujitsu, the new on-campus cloud system enables key services on the university’s homepage and other servers even during disasters or blackouts in the Kansai region. The University’s Institute for Information Management and Communication and the Academic Centre for Computing and Media Studies are operating and administering the new cloud environment. The new system has allowed over 400 virtual servers to be operated, thus enabling the consolidation of general-purpose servers that have up to now been independently operated throughout the campus. It will help to streamline server operations and management while delivering increased convenience to faculty and researchers. Kyoto University also planned to use Fujitsu’s datacentre in eastern Japan to further proceed with the construction and operation of its new system for the BCP. As part of leveraging the new system, the University will also further optimise its ICT investment and cultivate more cutting-edge and supportive environment for nurturing human resources and promoting research and development. The new system started the operation on December 28, 2012. The Kyoto University was one of the government universities underwent partial privatisation in 2004 and faced with a new organisational and environmental changes within the new operation. One of which includes a need to communicate research results and educational curriculum to audience both within and outside of the universities. Therefore, in both academic and research setting, it has been very important to facilitate a transaction of wide range and large-capacity content across networks. Therefore, the Kyoto University established the Institute for Information Management and Communication in 2005 in order to facilitate this aim to optimise the IT infrastructure. Kyoto University is the national university and the second oldest university in Japan. It consists of three campuses: Yoshida, Uji, and Katsura, as well as a number of facilities located across the country. The University is located in Kansai region—on the Southern-centre of the country.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/15/2013

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Web Use for Campaigns to Be Liberalized

 

Political parties have agreed to liberalize use of the Internet for election campaigning ahead of this summer's House of Councillors vote, a move that could significantly change the landscape of campaigning in both national and local elections. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan have compiled respective bills to revise the Public Offices Election Law and other related laws and will soon begin interparty talks on the revision. Most parties have agreed on such points as liberalizing the use of e-mail and social networking services (SNS) for election campaigns. At the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe demonstrated his forward-looking stance toward using the Internet for such purposes. "The Internet is an effective way to convey opinions to a large number of people," Abe said. "After each party discusses the issue, I'll make efforts to allow [Internet] use in election campaigns as soon as possible." Although political parties agreed on steps to liberalize Internet use for campaigns before the 2010 upper house election, no legislative action was taken. Since then, there has been huge growth in the number of users of SNS sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Under these circumstances, parties held internal debates over the extent of Internet liberalization for campaigns and considered measures against defamation, deception and other malicious actions. The resulting draft compiled Thursday by the LDP included the following steps toward liberalization:

-- Election campaigns using e-mail and websites will be liberalized for candidates, parties and others.

-- Legal penalties will be devised for posting false information and defamation against candidates on the Internet.

The draft also stipulates that only political parties will be allowed to post paid campaign advertisements on the Internet.

 

Keeping up with the times

The parties agreed in 2010 guidelines to bar e-mail use and seek voluntary restraint on Twitter use for election campaigns. However, these days, with an increasing number of people using both e-mail and SNS, political parties are considering liberalizing both for election campaigns. However, as sending unsolicited e-mails may annoy voters, the parties' drafts include different restrictions for the use of e-mail. The LDP draft states e-mail can be sent only to people who agree in advance to receive them. The DPJ draft stipulates that sending e-mail to an unspecified number of people would be allowed, but not to people who decline to receive them. Regarding online advertising for campaign runs, the DPJ and Your Party proposed allowing parties as well as individual candidates to place paid Internet ads that are within the range of legally permitted expenses for election campaigns. After the parties work out the details of such points, the LDP aims to submit the bill to revise the law with opposition parties by the end of February and to pass it during the current Diet session. If the bill is passed, Internet use for election campaigning will be liberalized in time for this summer's upper house election, and will apply to all future votes, including local elections. The move to allow parties to use the Internet for election campaigns is expected to lead to a change in strategies to appeal to voters. "Candidates with little name recognition and parties with weak organizations will be able to attract voters' attention, especially young people," a junior DPJ member said. However, an LDP member said, "I think the effects [of using the Internet for campaigning] will be limited, in addition to costing a lot of time and money." In other countries, including the United States, the Internet has been actively used in election campaigns. In last year's U.S. presidential election, President Barack Obama tweeted "Four more years" two hours before his victory speech to announce his reelection win to the public. According to the National Diet Library and other sources, e-mail was first used for campaigns in the United States at the Democratic Party's primary election in 1992 to choose its presidential candidate. Since the mid-1990s, the use of websites for election campaigning has boomed in such countries as Britain, France and Germany.

From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 02/04/2013

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NFC-Based Guide App Launched in Tokyo

 

The Government of Tokyo, Japan, has launched a mobile app for Android-based smartphones to help residents with special mobility needs find their way around Ginza, an upscale shopping district in the city. The government has posted more than 300 NFC (near-field communication) tags around Ginza to serve as location markers. Visitors trying to find their way around the area can download the Android app, search for and select destinations in the area, and choose mobility options such as ‘wheelchair’ or ‘elderly’. They can then tap their smartphones on the nearest NFC tag, and the app will calculate a route to the destination based on the mobility restrictions given. The app uses publicly available government data to calculate an accurate route, and uses the NFC tags as the starting point of a trip. This can especially be useful underground, when services such as GPS may not function well. The tags have been placed along the streets, near popular shops, and near public transport hubs such as bus stops and train stations. The experiment began Tuesday and runs until 31 March. It is sponsored by the local Tokyo government and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and is part of ‘Tokyo Ubiquitous Project, Ginza’, the city’s ongoing project to integrate mobile phones into city life.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/13/2013

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MONGOLIA: Sky-High ICT Goals

 

Cabinet approval for Mongolia’s first satellite in late 2012 makes clear the height of the country’s ambitions for improving information and communications technology (ICT) provisions. Although a satellite launch is an ambitious objective, improving on-the-ground infrastructure will prove to be just as significant, and as challenging. In November, the cabinet approved the “National Satellite for Communications of Mongolia” project, the centrepiece of a collection of goals identified as part of a national vision to transform the economy into a knowledge-based economy by 2021. Although the country has long relied upon space communications to link its widely distributed population, there is no domestic satellite in service. Instead, $2m is paid each year to rent other nations’ satellites. This includes use of the “Ipstar-5” broadband satellite for delivery of TV and radio programmes to rural areas, the “Intelsat” satellite for telecommunications and mobile phone services, and low orbiting satellites for digital data on weather. The new satellite, which is set to launch in 2015, is planned to provide domestic communications, including TV, internet, radio, e-services and government links. “Regardless of the geographic location, individuals, herdsmen, households and organisations will have access to wireless communication services at a low cost nationwide,” noted local media. Increasing levels of technical hardware suggest a satellite link could play an important role in building ICT capacity. Imports of IT products rose 30% year-on-year (y-o-y), including a y-o-y rise of 30% in desktop computer imports and a 50% increase in laptop computer imports. Initial estimates for the price of the satellite project predict MNT630bn ($441m), with MNT280bn ($196m) slated for research and MNT350bn ($245m) for the launch and maintenance. Funding is expected to come from the state budget, the private sector and foreign assistance.

 

It has been anticipated that the satellite project will earn some $50m in its lifetime and trends suggest profits in Mongolia’s ICT industry are set to rise. According to data from the Information Technology, Post and Telecommunications Authority (ITPTA), revenue generated by the sector rose from MNT140bn ($98m) in 2005 to MNT539bn ($377.3m) in 2011. Given its expertise and bilateral relations with Mongolia, Japan will likely play an important role in the satellite project. In March, former Prime Minister S. Batbold signed a memorandum of cooperation with Tokyo that outlines measure for cooperation for technical studies on communications satellite systems and earth observatory satellites. In the same month, the government also signed an agreement with Singapore to work together on ICT activities and projects that aim to help transform Mongolia into a knowledge-based society. This agreement outlined cooperation on exploration of concepts such as enterprise architecture, cloud computing, project management and e-government. In addition to the satellite project, the National Broadband Programme (2011-15) is a government plan to ensure that at least 50% of all households have access to inexpensive broadband connections for bandwidth-intensive services, high-speed internet and television. The government also plans for 40% of households in remote areas to have access to a wireless broadband service.

 

Currently, 175 soums (villages) out of 331 are connected by 18,700 km of fibre optic and 8400 km digital microwave network. The ITPTA estimates that 100% coverage would require some 40,000 km of installed capacity. However, social media survey figures released in December by Japanese firm Cereja Technology underline the popularity of ICT in the country, with 17% of the population using Facebook. The country has also been quickly rising through the ranks of global networking surveys. The International Telecommunication Union in October placed the country 84th in its annual “Measuring the Information Society” report, a rise of three places on 2011. Meanwhile, Mongolia performed well in the Networked Readiness Index 2011-12 released by the World Economic Forum in April, achieving 63th place out of the 143 counties surveyed, a significant rise on 85th out of 138 nations in 2010-11. There are also government plans to improve ICT security and regulation in tandem with the development of technologies. In April, the cabinet approved an e-governance action plan for 2016. Officials have said that the action plan will benefit from the approval of a draft law on e-signatures to enable the creation of a legal environment. There are also plans to strengthen the role of the Communications Regulatory Commission of Mongolia in regulating competition issues and the provision of networks and services for fixed-line and wireless telecommunications.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 02/02/2013

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PHILIPPINES: Govt Unveils “Smarter Philippines” Programme

 

The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO) unveiled its upcoming flagship programme called “Smarter Philippines”, which aims to leverage ICT to boost the country’s economy by touching on several core industries. According to Alejandro Melchor III, deputy executive director for ICT industry development at the ICTO, the “Smarter Philippines” consists of the following components: Smarter Governance, Smarter People, Smarter High-Tech Industry, Smarter Computing, Smarter SMEs, Smarter Agriculture World Development, Smarter Environmental Healthcare, Energy and Transport, Smarter Disaster and Mitigation, Public Safety and Smarter Cities. “DOST with the ICT office intends to transform every aspect of society through technology innovation. Actually, Smarter Philippines is a new program that will fuel tremendous growth to the ICT industry and create tremendous demand for engineering, content development, and domestic ICT industry,” he said.

 

While the programme is yet to be launched, Melchor revealed that some of its components are now in operation in key areas such as disaster risk reduction, transparency and governance, and in bringing IT-BPO investments in cities outside of Metro Manila. For disaster risk reduction, DOST launched the “National Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Programme which aims to respond to the urgent need for a reliable flood warning system in all major river systems and watersheds in the country. It is designed to set up a more responsive disaster preparedness system to reduce loss of lives, and damages to properties due to rain-triggered natural hazards. Just last month, a mobile version of the programme was launched so that Filipinos can access information relevant to current weather conditions right on the palm of their hands. Meanwhile, under its Smarter Cities component, the government is pushing for its Next Wave Cities Programme, which seeks to create employment opportunities in the countryside by promoting different provinces as suitable BPO destinations.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/04/2013

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Philippine City to Computerise Land Titles

 

Lucena City branch’s Registry of Deeds in Quezon, the Philippines will implement ‘Land Titling Computerisation Programme’ (LTCP) in the city, said Attorney Patrick Wendell Ilagan, Chief of the Registry of Deeds, Lucena Branch. Ilagan said that the LTCP will be divided into four phases complying with the Land Registration Authority (LRA)’s programme. The new computerisation on land registration will help solve the missing or distraction of the original land titles problems because all data will be kept electronically in the data base, he added. Last year, Lucena City’s Registry of Deeds has collected total of PH 13.59 million (US$ 332,235) which includes registration fee and real property tax, said Public Information Office in Lucena . Lucena City is the capital city of Quezon province situated on the Southeast of Manila, and has a population of 264,879 people as per the 2011 census.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/10/2013

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The Philippines Launches Prepaid Cards for Easier Loan Disbursement

 

The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), or more commonly known in the Philippines as the Pag-IBIG fund, launched the ‘Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card’ as part of its efforts to provide more than 12 million fund members a more convenient and secure way of receiving and using their loan benefits. HDMF is the provident financial institution in the Philippines, and membership is mandatory for all Filipino employees, onshore and offshore. The Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card is a reloadable prepaid card and can be used for the disbursement of Multi-Purpose Loans (MPL) and Calamity loan proceeds. Members may sign up to avail of the card for the release of their benefits upon filing their loan applications. MPL aims to provide financial assistance to fund members concerning various needs such as: minor home improvements, tuition and medical expenses, health and even additional capital for small businesses. Meanwhile, fund members who reside in calamity-stricken areas can apply for a calamity loan where they can borrow up to 80 per cent of their total savings. Borrowers who are interested to apply for the card can go to the nearest Pag-IBIG branch office and file their loan application. Once approved, the loan proceeds will be credited to their Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card, and the member can then make purchases at more than 130,000 Visa-accepting merchants nationwide and withdraw cash at any local ATMs.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/05/2013

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The Philippines to Test E-Tax System by July

 

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is targeting to roll-out the pilot phase of its enhanced electronic Tax Information System (eTIS) in the National Capital Region by July as part of the agency’s continuing efforts to enhance tax administration in the country.  The eTIS is one of the sub-components of the BIR’s US$54.3 million Revenue Administration Reform Project (RARP) which aims to increase tax revenues over time and address issues posed by corruption, tax administration inefficiencies and lack of transparency, by introducing state of the art technologies to enhance the country’s overall tax administration system. The implementation of eTIS will entail a reengineering of BIR’s core business processes to provide a fully efficient and enhanced tax administration that can be used by the agency nationwide. Once the system is in place, it is expected to improve the trustworthiness of actions and decisions based on tax data. These, in turn, will improve tax compliance monitoring, reduce client contact and opportunities for negotiated assessments, increase the detection of misreporting and enhance the value of reports.

 

Furthermore, improved compliance, audit and enforcement tools are expected to contribute to a sustainable program of tax administration leading to increased tax revenue collection. According to BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares, once the eTIS is rolled out in the National Capital Region, the agency hopes it can fully implement the system nationwide by mid-2014. "We really want to automate our operations to lessen face-to-face transactions, therefore reducing the opportunities for corruption, and to make the process of paying taxes easier,” she said. "This digitisation will also help us obtain, track, and analyse data faster, giving us more information that we can use in refining our operations and improving our revenue collection.”

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/14/2013

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SINGAPORE: To Set Up Two Bodies to Manage Personal Data Protection Act

 

SINGAPORE, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said on Thursday that they will set up a Personal Data Protection Commission and a Data Protection Advisory Committee to respectively administer and advise on the Personal Data Protection Act on Jan. 2, 2013. The act, which was passed by the city-state's parliament in October and will come into effect on Jan. 2 next year, is aim at protecting personal information from being stolen or indiscriminately collected and used for marketing purposes. "It will be implemented in phases over an 18-month period to allow time for organizations to adjust fully to the new law," the MCI said in a statement. The MCI said the commission will undertake education and outreach programs to help organizations and the public understand the law as well as issue advisory guidelines for organizations to comply with the act. Meanwhile, the commission will also set up a "Do Not Call" registry in early 2014 for public registration, the ministry added.

 

The "Do Not Call" registry will allow people to opt out of receiving intrusive marketing messages like telemarketing calls, faxes as well as text and multi-media messages including those sent via smart phone applications such as WhatsApp and Viber. The committee, on the other hand, is established to advise the commission on matters relating to the key roles, administration and enforcement of the Act. "During the transition period, the commission will work closely with sectoral regulators and associations to help organizations comply with the act to adjust their data protection practices, and embark on public education and engagement programs to help consumers better understand how they may protect their own personal data from misuse," local media Channel NewsAsia quoted Leong Keng Thai, chairman of the commission, as saying. According to earlier report, the act covers all private sector organizations engaged in data activities within Singapore. The commission can impose fines of up to 1 million Singapore dollars ( about 820,000 U.S. dollars) for every offense and penalties of 10, 000 Singapore dollars (8,200 U.S. dollars) for every unsolicited marketing call or message to a number in the "Do Not Call" registry.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 12/21/2012

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THAILAND: True Plans to Launch 4G Service in April

 

True Corp plans to launch 4G wireless broadband service on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum in Bangkok in April in a bid to steal the show from its rivals, which are expected to debut the 3G service on their 2.1GHz spectrum bands in the same month. A True source said the company had already ordered imported 4G network equipment, which will utilise the 2.1GHz spectrum. It plans to launch the 4G service in a few commercial areas in Bangkok. True subsidiary Real Future is one of the three holders of the 2.1GHz spectrum licences granted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) last December. Under this technology-neutral licence, they can utilise any technologies to provide cellular service.  The other two licence holders are Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) of the largest cellular operator Advanced Info Service (AIS), and DTAC Network of the second largest cellular operator Total Access Communication (DTAC). All three licence holders are expected to kick off the 2.1GHz service in April.

 

AIS chief executive Wichian Mektrakarn said that at this stage, AIS has focused on the 3G-2.1GHz service and the nationwide 2.1GHz network rollout. A telecom industry source believes True group will not launch the 4G service nationwide, but only in a few spots, due to the lack of commercial viability. Eventually it will have to launch the 3G service on the 2.1GHz spectrum. True and DTAC currently have considerable bandwidth - enough to enable them to offer 4G service in some areas. AIS recently said it needs more spectrum bandwidth to serve its future business plan. It is likely to join with its concession owner, TOT, in the future to offer the 4G service. DTAC group holds 1,800 megahertz, 850MHz and 2.1GHz spectra, while True group has 2.1GHz and has partnered with CAT Telecom to offer 3G service on 850MHz. AIS holds 900MHz and 2.1GHz spectra. The 1,800MHz concession of AIS subsidiary Digital Phone Co will end this September, the same time as that of TrueMove of True.

 

Last year AIS, DTAC and TrueMove test-launched the non-commercial 4G service on their existing spectra with the NBTC's consent. Last week True group called a "CEO Vision" internal meeting of 2,500 high-ranking executives. True chief executive officer Suphachai Chearavanont told the executives in the meeting to join forces to make True group the leader on all fronts, including the wireless service arena. True has also sought a possible foreign partnership to bolster its strength. One likely suitor it is reportedly in talks with is telecom giant China Mobile. True's chief financial officer Noppadol Dej-udom declined to confirm the report about China Mobile, saying only that talks on a possible tie up with a foreign partner are ongoing. "Choosing a lifelong spouse will take as long as it requires. We prefer to take as much as time needed to make the right decision on this important subject," Noppadol said.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/11/2013

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Thailand Launches New Facility for Geoinformatics Development

 

Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) has launched a new facility called ‘Space Krenovation Park (SKP) to further enhance the development of country’s geo-informatics and space technology. The SKP is located at the Thaichote Satellite Control Station in Chon Buri province. GISTDA Executive Director Dr Anond Snidvongs said during the opening ceremony of the SKP that the agreement to forge alliances between Thai and foreign geo-informatics and space technology entrepreneurs was signed to support related research, develop innovative and add value to relevant products and businesses such as spare parts for space missions, batteries, mapping, high resolution satellite images, as well as a centre for the development of potential geo-informatics and space technology in ASEAN. The SKP comprises of seven main sections including satellite control unit, geo-informatics centre for ASEAN, a facility to provide knowledge and training to private entrepreneurs who are keen to enter this business, a rent space for private sector to conduct research on relevant product development.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/06/2012

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Thai Govt Expands Free Wi-Fi Project to the Province

 

Thailand’s Ministry of ICT (MICT) in partnership with private telecom operator, True Move has launched a pilot project to offer free Wi-Fi in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap said that the MICT selected Nakhon Ratchasima to be the first province outside Bangkok to trial the Public Free Wi-Fi project under the country’s ICT master theme of ‘Smart Thailand’. “This trial project will especially enhance the use of free tablet pcs under the One Tablet Per Child Policy project, given to first grade students in Nakhon Ratchasima this year,” he added. True Move planned to allow its 50,000 hot spots nationwide to join the MICT’s free Wi-Fi campaign. Users can select ‘ICT Free Wi-Fi by True’ network and register to obtain username and password. They can use free service up to 30 minutes per day, for the total of 15 hours per month with the download speed of 2 Mbps. Users will need to re-register every three months, said Suphachai Chearavanont, the Chief Executive Officer and President of True Move.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/07/2012

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Thailand Issues 3G Licenses

 

Ending the long-awaited licences for 3G, Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on December 7 granted the spectrum licences to the three mobile operators to begin the services. The NBTC’s five-member telecom committee last week voted 4-1 to award license for the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum to the three bid winners of the slots which are Advance Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC), and Real Future of True (TRUE), to provide third-generation broadband cellular service, said Committee Chairman Settapong Malisuwan. According to him, the telecom committee will also require them to offer low 3G service tariffs, with 15 per cent lower than the average of both voice and data tariff fees of all telecom operators. This condition relates to the 2.1GHz licensing regulations that the licence holders must offer fair tariffs and ensure service quality. “Mobile-phone tariffs had already dropped by 10 per cent, while the 3G licence holders would have lower regulatory costs, which could enable them to operate the 15-per-cent reduction,” added Malisuwan. The license started on December 7, and will last 15 years with the expiry date set at December 6, 2027. The NBTC office will call in the three companies to receive licences this week.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/10/2012

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Thailand to Implement E-Tax Invoice

 

Thailand’s Revenue Department will implement Electronic Tax Invoice system and allow for online submission via internet. This system is slated to effect a tremendous change in the way registered companies file documents, issue tax invoices and receipts, and is aimed to cause an essential reduction in cost and paper use while empowering e-commerce business, said Prowmatr Huntra, Principal Advisor on ICT, Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance, Thailand. The RD released the Departmental Regulation allowing a VAT operator to issue and deliver tax invoices electronically early this year, and gave them time until early next year to prepare, deliver and keep their tax invoices or receipts in an electronic form as they see fit.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/18/2012

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Thailand G-Cloud 2013 Plan Revealed

 

Electronic Government Agency (EGA) under Thai ICT Ministry has recently announced its progress and plan for 2013 to further enhance the development and use of Government Cloud. Dr Sak Segkhoonthod, President and CEO of the EGA announced that the EGA’s focus in 2013 will be to provide more Software as a Service (SaaS), creating a Government Application Centre (GAC), and pushing forward Open Government IT project to further integrate data and services for citizens, and lastly implementing ‘Smart Box’ programme to connect with and deliver government services for remote communities. “SaaS will be the key system on our G-Cloud, while the GAC will become the centre of applications for public sector,” he said and added that the development of GAC is expected to be launched at the third quarter of this year. The past year, the EGA already prepared necessary enterprise architecture for the GAC’s network, and liaised with several agencies in preparedness for the official launch, according to him.

 

Regarding the integration of government IT project under Open Government initiative, Dr Segkhoonthod said that we have seen major collaborations for service and data consolidation among key ministries and agencies for the past year, such as the recent launch of ‘One ID Card for Smart Farmers’ programme, in collaboration with Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the ICT Ministry, Interior Ministry, and Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. “Other major collaborations will be made available to cover public health, social welfare, education and several others,” he added and explained that agencies can use the Application Programming Interface (API) created by the EGA to further develop their own system. Launched in April 2012, Thailand’s G-Cloud has seen its progress in making available over 140 e-government services on the secured cloud environment, operated by the EGA.

 

“There have been total of thirty three agencies benefiting from the G-Cloud as of now,” Dr Segkhoonthod said. This year, the EGA will increase its investment on G-Cloud and aims to service sixty more projects. Dr Segkhoonthod also announced that the EGA has successfully linked 1,199 government agencies from national, provincial, and regional levels, to the Government Information Network (GIN) over the G-Cloud and support services such as Government Financial Management Information System (GFMIS), Teleconference. The EGA planned to expand the connection further to 2,000 more agencies, and initiate two more new services including Flood Alert System and GIN Web Conference.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/29/2013

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Thailand Plans to Integrate CCTVs Nationwide with Analytic Software

 

An installation of analytic software will help integrate data from CCTVs of different sources, said Thai ICT Minister Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap. Following last week’s task given by the Thai Prime Minister over the possibility of integrating CCTVs networks nationwide to boots security operations, narcotic solution, and traffic control, the ICT Minister told reporters that the ministry is likely to suggest the use of smart analytic software to connect all CCTVs networks owned by different agencies via data centre. "The use of software and the new system will be shared among related agencies, without replacing the existing CCTVs," he added and said that this solution will reduce the countrywide investment cost on CCTVs by 50 per cent. The ICT Ministry will be responsible on procuring the software, and IT related issue, while the use of the system will depend upon the tasks of each agencies, according to him. The ministry is now pushing forward an establishment of joint committee with the ministry of Interior, Defence, and the Royal Thai Police to finalise this project. The minister expected to summerise the solution and present the project at the cabinet meeting by end of February.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/04/2013

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VIETNAM: National Assembly Debates New Law on Electronic Transactions

 

The National Assembly switched its focus to the approval of new and amended laws on Friday after debating development projects since the ongoing session opened last Tuesday. Members began by discussing the draft of a Law on Electronic Transactions, which is required for Laos' accession to the World Trade Organisation next year. It will also be necessary when the Asean Economic Community comes into effect in 2015. Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Dr Boviengkham Vongdara presented the draft law, highlighting the need to enact the law so that electronic transactions could be properly regulated. He explained that an electronic transaction is a form of agreement making or the exchange of information through the use of electronic devices. “In recent years, electronic transactions have been increasingly used in various sectors, especially in banking, trading, taxation, tourism, e-governance and so on.”

 

But the management of such transactions remains a challenge because the existing laws and regulations do not cover issues related to consumer protection, the electronic certification of licences, and the recognition of electronic documents. It has become essential for Laos to enact this law to regulate electronic transactions and ensure that Laos benefits from today's technological developments. The draft has been developed from the Decree on Electronic Trade and the new content brings it into line with other laws enacted by Laos and other countries. The draft has already been debated in a number of meetings to get input from various sectors so the law will be as comprehensive as possible. Prof. Dr Boviengkham said the law fulfils Party policy and supports the government's socio-economic development plan and various international conventions that Laos is party to.

 

The draft law comprises 10 parts and 55 articles. The first part refers to the purpose of the law and government policy in relation to electronic transactions, and gives explanations of the vocabulary used. The second part talks about electronic documents and agreements, the third covers electronic licences, the fourth talks about electronic transactions within government organisations, the fifth covers mediation, the sixth relates to prohibitions, the seventh discusses the settlement of disputes relating to electronic transactions, the eighth talks about management and inspection, and the ninth part talks about policies for those who perform well in this field and measures to be taken against violators.

From http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/ 12/10/2012

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Vietnam Launches E-Customs Procedures

 

The Vietnam Customs officially launched its electronic customs (e-customs) procedures nationwide as part of the agency’s 2020 development strategy which aims to reduce the manual and checking of goods from the current rate of 15-20 per cent to under 10 per cent by 2015, and further decrease it to 7 per cent and below by 2020. According to Deputy Head of the General Department of Customs’ Reform Board Tran Quoc Dinh, the initiative comes after seven years since the country first introduced e-customs procedures in customs offices located in Hoh Chih Min city and the northern Hai Phong City. After the pilot project was deemed successful, it was then expanded to other offices located in Ha Noi, Da Nang, Dong Nai and Binh Duong. "Individuals no longer have to fill-up forms and stand in long queues during business hours. With the e-customs in place, individuals can simply go online and make customs declarations from the comforts of their own homes,” he said. By 2020, the Customs Department hopes that the e-customs procedure will be fully implemented in all of its branches (sea border gates, airports, land border gates and other economic areas) nationwide. Dinh also revealed that the nationwide application of e-customs procedures is an important foundation for the implementation of the Viet Nam Automated Cargo Clearance System and the Viet Nam Customs Intelligent Database System by 2014 and as well as the national strategy on customs reform by 2020.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/09/2013

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Vietnam to Launch National Credit Information Database

 

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a circular that mandates the formal creation of a national credit information database to give credit institutions an oversight of the industry and to help them achieve efficiency in their internal operations. The circular governs the State Bank’s departments and entities, the SBV branches of provinces and the cities directly under the central government, credit institutions and foreign bank branches, borrowers and other relevant stakeholders. According to an official statement from SBV, the national credit information database aims to support SBV’s role in managing and supervising banking operations in the country, help credit institutions prevent and mitigate risks in their operations and assist borrowers to get access to bank loans, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development. The circular is expected to take effect on 1st of July, 2013.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/18/2013

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BANGLADESH: Work on to Formulate Guidelines for More Media Freedom Inu

 

Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu on Monday said work to formulate various guidelines is underway to ensure more freedom of the mass media. “The mass media are enjoying freedom in Bangladesh. Work is underway to formulate guidelines to ensure their more freedom,” he said. The minister made the remarks when an eight-member delegation of foreign journalists called on him at his office. Inu said the present government has taken various steps for economic reforms. “The government has increased allocation for the development of agriculture, education and human resources and changed many policies.” He also said the digitisation process goes on in the country and the government has given priority to Information and Communication Technology to cope with the globalisation and development. The foreign journalists include Guangjin Cheng of China Daily, Li Xiang of History Reberence, Agni Roy of India’s Ananda Bazar, 24 Ghonta editor Arindam Chakrabarty, Mij Rani Singh from London, Tarique Al-Maeena of Saudi Gazette, Valerius Reza Boenwan of Singapore’s the Sun Media and Kunio Endo of Japan.

From http://www.unbconnect.com 12/17/2012

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INDIA: IT Among Key Sectors to Offer Jobs in 12th Plan

 

New Delhi: Services like Information Technology, finance and banking, tourism, trade and transport are going to be major employment generators in the 12th five year plan period and beyond. The 12th Plan document calls for adopting sector-specific strategies to ensure sustained expansion of employment opportunities in these areas. The draft document suggested that a comprehensive social security must be put into place for workers in organised sector, which provides for pension, medical insurance and unemployment benefits that are seamlessly transferable across employers in all sectors of the economy. The 12th Plan hopes to make manufacturing sector a genuine engine of growth, which could generate 100 million work opportunities by 2022. It said the employment contribution of labour-intensive manufacturing namely textile and garments, leather and footwear, gems and jewellery, food processing industries can be greatly enhanced provided the government puts supportive policies in place. The document said incentives will have to be improved for expanding employment in the organized sector. The 12th plan should focus on demand-aligned skill development and aim at significantly stepping up growth in employment and manufacturing so that under-employed labour force can speedily move from low-paid farms jobs to better-paid, more productive manufacturing and service sectors.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/04/2013

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Creating World Class IT Infrastructure in India

 

HP is the global leader in IT. The company also has a significant presence in India.What is your outlook on the government market in India? For our enterprise business, the government plays a very significant role. We look at the government from many different verticals. There are projects that are being funded by the Central Government. There are those that are the initiatives of the State Government. There are also the Public Sector related initiatives. Major PSEs like IOCL, NTPC or BHEL and others have different kinds of needs that we are ready to provide. In fact, we are engaging with many different governments globally. If we look at the US Federal Government, whether it is the US Navy or the US Armed Forces, we are doing a lot of work in those organisations. Providing cutting-edge technology to government organisations has always been a huge business for us. In India, we have started from the Compaq days. HP PC continues to be very popular in the country.

 

The e-Governance field has made lot of progress during the last few years. What kind of work is HP doing in the e-Governance area? In e-Governance area, we have done fairly extensive amount of work. We look at the e-Governance vertical from the state perspective, centre perspective and the PSU perspective. We distinguish between the three verticals because different kinds of solutions are required for each. In the centre, we have organisations like the UIDAI, the NIC and many e-learning portals that are doing excellent e-Governance work. The centre decides the policies and framework in accordance to which the e-Governance solutions are developed and implemented. The power reforms that have been undertaken during the last few years have led to a lot of e-Governance happening in the sector. The Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme (APDRP) has been very  successful.

 

The banking and insurance sector is also growing very fast in the country. The  government is also taking lot of new initiatives in the name of financial inclusion. How is BFSI sector doing for you? In the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) area we enjoy a pretty good market share. We are doing lot of hard work in this area. We would appreciate if the government could speed up the process of new solutions development and deployments. There are some large tenders that we got more than one or two years ago, and now we are waiting for them to take off. We are the lowest bidder for these projects. The price at which we are prepared to work is highly competitive.

 

Please tell us about the ways in which the rupee-dollar fluctuations are having an impact on your business? Some of our government bids were placed when the dollar was hovering in the range of Rs. 44-45. Manpower can be managed, but on the customs duty we have no control. We are struggling due to the dollar-rupee price fluctuations. We are working in various government ministries to find out ways by which we can manage the rapid currency fluctuations. It is not only us; no OEM can absorb such high fluctuations. That is one of the reasons that some of the large and complex projects we execute take a lot of time and the organisation goes into making losses. The PSUs are more manageable. It is rare for any PSU tender to go on for more than one year. Even in states the projects get executed in a more timely manner, probably because there could be lot few pulls and pressures being faced by regional governments.

 

In the last two years we have seen lot of new initiatives coming up. We have projects like the UIDAI and many others being launched by the government. What are the ways by which such projects have contributed to the growth of the government market? Earlier we used to have small teams based out of Delhi. Now we have multiple teams sitting in each of the geographies helping us in doing our work for various government departments in centre and states. There is healthy growth in the work that we do for both–the centre and the states. In the next couple of years this business is going to be big. Some of these projects, like Aadhaar, will get implemented. Today, we can’t even imagine the kind of e-inclusion and financial inclusion that Aadhaar can lead to. Every department will have some kind of connect with Aadhaar, so many organisations have started working on those things. In the next couple of years we are going to see big investments from the government happening.HP will be playing a very critical role from technology standpoint and from enablement perspective.

 

What is your view of the kind of work that HP is doing?  HP is the only organisation which has such a wide range of products and solutions. We are offering a range of devices, technologies, desktop to laptop to handheld devices, server, storage, networking and much more. So we are the only company that has all the software tools, which can be managed and optimised to the last dot. Then, we have technological services and enterprise services to ensure our delivery capability to deliver from a normal project to most complex project, which may be required in government. We are in a position where we can work it out and help the government. What is the impact of your solutions? Can you give us some examples where your solutions are at work? We have executed the e-Procurement Project for the Government of Karnataka. We have done the entire e-Procurement for them. Karnataka is the first state in the country to have the e-procurement system. We did implement this project and the impact today is so paramount that this is rated as one of the best e-auction and e-procurement sites across India. The system is leading to a lot of savings every month for the state government and that is why other state governments have started demanding such solutions.

 

In the BFSI space, creating the core banking solutions have been the thrust area. It has created bid e-inclusion. We have done work for Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. Another project that I would like to mention is the one that we have done for the Director General of Employment and Training (DGET). This is a vocational training programme, one that is dedicated to creating skilled workforce for crop mixing and other things. We have also worked with the NIC very closely for the completion of large and complex IT projects. The projects that we have done with the NIC are now being used by government departments at the centre and in the states. Going forward, how do you see the business outlook changing in India?

Currently our population is close to one billion; it could even be more than one billion. To cater to the needs of so many people you need high-end technological solutions. We need to develop and implement technologies that will enable us to make a difference in the life of every human being.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/06/2013

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Goa’s New IT Policy to Have Thrust on ESDM Sector CM

 

Goa will soon come out with a comprehensive IT policy to support the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in the state, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said. Inaugurating a national workshop on “Electronic System Design and Manufacturing: Advantage Goa” here, the Chief Minister assured the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), the apex body actively representing ICT Manufacturing, Training, IT, Design, R&D and associated services sector, of all support in their endeavour to strengthen the ESDM sector. The National Workshop was organised under the aegis of the Department of Electronics & IT and the Government of Goa. Emphasizing that the focus on ESDM should not be only aimed at reducing the trade gap, the Chief Minister said that there was a need to have local base for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing within India in view of the country’s security requirements.

 

“It is our patriotic duty to promote manufacturing of electronic systems design products in India as most of the security equipment are manufactured in other countries like China which poses a major security threat for the country,” he said. He also pledged his support to MAIT in the implementation of policies. Speaking at the inaugural session, Mr J V Ramamurthy, President, MAIT and President & COO, HCL Infosystems Ltd said “This initiative under the aegis of the Department of Electronics & Information Technology and the Government of Goa presents a huge opportunity for the State to become an electronics hardware manufacturing hub to meet its domestic requirements as well as the global requirements”. There was a special session at the Workshop that highlighted the State and Central Government’s initiatives in the ESDM space. Others who also spoke on the occasion included P S Narotra, Senior Director, Department of Electronics & IT and S K Marwaha, Additional Director, Department of Electronics & IT.

 

This session was followed by a panel discussion on “India – the Electronic System Design & Manufacturing Hub: Opportunities & Challenges”. The discussion was moderated by Shri. Deepak P.Chodankar, Head-R&D, Smartlink Network Systems Ltd and the panellists included Shri Subhash Phaldessai, Chairman, Infotech Corporation of Goa Limited, Shri. Nilesh B. Phal Dessai, Director IT, Government of Goa, Shri P S Narotra, Sr Director, Department of Electronics & IT and Shri Hemant Usgaonkar, General Manager, Siemens Ltd, Goa. Shri Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director MAIT on behalf of the Indian IT industry, thanked the Govt. of India for giving the hardware sector its rightful due by way of creating conducive atmosphere in the country, what with several policies being implemented at a faster clip. He further mentioned that the ESDM is an idea whose time has truly come.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/18/2013

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SRI LANKA: Apparel Group Takes MillenniumIT Communications Solution

 

Sri Lanka's MAS Holdings has adopted a system provided by MillenniumIT and Dialog Axiata for internal communications for its plants and design centres in 41 locations in 10 countries. MillenniumIT, a unit of the London Stock Exchange group said the Microsoft Lync Server based system hosted by Dialog will allow employees to collaborate and communicate. "While reducing costs involved in audio and web conferencing, Lync will enable MAS employees to collaborate by sharing knowledge and information efficiently, regardless of location," MillenniumIT said in a statement. "Ad-hoc meetings between individuals or large groups will be made far more effective with Lync’s online meeting capabilities."

 

Sanjaya Dayananda, head of Microsoft business at MillenniumIT said Lync has a secure and reliable communication system works with existing tools and systems for easier management and lower cost of ownership. "In this project, MillenniumIT has proven their capability and in some cases exceeded our expectations throughout the implementation process," Senaka Harischandra, chief information officer of MAS Holdings said in a statement. "With this implementation MAS expects a significant reduction in time and cost of travel between the factories and office sites situated both locally and overseas, resulting in greater productivity and speed all round."

From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com 01/09/2013

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MALDIVES: To Introduce Passenger Information System

 

Deputy Immigration Controller Hamid Fathulla said on Sunday that with the introduction of the Passenger Information System (PIS), Immigration would receive information on passengers before their arrival in Maldives. He added that the system would enable authorities to be more prepared about arriving passengers. According to Fathulla, the Immigration department at present is only able determine information of passengers once they land in the Maldives. "But when the system is established, the plane would send us the details of the passengers when the board. So it will be easy for us to clear them before they arrive. And we will also know beforehand the people who have been deported from the Maldives by referring to the blacklist," he said. Fathulla revealed that the issues with the current system allows people who have been deported to re-enter the Maldives, while adding that the new system would solve that problem. "Insha Allah we will introduce the system very soon." The PIS is being used in many countries around the world.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv 12/17/2012

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AZERBAIJAN: Joining New ITU Regulation

 

Azerbaijan joined the new regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry said today after a document was signed by Minister Ali Abbasov. The new regulations will come into force after ratification according to the Azerbaijani legislation. The new ITU new regulations are to ensure the free flow of information worldwide and was agreed within the World Conference on International Telecommunications, held in Dubai (Dec. 13-14). The text of the agreement focuses on further efforts to help developing countries, to promote access to information for people with disabilities and to approve the right of all people to freedom of speech within the networks of information and communication technologies. New ITU regulations will create the way to a more equitable sphere for all. A decision was made at the conference to create a single global number for the emergency services, as well as new provisions aimed at improving the energy efficiency of ICT networks and help combat e-waste. Energetic and long discussions at the conference were caused by such complex issues as safety of networks, determining the organisations providing services in accordance with the terms of the agreement, the principle of non-discriminatory access to each other's networks and the issue of whether to include freedom of speech in the preamble of the agreement.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/17/2012

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Broadband Internet Development Project in Azerbaijan to Be Adopted by Month End

 

Approval of the project on development of broadband Internet in Azerbaijan is expected by the end of the month, Aztelekom Production Association (PO) of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan told Trend on Friday. The document is currently being finalized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and the final cost of the project will be determined upon its approval. 291 million manat is allocated from the State Oil Fund budget for 2013 for implementation of this project that will contribute to expansion of broadband infrastructure and deployment of multimedia services in regions of Azerbaijan on its base. Gradual transfer of the regional telecommunications operator nodes to Next Generation Network (NGN), alternative routing of optical telecommunication lines and construction of high-speed IP-based lines of MPLS networks over DWDM networks are considered within the project. The necessary conditions for the transport of traffic from private providers will also be provided. The possibility of using GPON technology to bring the optical lines to the end users in large cities is under consideration. The possibility of application of CDMA 1x EV-DO and WiMAX standards for provision of broadband services coverage for people living in remote communities is also being considered. To date, about two thousand kilometers of fiber-optic communication lines have been laid across the regions of Azerbaijan within the development project for broadband Internet, of which 570 kilometers were laid by commercial providers.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/13/2013

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Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry Announces Plans for 2013

 

As 2013 has been declared the Year of ICT in Azerbaijan, it will be marked by launching Azerspace, the country's first telecommunication satellite, Azerbaijani Communications and IT Minister Ali Abbasov told media today. He said the satellite has already been delivered to the cosmodrome at Kourou, and its launch is scheduled for February 7. The second major project will start this year and lasts for three years. This will be to develop broadband Internet financed by the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund. The main goal of the project is to bring the indices on broadband connections to the level of developed countries. 2013 will be also marked by the transition to digital broadcasting. Analogue broadcasting will be stopped by late 2013. He stressed that the Ministry's plans are to ensure the e-government's portal is developed as a 'single window' principle. E-services rendered to citizens will be further expanded together with the ASAN Service centre. Abbasov added that the decisions taken in 2012 to create regional innovation zones and industrial parks will be developed in 2013.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/21/2013

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Azerbaijani IT Company Presents Tax Administration Modernization Project in Kyrgyzstan

 

"e-Government creation experience based on example of Azerbaijani IT company SINAM's tax administration modernization project (ITAS) and technological innovations of Oracle information technologies" conference was held in Bishkek, the company said today. According to the Information Policy Department of Kyrgyz Government, representatives of presidential apparatus, parliament, government, donor community, banks and other institutions and companies were invited to participate at the conference. The purpose of the event - acquaintance with available experience on creation of e-government at the regional and global levels, further development perspectives, finding the ways of bilateral cooperation in this direction. It should be noted that presently state bodies of Kyrgyzstan are very active on application of e-government principles and operation modes in the country. Creation of e-government is the one of the priorities of the "National strategy for sustainable development of Kyrgyz Republic for 2013-2017". During the conference Azerbaijani SINAM Company shared its experience in the field of development of information systems for e-Government on example of Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) project. The project is realized by ADB in cooperation with the Kyrgyz Government. Project's goal is the introduction of modern tax administration system covering main business-processes of the State Tax Service of the Kyrgyz Republic. Up-to-date IT-technologies were used within this project implementation.

 

It should be noted that, for the first time in Kyrgyz Republic, the Oracle Business Intelligence system was used for the creation of analytical reporting system. This product, designed for creation analytical systems and establishment of accountability, provides modern platform for business analysis allowing to timely get complete and important information for better decision-making across the whole organization. In their joint presentation SINAM and Oracle gave detailed information about this software and its application opportunities on example of ITAS project. In the "Review of DB Technology and Prospects in Oracle activities" presentation the Company provided information on the most famous product - Oracle Database. For today, this database management system has become an invariable part of any big information system. Also, company representatives spoke about Oracle Exadata DB machine integrated platform which is designed for deployment of all database applications and consists of database management servers, information storage systems, peripherals and networking equipment as well as software.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/04/2013

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Information Kazakhstan 2020 Draft Program Approved

 

At today's meeting the Сabinet approved the draft state-run program Information Kazakhstan 2020. Transport and Communications Minister Askar Zhumagulov tabled the document. The program is purposed to introduce information and communication technologies in all economic sectors. It will let solve tasks in order to raise efficiency of public administration system and contribute to the development of the country's information space. The draft program foresees further implementation of modern communication technologies, digital television, and active use of new technologies.

From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 11/27/2012

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4G Communication Standard to Be Introduced in Astana and Almaty by End of Year

 

A 4G communication standard will be introduced in Astana and Almaty by the end of year, Kazakh Minister of Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev said at a briefing at the Central Communications Service (CCS) under the President of Kazakhstan on Wednesday. "Telecommunications are developing intensively. We hope to launch a 4G communication standard in Almaty and Astana this year. Following this we are planning to gradually develop it in other cities of Kazakhstan. The introduction was launched as a pilot project at Kazakhtelecom JSC. Base stations were installed in the cities of Astana and Almaty to organise and conduct pilot testing of fourth-generation mobile communications, "Zhumagaliyev said. The minister said that the 3G standard mobile communication network was put into operation in the cities of Astana and Almaty and in all regional centres of the country in 2011. Currently, the introduction of this technology is in process. "Provision for residents in the district centres and towns with a population of 10,000 or more with the third generation communication service is planned for the beginning of 2015," he said.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/20/2012

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TAJIKISTAN: Adopting New Media Legislation

 

The Deputies of the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan's lower chamber of the parliament) have endorsed a new bill on the periodical press and other mass media, Asia-Plus reported on Wednesday. A regular sitting of the fourth session of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the fourth convocation, resided over by its head, Shukurjon Zuhurov, took place in Dushanbe on December 12. MP Olim Salimzoda, who is one of authors of a new media law, said that a special working group comprising representatives of the parliament, the government, political parties and journalism community to work further on the country's media law. During more than two years, the working group held 18 meetings and the bill was submitted for consideration to the Majlisi Namoyandagon in March 2010. "Under the new law, all media outlets in Tajikistan will be registered as legal entities and public agencies will have to answer journalist inquiries within three days," the parliamentarian noted.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/12/2012

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TURKMENISTAN: Law on Mass Media Comes into Force

 

The law 'On mass media' has come into force in Turkmenistan establishing regulations for collection, dissemination of information, determining rights, obligations and responsibilities of individuals, journalists and entities, as well as regulating their activities, an official Turkmen source said on Monday. The article of the law states that the right to establish a mass media institution belongs to state administration bodies, local executive authorities and local self-government, political parties and other public associations, legal entities and Turkmen citizens who have reached the age of 18, or their associations. The state guarantees the right of mass media for freedom of expression. 'No one can prohibit or prevent the media from disseminating information of public interest', the law says. Turkmen citizens have the right to use any form of mass media to express their opinions and beliefs, search, receive and disseminate information. The new law also guarantees free access of Turkmen citizens to the reports and materials of the foreign mass media. Turkmen government policy is based on the principles of banning: media censorship except in cases stipulated by the country's legislation; creation of bodies for preliminary control of information; influencing entities, preparing and distributing information and pressurising journalists to present incorrect and biased information in the media. The law also noted that the liability grounds for media abuse are: using information of the media which happens to be state or other secrets protected by law; an appeal to the violent change of constitutional order, propaganda of war, violence and cruelty, racial, ethnic or religious hatred, discrimination or intolerance, distribution of pornography and other criminal acts.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/07/2013

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UZBEKISTAN: Special Information Systems to Be Created in Judicial Sphere

 

Uzbekistan will develop and introduce information systems that are integrated within the national information system for collecting, processing and storing information about the activity in the courts in 2013-14. This work is envisaged by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers which approved the programme of introducing modern information and communication technologies in the work of the courts. The programme will see the analysis of introducing and developing information and communication technologies, including on resources and systems, the number and quality of online services, as well as the qualified personnel in the field of information and communication technologies in the courts. It is planned to provide court personnel with computer and office equipment, to create the local area networks in the central and regional court offices and to organise electronic litigation within the development of infrastructure for information and communication technologies. Moreover, the decree of the government envisages the measures will increase the level of computer literacy and improve the skills of judges and court staff, including their certification for using modern computer and information and communication technologies. The increased number of information resources and improved quality of online services will allow applications to the court with petitions and other documents in an electronic manner to exchange data and to interact effectively with legal and physical entities to publish the decisions of the economic courts. They will be financed from the state budget, the Development Fund of the Courts and the Judicial Bodies, as well as grants and loans from international financial institutions and organisations and other sources not prohibited by law.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/18/2012

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AUSTRALIA: New Cyber Security Policy

 

Earlier today, my colleague Graeme Philipson wrote of the establishment of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to be an amalgam of Defence's Cyber Security Operations Centre, the Attorney-General's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia, ASIO's Cyber Espionage Branch, elements of the AFP's High-Tech Crime Operations capability and all-source assessment analysts from the Australian Crime Commission, according to the Federal Government's much anticipated posture document on the future of Australia's National Security. Showing the extreme importance of cyber security, we find the announcement featured prominently on page 40 of the 44 page document. Accepting that this is the Federal Government's current position on Cyber Security, iTWire asked a number of industry experts for their thoughts. Adam Biviano, Senior Manager, Strategic Products, Trend Micro ANZ was generally in favour, "Trend Micro welcomes the Government's initiative as an important move in the fight against cyber crime.

 

"Law enforcement and governments have always played cat and mouse with criminals. The reality is that while there is money to be made from attacking computer systems, then criminals will never give up." Biviano continued, "Combining the key agencies into a single centre is a sensible approach. "With cyber crime, accurate intelligence is critical for implementing strategies to effectively tackle the problem. Having a centralised strategy to stave off cyber attacks. Combine this with the law making and enforcement capability of government and you have the foundation for a solid security strategy." In a press release, the Australian Computer Society agreed, "Besides The risk to critical infrastructure including banking and finance, emergency services, energy and utilities, food, health care, IT and communications, mass gatherings transportation and water, there is also a significant economic risk arising from cyber crime and terrorism. In our past submissions to the government the ACS have made the case that the best form of defence is for the Government to regulate and control practitioners who lead and manage our nations' ICT based critical infrastructure."

 

AVG's Security Advisor, Michael McKinnon agrees, "The establishment of the Australian Cyber Security Centre is encouraging, and not at all surprising given this follows a worldwide trend at the moment." McKinnon continued, "For example, the European Cybercrime Centre announced earlier this month, and New Zealand also announcing a joint statement with the UK on Cyber security." "As one of the world's largest ICT companies, Huawei is encouraged by the Government's vision to bolster Australia's cyber security defences," said Chairman of Huawei Australia Rear Admiral John Lord AM (Retd). "Huawei stands ready and willing to work with industry and Government to make this vision a reality. Globally, Huawei is already working in partnership with Governments and security agencies in this critical area." Identifying the issues with obtaining suitable staff to populate this new body, ACS CEO Alan Patterson comments: "Elevating the recognition of ICT professional standards and skills within both industry and public spheres is a critical step in the future-proofing of our national cyber security. Without suitably qualified and certifiable practitioners, our ability to counter cyber attacks at any level will be greatly hampered.

 

"The ACS will continue our work with the government, industry and ICT practitioners to further the understanding of cyber security in Australia. Another factor in the equation will be the impact of the NBN" added Biviano. "The combination of huge bandwidth and Australia's increasing reliance on the internet will no doubt be a magnet for organised criminals. The Government needs to ensure that business and society operate in the safest environment possible, or confidence in the connected future will suffer. As globalisation continues to be driven in part through the Internet," muses McKinnon, ”it is encouraging to see these security operation centres being created to foster better sharing of intel and knowledge between nations to stop Cybercriminals." Further, McKinnon adds, "In a perfect world these so-called borderless crimes would be prosecuted by an equally borderless legal system, yet in reality it's evident that different interests and sovereignties around the world make this a virtual impossibility; leaving us with the need to defend our own sovereignty which the ACSC also addresses." In a comment to Graeme Philipson's report, iTWire's good friend and regular commenter 'TachyonRider' asked for my thoughts, "seeing as though we already have the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) (http://www.dsd.gov.au/infosec/csoc.htm) in the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). One would reasonably imagine the CSOC already coordinates effectively with ASIO and the AFP."

 

To address this, I would point out that having a number of organisations all covering the gamut of research, investigations, technical advice and remediation work is somewhat wasteful and broadly, I would agree with the proposal. But (and there's always a but!). My concern is that we are very likely to be pushing a lot of civilian-focussed work into an organisation that must, by its very design be subject to all kinds of military-style security levels and restrictions. Prime Minister Gillard's document tends to dwell more strongly on the Government's requirements in this area to the possible detriment of private industry. And the more DoD-based the organisation becomes, the harder it will be for third-party organisations (equipment and service providers, for instance) to get a seat at the table. Trend Micro's Biviano seems to agree with this assessment, "I would be keen to understand further how the new ACSC will interact with not only other tiers of government but also business. It will be interesting to see what tactical actions the ACSC delivers over the medium to longer term. What interfaces will it create for other tiers of government, and businesses? As there is a wealth of intelligence to be shared, what will be their interaction strategy with the private security industry?" Echoing this emphasis on private industry, AVG's McKinnon adds, "For Business and Enterprise this move should be sending a clear signal that if you haven't already started implementing a Security Programme then you're already behind the curve. It's time to step-up and get serious about defending from cyber attack, and don't rely solely on the Government to do the job for you."

From http://www.itwire.com 01/24/2013

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Cloud Computing Trial to Be Launched in Australia

 

The Government of the State of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, will launch five pilot projects to test cloud-based IT solutions to improve government services. Greg Pearce, the Minister for Finance and Services, NSW, called for expressions of interest from the private sector. “We will test multiple cloud based systems across different scenarios and environments to ensure they are cost-effective, secure and efficient”, he said in a statement. “If successful we will look at how they can be rolled out across government.” The five projects planned are cloud solutions for email, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), shared service multi-tenanted email, ICT infrastructure and cloud-based desktop and collaboration services. “The trial will test technical and regulatory questions, as well as opportunities to reduce the Government’s annual ICT expenditure”, said Pearce. Government organisations such as Fire and Rescue NSW, the Department of Trade and Investment, WorkCover (agency working to ensure productive, healthy and safe workplaces in NSW) and Businesslink (a provider of outsourced business services) will be participating in the trial. The Department of Finance and Services of NSW will monitor all projects throughout 2013.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/06/2013

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Victorian Government Reveals Revamped ICT Strategy

 

During the last two decades or so, successive Victorian Governments have been keen on ICT industry strategy, but the Baillieu Government has now revealed how it plans to improve its own use of technology. Announcing the Victorian Government's new ICT strategy, the Assistant Treasurer and Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said the 50-point action plan had been developed following rigorous consultation with industry and the public. He also took the opportunity to criticise the previous Brumby Government for what he said was "at least $1.44 billion of taxpayers' money wasted in cost blowouts on projects like HealthSMART, myki and the LEAP database." The strategy notes the changes in Victorians' expectations about the use of ICT to communicate with governments. While 78% of Australian internet users accessed government services or information online in 2011, almost one-third of Victorians were no more than somewhat satisfied with their last online engagement with government.

 

There's also the increasing access to high-speed broadband (though the NBN only warrants a single mention by name, and that's tucked away on the Acknowledgements page), Big Data, the desire to think again about which ICT services should be delivered in-house, and alleged gaps in ICT leadership, governance and skills. Measures planned by the Victorian Government include greater use of apps and mobile-friendly web sites, improved information sharing between systems (with due attention to privacy, security, etc), further release of Government datasets where appropriate (either free or at minimal cost), and the use of interactive or social technologies for the co-design and co-production of public services. The Government also intends to bolster its project management and project assurance capability, adopt modern delivery techniques such as Agile, engage with suppliers earlier and more flexibly, reuse systems wherever possible, withdraw from direct delivery of infrastructure services, and improve internal technical and governance capability.

 

"Victoria's ICT industry has a wealth of expertise and we look forward to a closer and more productive relationship in the future," said Rich-Phillips. The AIIA welcomed the strategy. Board chairman Kee Wong said “Businesses and communities are driving increasing demand for mobile technology and online services. We welcome the positive steps that the Victorian Government is taking to embrace technology advances and transform service delivery to meet these demands." Wong added "It is encouraging to see the Victorian Government recognise past mistakes in the development and delivery of ICT-enabled initiatives and look at alternative principles."

From http://www.itwire.com 02/12/2013

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New Standards Impose Rigorous Process for E-Waste Disposal

 

New standards designed to help divert e-waste from landfill by imposing a rigorous process for its collection, storage, and recycling have been set by Standards Australia. The new, joint Australian and New Zealand Standard, ‘AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment’, outlines minimum requirements for the safe and environmentally sound handling of e-waste. Colin Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Standards Australia, said the standard sets out principles and minimum requirements for end-of-life electrical equipment in order to maximise re-use, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, safeguard worker health, and minimise environmental harm. “The standard states that a lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation or adverse health and safety effects. The standard sends a strong message regarding the environmental concerns of e-waste.”

 

According to Blair, the standard recognises that there are laws in place regulating how to comply with occupational health and safety requirements and environmental performance, and that Australia and New Zealand are signatories to international agreements on environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and pollutants. “The standard enhances existing environmental protections and international obligations, while establishing the processes required to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.” Senator Don Farrell, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water welcomed the new standard, which he said aligned with the Australian Government’s goal of ensuring that e-waste is managed in a manner that protects human health and the environment. “The new standard will complement the Australian Government’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme under which recycling services for televisions and computers are being rolled out to communities across Australia.”

 

Senator Farrell said that householders and businesses could drop off unwanted e-waste products “confident that the valuable materials they contain will be recovered, and that any hazardous materials will not enter the environment.” He said the standard also provided environmentally-effective guidelines for industry and would help ensure that, from 1 July 2014, at least 90 per cent of all materials in e-waste collected under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme were recovered for use in new products.”

From http://www.itwire.com 02/18/2013

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NSW Government - Plan Will Make Sydney ‘Global Magnet’ for ICT Industry

 

The NSW Government says it will make Sydney a “global magnet” for digital and ICT talent and pilot smart work hubs, and a global leader in the ICT sector, as part of its response to a high-level Industry Action Plan on the Digital Economy. The State’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner, says that the final Digital Economy Industry Action Plan identifies seven key areas of development for government and industry to position NSW as a global leader in the sector by 2021. “The Action Plan highlights NSW’s significant competitive advantage in digital and ICT industries, with this State the source of around 50 per cent of Australia’s total exports of telecommunications, computer and information services,” the Minister said.

 

Mr Stoner said the high-level Taskforce established to develop the action plan had identified the “critical need for NSW to build on its digital strengths,” with the sector playing a vital role in enabling innovation and productivity gains across other priority sectors in the NSW economy. “The Taskforce identified 50 actions for industry and government across seven areas including digital leadership and skills, connecting regional communities, open data innovation, growing Sydney’s Digital Precinct, improving finance and investment channels, and driving infrastructure productivity. The Taskforce believes success in these areas will enable NSW to lead in building a Digital Economy that sets global benchmarks for innovation and economic growth.”

 

The Minister said the NSW Government would work with industry to pursue the priority actions for the digital economy over the next 12 months:

• Introduce Innovate NSW, a new $6.7 million initiative to support deeper collaboration to address the State’s key challenges and opportunities

• Identify actions to make it easier for all businesses, including SMEs, to bid for government goods and services procurement contracts

• Pilot Smart Work Hubs to increase opportunities for teleworking

• Implement the NSW Government’s Open Data initiative as part of the NSW Government ICT Strategy

• Partner with the Committee for Sydney to identify and implement initiatives to position Sydney as a Global Talent Hub

• Continue to roll out free and reliable internet access via WiFi hotspots to 139 country libraries across the State under the NSW State Library’s four-year Revitalising Regional Libraries program, and

• Continue to implement the NSW State Library’s major digitisation program for its collection and upgrade of its digital infrastructure.

 

Sydney is already well positioned for growth in the digital economy, home to a diverse range of global ICT expertise developing innovative solutions in the variety of business and consumer facing sectors. With this Action Plan, we have a chance to take that momentum and develop Sydney and NSW’s true potential towards a leading role in the global digital economy.” The Chair of the NSW Digital Economy Taskforce and Director of IBM Research, Glenn Wightwick, said the Action Plan’s recommendations were based on months of research, consultation and debate among sector leaders and other key stakeholders. Wightwick said a strong and vibrant digital economy would be an essential factor in helping to address future economic challenges and to drive economic growth in NSW. "It is critical that we recognise the central role that ICT is playing in transforming every sector of our economy and see this as an opportunity to improve our competitiveness and productivity. This presents really exciting opportunities for everyone in NSW.”

 

Wightwick also said that the action plan offered solutions to a range of issues impacting growth in the digital economy including export opportunities, innovation, productivity, investment, skills, employment and workforce participation, business conditions and global competitiveness. “Looking forward, only those who can most effectively adopt and exploit opportunities to transform the way they do business, develop new products and services, improve efficiency and better serve their customers will be leaders in the global digital economy.” Mr Stoner said the centrepiece of the Government’s response to the industry action plan was a new framework underpinning economic development in NSW and immediate actions government and industry would take to address the priority issues highlighted by the taskforces.

From http://www.itwire.com 12/13/2012

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ITU Stalemate Could Spur National Regulation

 

Academics warn of inevitable fragmentation of internet controls. The world's major Internet companies, backed by U.S. policymakers, got much of what they wanted last week when many nations refused to sign a global telecommunications treaty that opponents feared could lead to greater government control over online content and communications. In rejecting even mild Internet language in the updated International Telecommunications Union treaty and persuading dozens of other countries to refuse their signatures, the U.S. made a powerful statement in support of the open Internet, U.S. officials and industry leaders said. But both technologists and politicians fear the Internet remains in imminent danger of new controls imposed by various countries, and some said the rift that only widened during the 12-day ITU conference in Dubai could wind up hastening the end of the Net as we know it. "If the international community can't agree on what is actually quite a simple text on telecommunications, then there is a risk that the consensus that has mostly held today around Internet governance within (Web-address overseer) ICANN and the multi-stakeholder model just falls apart over time," a European delegate told Reuters. "Some countries clearly think it is time to rethink that whole system, and the fights over that could prove irresolvable."

 

An increasing number of nations are alarmed about Internet-based warfare, international cybercrime or internal dissidents' use of so-called "over-the-top" services such as Twitter and Facebook that are outside the control of domestic telecom authorities. Many hoped that the ITU would prove the right forum to set standards or at least exchange views on how to handle their problems. But the United States' refusal to sign the treaty even after all mention of the Internet had been relegated to a side resolution may have convinced other countries that they have to go it alone, delegates said. "This could lead to a balkanisation of the Internet, because each country will have its own view on how to deal with over-the-top players and will regulate the Internet in a different way," said another European delegate, who would speak only on condition anonymity. Without U.S. and European cooperation, "maybe in the future we could come to a fragmented Internet," said Andrey Mukhanov, international chief at Russia's Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications.

 

HARD LINE IN NEGOTIATIONS

Spurred on by search giant Google and others, the Americans took a hard line against an alliance of countries that wanted the right to know more about the routing of Internet traffic or identities of Web users, including Russia, and developing countries that wanted content providers to pay at least some of the costs of transmission. The West was able to rally more countries against the ITU having any Internet role than agency officials had expected, leaving just 89 of 144 attending nations willing to sign the treaty immediately. They also endorse a nonbinding resolution that the ITU should play a future role guiding Internet standards, along with private industry and national governments. Some delegates charged that the Americans had planned on rejecting any treaty and so were negotiating under false pretenses. "The U.S. had a plan to try and water down as much of the treaty as it could and then not sign," the second European said. Other allied delegates and a U.S. spokesman hotly disputed the claim. "The U.S. was consistent and unwavering in its positions," he said. "In the end - and only in the end - was it apparent that the proposed treaty would not meet that standard."

 

But the suspicion underscores the unease greeting the United States on the issue. Some in Russia, China and other nations suspect the U.S. of using the Net to sow discontent and launch spying and military attacks. For many technology companies, and for activists who are helping dissidents, the worst-case scenario now would be a split in the structural underpinnings of the Internet. In theory, the electronic packets that make up an email or Web session could be intercepted and monitored near their origin, or traffic could be subjected to massive firewalls along national boundaries, as is the case in China. Most technologists view the former scenario as unlikely, at least for many years: the existing Internet protocol is too deeply entrenched, said Milton Mueller, a Syracuse University professor who studies Net governance. "People who want to `secede' from that global connectivity will have to introduce costly technical exceptions to do so," Mueller said.

 

A more immediate prospect is stricter national regulations requiring Internet service providers and others to help monitor, report and censor content, a trend that has already accelerated since the Arab Spring revolts. Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet Society, also predicted more fragmentation at the application level, with countries like China encouraging controllable homegrown alternatives to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Zittrain, Mueller and other experts said fans of the open Net have much work to do in Dubai's wake. They say government and industry officials should not only preach the merits of the existing system, in which various industry-led non-profit organisations organise the core Internet protocols and procedures, but strive to articulate a better way forward. "The position we're in now isn't tenable," said James Lewis, a cybersecurity advisor to the White House based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "For us to say 'No, it's got be an ad hoc arrangement of non-governmental entities and a nonprofit corporation ... maybe we could get away with that 10 years ago, but it's going to be increasingly hard." Lewis said the United States needed to concede a greater role for national sovereignty and the U.N., while Mueller said the goal should be a "more globalised, transnational notion of communications governance" that will take decades to achieve.

 

In the meantime, activists concerned about new regulation can assist by spreading virtual private network technology, which can national controls, Zittrain said. Backup hosting and distribution could also be key, he said. "We can devise systems for keeping content up amidst filtering or denial-of-service attacks, so that a platform like Twitter can be a genuine choice for someone in China."

From http://www.itnews.com.au 12/17/2012

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NSW Govt Plan to Make Sydney an ICT Talent Hub

 

The NSW Government has detailed its strategy to boost the state's digital economy, as part of the O'Farrell administration's plan to help the state adapt to disruptive innovation and increasing competition from emerging economies. The Industry Action Plan for the Digital Economy, released by Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner, includes a $6.7 million innovation initiative to identify opportunities and challenges for the state, as well as smart work hubs and the implementation of the NSW Government's open data initiative. The State will also seek to raise the profile of Sydney, with the aim of positioning the city as a global hub for digital and ICT talent. The plan has been in the pipeline since September last year when the Government set innovation and productivity targets for the state until 2021. Under the plan, the ICT industry is expected to account for 4.9 percent of the NSW economy by 2020. "This state is the source of around 50 percent of Australia's total exports of telecommunications, computer and information services," Stoner said, adding it was critical for NSW to build on its digital strengths in order to help boost innovation and productivity gains across other sectors.

 

Victor Perton, former Commissioner to the Americas for Victoria welcomed the plan, but said there were some issues that would need to be addressed to ensure it was a success. "If they want to make it an IT skills hub we've got to make it more attractive for students to get higher degrees and higher training at NSW unis," Perton said, adding that Australia was sometimes criticised in the US for not producing enough home-grown PhD students. He added that the state would also need to deal with the issue of Australia being seen as a high-cost destination. "We're competing against Singapore, Hong Kong, India and China, all of who use much bigger subsidies and the like to lure investment," Perton said. Perton also said that in order for Australia to attract major ICT investment and boost flows of talent between Australia and the US, it would be necessary for Sydney and Melbourne to collaborate. "We will achieve success if Barry O'Farrell and Ted Baillieu shake hands and say, 'We expect our people on the ground to collaborate and go hunting in packs for those new investments'."

 

The taskforce that developed the plan is being led by director of IBM Research, Glenn Wightwick. "The Action Plan offers solutions to a range of issues impacting growth in the digital economy including export opportunities, innovation, productivity, investment, skills, employment and workforce participation, business conditions and global competitiveness," Wightwick said. "The Government has shown its interest and willingness to respond, but we still need to see the action and how real and effective the initiatives are", said Ross Dawson, a futurist who has written extensively on the global digital workforce. He added that Sydney's climate, beauty and culture gave it an unfair advantage over many other countries and that it was a viable and critical objective for it to be a global ICT talent hub. "Yes, we can be a global talent hub. We already are in some ways." Dawson pointed to a recent ranking by the Startup Genome project that ranked Sydney as 12th in the top 25 startup hubs in the world. However Randal Leeb-du Toit, head of commercial development at the University of Sydney, said if NSW wants to play on the global stage it needs to be doing something at a global standard. "It feels like it's a hand waving gesture more than anything else. It's like Tamworth trying to take on New York." Mr Leeb-du Toit said greater incentives were needed for entrepreneurs, similar to those on offer in Singapore and the US. "It doesn't have to cost them money, just change the tax equation for start-ups."

From http://www.itnews.com.au 12/17/2012

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Govt Acts on Cyber Bullies

 

Justice Minister Judith Collins is to outline new measures to curb cyber bullying within the next few weeks. Her intentions were signalled yesterday after Rotorua coroner Wallace Bain repeated calls for laws to be urgently introduced to control digital bullying in light of another teenager taking her life after she set up a Facebook page targeting herself. Dr Bain found that 17-year-old Micaela Pinkerton-Stothers from Tokoroa took her own life on July 24, 2011 - the day after she and her boyfriend split up. It was first believed she might have taken her life because of cyber bullying as a rumour page on Facebook had hateful messages posted stating Micaela had had an abortion. However, during the inquest into her death, one of her friends said the pair had set up a gossip rumour page, with her posting the hurtful messages herself, using another name. Micaela appeared distressed by the rumours, crying to family and telling them she was being bullied. Dr Bain said it appeared Micaela had not been targeted by bullies.

 

However, in his findings, he highlighted a story that ran in Rotorua's Daily Post about a gossip page that was naming and shaming local youth, and another case involving 15-year-old Hayley-Ann Fenton, who took her own life after being sent threatening messages from her former boyfriend's wife. Dr Bain said cyber and text bullying was a worrying trend and there needed to be law reform on the issue. He repeated previous calls for "laws to control cyber bullying and cyber communication to be brought forward as a matter of some urgency".Rotorua Facebook pages, now removed, have named people as drug abusers and thieves. Dr Bain said young people were extremely vulnerable to cyber and text bullying, sometimes resulting in their taking their own lives. The inquest raised very unusual aspects including the setting up of the Facebook page with the responses monitored. " ... in the court's opinion, it simply reinforces the unsettled state of mind Micaela was in."

 

Another issue was what young people needed to do if they received a suicidal-type message from a friend, Dr Bain said. "Time and again a close friend will send these messages and within a short period of time, will have committed suicide. Young people are concerned about not breaching confidences ... yet on the other hand, after the event, all wish they had been able to do something about it and possibly got their friends some help." A spokeswoman for Ms Collins' office said the minister had asked the Law Commission to fast-track a review of the laws around telecommunications and the internet. The minister is due to take those recommendations to Parliament in the next two weeks. A public announcement due this month will include new laws regarding incitement to instigate suicide whether the person commits suicide or not, and updating existing digital laws.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz 02/01/2013

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E-Democracy: Isn’t It a Key to Cease Corruption?

 

It is now extensively accepted that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have an important role in national development. The developmental prospective of information and communication technologies have been broadly discussed in the scientific literature but we still lack conceptual precision on the role of ICTs for success and failure of national development process. In recent times ICT is exploit by citizens and civil society for networking and improve advocacy and mobilization, local and globally. Blogs, Facebook and online communities create new modes of social contact. The use of ICT has influenced social movements and has also had an effect on the social life and democratic freedoms in some societies. The existing explanation of freedom and democracy, by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states that every individual have rights to free communication, religious and political participation, and to engage in economic activity. These rights are defined as political, economic, and religious freedoms. Many scholars connect political freedoms with constitutional democracy (the right of individuals to elect their governments). ICT offer new tools for well-organized public contribution in the democratic process in the form of e-democracy, e-government, e-voting and the propagation of opinions, thoughts, ideas, and rallying social action about things that concern society. At present ICT can be used to improve the democratic process in the form of e-government in which citizens are able to effectively impact the decision-making process in a judicious approach within and between institutions. In government, ICT not only can increase accountability and transparency, and counter corruption through more proficient administration and increased flows of information but also strengthen good governance and improve interaction between government and citizens. E-democracy can be closely defined as “e-administration”, where ICT serves to modernize inter-governmental relations and flows of information with the view to improve government services, transactions, and interactions with citizens, businesses, and other arms of governments. E-democracy can facilitate better service to citizens by:

•Offering information via government web pages;

•Facilitating access to government services, and;

•Developing depersonalized services which reduce risk for corruption.

 

Generally, one can differentiate between three levels of ICT use to advance democratic processes at the national level:

1.ICTs within government, with a view to improve efficiency in interactions and information flows between government departments and state organs.

2.ICTs in the interface between government and citizens, with a view to improving interaction and feedback between government and citizens.

3.ICTs for empowerment of citizens and civil society organizations.

Presently, Pakistan has a democratic system without democrats and it is hijacked by a small group of feudal lords, political elites, bureaucrats and organizations under foreign influence. Most of the time, democratic election only commit to reshuffling of the same old faces. Regardless of miserable performance of political parties, low level of people’s participation in party politics and lack of political culture, majority of the people still believe that political parties are the backbone of democracy. Pakistan where democracy has not deep root saturation, ICTs have provided the users an opportunity to be aware of their socio-political and human rights and they show strong inclination towards attending social and political meetings as a matter of right. ICTs are foundations of socio-political information and development and can be a precious tool for enhancing people’s contribution in the development of policies, laws, strategies and other documents that shape their future. Since Pakistan is a developing country that faces many development challenges, plus extreme poverty, a low literacy rate, poor health facilities, and a weak socio-political situation, characterized by corruption and a lack of informed decision-making, ICT for progress is still at a nascent stage from a civil society standpoint. Even though the government is devoted to the development of ICT infrastructure in Pakistan but, the country is a graveyard of many failed and unsuccessful projects. Unfortunately, the government takes massive loans from the IMF, World Bank and others but there are practically no checks to measure the success of the projects they send the money on, or ways of helping to eradicate corruption in the implementation of projects. There are barely any monitoring and estimation procedure in country that is why according to The Transparency International annual report 2012 the corruption of Rs 12600 billion reported in different sectors of Pakistan during the last five democratic years. The United Nations general assembly selected ‘9 December’ as International Anti-Corruption Day, to elevate awareness of corruption. On this International Anti-Corruption Day, let us promise to do our part by cracking down on corruption, shaming those who perform it and prompt a culture that values ethical behavior as democracy is based on two core principles: participation and accountability!

From http://blogs.thenewstribe.com/ 12/18/2012

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Government-backed Monopoly May Be Needed for Broadband Networks, ITU Says

 

A huge upfront cost to fibre optic networks around the world means oliogopoly or monopoly situations may have to be accepted in many markets, the UN standards agency says. Ever wonder what the industry leaders of the telecommunications industry think the future holds for the future of ICT? Well a 35-page report on the outcomes of discussions like that can be downloaded from the International Telecommunications Union. Commonly known as ITU Telecom, the United Nations agency establishes worldwide standards to help smooth over compatibility issues. This is the agency that decides, for example, what wireless speeds can be deemed “4G” and what satellite orbits a nation’s outer-space communications gear can occupy. So what did the agency’s members discuss in Dubai at the ITU TelecomWorld meeting last October? Broadband Supply: providing fast speed Internet access around the world will help boost the economy and address poverty, but many areas of the world are still struggling to provide basic coverage to their populations, members of the ITU say. With a large amount of up-front capital needed for investment in fibre optic networks, it’s likely that a model involving an oligopoly of corporations or even a government-backed monopoly will be necessary in many markets. Broadband Demand: To drive interest and access to the information and products made available by broadband Internet, countries need to target different socio-economic groups with affordable devices. Content must be provided on those devices that is locally-relevant and services should be available in the local language. Big Data: Data has no value on its own, but can be monetized via complex analytics such as predictive behavioural models, location-based services, and personal data vaults offering secure storage. Adopting regulator-enforced standards and putting the consumer at centre-stage as both the source of data and the market for personalized services. It’ll be important to collect data transparently and provide the ability to opt-in or opt-out to varying degrees. Overall the report on the 55 panel discussions and other sessions is broad and wide-ranging. But some main themes that emerge are how telecom companies are taking a customer-first approach and grappling with how to adapt business models in the face of over-the-top technologies.

From http://www.itbusiness.ca/ 02/11/2013

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AFRICA: Tanzania - Isles Keen on e-Government Implementation

 

DRESSED in white T-shirts bearing words 'e-revolution', a team of employees of an Information Communication Technology (ICT) project joined other Zanzibaris at the launch of e-government programme in the Isles. Zanzibar has chosen to use e-revolution instead of egovernment because the former means 'everything' for the islands. It is e-revolution, argues Mr Mohamed Juma Ame, head of the project facilitating committee adding that "e-government is comprehensive revolution in internet, convenient telecommunication, education, e-health, etc." Briefing the gathering at the launch of e-government programme Ame said soon it will be possible for Zanzibaris to get treated by medical doctors from abroad, "for example, a doctors in Cuba will in the near future be able to communicate with a patient in Zanzibar online!" The launch was one of activities to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Zanzibar revolution. Implementation of the e-government project in Zanzibar will be the responsibility of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) department. He adds: "E-revolution (egovernment) has been going on gradually because it is a big and expensive project." Mr Ame said in the development of infrastructure, the backbone fibre optic cable has been laid covering more than 350 Kilometres on Unguja and Pemba islands. The facilitating team leader said that 12 sub stations for e-government link have been constructed:

 

Fumba (entry point from Tanzania mainland), Kizimkazi, Paje, Kiwengwa, Nungwi, Amani, Jamhuri Garden, and Mazizini (central base) on Unguja islands, while in Pemba islands it is Chunjuu, Wete, and Konde. He said that the second part of the project is to have all government departments, at national and regional levels linked to the e-government system at Mazizini Street, and that already four ministries are linked at the central e-government, and other department will follow. He recalled that the plans for implementation of e-government project in Zanzibar started way back in 2006, but the ground work was finished in just one-year! "We have to celebrate the success," he said as the Minister for Public Service and Good Governance, Mr Haji Omar Kheri, thanked the retired President Amani Abein Karume for supporting the idea when it was first proposed. Kheri said that e-government has a lot of advantages and that Zanzibaris should expect and get prepared for changes through the use of the modern ICT. Pemba North Regional Commissioner (RC) Dadi Faki said that the project will transform the life of people in Pemba Island. The fiber optic cable has the capacity of 40G, while the requirement is only 2G. The surplus will be used in private sector and businesses including commercial advertisements. Currently we are negotiating with ZANTEL on how we can expand the use the cable." "For us e-government is e-agriculture, e-health, eeducation, e-tourism and other programmes, said Mr Dadi after a televised video conference with President Ali Mohammed Shein during the launch of egovernment programme. Launching the programme, Dr Shein also emphasized that the first ever initiative is meant to improve communication, economic growth, employment creation and quality of life for our citizens, since all public institutions will be connected through the new technology.

 

"ICT changes are inevitable, we cannot dare to isolate ourselves and remain behind while our colleagues in other parts of the world move ahead," said Dr Shein emphasizing that Zanzibaris have to change so as to fit in the fast growing world of information technology. Visibly joyful Dr Shein informed enthusiastic Zanzibaris and delegates from the Chinese Embassy that e-government is to increase greater efficiency in government through the use of information and communication technology. He thanked China's ZTE, Helios-Tech of Israel, Microsoft from USA, and local companies: Salem Construction Limited and Kemmisy Investment Limited that have been working on the e-government project in different ways including the laying of the fibre optic cable, construction of the centres and making connections. Dr Shein also thanked China for providing a 19 million US dollars soft loan for the project while its Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Lu Youqing, pledged continued support to Zanzibar. Although there are views that Zanzibar is still far from making e-government programme a reality, authorities say implementation of the work has been faster than expected. A representative from ZTE, which lay the cable, said that in comparison with similar projects in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, Zanzibar has been moving very fast. The ZTE official commended relevant Isles leaders for their seriousness in implementing the e-government programme which entails the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve activities of the public sector. Some definitions restrict egovernment to Internet-enabled applications only, or only to interactions between government and outside groups, but in Zanzibar authorities say all digital ICTs and public sector activities are included. The authorities say further that the ICT and e-government solutions will contribute towards Zanzibar's social and economic development. Dr Shein encourages increased awareness and understanding so that people benefit from new technology.

From http://allafrica.com/ 01/21/2013

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ASIA: Management World Asia Reveals Innovative New Revenue Generation Through Digital Service Delivery

 

As the availability of high-speed broadband across Asia creates boundless opportunities for service providers to generate new revenue streams through the delivery of digital services, TM Forum announced today that the focus of its Management World Asia conference and expo is aimed at helping service providers across the Asia Pacific region transform their business operations in order to manage the complex end-to-end value chain of digital service delivery and harness a wealth of new opportunities. With 19 C-Level keynotes from leading regional service providers taking a hard look at overcoming the challenges of delivering innovative products and services, Management World Asia, held March 12-13 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, addresses the most critical challenges facing businesses today with essential case studies, unique insights, inspiration and boundless networking opportunities. Industry leaders from Celcom Axiata Berhad, DST Communications, Groupon Travel Asia Pacific, Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd., Indosat, Mobilink, MTS India, PT XL Axiata, QNET, Robi Axiata, Research in Motion and Starhub, and over 40 additional speakers will tackle important topics for the Asia Pacific region, including:

•Transforming business models to capitalize on new digital services

•Turning data into dollars through effective customer analytics and enhanced customer experience

•Identifying practical techniques to monetize and manage disruptive technology

 

“In order to succeed, service providers must learn how to refine their business models to exploit future services, develop innovative new digital services, adopt and expand cloud computing services, and bolster revenue assurance programs,” said Martin Creaner, president and CEO, TM Forum, who leads off the conference with a keynote on March 12. “TM Forum’s Management World Asia is a unique and valuable opportunity for the region’s already successful leaders to come together, offer their insight and show others how to succeed in a highly competitive market.” TM Forum’s Management World conferences and expos stand apart by offering expert keynotes, sessions, unrivaled networking opportunities, and TM Forum’s renowned Training and Certification programs. Upcoming Management Worlds include:

Management World, Nice, France, May 13-16

Management World Americas, San Jose, Calif., Oct. 28-31

Please contact TM Forum’s event sales team at eventsponsorship@tmforum.org; Carine Vandevelde (+44 207 193 8678); or Vanessa Lefebvre (+34 605 165 449) to discuss Management World Asia sponsorship packages that are right for your company and your budget. Register now for Management World Asia and receive maximum savings.

From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 01/16/2013

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EUROPE: Putting Accessibility at the Heart of e-Government

 

A new user-centric web-based platform, developed by EU-funded researchers, promises to bring down the barriers to accessing e-government services. A new user-centric web-based platform, developed by EU-funded researchers, promises to bring down the barriers to accessing e-government services. Public administrations across Europe are making the leap from government to e-government, but citizens will only reap the rewards of being able to access more services online if they are efficient, accessible and easy to use. Developed by the 'Digital inclusive e-government' ( Diego) project, the platform offers a scalable, open standards-compliant solution for public administrations looking to implement e-government services from scratch or update existing ones to a more user-friendly and accessible system. The project's completion, following two years of work supported by EUR 2.5 million in funding from the European Commission, comes at a crucial time for the roll out of e-government in Europe. On the one hand, the increasingly widespread use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers, even among the elderly and traditionally less tech-savvy citizens, is creating demand and opportunities for more inclusive online services accessible anytime, anywhere. On the other hand, public administrations are increasingly coming to realise that in many cases the e-government services they have deployed in recent years, often at substantial cost, do not meet citizens' needs or are not easily accessible to inexperienced users. And, as European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, recently pointed out such systems have often been developed in isolation, creating digital borders between towns, regions and countries where physical boundaries have long disappeared (1). 'Over the last five to 10 years, public administrations of all sizes have spent millions on e-government services but often they weren't planned or designed very well. The result is people don't use them, and in many cases penetration is as low as 10 or 15 %,' explains Alejandro Echeverría, marketing director at IDI EIKON in Spain, the Diego coordinating partner.

 

Inclusive e-government

The Diego platform aims to overcome that problem. It is designed with user-friendliness firmly in mind, allowing anyone, regardless of their level of digital literacy, to access online services through an adaptable and intuitive interface. And, as a web-based standards-compliant system, it is accessible from any device, including smart phones, televisions and digital kiosks in public locations. For administrations, implementing the Diego system is cost-effective and relatively straightforward, even in cases where they have legacy e-government systems that need to be updated or transferred. 'The basic framework for the system is the same for all applications and the use of open standards, and its provision as software-as-a-service, helps overcome interoperability issues. However, some services need to be tailored specifically to the requirements of individual administrations. For example, data protection and data management laws are different in every country, so how data is stored and accessed, whether locally or using cloud resources, varies in each case,' Mr Echeverría explains. The differences were underscored in seven pilot deployments of the Diego platform involving public administrations in Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. In each case a variety of different e-services were developed or migrated onto the Diego system. In the trials, citizens could access a range of e-government services: they could arrange appointments with local councillors, find out about training courses, renew their ID cards or look for jobs. End users, including less experienced elderly citizens, generally found the system easy to use, and appreciated the range of services on offer. 'One key focus of the pilots in Spain was employment services - understandably, given the high unemployment rate here at present. Job searches used to be handled at the regional level, but they are now being offered at the local level, and in most cases the systems used to provide access weren't very efficient or accessible. With the Diego system we have been able to interconnect job databases, connecting with private job search engines and the EURES European portal, providing citizens with better access and enabling them to upload their CVs and apply for jobs online,' Mr Echeverría says.

 

Saving time and cutting costs

For administrations, the costs of implementing the system are relatively low: it costs around EUR 150 per month to use the Diego platform in a town of 10,000 to 15,000 people and, depending on specific requirements, it takes just one or two months to set up. The system is continuing to be used at many of the pilot sites, and IDI EIKON, in collaboration with other project partners, is looking to deploy it with other public administrations across Europe in the future. Among other possible uses, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is looking at the system to open communications channels and enhance social and cultural interaction between communities in north and south Cyprus. In addition, Mr Echeverría points out that the platform, being 100 %web-based 'fits perfectly' into the European Commission's recently launched strategy to drive business and government productivity via cloud computing. Mr Echeverría notes, however, that uptake of the platform is dependent on several factors, not least the will of politicians and other stakeholders to implement e-government services or update existing ones. In addition, the economic crisis and the scaling back of public budgets across Europe also represent a challenge, despite the mid to long-term benefits of e-government. 'Ultimately, stakeholders need to realise that e-government saves everyone time and money. If citizens can complete procedures online, they don't need to go to public administration offices, queue up, and occupy the time of a government official. It's hard to quantify the cost savings, but it's realistic to think that a procedure that may cost a couple of euros to complete in the traditional way will only cost a couple of cents if it is done digitally,' Mr Echeverría explains.

 

In addition, the Diego researchers found that by introducing users, some of whom had little or no ICT experience, to the platform, the same people went on to access other services online. 'After using the system, some elderly people went on to set up Twitter or Facebook accounts to communicate with friends and family,' Mr Echeverría explains. 'We like to see the platform as a training bicycle, in which access to e-services are the support wheels that help people get on their way in the online world - it's a big step forward to e-inclusion.' It is also an important leap toward more widespread and effective e-government in Europe. As Neelie Kroes has noted: 'Dealing with government services can be trying or time-consuming. First and foremost, governments should put users in control, and in the centre. I want citizens to benefit from services they really want to use, services targeted to their needs, services that are smooth and seamless.' (2) The Diego platform sets an important example for how that can be achieved. Diego received research funding under the European Union's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 12/16/2012

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European Commission Releases Open Data Portal

 

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, launched a beta version of the Open Data Hub of the European Union last week, a month earlier than the scheduled release date in January. The data portal currently contains 5811 datasets from the European Commission, freely available to the public to browse, download and use. The portal also provides access to data from other institutions and agencies of the European Union at their request. A large majority of the datasets (5634 sets) are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Other publishers include the European Environment Agency, Directorate-General for Health and Consumers, and the Publications Office of the EU. The website states that the portal is “about transparency, open government and innovation”, aiming to “promote and build literacy around Europe’s data”. The data catalogue and search functions were developed with the support of Open Knowledge Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting open knowledge. The portal is the first part of the Commission’s three-fold ‘Open Data Strategy for Europe’ announced in December last year - leading by example. The Commission had committed to opening its vaults of information to the public for free through a new data portal. The next two parts of the strategy are establishing a level playing field for open data across the EU, and backing these new measures by funding research into improved data-handling technologies.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/31/2012

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Bulgaria: After 13 Years of Preparations, Bulgaria Launches E-government

 

The first five thousand Bulgarians, who have applied for an electronic identity card will receive their cards over the next few days. They will be able to use seventy services of Bulgaria’s e-government at the end of April 2013. The news was announced by Valeri Borissov, Deputy Minister for Information Technologies. The Sofia Municipality is providing fifty e-services to the citizens, while the state administration is launching twenty. “The e-government has been a priority of each Bulgarian Cabinet since 2000, but the incumbent one finally managed to launch it with twelve million levs provided under the operational program Administrative Capacity.” The abovementioned electronic identity cards are part of the e-government project, along with the electronic democracy system that will be launched soon. It will enable citizens to take part in the debates on important issues, carried out by the government or the municipal councils.

From http://paper.standartnews.com/ 02/17/2013

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German Government Should Make Its Software Available as Open Source, Committee Advises

 

Germany should change a law to enable public administrations to make their software available as free and open source, a German parliamentary committee has advised. German public administrations currently are not allowed to give away goods, including software, said Jimmy Schulz, a member of Parliament and chairman of the Interoperability, Standards and Free Software Project Group in an email Thursday. The current law prohibits governments from being part of the development process in the free software community, he said. "This is a clear disadvantage because it cuts off all benefits obtained from free software, such as being cost-efficient and state-of-the-art," he said. Besides a recommendation that the government should explore whether the law can be changed for software, the group also called for the use of open standards in order to make sure that everybody can have access to important information, Schulz said. "We also called for public administrations in general to make sure that new software is created as platform independent as possible," he added. While the project group is not in favor of giving priority to one type of software over another, it said in its recommendation to the Parliament earlier this week that free and open source software could be a viable alternative to proprietary software. Although free software should not be favored over proprietary software as a rule, the federal government should follow the example of the city of Munich and use more free software in general, the group recommended. Munich is often seen as the German textbook example of open source implementations. The city is currently completing a migration to its own Linux distribution called LiMux. Choosing open source software over a modern, proprietary Microsoft-based IT infrastructure has saved the city over ?11 million (US$14.3 million), the city council announced in November.

 

Not every German migration to an open source IT infrastructure has been a success, though. Compatibility problems and under-performing spreadsheet and presentation programs in OpenOffice frustrated city employees in Freiburg, Germany, so much that the city council decided to dump the suite and go back to Microsoft Office only a few weeks before Munich announced its savings. Open source advocates called for the city government to give updated versions of OpenOffice or its LibreOffice counterpart a chance and they pointed to Munich's success with open source adoption. But those entreaties failed to sway the Freiburg government. It could also take a while before the German federal government follows in the footsteps of Munich, said Schulz. The recommendations made by the inquiry committee now need to be discussed and adopted by the entire Parliament to become an official document of the German Bundestag, he said. This is set to take place in March or April. The German Parliament is not the only European government looking to open source as an alternative to proprietary software. "Free software presents an opportunity we should seize for the modernization, the effectiveness and the transparence of the state: Free software can be a driving force in ensuring wider access to public data," wrote Fleur Pellerin, the French minister for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy in an answer to parliamentary questions on Tuesday. "Free software facilitates the development of e-government: that's one area in which the ability to view and modify its source code leads to interoperable systems, a key factor for e-government. Free software also gives the state more control over its IT spending," she wrote. The free software model is of "strategic importance" to European governments and companies, she said.

From http://news.idg.no/ 01/17/2013

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German 'Egovernment' Transition Encouraged

 

Researchers are trying to encourage German policy makers to make the transition to “eGovernment”. The Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) in Berlin has now drawn up a scenario which shows how an ICT solution that was successfully implemented in Denmark can be swiftly adapted for German government agencies. In Denmark, seven participating government agencies have already fully digitized their records management, administration work, and casework and all written material – whether formal or informal – is managed in a standardized ICT environment. The core component is integrated knowledge management whereby employees have immediate access to relevant information via a digital archive. Social media technologies such as chat forums are integrated into formal work processes and support informal communication. “Users’ experiences have been positive across the board,” reports Dr. Michael Tschichholz, from FOKUS. “At the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration, every employee saves 30 to 45 minutes a day. 81 per cent of employees at the Ministry of Transport are either satisfied or very satisfied. “The most recent changeovers took only a few weeks in each case. Meanwhile, the time needed for training is kept within reasonable limits, as employees have recourse to user interfaces they are familiar with and receive individual support from ‘runners’ who move from office to office during the brief introduction phase.” The researchers are presenting their proposed approach for the German government at their eGovernment Laboratory in Berlin and also from March 5 to 9 at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover. Dr Tschichholz said: “We have been investigating interoperable and cost-effective ICT solutions for German government agencies since way back in 2004.

 

“One of our partners is cBrain, whose integrated solution is already being very successfully implemented in seven Danish government ministries. We took a close look at the technology and discovered that it would suit the needs of German government agencies very well.” While electronic communication has long been an everyday reality in offices across the German public sector the researchers found that case workers often only use modern document management systems for recording digitized files, while ignoring the technology in their everyday work. But the German government has expressed a desire for a more integrated approach by outlining what it is looking for in an ICT platform in its “Organizational Concept for Electronic Administration”. The concept includes recommendations for a system enabling electronic records management, modelling of electronic workflows, electronic collaboration and integrating the various software applications for specialist processes that have grown up over the years. “These building blocks of eGovernment are supported by the Danish solution. As an option, managers can also be included in digital processes via mobile devices,” said Dr Tschichholz. Dr Tschichholz and his team have developed specific application scenarios, and these are currently undergoing a field test in German ministries. In the FOKUS eGovernment Laboratory, the research scientists recreated sample workflows from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and analysed how the Danish solution can be adapted to the ministry’s work. “We showed, for example, how the solution can be used to draft briefing documents, which the permanent secretary or minister can then conveniently access on the move from a tablet PC,” said Dr Tschichholz, who also uses the ICT platform at FOKUS for internal processes. Last year, the team successfully presented the laboratory scenario to Cornelia Rogall-Grothe, Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology, and the Danish Ambassador Per Poulsen-Hansen. At the CeBIT trade show, FOKUS will demonstrate how mobile devices can be securely used for administration work with the aid of the Danish ICT platform.

From http://eandt.theiet.org/ 02/07/2013

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Moldova’s E-Government to Slip

 

The State Voter Register of Moldova is facing some delays, while the automation of the electoral process has brought no results. This information was officially announced by the Court of Audit of Moldova, Moldavskie Vedomosti reported. The report also reveals that the financial resource earmarked for the Electoral Support to Moldova project has already been absorbed without showing any visible results. From a total of USD 4.5 million only USD 600,000 remained. The money is supposed to be absorbed by the end of the final term, which is the month of August. The Court of Audit of Moldova also noted that the country has been experiencing some problems connected with the personal data protection, the digital citizen assistance and the ability of voters to use IT technologies.

From http://www.focus-fen.net/ 01/31/2013

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Russian Opinion: E-Democracy – A Tool or a Toy?

 

Remember I talked about the way governments handle citizen initiatives? United Kingdom was one of the first ones to introduce a legal and technological tool which allows citizens to submit ideas to the parliament through the internet– and if one gets enough votes from other webgoing citizens, the parliament has to discuss it. Russia is currently working on a similar project. Last year President Vladimir Putin has ordered to create a tool which would allow pretty much the same. Any citizen should be able to sign in to a special website, type in a petition or a proposition and publish it for other users to see. Other citizens would be able to leave their signatures. Upon reaching the threshold of 100,000 signatures a document would be then sent to the lower house of parliament. That was the initial idea. Somewhere along the way a governmental filter was established – e-petitions would be first screened before being made public and the list of subject matter was limited by existing legislation – for instance, calls for violence or overthrowing the current rule, being illegal and all, will not be posted on the e-petition website. The deadline for developing the technological and legal platform for this undertaking was set by the president for April 15th of this year – and still, it’s not clear how and when this will actually work. The thing is, just recently an online petition did gather 100,000 signatures. It’s aimed to amend the recently-adopted law protecting interests of Russian citizens from foreign nationals – what is almost informally known as the “anti-Magnitsky law”.

 

The problem a lot of people have with it is that it prohibits US citizens from adopting Russian orphans, including kids with disabilities, who don’t seem to be popular among Russian adoptive parents. The opponents of the law believe that despite a number of highly-publicized cases of American families abusing adopted kids from Russia, introducing a flat-out ban will have worse consequences in the long run – i.e. disabled children will have no chance of finding a home and a caring family. Hence the petition. Still, the parliament refuse to consider it as currently there are no legal grounds of doing so – and technically, that’s correct. Hopefully, in the next few months this will change. Maybe we’ll adopt the way the American initiative functions – it’s called “We The People”. Although, I have to say, this model doesn’t seem to be doing so well. Back when it was launched late in 2011, it stirred up some controversy. This government’s official, crowdsourced petition site should have enabled direct involvement of the population in the decision-making process. When the White House launched this website in September of 2011, the administration wanted the public to speak its collective mind and enjoy the internet-enabled democracy. Anybody could and still can create a petition; if it receives enough digital signatures, the White House has to review it and issue a personalized statement. So what's the reality of the situation?

 

A little more than a month in, the site had seen a fair number of petitions that reached the required benchmark of 25,000 signatures with little to no reaction from the government. Overall, at the time the general opinion settled that "these petitions are ignored apart from an occasional patronizing and inane political statement amounting to nothing more than a condescending pat on the head" – as one petition put it. Well, how’s that working out now? [hum imperial march]. I sense a disturbance in the force. Seems like the website is not doing much… apart allowing Americans to vote for building an actual Death Star. Here’s the petition which managed to gather 25,000 signatures and, as such, warrant an official reply from a White House representative. “We petition the Obama administration to: Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016. […] By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.” Unquote.

 

You know, it’s actually kind of odd. On one hand, this is obviously not something some wants – scratch that, I would love to see an operational Death Star – but that’s just not feasible. On the other hand, such a request is not… illegal, I guess – so the government has to actually respond. And, well, respond it did. Cleverly titled “This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For”, the response, authored by head of the White House budget office’s science and space branch explained why the project is not in best interests of the American people – in a tongue-in-cheek manner, of course. “The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons: The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850 quadrillion. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it. The Administration does not support blowing up planets. Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” And then the text goes on to feature real achievements of the aerospace industry – and not just American. But still, back to the subject of e-petitions – judging by recent news, all they’re good for is comic relief. Yes, there’s another petition, which rivals the Death Star project in ridiculousness.

 

Created January 3rd, it still has a long way to go before expiring – and already it has gathered almost 10,000 signatures. Quote “Direct the United States Mint to make a single platinum trillion dollar coin! With the creation and Treasury deposit of a new platinum coin with a value of $1 trillion US Dollars, we would avert the absurd-yet-imminent debt ceiling faceoff in Congress in two quick and simple steps! While this may seem like an unnecessarily extreme measure, it is no more absurd than playing political football with the US -- and global -- economy at stake.” Unquote One weird thing I’ve found about it is about 2,000 signatures are Russian names – probably the surge happened after the story went viral in the Russian blogosphere. Actually, the initiative was also supported through Twitter campaign with the hashtag #MintTheCoin, with a another movement opposing the initiative #StopTheCoin. While the idea may sound absurd, it was seriously considered for a while, actually – several years, in fact. If you’re wondering if such an idea is even plausible – it is. Without going into detail, I’ll just say the gesture of minting and depositing would be mostly symbolic – simply put, it would be the same as the government printing one trillion dollars and putting that in the treasury – and this is a scenario people are more familiar with. Still, the coin part is a gimmick – and, for now, it seems that the same goes for e-petitions and e-democracies wherever they are.

 

Moving on to matters more serious – cyber-security. Actually, there’s a bunch of news in this regard – we’ll kick off this subject today and continue tomorrow. A Russian citizen from Krasnoyarks is being accused by the Federal Security Service of organizing a cyber attack on the president’s website. The attack happened in May of 2012 – and turns out, the hacker’s actions might have been a part of a greater plan. Care to hear who was behind it? Allegedly, the dreaded Anonymous – an informal decentralized group of digital vigilantes, anarchists, hackers or criminals – depends on who tries to classify them and which of their actions are being focused on. Here’s the deal: according to the Security Service, the detained hacker is responsible for taking down the website May 9th, 2012. He did this using existing software – software, authored and distributed online by, yes, the Anonymous. These programs were aimed to take down governmental websites as part of the Anonymous’ support for the ongoing protest actions in real life – the so-called “March of the Millions”. This being said, the guy’s status as a “hacker” is questionable – rather, a cyber-criminal with no intimate knowledge of the field of cybersecurity who simply got his hands on a bunch of programs created by real hackers. Probably this would also explain how he was caught so easily. Still, he knew what he was doing and what legal consequences his actions might have, so now he has to face the music, i.e. the court. The defendant, Vasiliy Nikitin, claims he’s not only not a hacker, but also a not very savvy user and he didn’t know what he was doing. While his connection to the political opposition has not been established, his browsing history shows he was a frequent visitor of websites with illegal software used for DDoS attacks. So, was he a victim of own stupidity or a pawn in a larger scheme? Well, if you’re into spy games and conspiracy theories tune in tomorrow when we take a look at a larger digital threat, recently discovered by Kaspersky Lab.

From http://english.ruvr.ru/ 01/21/2013

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Big Data Pushing Faster, Better Decisions

 

A recent survey of large enterprise firms reveals that 75 per cent of companies are investing more than $1 million a year on Big Data initiatives. The potential for making better and faster business decisions is pushing large companies to invest huge sums of money on Big Data initiatives, according to a recent study conducted by consulting firm NewVantage Partners. Over 75 per cent of the respondents said they pout no less than $1 million a year while as much as 25 per cent of the firms pour in more than $10 million annually into Big Data initiatives, a report on Computerworld.com said. A number of reasons including risk reduction and creating higher-quality products and services were cited as reasons for investing in Big Data, but the companies said the “quantum leap” in benefits comes from accelerated decision making or so-called time-to-anwser. If companies can get “valuable answers” within 30 minutes it makes a lot of difference and changes the business process dynamically, according to NewVantage.

From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 01/11/2013

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U.S.: Wireless Broadband - Ready for Government Work?

 

Although mobility has become a popular buzzword, the government’s use of wireless broadband capabilities has been limited because of concerns about security and reliability. “Warranted or not, there’s always been a stigma within government circles that somehow wireless connections can’t be secured as well as a physically wired infrastructure,” said Stephen Orr, a distinguished systems engineer in Cisco Systems’ U.S. Public Sector division. A number of converging developments in technology, policy and culture, however, are finally giving federal IT officials more reasons to believe in the ability of wireless broadband to securely transform their operations. Specifically, changes taking place in the wireless industry include the transition to the fourth-generation (4G) broadband infrastructure that will make data and video transmission lightning fast and much more secure. When combined with next-generation encryption standards being built into wireless networks, “there’s going to be a lot more flexibility for federal agencies in their options because there is now essentially no difference between the security of wired and wireless networks,” Orr said. Another factor driving government officials to be more open to using wireless broadband is the growing use of mobile devices, which has federal employees and the general public clamoring to access government resources anytime, anywhere. And all of this comes at a time when the Obama administration is mandating that agencies rely more heavily on cloud computing and telework and pursue operational innovation through a more streamlined, open and citizen-centric approach to technology. “Wireless mobile networks have become much more intelligent than they ever have been,” said Danny Johnson, director of public sector marketing at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “And that technology is really an enabler that forms a means for government to streamline operations, to build enhanced productivity into their operations and their business, and then ultimately provide a better user experience for employees and constituents.”

 

Why it matters

It’s not just security issues that have hampered widespread federal adoption of wireless broadband, said Brett Haan, a principal in Deloitte’s federal telecommunications practice. Although the 3G broadband standard was better than its predecessor, it didn’t give government workers as much capability as their agencies’ wired networks offered, and remote employees could do little beyond reading e-mail and browsing the Web. By contrast, 4G wireless broadband is completely IP-enabled and offers transmission speeds that are as much as 10 times faster than 3G technology, making the applications and services that could be provided “basically limitless,” Johnson said. The possibilities include live streaming video surveillance, video chat, unified communications, team collaboration, telework, telemedicine, and machine-to-machine computing to enhance fleet management, logistics, and physical and perimeter security. Moreover, 4G enables users to essentially stay connected all the time, Orr said. The public will have more opportunities to engage agency services using smart phones and tablet PCs, while government employees will be able to use any mobile device to access applications and agency data, whether they are at home, at a local coffee shop or on the road to a client site. “Government clearly has a need to do more in terms of providing services to the citizenry with less resources, and for this, I think wireless is a natural complement to the existing wired networks,” Haan said. “Together, they provide synergistic results so that agencies and their constituents are better served. But wireless only adds to that instant capability so you can serve more people at a greater capacity.” Government agencies are beginning to take advantage of 4G capabilities. For example, some federal defense and state and local public safety agencies are building their own wide-area networks using 4G wireless broadband. The Navy is relying on long-term evolution (LTE), a 4G technology, to enable more reliable and far-reaching communications between ships at sea, while Mississippi officials recently built a statewide LTE network that will allow law enforcement personnel and first responders to talk to one another across jurisdictions and share situational awareness data and video in real time. Most agencies have no compelling reason not to take advantage of existing wireless carrier networks, Orr said. “It’s really no different than what many agencies have been doing to enable telecommuting, which is to go to a commercial carrier and set down a router at a remote site. It’s just going from wired to wireless broadband.” And in fact, many agencies have started using wireless networks for key applications — such as telework, unified communications and disaster recovery — and as a low-cost, high-capacity backup to their wired networks. NASA is in the process of developing a “work anywhere” policy that would rely on cloud computing, commercial broadband and Wi-Fi networks to enhance employee mobility. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to use wireless broadband to provide telemedicine services and medical education to rural and minority communities. And a pilot program undertaken by HHS, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, AT&T and Baylor University is testing the use of video streaming via smart phones to demonstrate diabetes self-management techniques.

 

The fundamentals

The availability of 4G wireless broadband is the key foundational technology for enabling the secure anytime/anywhere mobility promised in marketing materials, but adopting it is not as simple as contracting with a carrier, said Shawn McCarthy, a research director at IDC Government Insights. A mobile solution requires additional technologies to ensure that employees can securely access agency resources from their mobile devices without introducing risk, he added. For example, most agencies currently require teleworkers and other remote employees to log in via a virtual private network, which provides a relatively inexpensive but highly secure tunnel within wired or wireless networks. Using a VPN for a larger mobile workforce could be more complicated. “The application may not always be possible to launch, depending on where the employee is located,” McCarthy said. “And it might not be compatible with every device that’s out there.” Johnson said another option is to deploy a virtual desktop infrastructure. With VDI, an employee’s files and applications remain in the agency’s database, whether that’s on site or in the cloud, and employees access their unique “desktop” and work on it remotely using any device they want. A growing number of agencies are using VDI, including the Commerce Department and the Air Force. The major advantage of VDI, paired with strong multifactor authentication, is that the agency’s resources never leave the protective control of the IT department, and therefore, it is easier for employees to use their own devices for work. However, VDI is expensive and complicated to implement across an enterprise, so agencies generally use it only in targeted scenarios where they can save money or boost productivity. Mobile device management is another critical tool for IT departments as more employees are allowed to work remotely. MDM can reduce risks and costs by securing, monitoring and supporting all employee devices. For example, MDM can check for viruses, facilitate software updates and security patches, guard against unintended data leakage, and remotely lock down and wipe clean lost or stolen devices.

 

The hurdles

How successful agencies are in using commercial wireless broadband networks will ultimately depend on the amount of time and effort they’re willing to put in at the very beginning of the process, Johnson said. “We are seeing movement in this direction, but it’s to the extent that agencies can effectively address the policy needs, the back-end technology reality and the finance,” he said. “There is a road map that needs to be followed in order to bring this to fruition.” In the area of policy, agencies must realign their security rules and practices to address the new reliance on wireless mobility, which might or might not include a bring-your-own-device environment. “In thinking about security, agencies clearly need to think about the back-end device management, device provisioning and obviously the security protocols,” Haan said. “And those may differ between the agencies and between the data itself, whether it’s publicly available data versus confidential health care data versus truly national security data. These are all issues that must be fully thought through.” Johnson noted that the variety of technological options can complicate matters. “There are a lot of disparate systems out there today, which could include different carriers and different platforms that don’t necessarily interoperate,” he said. “So, for example, if I want to use applications on a smart device and they’re being hosted on a number of different platforms, how do I make sure that all of my architectures actually integrate?” Finally, in today’s increasingly austere fiscal environment, agencies must determine how much it will cost to deploy, operate and maintain a more mobile environment using commercial wireless carriers and then make a business case for the technology. It is not an insurmountable hurdle, however. “Even in a tight budget crunch, you can deploy solutions in a certain sub-segment of an enterprise,” Johnson said. “That’s because to the extent that agencies can work out the policy and the technology, they’ll use it.”

From http://fcw.com/ 12/10/2012

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CIO Council Report on Barriers, Gaps, & Opportunities for Government Use of Mobile Technology

 

The CIO Council has released a new report today under the Digital Government Strategy that details the use of mobile technology in the Federal Government (Milestone Action #10.2). The report will help inform efforts to accelerate the secure adoption of mobile technologies at reduced cost by identifying current barriers, gaps, and opportunities in the use of mobile technology. This report is the result of a collaborative inter-agency effort that involved almost two dozen Federal departments and agencies and was led by the Information Security and Identity Management Committee (ISIMC) of the Federal CIO Council. The ISIMC conducted interviews with 21 agencies on their use of mobile technology for this report and made recommendations that aim to reduce cost and speed up adoption of secure mobile technologies.

From https://cio.gov/ 12/11/2012

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Federal Communications Commission Streamlines and Modernizes International Reporting Requirements

 

Washington, D.C. – As part of its Data Innovation Initiative, the Federal Communications Commission today continued its modernization of its international reporting requirements. In 2011, the Commission adopted a First Report and Order, FCC 11-76, which eliminated a number of outdated international reporting requirements and reduced the number of international reports to just two: the Traffic and Revenue Report and the Circuit Status Report. This Second Report and Order further streamlines these two reports by eliminating reporting requirements for over a thousand small carriers and reducing the level of detail submitted by international service providers by over 75 percent. Taken together, the Commission estimates these changes will reduce the overall burdens industry-wide by nearly 30 percent. The Commission also adopted reforms that ensure data collections match the Commission’s needs while avoiding unnecessary or excessive burdens on international service providers. These include replacing the current system of billing codes for reporting telephone service with a series of simplified filing schedules, and allowing carriers to report their transit traffic on a world-total, rather than route-by-route basis. To ensure it has a complete understanding of the international voice market, the Commission will obtain traffic and revenue data for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) international services that are connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). In addition, to modernize the traffic and revenue report, the Commission will require service providers to separately report their international voice traffic terminated on landlines overseas and the traffic terminated on mobile networks. The next step is for the International Bureau to issue a new consolidated Filing Manual with instructions on how to file the revised traffic and revenue and the circuit status reports.

From http://www.fcc.gov/ 01/15/2013

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Transparency - What to Consider Before Releasing Data to the Public

 

Nearly every major city in the U.S. has gotten attention for open data efforts. Government Technology has covered initiatives in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as smaller cities like Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis., to name just a few. While few would dispute the benefits of more transparent government operations, the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) in Albany, N.Y., is taking a look at what governments need to consider before releasing data sets for public consumption. ”The idea that it’s a good idea to know what your government is doing is fundamental to democracy, so we think opening government is a phenomenon that needs to be expanded, advanced and encouraged, and has the potential to make our democracy stronger and make our governments more effective,” said CTG Senior Fellow Tony Cresswell. The Dynamics of Opening Government Data, released last month, looks at what it actually means to release government data sets to the public. Sponsored by software company SAP, the paper evaluates two open data releases – restaurant inspection data in New York City, and road construction information in Edmonton, Alberta. According to the CTG, governments would be wise to thoughtfully consider which data sets they release. “Picking data resources that have a value proposition both internal to government and externally in the community seem to be the ones with the biggest payoff,” Cresswell explained. Secondly the release of the data can’t be the end game. Rather, it’s just the beginning. Opening up new data streams for public use will hopefully spur creativity and ideas for new uses. Governments should spend some time thinking about how the data might be used ahead of time, so that it can adjust resources accordingly.

 

In the New York example, the initial release of restaurant inspection data online in 2007 brought negative reactions from restaurant owners. Following an unfavorable inspection, they were anxious to have their establishments re-evaluated in order to improve their score. Responding to the outcry, the city eventually hired more inspectors to facilitate faster re-inspections, and get the corresponding updated evaluation information posted online. On the technology side, city officials underestimated the public interest in the restaurant inspection data, and IT infrastructure described as “primitive” buckled as a result of all the additional traffic. The example serves as a cautionary tale for other governments. “If you do a bit of mapping and modeling some of those potential consequences,” said CTG Senior Program Associate Brian Burke, “you can plan for that type of resource shift.” In the other open data release analyzed by CTG, the city of Edmonton already provided road construction data to its citizens via a popular static map feature on its website. The high-value data was released to the public, resulting in the creation of the Edmonton Road Construction mobile app that has proven very popular with the public. ”Edmonton is known for its two seasons: winter and road construction. It makes perfect sense that one of its flagship open data initiatives would involve releasing street construction projects data,” the report reads.

 

The CTG points out that both examples considered in this research were fairly straightforward, but more attention needs to be devoted to open government efforts involving more controversial data. The recent upsurge in the national gun control conversation provides a perfect example of the trickier side of open data. The New York Journal recently published an interactive map of registered gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties. While the data was legally obtained using public information requests, there was a significant outcry over the information being made public. Many felt that the safety of law-abiding gun owners, including law enforcement officers, was put at risk. Likewise, community members felt that publishing the data put homeowners without guns at risk as well. ”When you get into open government in areas that are politically or socially sensitive," Cresswell said, "it's a much more complicated dynamic.”

From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/18/2013

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6 Ways to Optimize Gov-to-Citizen Communication

 

As technology and social media become more prevalent, more government agency leaders recognize the importance of maintaining strong relationships with their constituencies. Exactly how to accomplish effective citizen engagement, however, is not always clear. To educate governments on this matter, GovDelivery and EfficientGov hosted a webinar on Jan. 24 outlining best practices for digital communication -- knowledge gained from working with more than 500 public-sector organizations worldwide, said GovDelivery Communications Director Mary Yang. As government budgets continue getting squeezed, organizations are faced with the responsibility of proving return on investment before spending resources on projects, said GovDelivery Product Marketing Manager Jennifer Kaplan. Being proactive in making government services and data available, however, can lead to both savings and improved customer service. And by building a permanent audience, personalizing the content the audience receives, and analyzing and curating that service delivery over time, governments will be able to meet their communications goals, said Kaplan, whose presentation primarily focused on the continued dominance of email as a communication platform.

 

Make it easy to sign up! “It sounds simple, but there are a few things to think about with the sign-up process,” she said. Reaching as many people as possible leads to the most effective programs, so the sign-up process should be easy and customizable. Users should be able to find the sign-up function easily, and there should be channel preferences that allow users to customize the content they receive. Kaplan also encouraged governments to do research in order to stay relevant and familiar with their audience, lest they lose them. Promote, promote, promote! “No one is going to sign up for your communications if they don't know about them,” she said. “So promote the heck out of it.” Kaplan demonstrated several  best practices for promoting communications, including government websites that effectively promote email newsletters by prominently displaying the sign-up boxes on their websites. Assess. Before you can improve the communications you have, Kaplan said, your organization must assess the current situation to identify methods of improvement. This can include mapping the structure of an organization, identifying agency functions and thinking about the technology being used throughout the organization. Automate. “We really see automation as the biggest way to have a cost savings,” she said. “With automation, you can leverage content you're already posting on your website or through internal databases.” Automation can circumvent the need to invest in new IT infrastructure or personnel to carry out many communication tasks. One example Kaplan pointed to is the California Public Safety Department's integrated database and communications system. Harness the Data. “There's a ton of data out there. It's really important to not only harness this data, but keep it and package it in a formatable way that you can share and analyze with others in your organization,” Kaplan said. By analyzing data on a quantitative and qualitative level, organizations can target their audiences in more relevant, engaging ways. Engage. “You're competing for attention in the inbox from the likes of the Amazons, the eBays, the JCrews and Nordstroms,” Kaplan said. So creating attractive and engaging email newletters is crucial to getting people's attention.

From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/25/2013

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USA Utilities Commission Revamps IT System

 

Greenville Utilities Commission (GUC), based in North Carolina, USA has revamped its IT infrastructure to improve operational efficiency and customer service. The GUC—an electric, water, sewer and natural gas service provider to the City of Greenville and 75 per cent of Pitt County has implemented a new update on IT applications and technology, in partnership with Oracle. The implementation is as part of a broader initiative to integrate internal processes and technology enterprise-wide. The key upgrades are the implementation of Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Management, Utilities Mobile Workforce Management and the E-Business Suite. GUC CGCIO and Director of IT Sandy Barnes said that the GUC hoped to boost workforce productivity through improved communication between customer service representatives, dispatchers, and technician. This will help the GUC continue to improve its excellent customer service and operational effectiveness. “Our mission with this project is to support the right processes with the right technology so we can continue to provide exceptional customer service into the future. With the Oracle solutions in place, we can streamline the way we do business, which will ultimately enable us to deliver on our mission,” added Barnes. With the new Utilities Customer Care and Billing solution, the GUC will be able to handle their current and future rates and allow the utility to respond to their customer needs as they evolve. The implementation is divided into two phases. The first phased has started early this year with the installation of the Oracle E-Business Suite and Fusion Middleware. The second phase is expected to begin early next year and will cover the rest of the solutions.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/25/2013

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More Mobile Devices Will Impact Government IT Operations

 

Three mobile trends are expected in the next four years: more users, more connections and faster speeds. And these increases are projected to impact government IT operations -- including how government agencies connect with their constituents -- according to IT executives. According to a new report, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017, mobile data traffic is predicted to grow over the next four years roughly capping 11.2 exabytes a month -- and major trends are expected to take place as a result of the increase. Also according to Cisco, in 2017 there will be 5.2 billion mobile users (up from 4.3 billion in 2012); more than 10 billion mobile devices/connections, including more than 1.7 billion mobile-to-mobile connections (up from 7 billion total mobile devices and mobile-to-mobile connections in 2012); and and average global mobile network speeds of 3.9 Mbps -- a sevenfold increase from 0.5 Mbps in 2012. Former Seattle CTO Bill Schrier, now a senior fellow at the Center for Digital Government, which is owned by Government Technology's parent company eRepublic Inc., said statistics in this report reflect how much more businesses and consumers are moving to mobile devices as their main resources for communication and Internet access – a trend with a significant impact on state and local governments. “Government needs to make sure all the functionality of their online presence is optimized for the screen size of tablets and smartphones,” Schrier said. “That function includes not just static information on the Web, but applications to pay bills, or view maps, or take photos of problems and send them off to their government.”

 

To accommodate this rising trend, Schrier said government employees will need to become better accustomed to using mobile devices for their job. Government jobs that involve public safety, such as police officers and positions in field service, will be expected to have instant access to information and applications to do their jobs properly. And in Wake County, N.C., CIO Bill Greeves agreed, noting that over the years, governments have been collecting, sorting and using location-based data, but now that constituents have become more dependent on their mobile devices, governments must be more user-friendly by serving them through those devices. However, “m-dot” mobile sites are expected to go away later this year -- a trend that Greeves said he doesn’t expect governments to follow immediately. But the public sector will continue to see a rise in “device agnostic information resources and services.” In coming years, Greeves said, geo-data will be embedded more strategically into the “presentation layer” of information delivered to constituents. While these entities will still have a single back-end engine, information will be delivered in more attractive formats that will enable governments to offer individualized location-based services instead of a generic mobile site. “If we can continue to find more effective ways to level the mobility and social tools that are becoming more and more common," he said, "we will find better and more lasting connections to our customers."

From http://www.govtech.com/ 02/14/2013

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US State Adopts Cloud Collaboration Platform

 

The State of Texas is moving 100,000 employees to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 in the largest statewide deployment of email and collaboration services in the US. The Texas Department of Information Resources (TDIR), responsible for proving statewide leadership and oversight for management of government ICT, announced the move on 15 February as part of the state’s IT modernisation strategy. The deployment will give Texan government employees access to cloud-based email and collaboration tools, including web conferencing, document sharing and real-time collaboration, and calendar sharing. The different systems currently used in government will be consolidated to streamline and improve collaboration and communication abilities across agencies. “Office 365 will increase efficiency and help our agencies better serve the needs of citizens without compromising on security or privacy”, said Todd Kimbriel, Director of E-Government for the TDIR. The deployment will also bring significant savings in IT spending through greater efficiencies and increased capacity. The platform complies with the high standards of security set up the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services, which requires an FBI background check of every administrator with access to government data. The system also supports the state’s security and privacy requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/18/2013

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CHINA: Governments Go More Transparent on Web 

 

China's government bodies are more communicative online as they try to engage with web users, a report said Wednesday. A China Software Testing Center (CSTC) report titled "Chinese Government Websites Evaluation 2012" said governments have become more transparent by timely information disclosure and chats with Internet users on their official websites or microblog accounts. Official websites have developed into an important channel for government bodies to share information and collect opinions, according to the report. Zhang Shaotong, vice director of CSTC, said government websites were more communicative with Internet users on important issues this year. Many websites set aside space for netizens to comment or file complaints. The report said more than 80 percent of government bodies updated documents or policy information in time on their websites or microblogs this year. Also, more than 70 percent of online inquiries from the public were replied within five working days. Officials also appeared more "human" on the Internet, as 75 percent of provincial-level governments asked senior officials to chat with netizens online, according to the report. In addition to websites, microblogs also play an important role with increasing significance in communication between governments and the public, according to the report. So far, more than 60,000 government bodies have run microblog accounts in Sina.com, China's largest tweeting service provider. Luo Wen, president of CCID, an Internet observing institute, said government microblogs are deeply rooted in China's 500 million netizens and can amplify government voices with the influence of microblogs. But China has a long way to go as there is still gap between transparency of government websites and expectations of the public. About 68 percent of government websites have not yet well organized their online information, and 70 percent lack detailed information, the report said. Xu Yu, director of the information department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said China will further improve government transparency with upgraded technologies to better serve the public.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/05/2012

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E-Government Services Reach More Chinese Cities

 

E-government services are now available in more than 90 percent of China's cities and 80 percent of its towns, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Governance Hong Yi said Thursday. All central government departments and provincial-level governments have established websites and 99.1 percent of municipal governments have done the same, Hong said at a two-day forum on Chinese e-government services. Over 90 percent of core central government services, such as those relating to customs, taxation, public security and social security, are now offered online, Hong said. Chinese e-government services have seen progress in terms of networking, infrastructure, digitalization, sharing and security over the last decade, Hong said. The forum was attended by over 300 participants, including representatives from central and local governments, institutes and enterprises.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 12/06/2012

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Gov't Staff Credit Cards Widely Adopted

 

Government staff credit cards have been adopted across most of China, except for some remote regions, the country's finance authority said Saturday. The credit cards are to be used by public service employees for expenses, including business travel and conferences. China's Ministry of Finance (MOF) said over 10,000 central government units and 380,000 local units have implemented the system since the project started in 2007. The special cards work like credit cards, but also serve as a state budget management tool. Clear records of transactions made on the cards are traceable, a feature that can boost fiscal transparency and contribute to anti-corruption efforts. The MOF and the central bank jointly issued a document on Sept. 27, 2012 urging speeding up the implementation of credit cards to be used by public servants.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 02/16/2013

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JAPAN: Institute Upgrades Private Cloud Infrastructure

 

Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) has upgraded a higher-performance and larger capacity storage for its private cloud environment to support its students and researchers. The new data storage belongs to Dell Compellent, and it initially comes with three petabytes. This news storage infrastructure is one of the world’s largest Dell Compellent implementations. The JAIST can benefit from the new infrastructure in accessing information quickly and efficiently protect large amounts of important research data. The new storage arrays will bolster the storage capabilities of FRONTIER (FRONT Information Environment)—a campus IT platform built to support advanced teaching and research activities at JAIST. This move is to strengthen the JAIST’s IT environment to help further advance its world-class research. This private cloud environment is being implemented with the aim to improve convenience for users and help achieve low cost, high energy efficiency and streamlined management by centralising hardware resources. The deployment is to centralise the management of large research data sets created and accessed by individual researchers and teams. The JAIST aimed to deliver necessary data for the users’ research activities quickly and with high reliability by replacing two previous systems with Dell Compellent. The upgrade allowed the JAIST to manage a large volume of data in one solution. When updating its centralized storage system, JAIST faced a number of challenges, including achieving fast data access and constructing efficient back-up for large data sets. Another key requirement for JAIST was to eliminate the issue of depleted IPv4 addresses and build an efficient storage infrastructure with IPv6 compatibility. With the new infrastructure, the JAIST can extend its infrastructure to the required scale provided by the new 128-bit addressing scheme. The system also provides automated data tiering which allows for automated management and movement of data between a combination of SSD and SAS drives, and enables fast data access and high-capacity with fewer disks. The storage system is also compatible with IPv6 to build an efficient storage infrastructure. It also has advanced snapshot features, which provide efficient storage of only the changes made to stored data for fast local recovery. Another feature is advanced replication that only replicates changed data provides disaster recovery for petabytes of data.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/08/2013

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SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Devices Crucial for Seoul's E-Govt

 

Dr. Jong-Sung Hwang, Assistant Mayor of Seoul for IT, shares how South Korea’s capital city is planning to leverage mobile devices to improve public service delivery and why it is crucial for the success of the city’s e-government roadmap.

1. How will the city plan to use mobile devices in the delivery of e-government services? Seoul city plans to position mobile devices as a primary channel to Seoul’s e-government services. In fact, a large number of Seoul citizens access the internet using mobile devices than their personal computers. e-government services should be mobile-based to improve citizens’ access to public services. Smart phones, in particular, will become a key device for e-government services along with computers. We are already witnessing that more citizens use smart phones than computers to report difficulties of public services to the city government.

2. How is Seoul’s mobile strategy progressing now? Seoul’s Mobile Strategy goes beyond a mere data search. It is now entering a new stage towards leveraging interactive services. All the content of the websites under the Seoul city government have already been made available to mobile users, and the city is working to make businesses between government and citizens be accessible on mobile devices. Citizens are already using mobile services to report difficulties and pay taxes. It is expected that geotagging will be applied to all administrative data and facility data in 2-3 years to provide location-based services to citizens.

3. Can you give examples of mobile applications or services you have launched? E-poll is one of the first mobile services of Seoul. It allows citizens to vote for policy alternatives which could have a siginificant impact in their community. By doing so, we are able to engage citizens in discussions on issues that matter most to them when we conduct public forums or ask for their suggestions over at our Social Networking Sites. Apart from e-poll, another popular mobile service is Seoul Bus application which provides real-time location information of over 7,000 city buses and their expected arrival time at designated bus stops.

 

4. How important are mobile devices/ smart devices for the realisation of the Smart Seoul 2015. Mobile devices are critically important for the realisation of Smart Seoul 2015. We are making the most out of mobile technologies to launch new location-based services and to enable citizens be connected anytime and anywhere. In addition, we strongly encourage public employees with field duties to harness mobile devices to complete their duties on the field.

5. So far, what has been the response from citizens on the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s efforts to provide civil administrative services on mobile devices? Seoul citizens are very good at adapting to various technologies. As a result, there is a high demand and expectation for state-of-the-art services. Seoul citizens are using over 50 per cent of mobile services provided by Seoul city. However, they are constantly demanding easier services with higher value this then challenge us to further innovate our services so as to respond to their changing needs.

6. Since Seoul is a world leader in cutting edge e-government, what can your neighbouring countries learn from Seoul’s experience? What advice or helpful insights can you give them? It is very important to develop and manage e-government services from the perspectives of users instead of suppliers. E-government is a new service, and citizens are not familiar with it in the beginning. E-government services are successful only when citizens begin to habitually use them. So e-government services should be completely user-oriented. We should not try to change the users to fit into the framework of e-government services but change e-government services to meet the needs of users.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/02/2013

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Website on Integrated Information on Dokdo Opens

 

The Korean government opened a website which contains integrated geographic and historic information on Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost island in the East Sea. This website was built in December 2012 by the National Geographic Information Institute under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and currently offers content in Korean and English. The name of the website, "Dokdo Jirinet," was chosen from a survey of Korean citizens conducted by the institute last December before the opening of the website. The website provides geographic information gathered by the Korean government, including old maps from the East and the West, books on place name notation, topographic maps, three-dimensional maps, digital maps, aerial photographs, and measurement records collected by the government since 1945.

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/07/2013

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MONGOLIA: Gemalto to Help Egovernance Project

 

Digital security company Gemalto has said that Mongolia's Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs has selected its Sealys secure multi-service electronic ID cards for their national identity programme. This new eID program will secure Mongolian citizens' identities as well as pave the way for new eGovernment services, Gemalto said. Mongolia has approximately 3 million inhabitants and all citizens above 18 years of age, who are to carry these advanced smart cards as their national identity document. In addition, the national eID card will allow for more efficient updating of the national registry and to enhance both the process and security level of verifying identities. Gemalto worked with Bodi International, the program prime contractor and a leading IT company in Mongolia on this project. The 2 billion Gemalto's Sealys MultiApp ID, the size of a credit card, is fitted with a microprocessor and the software that securely manages the citizen's personal data, including the holder's digital photograph and fingerprints, while respecting the holder's privacy. The Mongolia national eID card also features the company's latest innovation in secure printing: the Sealys Clear Window, a transparent section created in the pure polycarbonate card body structure for enhanced protection against forgery. Gemalto employs more than 10,000 employees in its 74 offices and 14 research and development centers, located in 43 countries including India.

From http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 12/04/2012

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INDONESIA: Putting Financial Data in the Cloud

 

Bobby Nazief, Special Adviser at Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance talks to FutureGov about the current transitional period in Indonesia’s long term plan to consolidate all of its financial information and infrastructure in the cloud.

 

Consolidating IT Systems

The challenge is how to integrate our IT systems. We started last year by consolidating infrastructure into the cloud. We plan to finish this stage by the middle of next year and continue with systems integration. We are in the middle of a transition. The IT system is serving the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to manage national budget, revenue collection, taxes and custom excise. However, each unit has its own IT system and infrastructure. The value of the national budget that we are managing is 1300 trillion IDR (US$30 billion); tax: 1000 trillion IDR (US$23 billion). If there are any issues with the system, it means that there is a potential problem with disbursement of the budget, and in revenue collection. The Finance Minister saw a centralised IT system as a big advantage in terms of quality IT management and quality of service among different units.

 

Financial Management System

The contract was signed back in 2009 and we have since had the Oracle E-business Suite (EBS) that handles the budget management from authorisation, disbursement, tax management to reporting. The EBS system is also supported by Hyperion Budget Planning. The scope is budget preparation, disbursement, and reporting. We plan to add fixed asset management, debt management and integrate these to support the fiscal system of the MoF. When we started the centralisation project, we didn’t know how many systems and data we could consolidate. We focused on the infrastructure and when it was ready, we asked ourselves whether we wanted to replicate what we already had. We realised that the cloud provided a better solution and we didn’t have to move the physical system. All we had to move were applications, which enabled us to allocate the physical infrastructure more efficiently.

 

Initially, the cloud helped us consolidate this infrastructure, and now we are planning to ramp up cloud utilisation and move to Platform-as-a-Service. We provide the infrastructure in the centralised data centre, while the responsibility of managing the IT system is still with the specific unit. It is very much like the concept of the cloud: the owner of the system is still the individual unit, but they don’t have to worry about the infrastructure as the central IT unit is providing it. The issue is budgeting. Each unit is responsible for its own budget. How can you coordinate it when the system is managed by one unit, while the output will be obtained by another unit? We have plenty of knowledge but to provide top quality service, we do limited outsourcing. We engage experts from the private sector to work with our people for a limited time, to expedite an exchange of expertise and knowledge. We are aiming at finishing the consolidation next year and move all the hardware to one server room or data centre. We will also complete the rollout of the budgeting system by end of this year.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/21/2012

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Indonesia to Increase Transparency with an Online Programme

 

The Semarang Education Agency (SEA), Indonesia will relaunch its School Operational Aid (SOA) online programme to increase transparency and prevent the misuse of funds at local elementary and junior high schools. The SOA online programme was first launched three years ago and will relaunch again on January 16, said Head of Education Office of Semarang, Bunyamin yesterday. "We have disseminated information on the programme and on the technical supervision of the SOA online programme," he added. According to him, the programme will cover all 346 state-run elementary schools and 41 state-run junior high schools in the municipality as well as hundreds of private schools. The online service includes information such as a recapitulation of each schools’s SOA proposal, decrees approving the proposals, and details on the funds received by each schools, he added. The Mechanism for the SOA fund distribution have been restored to the system initially put into place three years ago, when the funds were sent directly to recipient schools. However, the policy was previously changed, resulting in the SOA funds were sent through respective regency or municipal administration budgets. That was why the online programme was also halted, said Bunyamin. The SOA online programme can be accessed through the website of the SEA (disdik-kotasmg.org).

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/03/2013

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MALAYSIA: Local Council Launches Online Portal for Ratepayers

 

Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Malaysia has introduced new online service portal called ‘Gerbang Perkhidmatan’ to improve efficiency in disseminating information to citizens, handling complaints and provide better services to local ratepayers. Council President Datuk Asmawi Kasbi said that ‘Gerbang Perkhidmatan’ will also help increase the staff’s level of professionalism and quality of service. "The programme consists of three service levels, which are a call centre, the InC2/OCS Counter and My@MPSJ online hub," he added. The call centre started the operation on July 26, 2012. It is operated by 10 council officers who respond to complaints and enquiries. 'InC2 Counter’ is a one-stop service that allow citizens to settle their assessment tax, licence applications, and pay bills and fines. 'The My@MPSJ online hub allows citizens to access all online council services after completing virtual registration steps. "Ratepayers will slowly get used to this online transaction," Kasbi said.

 

He also added that the Council has been constantly expanding online services while reducing the number of physical counters from sixteen to nice since 2010. "Revenue collection online such as the bill payment kiosk, only hub, bank and post office has seen an increase of 13 per cent or MYR 6.6 million (US$ 2.18 million), while business transactions via the My@MPSJ hub has increased MYR 3 mil (US$ 995,353 )," Kasbi said. According to him, the new initiatives helps reduce cost while providing a more conducive and convenient environment for the staff and citizens. A new mobile application, ‘Mymobile’ would be launched later this year for citizens to use it to pay bills, he added. The launch event welcomed Deputy Selangor State Secretary (Development) Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman who congratulated the MPSJ on being a pioneer in introducing these programmes for citizens. "This should be made an example for other local councils to ensure a fast and efficient service for the public,” he said.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/17/2013

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Malaysia Launches Election Monitoring Portal

 

The Election Commission launched the country’s first ever online portal which would allow citizens to monitor election-related activities and access information explaining the electoral processes involved. The initiative is part of the Commission’s on-going efforts to prepare citizens for the upcoming 13th General Elections happening on 27 June. According to Tan Sri Aziz Mohd Yusof, Chairman of the Election Commission, the portal was launched so that Malaysians are able to closely monitor the elections and so that they would have a better understanding of issues usually raised by voters, political parties and other concerned stakeholders. The Portal provides basic information about the electoral system in Malaysia, parts of the Parliamentary and State Assembly, the reforms to be introduced in the next general election as, methods of early voting and voting procedures for registered voters for citizens living abroad. It also features In addition, citizens will get the latest information on election candidates, starting from the nomination process up to the proclamation of the winning candidates, and also the “do’s and don’ts” during the campaign period and the election day.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/  01/31/2013

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Government Call Centre Expanded in Malaysia

 

The government expanded its 1Malaysia One Call Centre (1MOCC) last month to bring 25 ministries and agencies into the project. 1MOCC was set up in November 2012 to create a single point of contact for citizens to get in touch with all participating government departments and ministries. The public can use five channels to communicate with the government - telephone, SMS, fax, email and social media. The first phase of the project involved 21 agencies, including the Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysian Immigration Department and the Road Transport Department. The second phase brings organisations such as the ministries of tourism, education, women and health. Citizens can call 03-8000-8000 to make enquiries, file complaints or give suggestions and feedback about any of the participating ministries. The third phase is expected to be launched in March, and will cover all federal and state agencies.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/13/2013

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PHILIPPINES: Launching Online Portal for Local Govt Finances

 

As support to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s mandate to move the Government towards a “straight path”, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) launched a website called “ Full Disclosure Policy Portal“, which allows citizens to view the finances and other transaction of Local Government Units (LGU). The portal is a joint collaboration between DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS) and multilateral and bilateral organisations such as the World Bank, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It aims to assist LGU’s in complying with the requirements of the DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2010-083 titled, “Full Disclosure of Local Budget and Finances, and Bids and Public Offerings”. The latter mandates provinces, cities and municipalities to fully disclose specific financial transactions to keep their constituents informed of how the LGUs’ budget is managed, disbursed and used. By logging on to the FDPP, the public can view important LGU documents such as annual budget reports, statements of debt service, statements of receipts and expenditures; quarterly statements of cash flow, annual procurement plans or procurement lists, items to bid and bid results, abstracts of bids as calculated, and supplemental procurement plans. Furthermore, details on the Special Education Fund (SEF) income and expenditure estimates; reports of SEF utilisation; annual Gender and Development accomplishment reports; Trust Fund (PDAF) utilisation; 20 per cent component of the Internal Revenue Allotment utilisation; and reports of Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund utilisation.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/04/2012

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Philippine Gov't Mulls of Taxing Online Stores

 

The Philippine government is planning to impose taxes on online stores by next year, a senior government official said Friday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a news briefing, said that the proposal of Bureau of Internal Revenue ( BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares of taxing online stores would provide the government considerable revenues. "What Commissioner Kim Henares wants is for them to pay the right income tax and the right value added tax (VAT) because they are still sales and...that really is subject to VAT," she said. Henares has explained that online shops are no different from the actual stalls that sell items or merchandises to people. She stressed the need for online businesses to be registered with the BIR to level the playing field in the buy-and sell market. She also said that online businesses should also issue on-line receipts. The BIR's proposal aims to boost tax collection next year and protect the rights of consumers who wish to return or exchange the items they bought, Valte said. There are traders and sellers in the Philippines who usually conduct their transactions through buy-and-sell websites.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 12/28/2012

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Philippine Province Adopts E-Accounting System

 

The Department of Public Works and Highways in the province of Leyte has fully adopted the Commission on Audit’s electronic New Government Accounting System (e-NGAS) as part of the local government’s efforts to eliminate red tape and financial irregularities. The e-NGAS aims to provide both central and local government offices with a modern and sound governance-enhancing accounting system. Its basic features include accrual accounting, recognition of depreciation, responsibility accounting, project monitoring, enhanced chart of accounts and security control to ensure data integrity.  Its other features include the automatic computation of unit cost and material based on the “moving average method;” on-line information on inventory item’s reorder point and number of days to consume; automatic computation of depreciation based on the straight line method. On demand, the e-NGAS generates financial statements and other reports such as trial balance (pre-closing and post-closing), statement of income and expenses (condensed and detailed format), balance sheet (condensed and detailed format), statement of cash flow, and statement of government equity. According to district engineer Maria Margarita Junia, with the full shift to the e-NGAS, the provincial government can now process its financial reports faster. Furthermore, it will minimise opportunities to manipulate financial figures and allow fast turnaround time for budget requests and allocation.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/03/2013

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The Philippines Improves Emergency Loan Processing System

 

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Philippines has improved its efficiency of faster loan processing thank to its new system called Wireless Automated Processing System (GW@PS) kiosks. The GW@PS kiosks is a more reliable database and online systems that has helped facilitate maximum of 50,000 emergency loan applications daily for members affected by typhoon ‘Pablo’. Compared to the loan process in 2009 as the result of super typhoon ‘Ondoy’, the number of emergency loan application processed per day was at over 17,000 transactions on the peak day only. The GSIS—the state pension fund continues to update its database to reflect the current premium and loan remittances of its members, and works closely with its technology partners to form multiple task forces to deal with the inconsistencies of the members records. The GSIS granted nearly PH 7 billion (US$ 171.2 million) in emergency loan in 2012 which already benefited over 390,000 members. Most GSIS members file their loan applications via the GW@PS kiosks for faster processing. With an online and paperless facility of the GW@PS kiosks, the GSIS credits the loans to members’ account via their Unified Multi-Purpose ID’s e-Card within three to five days. Currently, there are over 700 GW@PS kiosks nationwide located at the GSIS branch offices as well as the provincial capitals, municipal halls, and selected Robinsons malls across the archipelago. The GSIS has recently granted emergency loans to members living or residing in seven villages in Infanta, and in the municipalities of Alabat and Unisan, all in Quezon province. For more information on the emergency loan programme and locations of the GW@PS kiosks, members can log on to www.gsis.gov.ph

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/09/2013

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The Philippines Introduces E-payment System in E-procurement

 

The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines, introduced a new e-payment system which seeks to enhance transparency in how the government agencies transact and do business with its suppliers. The PhilGEPS is the central portal of all public procurement activities that provides both government agencies and suppliers a more open, transparent and competitive environment. The new e-payment system allows government agencies to pay for procured items through the PhilGEPS portal at any time of the day. In addition, it reduces the time needed to complete purchasing transaction, which normally involves a tedious process of completing financial documents. According to Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad, the new system will help agencies ensure a quicker and more efficient procurement system, as well as boost the Aquino administration’s overall transparency campaign. “The establishment of the e-Payment system effectively brings us to the realm of cashless transactions, where procurement activities can be tracked and accounted very quickly and accurately,” he said. “The development of this online payment facility is particularly important for liquidating expenses that are charged against public funds. Because every step of the process can now be tracked and monitored, we can begin to close off all avenues for irregularity and, ultimately, establish better accountability across government.” Abad revealed that with the PHILGEPS e-Payment facility, LandBank can now offer similar e-Payment services for other government services, such as license applications with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and clearance applications with the National Bureau of Investigation.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/21/2013

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The Philippines Beefs Up Anti-Crime Campaign with E-Gallery

 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) and Information Technology Management System (ITMS) have recently ended the five-day training of 234 police officer on the use of e-Roques’ Gallery and e-Warrant System to improve efficiency in criminal investigation techniques. The e-Roques’ Gallery and e-Warrant System are parts of the PNP e-Projects to use technology in beefing up investigation operation. The e-Rogues Gallery is a photo gallery database of wanted criminals and other suspected law offenders posted online for easy reference by investigators and tracker teams. The e-Rogues’ Gallery is linked to police stations across the country to share an access to the same database. Likewise, the e-Warrant System provides police stations a faster and better access to individuals with active or pending warrants of arrests anywhere in the country. PSSupt Jerry C Linsagan, Chief Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division, the PNP conducted a briefing and purpose of the two systems in front of 234 police officers with basic computer knowledge. The training of e-Rogues’ was held in Camp Crame, Quezon city, while the one for e-Warrant system held at Camp Algar, Cagayan De Oro City. The participants of the training were required to enhance the new knowledge in their works, as well as passing it on to other police officers assigned in investigation and detective patrol. They will also be assigned as encoders to perform a regular update of the wanted criminal gallery which is linked to and shared the same database with police station across the archipelago. The other electronic initiative of the PNP includes PNP e-Blotter system which is a management tool eyed in the formulation of effective anti-crime strategies and the modernization of the PNP’s crime data base. It was launched in 2012.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/18/2013

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SINGAPORE: App Provides Real-Time Info on Budget

 

The Ministry of Finance launched ‘SG Budget 2013’, a mobile app giving users real-time information about Singapore’s annual budget, to be announced on 25 February. The app, available for free on Android and iOS based smartphones, will allow users to watch the Budget Speech, to be delivered by Tharman Shanmugaratnam Finance Minister on 25 February, live through their phones. The app offers general information about the budget cycle, sources of government revenue and primary areas of expenditure. Users can also access the latest announcements, press releases and videos about the budget.In addition, smartphone owners can take a Budget Quiz to test their knowledge about Budget trivia, and sign up to receive the Budget speech through email after 25 February.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/04/2013

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VIETNAM: Ministry of Defence Launches e-Portal

 

The Ministry of Defence of Vietnam launched its first online portal on 12 December. The Ministry will use the portal as an integrated information and communication channel about the Ministry in different forms including text, audio and video files and graphic images, in Vietnamese, English and Chinese. The launch of the portal is part of the process of modernisation of the military in Vietnam, demonstrating the development and reform efforts in administrative procedures of the Ministry. At the inauguration ceremony in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said that the portal will raise awareness and understanding of Vietnam’s defence among its citizens as well as people across the world. The portal is also intended to help the Ministry connect better with other government agencies and departments. Nhan asked the Ministry to run a defence and youth forum through the portal to help the younger generation of Vietnam understand the importance of the responsibilities entrusted to the Vietnam People’s Army, which will raise interest and help the army attract high-quality human resources.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/03/2013

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Residents Can Rate Civil Servants Online in Vietnam

 

An online rating system for civil servants of Da Nang City in Vietnam was launched on 19 December, enabling residents to evaluate their experiences with government officials. Residents can submit their evaluation through the government’s recently released website on administrative reforms, developed by the ICT Service Centre, under the Da Nang Department of Information and Communications. The People’s Committee (the executive arm of the local government) has published the names and photographs of all 2,700 local civil servants on the website. Local residents can log into the website using a code given to them by state agencies they have contacted for administrative affairs and evaluate the civil servants on different criteria such as service attitude and quality of work. Residents can rate their satisfaction with each public servant by giving them from one to five stars. The government will use the ratings from the public to improve performance of civil servants at work. According to a local news agency, any employee rated poorly three times or more a week must submit a report to their superior giving possible reasons that have led to such a rating. The public assessment will also be a factor in deciding bonuses and promotions of civil servants.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/08/2013

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Bank Data Released for Turbulent 2012

 

HA NOI (VNS)— Figures released by the State Bank have shown that at the end of 2012, the total assets of the entire domestic banking system recorded a growth of 2.54 per cent compared with 2011, meaning that last year’s total for the entire system rose by nearly VND126 trillion (US$6 billion). The data also shows that most of these assets were contributed by State-owned commercial banks, which saw a rise of VND232 trillion ($11 billion), or 11.78 per cent. In contrast, the total assets of join stock banks declined VND102 trillion ($4.8 billion) compared with 2011. The State Bank also said that the equity of the banking system rose more than VND35 trillion to nearly VND426 trillion, a growth of 8.97 per cent. Compared with 2011, the equity capital of most credit institutions increased.

 

However, financial companies have seen both equity and charter capital decrease compared to 2011. With figures from commercial banks included, the total charter capital of credit institutions reached VND392 trillion by the end of last year, a rise of 11.24 per cent. The year 2012 was considered a turbulent and challenging period for the entire banking sector as many issues arose relating to credit quality, bad debt and cooled credit. The banking system witnessed soaring bad debts while profits declined dramatically. According to a source from the State Bank, the total banking profit last year stood at VND28.6 trillion, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent compared with 2011. While the profits of large scale state-run commercial banks remained stable, profits of join stock banks are estimated to have dropped by half.  Last year, Return on Assets (ROA) and Return on Equity (ROE) of the banking system reached 0.79 per cent and 10.34 per cent respectively.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/19/2013

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INDIA: e-Governance 10 Mantras for Success

 

Governments across the world are adopting e-Governance. In each department and in each state government, one finds a plethora of IT projects in various stages of implementation – conceptualisation, implementation, deployment and up-gradation to latest technology. One also finds many abandoned projects. For each successful project, one can count an equal if not higher number of failed IT projects. A survey of e-governance projects by a Professor in Development Informatics in the University of Manchester in developing and transition economies revealed that as many as 85 percent e-Governance projects are either partial failures for not having attained all the intended goals, or total failures- having been abandoned soon after implementation. The common reasons for such failures include lack of internal ownership, absence of vision or strategy, poor project management, inadequate technological infrastructure, unwillingness to adopt IT enabled governance techniques and obstacles in transitioning legacy government data to a computerized format. Traditional governance systems are usually not amenable to computerization, and insufficient business process reengineering is also cited as a major reason for the failure of e-governance projects. I present here some ideas for enhancing the success rate of e-Governance projects.

 

Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast. Keeping it simple by taking baby steps is more likely to succeed. In other words, evolutionary ideas are likelier to succeed than revolutionary leaps. This is because of limited capacity of the government on the technological and human front. Therefore, e-Governance projects should build carefully and sustainably on the existing ICT usage base. Instead of directly trying to implement large scale process re-engineering and backend computerisation, the stages of e-governance should be kept in mind. In the first phase, e-Governance merely means a simple presence on the web which provides the public with relevant Government to Citizen (G2C) and Government to Business (G2B) information. In the second phase, the interaction between government and the public (G2C & G2B) is stimulated with various applications. People can ask questions via e-mail, use search engines, and download forms and documents, saving time and money. In phase three, complete transactions should be enabled so that they may be conducted without the citizen having to visit a government office.

 

Examples of such services are filing tax returns, extending/renewal of licenses, online application for visa and passports, online voting and e-procurement applications. Phase three is made complex because of security and personalisation issues, such as the necessity of digital (electronic) signatures to enable legal transfer of services. It is also the phase which requires maximum process reengineering and change management within the government functioning. The fourth phase is when all information systems are integrated and the public can get G2C & G2B services at a single virtual counter. One single point of contact for all services spanning all departments which is accessible from the citizen’s home is the ultimate goal. As we set out on our path of e-governance,we need to remember that we should commence our projects from simple provision of information online, and slowly work our way towards the long term vision of a unified platform for e-delivery of services, for we must walk before we can run.

 

Avoid Big Bang Waterfall Method. Requirements for regular run of the mill projects in the IT industry are usually captured to the last detail in various project documents such as functional requirement study, requirement traceability matrix, high level design, system requirement study, low level design etc which are duly vetted by the client. These requirements are then communicated by business analysts to the software development team so that they may translate the requirement into software, working peacefully in their zones of comfort. Once the development is completed, the client checks the software against the earlier documented requirements and acceptance testing is done. The project is thus rolled out as in a smooth waterfall model, without much change in requirements from one stage to the next.

 

On the other hand, adopting the waterfall method for e-governance applications runs the risk of failure since this method is not capable to cater to the change in requirements and priorities, which is the rule rather than exception in the government setup. Government departments typically perform multiple functions involving complex processes. New tasks, schemes and projects are added ever so often. For many functions, there are no documented standard procedures and processes. For others, the actual practice varies from one office to another even within the same department. Such continually evolving and non-standardised processes compound the problem of capturing and freezing the requirements for software development in a single cycle. Information/ requirements which were relevant at the time of initial study by the software development team may become redundant by the time the product is readied for user acceptance by the concerned department.

 

This would cause initiation of another cycle of study, documentation, development and testing, causing a hiatus in the project rollout. By the time the next version of software is presented, the department officials may have lost interest or even more likely, priorities may have changed, especially with a new boss at the helm of affairs who would be keen to put his stamp on the project. This leads to an endless loop of requirement study and subsequent development- a sure recipe of failure. Therefore, adopting the traditional waterfall method for software development within the e-Governance domain is likely to be time con-suming, especially if application software is to be developed de novo or even if there is a commercial off the shelf product readily available.

 

Adopt Agile. Instead of taking years to completely automate all the processes of a department or an activity using the traditional waterfall software development life cycle, an agile methodology is more likely to succeed. Agile software development is an interactive process that allows small development teams to develop software in a collaborative environment that is responsive to business change. Development is done in short iterations, each iteration adding incremental functionality to the software. This methodology involves prototyping – the use of a working model of the final system, which users can see, comment on, and have revised before the final version is produced. This ensures that the design matches real user needs. It also provides the flexibility to quickly react to changes in the environment. From the government officials’ perspective, however, it needs greater involvement, commitment and focus on the working product.  The e-mitra application software for the Common Service Centres and the LITES project (MIS for the Pending Government Court Cases) are examples of successful of e-governance implementations in Rajasthan following the agile methodology.

 

Government procurement framework, however, does not facilitate adoption of agile methodology, since it is typically based fixed cost models. Rajasthan, as also some other states have found a way out for building software using agile methodology by getting work done on man-month rates, discovered through open bidding processes. It is suggested that even in cases where traditional waterfall methodology is used, software can be built incrementally in stages. A related methodology is prototyping – the use of a working model of the final system, which users can see, comment on, and have revised before the final version is produced. Another recommended practice is piloting – implementing the e-government system on a small scale at a single site or office; learning and improving the system; and only then rolling out on a large scale to all sites. Adoption of these methods has been shown to increase the chances of project success.

 

Internal Ownership and External Facilitation Are Both Necessary. Because of their very nature, e-Governance projects need external facilitation and encouragement. In fact, an e-Governance project may not even be conceived without external support and encouragement. However, without ownership within the department for whom the e-Governance project is being implemented, e-governance initiatives may never be successful. Not only should the strategic and critical components be decided by the internal users but they should take complete ownership of the project. Any project, IT or non- IT, is doomed for disaster if totally outsourced. While the role of vendors in triggering the conceptualisation of a project should be welcomed, it should not so happen that the government department loses control and the project is totally vendor driven. Private companies can definitely play the part of subject matter experts and update government functionaries with the latest technological developments and trends in e-Governance across other states thereby aiding them in conceptualizing and implementing IT projects. However, at the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the concerned government department to freeze requirements and specifications in keeping with their needs rather than in line with the features of COTS software.

 

It may be noted that the Government Department of Information Technology or e-governance Societies and companies, which most of the States have established, in this sense, are also outsiders and cannot totally take over the role of the end user government department, when they are asked to implement a project. The requirements of the departments are best understood only by internal department users, and so, a project executed independently by the state IT Company, Society or Department for another government department without involvement and ownership by the client department is also likely to fail. The role of the State IT departments is to encourage and facilitate e-governance and act as a change driver; establish the IT infrastructure including the data centre, network and the CSCs for use by other government departments; build generic and application software for use by multiple departments; act as the technology consultant to government departments and build standards and meta data.

 

Top-down Approaches Are Likely to Result in Failure

After long drawn out consultations with senior officers of all involved government departments, we in Rajasthan built software for application for and delivery of various certificates – bona fide residence, caste, income, solvency, etc. Government orders were issued by the departments providing legal sanctity to these certificates. The objective was to make available at the doorsteps of villagers digitally signed certificates through the CSCs so as to reduce the time and money involved in travelling to the tehsil office. The application was launched with great fanfare by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. It was expected that this citizen centric scheme would be demand driven as it would save not only money and time but also provide hassle free services to the citizens. However, the scheme did not take off as expected even after a couple of months despite training and publicity.

 

A quick evaluation revealed that it had increased the burden of the sanctioning officers (the Tehsildars) as the process of affixing digital signatures was very slow and cumbersome. The application software was then improved to be more user friendly for Tehsildars and computerized issuance of digitally signed certificates quickly gained popularity, amongst both citizens and department officials. An important lesson was learnt in the process. The first attempt at the project – which took a top-down approach – was a failure. The second attempt ensured that the lower and middle level users were involved with the project. Their ideas were incorporated into the design, and the process of involvement also helped develop their commitment. Involvement of the lowest level of functionaries right from the beginning is essential for gaining the support of the users.

 

The Project Must Answer “What’s in it For Me?” for all Key Stakeholders

Key stakeholders – officers, employees, operators, users, citizens, etc – must support an e-governance initiative. To garner stakeholder support in any project, it must prove advantageous to that stakeholder. Many e-governance projects fail as the employees feel that their job is threatened or their position undermined. While allaying such fears, the application software should offer benefits like reducing filing hassles or repetitive work. Benefit to the citizens, especially, must be kept uppermost in mind while conceptualizing e-Governance projects. If a project offers no or little utility to citizens, it is likely to die a natural death.

In other words, the e-governance project must provide each stakeholder with at least some positive answer to the question: “What’s does this project have in it for me?”

 

Project Management Skills are Critical for Success

It is well documented that e-governance projects have cost and time overruns. Very often, major risks and issues in the project are not addressed in a timely fashion. The end product is often not in line with the user requirements. Such phenomena point to poor project management. It needs to be understood that project management is different from general management, especially so in the e-Governance arena. If a manager is managing his department well, it is not necessary that he will be a good project manager. Use of project management software is recommended. Since knowledge of project management tools is limited in the government, option to use the project management software of consultants and system integrators should be explored.

 

Sustained Leadership is a Prerequisite

Yeates, D. & Cadle, J. (1996) in their book Project Management for Information Systems differentiate between managers and leaders as follows– “The difference between leadership and management was once summed up in the following way by someone looking out of our office window in Covent Garden in central London: ‘Imagine there’s a sudden power failure in the London underground rail system. The system halts and all the lights go out. In the central control room someone is marshalling resources, implementing the standby facilities, rescheduling the trains, calling the emergency services. That’s management. Someone else is walking along the darkened platform with a torch bringing a trainload of people to safety. That’s leadership.’” e-Governance projects are complex; involve multiple stakeholders, many times interdepartmental; and entail reengineering age-old governmental procedures and change management. They need effective managers as well as inspirational leaders.

 

Effective leadership is needed to ensure a strong focus while directing, pushing or encouraging the government officials in the implementation of e-governance projects. Moreover, the leadership has to be sustained as these projects are long term. Frequent change in government functionaries puts e-Governance projects in jeopardy. e-Bhumi and Aadhaar based PDS system of Andhra Pradesh are but a couple of examples which have succeeded due to sustained and effective leadership.

 

L1 Based Selection May Prove To Be Penny Wise Pound Foolish

Much work has already been done across India in e-Governance. Wherever possible, don’t reinvent the wheel. Implementing a readymade, tried and tested solution with minor customization saves effort, time and money. Rajasthan was able to quickly and successfully  rollout e-Procurement because she used the readymade GePNIC solution developed by National Informatics Centre. If ready-made software is not available and its development is indeed to be outsourced, one needs to think twice before choosing the L1 or Least Cost Based Selection (LCBS) methodology for selecting the software development company. This mechanism may be suited for procuring standardized items likely computer hardware, licenses for generic computer software etc.

 

However, it is not likely to yield the desired application software required for complex e-governance projects. Software is an intellectual property, which cannot be developed by a vendor selected on cost considerations alone. The quality of the software will depend on the quality of the software development professionals and the development and testing processes used by the vendor. A Combined Cost and Quality Selection method is, thus, highly desirable. Moreover, the technical scoring criterion needs to be appropriately designed. A criterion giving high weight to the size, experience and repute of a company may not suffice. The quality of the whole project team, the development methodology and the testing strategy and tools should also be scrutinized while evaluating the proposals.

 

Success entails 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration

E-governance projects are not technology projects as much as they are governance projects. Indeed, the ‘e’ in e-Governance is only a small element. Getting the ‘governance’ right is the harder task as the road from project conceptualisation to implementation involves a multitude of tasks and activities including procurement, stakeholder management, process re-engineering, change management, training and capacity building, etc. This requires sheer hard work and perseverance, motivated by a strong desire to serve the public and an unwavering commitment to improve governance.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 12/11/2012

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Evolving e-Governance Systems

 

Over the last few decades, citizens’ expectations from governments have increased, thereby enhancing the pressure on the governments to improve public service. Fortunately, a wonderful combination of modern ICT technologies like cloud computing, 4G networks and smart phones provide a ray of hope. The power of ICT can be realised from the fact that when a 5.9-richter earthquake hit near Richmond, Virginia on August 23rd, 2011, residents in New York City read about the quake on Twitter 30 seconds before they experienced the quake themselves. Governments need to seize this opportunity, which provides the means to not only live up to but also to exceed the expectations of the citizens, who are demanding inclusive and participatory governance, as they are not content with merely passively receiving public services but want to actively participate in policy formulation and decision making.

 

Various governments around the world and many state governments in our country are expanding the scope and use of e-governance in efficient, hassle free and cost effective delivery of information and public services. The objective of governments, especially in our country, so far has been to provide electronic services to the citizens. We have followed a service-centric approach in our country. The Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2012 is further testimony to this approach. Similarly, in Rajasthan, the transparency in Public Procurement Act provides for electronic procurement as a means of public procurement. While this is desirable as this is an important function of governments, it is to be understood that all services need information or data –census, election, ration related, land records or even documents or information presented through websites – and so an information-centric approach is also necessary.

 

The information-centric approach focuses on data creation and its regular updation in electronic form, without worrying about the final form of presentation – web pages or through the mobile or in printed format. The spotlight is on making available reliable, accurate and up to date data, which is device-agnostic. This will require, where data is unstructured, converting it into structured data with the help of meta data. While preparing, storing, organising and managing data, one must focus on customers’ requirements. I use the word customers because they include not only citizens but also government users – both internal to the department as well as external for inter-department sharing, thereby avoiding duplication of data. This information can then be made available using open and interoperable standards through web APIs for use by various agencies. This approach is useful because it separates the data layer from the final presentation layer. The same data can be used to present it on a desktop, laptop or smart phone. Moreover, the data can made available to a citizen in the form of information or to the software developer for use in application software to deliver citizen-centric services or to another department for inter-departmental use. Such an approach helps us in providing services—“anywhere, anytime, on any device”.

 

There have been varying degrees of success in the area of e-governance in our country. Governments which have demonstrated leadership through the will of political leaders, senior officers, CIOs and line staff to support e-governance have succeeded more than others in providing information services electronically to the citizens. Besides political will, it requires an army of committed IT and e-governance champions, managers and technologists from the public and private sector. Governments need to seriously work on creating this workforce. The Government of Rajasthan has taken a number of steps in this direction. It is the first state to have a created a separate cadre of IT professionals in the Department of Computers in 1989 (later rechristened Department of Information Technology and Communication). We are pioneers, along with Maharashtra, in setting up a company (by the name of Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Ltd.) dedicated to imparting IT literacy and skills to government staff and the citizens. We have also established RajCOMP Info Services Ltd., a company to implement e-governance projects in partnership with government officials and private professionals. The current issue of the magazine is devoted to shedding light on some of the creations of this dedicated workforce of the Government of Rajasthan in collaboration with DeitY and its constituents including NIC and C-DAC and in partnership with the private sector. Hope you enjoy reading it.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 12/10/2012

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UP Plans to Roll Out 60 e-Gov Services by 2013

 

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to expand the ambit of its e-governance services from current 26 to 60 by the end of the next year. Currently the state government is running 26 services in eight departments through Internet-enabled common service centres set up at the village level in all the districts of the state. The new services to be launched this month include filing of commercial tax (VAT returns) and women literacy programmes. A pilot project of this scheme is already being carried out in Maharajganj, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of the state and is targeting to make 10,000 women literate by March 2013. Besides, common service centres (CSCs) would also be able to generate voter ID cards from February.

 

“We are evaluating all possible services, which could be rendered through common service centres in rural areas. We have also formed a committee of district magistrates in some districts to evaluate the kind of services, which can be provided electronically. We would be setting up 17,000 more common service centres in UP in near future, and are trying and testing various pilot programmes under e-Governance scheme,” National Informatics Centre Deputy Director General (UP) S B Singh said. The state government is working in collaboration with three companies to bridge the digital gap between urban and rural India. These are ‘Srei Sahaj e-Village’ which looks after eastern UP, CMS which takes care of ‘western and central UP’ and ‘Vayamtech Technologies’.

 

There are around 12,828 CSCs in the state and the government plans to roll out 18,745 more by early next year. The state government had launched 26 e-Governance services under Departments of Food & Civil Supplies, Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Revenue, Women Welfare and Child Development, Training & Employment, Handicap Welfare and Social Welfare.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 12/17/2012

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“E-Governance Has Gained Momentum in the Country”

 

How do you see the development of e-Governance ecosystem in the country? e-Governance has already acquired considerable amount of momentum in the country. There is a healthy competition in the states to implement new e-Governance ideas in every area where there is an interface between citizens and the government. There is now a growing realisation in the government circles that the ability of the government departments to deliver is being acutely tested. There is so much pressure due to rising population and increase in the general expectations of the people that despite the best efforts, there is a mismatch between the capacity to deliver and the expectations. And this gap between the general expectations from the rising population and the capacity of the government to deliver can be bridged only through modern technology and e-Governance.

 

It is during the last five to seven years that e-Governance has really gathered momentum. Many new initiatives have been launched and have been well received by the public. Can you name some e-Governance projects that you think have brought maximum benefits? The point is that different departments, states and ministries are involved in the creation of these e-Governance projects. Each of them has its own set of priorities and aims. Different e-Governance projects are serving different sections of the population and so it is not desirable that we compare them. Many states are doing exceedingly well in providing benefits to the common man through the electronic route. Now we are trying to encourage the states that rather than reinventing the wheel every time, they should try to replicate the successful models from other states.

 

So now we are having many successful e-Governance projects getting replicated across different states. While implementing tried and tested applications, with some minor customisation, you can avoid the risk of creating something that might not be as useful as expected. For instance, there is the e-Pass project from Andhra Pradesh that is going to be implemented in a number of other states that have shown interest. Similarly the Human Resource Management, application developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), is being tried out and implemented in a number of states.

 

Vision for Year 2013.“Our vision for 2013 consists of successful implementation of the e-District project, successful implementation of pilot projects for taking advantage of NOFN project and the rapid replication of successful e-Governance projects” Is there a move being made to put the successful e-Governance projects on some kind of app store, from where the interested states can access them in an easy manner? Precisely. We are working with the idea of creating an e-Governance app store. Different states will be able to access the app store and pick up the apps that are most suitable for the specific needs of their population. What kind of growth can we expect in e-Governance systems in the country? Now e-Governance has acquired considerable amount of acceptability with the public and the governance circles. I see e-Governance as something that has now acquired a critical mass and in the coming years we can expect a quantum jump in the number of initiatives being launched. A larger proportion of services will be delivered through e-Governance systems. In the central ministries, a large number of e-Governance projects have already been implemented under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP); a number of other ministries are in the process of implementing their own e-Governance systems. e-Governance will gain even more momentum by the fact that it will soon acquire a statuary backing.

 

In a number of states the Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) rules have been notified. Model EDS rules have already been circulated. Some states have already notified these rules; others are in the process of doing so. This will make it mandatory for government departments to deliver services through the electronic mode. At the Centre also the EDS Bill has already been examined by the Standing Committee of the Parliament. Its recommendations have been received, have been processed and the revised Bill could soon go to the Parliament. The UIDAI project has now advanced across India and there is no doubt that this project will lead to the flowering of a large number of new e-Governance initiatives. But we have not yet been able to develop sufficient number of applications that will work on the Aadhaar based identification systems. What can we do to facilitate better usage of the UIDAI platform. I would say that Aadhaar is now on its way to playing a central role in the delivery of services. In fact, Aadhaar is going to be the mainstay behind the direct transfer of funds scheme. A number of pilot projects are also being tried in different states for using Aadhaar for providing benefits directly to the citizens. The Public Distribution System and many other departments will soon start making extensive usage of Aadhaar. There is no doubt that UIDAI is a very secure method of identifying the beneficiaries, but eventually it depends on the concerned ministries and departments to decide what method of identification they are going to use for their e-Governance systems.

 

We have a substantial amount of digital divide in the country because of which educated people residing in urban areas are taking advantage of the e-Governance systems, while those living in rural areas are unable to do so. How do we ensure that the digitally illiterate sections of our population are also able to access the e-Governance initiatives? You see, every citizen in the country has the right to receive better e-Governance facilities. It does not matter if he is educated and urban, or digitally illiterate and poor. Each and every citizen in the country must enjoy easy access to public services conveniently, without having to run to various government departments. Whether he is living in rural area or in urban area, he must have access to the government services from his doorstep. This is the vision of the NeGP. However, I agree that those who are more affluent and have access to personal devices can take better advantage of e-Governance systems. And there is also the issue of digital illiteracy.  All these issues need to be addressed and that is why the NeGP thought of the Common Service Centres (CSCs).

 

Today the CSCs have spread all across the country. Currently we are having close to one lakh CSCs, and the idea is to gradually increase their number to 2.5 lakh, in which case we will have one CSC operating in every Panchayat in the country. So the CSCs are rendering digital services in the rural areas also. Of course, in rural areas we are also facing issues like connectivity, power supply, but these issues are also being addressed. Some of the CSCs are not proving to be financially viable. There is lot of talk about increasing the scope of the  services that are being provided by the CSCs. Please tell us about it. Now under the new flagship programme, the e-District, the CSCs are going to play a very important role. Under e-District, the CSCs will become the front end for delivery of a very large volume of benefits and services. As far as the financial viability of the CSCs is concerned, I would say that it is a circle. If the CSCs render more services, they become more financially viable. It also depends upon how many essential services are being made available through them.

 

It depends on the back-end digitisation and the creation of other infrastructure by the state. Once the CSCs become popular, they become viable also. Even in the project for direct transfer of financial benefits, it has been decided that the CSCs will be an important vehicle. Hence they are being appointed as Business Correspondents for such transactions. This can give them a new impetus and significantly improve their viability. Healthcare and education are the two areas of concern in the country. Many sections of our population find it difficult to access quality healthcare and education. What is your vision for improving these critical areas through the use of ICT? A lot of work is being done for improving the healthcare and education sector through the use of modern digital technologies. We have telemedicine in healthcare sector and digital education systems in education sector. Many states have already started using digital means to monitor the general healthcare parameters; they are using it to keep a track of the health of patients, of pregnant mothers, etc. Digital tools are also being used for distribution of medicines at subsidised rates or for free. Similarly, modern education is being revolutionised through the usage of modern technology. The payroll management of teachers, the monitoring of presence of teachers in classrooms located in remote areas or even the evaluation of the students is being done digitally.

 

What are the main challenges in the path of e-Governance in the country? How do you plan to overcome these challenges? Of course, there are difficulties to be faced in everything that you do. Many of these initiatives require a dedicated team. But the departments where the e-Governance initiatives are being launched are already overburdened with existing work. So what we have felt is that unless there are dedicated mission teams and empowered mission leaders, the project implementation suffers. That is an important element; the other element is that of capacity building. The success of e-Governance is dependent upon the government officials in the department being fully comfortable with the digital technologies. These challenges are already well-recognised and a number of steps are being taken to encourage the creation of dedicated teams and capacity building. A committee has recently been set up by the Hon’ble Prime Minister under Nandan Nilekani to look at the entire issue of creating a human resource for e-Governance projects.

 

The National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is now being laid down to provide connectivity to all the panchayats in the country. What kind of impact will this system have on e-Governance systems in the country? NOFN is a very ambitious project, as it plans to connect all the 2,50,000 panchayats in the country through high-speed network. At present Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connectivity is available in all state capitals, districts, headquarters and up to the block level. NOFN will achieve its objectives by utilising existing fibres of PSUs (BSNL, Railtel and Power Grid) and laying incremental fibre to connect to panchayats wherever necessary. Thus, connectivity gap between panchayats and blocks will be filled. Up to the panchayat level, we will be having high-speed broadband, but ultimately it will depend on the users to find out the ways by which this kind of connectivity is to be put to use. So it is the different Ministries and the States that will have to take advantage of the NOFN by providing services through a process of connecting all their offices to the panchayats. Currently, we are trying to demonstrate how this high-speed network can  be put to good use through pilot projects, which are on in three states, namely – Andhra Pradesh,Rajasthan and Tripura. We are also trying to convince various state governments that by December 2013, when the NOFN is expected to be completed, they should have enough applications to take advantage of the high-speed connectivityto the panchayat level.

 

In a linguistically diverse country like India, many people find it difficult to access e-Governance systems, which are mostly in English. Should we be having laws to ensure that the e-Governance systems are also accessible in local languages? Language is certainly a barrier for large sections of our population. There is a division in the Ministry that is currently looking at the issue and a lot of work is being done to ensure that the same services are also available in regional languages.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/07/2013

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Issue of Internet Governance

 

The Internet is a critical socio-economic enabler, which has deep impact on the economy, social order, law and order and the fabric of the nation itself. Its impact is only going to amplify as we move forward, especially when things start getting connected to each other and when the next generation of the Internet, IPV6 enabled Internet, starts getting rolled out. It would imply that your automobile  can get connected to the cloud computing facility of the manufacturer for automatic analytics of the health of the automobile. As per some estimates, the number of Internet- connected devices globally crossed 6 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach 15 billion, twice the size of the world’s population, before 2016. More than six billion mobile phone subscriptions are in use today, and the number is expected to cross 8 billion by 2016. Mobile data traffic reached 597 petabytes in 2011, twice the amount of 2010, and is estimated to cross 10 exabytes by 2016. Broadband subscribers, estimated at 1 billion in 2011, are forecast to grow at 40 percent per annum, and reach 3.5 billion in 2016. As a large part of the growth is to take place in the developing countries of Asia, India can be expected to be a major component and beneficiary of this growth trajectory.

 

The Internet started as a means of sharing information amongst scientist working in different institutions. From that, it is becoming —if not already become—the communications backbone of the world. It is a major economic driver, provides banking and other financial services to world’s business, provides a global market place and is replacing the conventional print and visual media. Internet is now ubiquitous in today’s world. Cutting off an enterprise or a country from the internet would have severe consequences. This of course immediately also brings out the dangers that are emerging in such an interconnected world. The Internet can be used to bring down the telecommunications network of different countries, its banks and even its’ power grid. In Iran, we have seen the use of cyber weapons by the US and Israel taking out physically 10,000 centrifuges. If this had been done using a missile, it would have been considered an act of war. How should we then look at the Internet – also as a strategic space which then country’s need to protect? (ref. http://newsclick.in/india/internetgovernance- and-itu-issues-baku-and-dubai by Prabir Purkayastha)

 

Therefore, a clear governance structure for the Internet, that is aligned to the long-term growth of the Internet and that is aligned to the interests of the economy and national security, is necessary for a healthy socio-economic functioning of a modern economy. Internet Governance includes, but is not limited to, the following key issues:

Infrastructure and management of critical internet resources, including administration of the domain name system and Internet protocol addresses, administration of the root server system, technical standards, network neutrality, and multilingualisation;

Issues in the use of the Internet, including spam, network security and cybercrime;

Issues of wider impact such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), freedom of expression, data protection and privacy rights, consumer rights and International Trade; and,

Developmental aspects, in particular, capacity-building.

 

From a socio-economic perspective, it impacts issues such as sovereignty over the Internet/ Free usage of Internet and interconnects, issues of Transborder data exchange and therefore its impact on Cloud Computing, issues of Data protection, the freedom of Internet, privacy, cyber-warfare and the issue of global ban on use of Cyber-weapons and cyber-security. Under the existing system of Internet governance, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) performs two principal functions:

The Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) function whereby it controls entries to the authoritative Root Zone File of the Internet

The management of the Domain Name  System (DNS) and the allocation of Top Level Domain (TLD) names.

 

The function of allocation of TLD has been recently renewed as a perpetual contract, known as the Affirmation of Commitments  between ICANN and the US Government. The IANA function has also been renewed for a seven-year period beginning 01 October 2012. The IANA function is overseen by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration under the US Department of Commerce. Technical standards are set by the Internet Engineering Task Force [IETF]. The central elements of the Internet’s logical infrastructure, also called Critical Internet Resources, thus continue to be managed by private entities such as ICANN and IANA under contractual arrangements with the US Government. The United Nations established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2005 to discuss the issues of Global Internet Governance. However, UN/IGF does not have the organisational structure or the mandate to agree on decisions and the enforcement mechanism to implement them. There is therefore an urgent need to bring in participation by Governments, especially from the developing countries, in order to establish a multilateral, transparent and democratic Internet governance mechanism that functions with the full involvement of Governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations, without according a pre-eminent role to any single Government or organization. Government of India is hence rightly formulating the policies for engaging in the reforms process required for a global participative Internet Governance structure.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/07/2013

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Solutions for e-Governance

 

What changes and improvements did you notice on e-Governance front in the year 2012? Lot of positive changes in e-Governance took place in year 2012. There has been implementation of some projects that were started as proof- of-concept projects. These projects were aimed at designing citizen-centric services and have been implemented with more dependable service mechanisms. Solutions like Aadhaar cards and use of GPS are steps towards making sure that citizens everywhere are able to access welfare schemes. 2012 saw implementation of cost effective delivery stations (kiosks) that enable private players to take ownership of operating the services profitably. The broadening of the way for private organisations has also helped in reducing the burden on central agency, thus enhancing speed of implementation and offering better value proposition to citizens.

 

What policies and reforms are you looking forward to in 2013 for making the e-Governance sector more successful? A major policy that will decide the fate of e-Governance is the one that can track and measure the progress of any initiative. A proper roadmap must be in place for the sector to drive this long-term systematic change to be successful. Rather than having different online portals for various initiatives, there should be an initiative to have a common single portal with a sin- glesign on policy for all public services. States need to work with the Centre to come up with better policies. Initiatives need to be prioritised to be implemented based on the ease of implementation and its criticality. Business processes that need to be restructured must be identified early on and redesigned keeping in mind the acts, laws and regulations that govern them. The push from the Central Government to give software development and hosting work to National IT companies needs to be re-thought if we want to be on par with other developing nations. e-Governance must also focus on mobile apps since that is the future of ICT.

 

In what ways do you think your company can engage more with the government for ICT initiatives in the year 2013? ESDS is a high specification, carrier-neutral, fully-managed data centre built on the concept of Green Data Center. ESDS is engaged with the government for ICT initiatives till now by providing turnkey solutions and software solutions to organisations. We have developed, a unique cloud platform called eNlight. eNlight takes care of resources allocation, scalability and server upgrade or downgrade cycles automatically and adjusts resources in real-time, without the need of a server reboot. This makes up a perfect solution for critical applications that require zero downtime and applications where the traffic is sporadic. ESDS has also developed an ePDS (Public Distribution System) solution that can be used for online monitoring of commodities on real-time basis, detection and elimination of bogus ration cards, and providing flexibility to citizens to get ration from any shop in their city.

 

Talking about sectoral reforms and expectations, what are some specific expectations from the government for your specific sector? India is still way too costly in terms of providing data centre services. While the hardware cost has come on par with that of the global market, cost of bandwidth still says on the higher side. Policies need to be made where the cost of bandwidth comes down to a level such that Internet becomes accessible to every citizen of India, be it in a city, a village or any rural area. NIXI is a very good initiative that has helped decrease the cost for domestic band- width usage but unless NIXI in all states are interconnected the cost incurred will really not prove to be an advantage for hosting providers. The State Government needs to make sure that dual power supply is available in all cities, which is one of the critical requirement of any data centre. With the growing cost of building a data centre, government should provide certain benefits to the upcoming entrepreneurs to help them grow the hosting sector, and one fine day, make India a hub for hosting services similar to what India has become today in the field of software development. 

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/07/2013

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Challenges and Opportunities in e-Governance

 

Uschi Schreiber, Managing Partner, Global Government & Public Sector Industry Centre, Ernst & Young (E&Y). “I am touched by seeing the passion that technology arouses in people; this clearly indicates an awareness of the difference that technology will bring to their lives,” says Uschi Schreiber, in conversation with Nayana Singh. Provide us with an overview of the work that Ernst & Young (E&Y) is doing with governments worldwide. E&Y works with government clients in several places. These clients belong to both developed economies as well as emerging markets. When it comes to emerging markets, the governments are facing the problems of poor infrastructure. The growing trends of urbanisation is the result of more jobs being available in urban areas. This is resulting in increasing demand for education, in such places. In the emerging markets, the governments are facing very long term issues. Some of these include critical issues such as ageing population. These developed economies face the need of replacing outdated infrastructure. To add to this, there is the challenge of very short term political cycles which make it difficult to carry out longterm plans. We have witnessed our clients seeking new solutions to address tricky and difficult long term issues. There is also a third category of countries – the breakout of economies like Vietnam, Libya and Indonesia. Similar issues are being faced by these economies as well. These countries have to drive education, diversify the economy, encourage entrepreneurship and a create private sector market structures.

 

What steps must government of India take to bring improvement in the investment climate in India? The investors look for confidence and stability in the countries they are investing in. The Indian Government and the other governments of the emerging economies who are trying to attract investors must focus on building confidence and transparency. How can technology make it easier for masses to access government services? India has made great strides in using technology to bring government services to the masses. There is a tremendous move to provide government services technologically. This is a drive to provide internet services to people throughout the country, through mobile technology. The true potential of such trend is yet to be fully understood. This trend might lead to creation of new apps, new jobs, and even whole new enterprises and entrepreneurial ideas, which are not yet heard of. These moves may be prevailing at many places of the world. In Indian context, it is being carried on an enormous scale. As such technologies are providing information to people, they can also be vehicles to bring social change.

 

What is E&Y’s outlook on growth? The forecasts that I am coming across, indicate that the breaks in economy would continue to persist. However, India’s future is bright. India’s huge labour-force will provide impetus for its growth. When this labour force is equipped technologically, they will lead to job creation not only within the nation, but globally as well.

You recently had E&Y Global Government Leaders conference in Mumbai. What are the key takeaways from the conference? The conference has reinforced our belief in our strength globally and our efficiency of functioning in both government as well as in public sector. We have the most intelligent workforce and we work with the best clients. Through the conference we got to know that our clients are looking for some new solutions. Some solutions have become really outdated with the government. We are working with the governments as their partners to develop those solutions.

 

What are the key areas that central and stage governments in India should focus upon for bringing about inclusive growth? As far as my observation goes, the governments are focusing on some of the key issues centred on education, skill development, Information Technology, citizen engagement in government initiatives and such transformational initiatives. The government and the industry should work hand in hand to develop solutions. E&Y wants to work shoulder to shoulder with the government for when it comes to implementation to Information Technology in order to bring about change.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/08/2013

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e-Governance Initiative of MoUD

 

Among the major e-Governance initiatives being implemented in Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and in its various attached  offices are e-Awas in Directorate of Estates, e-sewa in CPWD, e-dharti in Land and Development office and Project Management  Information System (PMIS) for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM). MoUD is also ensuring implementation of e-Governance across the country through its mandatory e-Governance reforms to be achieved for claiming funds for urban  infrastructure projects under JnNURM. Under e-Governance reform, urban local bodies are ensuring online birth and death registration, property tax, accounting, water supply and utilities, citizens grievance redressal, personnel management system, building plan approval as well as procurement and monitoring of projects. This leads to transparency, better information management, improved service delivery and overall improvement in urban governance across departments at all levels. Implementation of PMIS by the Ministry has resulted in providing online and up-to-date information by the States and the Ministry, for management and monitoring of projects approved under JnNURM.

 

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) was launched by the Government of India on 3rd December 2005, envisaging an investment of more than `1,00,000 crore during a period of seven years from 2005-06 to 2011-12 with a committed Central Government share of `66,000 crore. JnNURM is a reform driven, fast track programme to ensure planned development of identified cities with focus on efficiency in urban infrastructure/ service delivery mechanisms, and through community participation and enhanced accountability of ULBs/parastatal agencies towards citizens. The programme has resulted in facilitating large scale investments in the urban sector and ushered, policy and institutional reforms, leading to sustainable socio-economic growth in the cities. The programme focuses, higher level of resources and management attention to 65 select cities across the country. 35 cities with million plus population, other State capitals and cities of heritage and tourism importance comprise the 65 Mission cities under Urban Infrastructure & Governance (UIG). The other towns of 31 States/UTs are eligible for funding under the Urban Infrastructure  Development for Small and Medium Towns Scheme (UIDSSMT).

 

551 projects at a total cost of `61,905 crore have been sanctioned under the UIG for 65 Mission cities across the country. The Additional Central Assistance committed by the GoI towards meeting the central share of the total project cost is `28,590 crore. There are 807 projects sanctioned under UIDSSMT at a total cost of `14,021 crore for 672 small & medium towns. 166 projects under UIG and 269 projects under UIDSSMT have been completed and have resulted in improved service delivery to citizens. Prior to launch of the JnNURM Scheme in Dec 2005, only four out of 65 Mission cities had implemented e-Governance modules and now 37 Mission cities have implemented e-Governance reform by the end of 2012. The remaining 28 cities are making efforts to complete this reform shortly. The process of e-Governance reform implementation in mission cities has been steady. Cities like, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pimpri-Chinchwad have successfully implemented more than committed (8) modules. Some of the metro cities have gone ahead  and adopted innovative approaches in e-Governance. For instance, there is auto SMS to citizens on complaints in Hyderabad, global positioning system device on SWD vehicles in Indore and Biometric attendance system for municipal employees in Hyderabad and Madras.

 

Process flow of PMIS

The PMIS Website ensures step by step process flow right from detailed project report (DPR) submission, State Level Nodal Agency (SLNA) appraisal, project approval by SLSC and approval by the Ministry. SLNAs are submitting utilisation certificates as well as Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs) on-line for Ministry to take appropriate action for release of subsequent instalment to the States. SLNA are uploading the completion certificate on the PMIS website once the project is completed. In the process of PMIS development, the responsibility of State/ ULB includes registration of ULB, submission of Detailed Projects Report (DPRs), appraisal of DPRs, submission of Utilisation Certificate and QPRs and completion certificates. The Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for further appraisal of SLSC approved DPR through its technical wings, disbursement of Additional Central Assistance (ACA) and incentives. On release of instalment, MoUD updates the States on PMIS along with scanned copy of release order issued by Ministry of Finance (MoF), Department of Expenditure so that SLNA may utilise the funds for implementation of projects.

 

Special features in PMIS

PMIS allows the users i.e. officials from MoUD, TCPO, officials of SLNA to easily access and use the website. Online user guide is available on the home page of the website so that the users may understand the process flow and smooth navigation of the website. The homepage has the facility for user to register on-line by creating his user id and password for further access to the PMIS website. The facilities of forgotten password, transaction history as well as helpdesk are also available on the home page for user friendly application of the website. A special feature has been created on the home page so that the summary of No. of projects sanctioned under the sector, No. of  projects completed, approved cost, ACA committed and ACA released is displayed in a box once the mouse is brought on that  particular sector. The overall summary of UIDSSMT is automatically displayed once the mouse is brought on the circle in the centre.

 

Conclusion

PMIS has brought transparency and speed in the urban infrastructure project management and monitoring at the State and Central level. The availability of the documents on funds releases by MoF and completion certificate by the States could be ensured to the  fullest extent. Information could be extracted from the MIS for smooth handling of Parliament Questions/ VIP references, etc. Data   analysis on funds releases, project completion and for the purpose of future line of action relating to approval of new projects, optimum utilisation of funds, etc., is possible with the help of PMIS. Comparison of States based on completion of projects as well as utilisation of funds can also be done with the help of PMIS. This IT enabled tool is thus facilitating smoother and more efficient implementation and monitoring of JnNURM.

 

Project ID Nomenclature. For the ease of understanding, the facility of online generation of alpha-numeric project ID has been created and project ID is generated once the project is approved online by the Ministry. Project ID contains first two digits for the State code, next two digits for the District code, next two digits represent ULB code of the District, next is the Urban Sector code, next three digits represent running Sl.No. under the particular Urban Sector. For example, project ID UP/10/01/ SWM/018 is for a project in the State of U.P under sold waste management sector.

 

Uploading of Documents on PMIS

On utilisation of 70 percent funds and completion of urban sector reforms, the utilisation certificate submitted online by the SLNA is processed for release of subsequent installment and sanction letter is sent to the Ministry  of Finance. On release of the installment by the MoF release order is uploaded on the PMIS website for information of the SLNA, which can then withdraw funds from the State exchequer for further implementation of the project.

 

Management Information System (MIS)

MIS link provided on PMIS website has further links – (i) Project at a Glance (ii) Details of ACA Released and (iii) Registered States and Users. On navigation of project at a glance link, information can be retrieved on State-wise and Sector-wise Status of projects showing number of projects, number of projects completed, approved cost, total ACA and ACA released as well asproject status – completed / in progress. On further drilling down on this page, Summary Sheet of individual project and ULB is retrieved. The facility of retrieving release order of the MoF and completion certificate on clicking on the links instalment date and completion respectively exits. Under the link – Details of ACA Released, financial information for a particular State, particular sector for particular financial year is available. Multiple options for choosing financial year(s), State, Sector, Project Status, etc., can be exercised to have desired information required for dealing with matters relating to Parliament Questions, VIP references, etc.

 

Online Generation of UC & QPR

QPRs are generated online by the SLNA that shows the extent of funds utilised, Stage-wise project implementation including percentage of progress by end of every quarter. The QPR also provides information on progress of all 23 reforms at ULB level, State level as well as optional level reforms. The reform achievement determines further release of instalment to the State by the Centre.

 

Project Management Information System (PMIS), The PMIS system has been implemented to achieve the following objectives:-

• To provide online and up-to-date information for management and monitoring of projects by the JnNURM Directorate, MoUD

• To allow JnNURM Directorate and TCPO:

• To update status of the projects with respect to appraisal and approval.

• To update data in respect of funds sanctioned and released.

• To upload Sanction Orders and Release Orders.

• To allow SLNAs to enter data for projects of all ULBs under their control and monitoring.

• To allow SLNAs to submit DPR, UCs and QPRs online for release of funds and project monitoring

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/08/2013

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E-Gov Road Map for Varanasi Civic Body Ready

 

Varanasi: The Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) will soon implement e-Governance processes, at an estimated cost of Rs 351.49 lakh, in its working to extend quick, efficient and transparent services to the citizens. Varanasi is among the 65 mission cities under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) where introduction of e-Governance is under mandatory reforms of Urban Local Bodies (ULB). The detailed project report (DPR) for e-Governance implementation of the Varanasi Municipal Corporation has already been approved by the central government, a senior official of the civic body said. As per revised implementation approach a State Level Software Solution (SLSS) would be developed and deployed to cater to the requirement of all ULBs in the state.

 

In line with the state level approach UP has selected Kanpur Municipal Corporation as their first ULB for preparation of DPR and pilot implementation of state level software solution. Once the software solution at state level is available then remaining ULBs in mission cities/state will be able to roll out this solution, with minimal changes to the main state level solution. Varanasi Municipal Corporation would be joining the state level solution being developed by Kanpur Municipal Corporation. The fund for ICT infrastructure will be released only after the state wide solution is operational, and an audit report is provided, reporting completeness of all modules that VMC needs.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/18/2013

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Panel Submits Report on HR Policy for E-Gov Projects

 

New Delhi: An expert committee on HR Policy for e-Governance has recommended building internal capacity to manage technology- based government projects and explore opportunities of collaboration with private sector. The committee, headed by UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani, in its report submitted to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal recommended putting in place appropriate organisational structures both at Centre and states for the e-Governance programme and project management. The committee also proposed putting in place Electronic Services Division to be headed by Chief Information Officer in central ministries, Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) Directorate in states and Union Territories and dedicated project teams for managing projects.

 

It has also recommended an enhanced role of NIC (National Informatics Centre) as a technology adviser to the government. It has suggested various policy interventions required to build internal competencies and growing internal resource pool in the government with institutionalised training and capacity building mechanisms. ”We need to take all these recommendation process to the government and then take it at the highest level for approval of the Cabinet,” the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Secretary J Satyanarayana said.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/22/2013

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Assam’s E-Gov Module Wins Top Award

 

Assam’s Computerisation of Registration (Panjeeyan) Project has won the prestigious Gold Icon National Award by the Union Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances for 2012-13. The state-wide Computerisation of Registration Project in Assam was implemented by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department with support of the Finance Department. The Assam Governance and Public Resource Management Project (AGPRMP) was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Under the Project, all 75 sub-registrar offices across the state were computerised replacing the earlier manual system of maintaining records and registers. The registration process carried out in sub-registrar offices is a means of recording documents like sale deed, mortgage, agreement, lease deed, power of attorney, will, etc., as provided for in the Registration Act, 1908.

 

It confers a legal status to the document and provides a measure of security to the transaction and minimises scope of disputes. Process re-engineering through application of Information Technology (IT) has brought about a remarkable change in the service delivery system and improved efficiency in the offices by eliminating the need to manually create and then store physical registers and other records, the award committee said. The Projects for Transformation of Mineral and Administration through e-Governance of the government of Karnataka and Online Voting System (OVS) of the state Election Commission of Gujarat have been selected for the Silver and Bronze Icons respectively in the category of Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/05/2013

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Capacity Building for Better E-Governance Leading to Good Governance

 

NIELIT has been playing a key role in improving the reach and scope of IT related education in the country. What is your vision for the organisation? There is going to be a vast increase in the scope of work that NIELIT has been doing. NIELIT has been set up to carry out Human Resource Development and related activities in the area of Information, Electronics & Communication Technology (IECT). The organisation has its headquarters in New Delhi. It has branches in 23 cities across India – Agartala, Aizawl, Aurang- abad, Ajmer, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Shimla, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Patna, Gangtok, Itanagar, Imphal, Srinagar/Jammu, Shillong, Kohima/ Chuchuyimlang, Kolkata and Tezpur/Guwahati.

 

The organisation is engaged both in the formal and non formal education in the area of IECT. It also concentrates on developing industry oriented quality education and training. It is establishing standards for becoming the country’s premier institution for examination and certification in the field of IECT. Today NIELIT is a National Examination Body, which accredits institutes/organisations for conducting courses particularly in the non- formal sector of IT Education & Training. Our vision for the organisation is to make NIELIT an institute of national importance in the field of IT, electronics, e-Governance and education. NIELIT can become of a stature that is similar to the IIT or IIM, with the permission and the blessings of the Hon’ble Parliament.

 

At times students face problems as they are unable to access course content in their own language. What steps is NIELIT taking to help such students? NIELIT has developed CCC e-content in all the constitutionally recognised Indian languages except in Santhali. The e-contents of CCC has also been devel- oped in Mizo and Kokborok. The e-contents have been made available on a dedi- cated e-learning portal “http://elearn.doeacc.edu.in” for free access by students. We are in the process of developing e-content for other courses and we are also planning to conduct online examinations. NIELIT is now undertaking projects concerned with capacity building in the field of e-Governance. Tell us about it. As you might know, NIELIT will be undertaking projects to conduct e-Governance training for various cadres of Central and State Government officials with funding support of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. NIELIT  has conducted one workshop for the Cabinet of Bihar. It is also conducting e-Gov Capacity Building for senior officers in Delhi Government. Capacity building in the area of e-Governance is of great importance to the nation, and we are keen to contribute our mite in it. To take this up, our team of senior directors was in NISG (National Institute for Smart Governance), Hyderabad, for five days training in e-Governance project lifecycle. NIELIT centres in different parts of the country have been undertaking Capacity Building for improving the IT literacy and employability of ST & SC candidates.

 

Tell us about the work that you have been doing for NPR. NIELIT is the Nodal Implementing Agency on DeitY (Department of Electroncs and Information Technology) for the data digitisation for the creation of National Population Register (NPR) project of Registrar General of India (RGI). Data digitisation work for UT Chandigarh has been completed on pilot basis in March 2012. In Phase I, the data digitisation work of 25 urban zones have been completed and data digitisation in respect of 19 rural zones are expected to be completed shortly. In Phase II, for 48 rural zones, the contract has been awarded to successful bidders and work is in progress and is expected to be completed by March, 2013.

 

You have been associated with IT Industry for almost 28 years. Before taking over as MD, NIELET, you had been serving as Managing Director, RajCOMP, and Director Technical RajCOMP Info Services Ltd. In that capacity you had been instrumental in executing many IT and e-Governance Projects for the Government of Rajasthan. Tell us about the main issues that you have faced in bringing the benefits of IT to the masses. Every IT project comes with its own set of unique challenges. And when the project is from the field of e-Governance, then the challenges become more complicated, as in such cases we also have to look at governance issues, along with IT. When a project is being implemented, multiple issues related to Vendor Management, Technical Management, Finance Management, HR Management, Legal Management and over and above the Expectation Management come to the fore. It is possible that the expectation of the end-users, the citizens, could be totally different from the expectations of the policy makers.

 

It is a difficult task to bridge the gap between the two sets of expectations. Also there can be mismatch in terms of time, cost and even the vision of any project due to changes in government or administrative setup. While conceiving any e-Governance project, we tend to think that automation will automatically result in e Governance becoming a reality. We tend to forget that the IT component in any e-Governance project is only 10 to 15 percent. The major component is management and implementation of the decision and policy of the government, and that is a much tougher task. At times, the financial considerations make it impossible for us to go for the best possible technology in e-Governance projects, so this too is a challenge. We are unable to hire the most talented experts as they require a higher salary, the government norms restrict the salary that can be paid to the experts. Moreover, when we are implementing e-Governance projects, we think of pilots only and pilot hardly get rolled out because of multiple reasons.

 

“e-Governance projects will not be able to deliver at the ground level unless there is capacity building in a big way.” During the last few years Rajasthan has achieved lot of success in e-Governance implementations. In your opinion what is the most critical factor for the successful execution of e-Governance Projects? The capability of government departments to work as a cohesive team is important. A good team leader and support from the seniors are the key factors for success of e-Governance project. In Rajasthan, I achieved a degree of success in execution of NeGP Projects, after joining as the Managing Director of Rajcomp in June 2009. The projects that I was involved with are the CSC, State Data Centre (SDC), State Wide Area Network (SWAN), e-District, State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG), etc. I have also contributed in the successful launch of the RPSC online. This all had been possible because of kind support that I have received from the Secretary (IT), Shri Sanjay Malhotra, Principal Secretary (IT), Shri Shrimant Pandey. I was also guided by the vision of the leader, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Ashok Gehlot.

 

In your opinion what is the importance of field experience in the success of e-Governance projects? Should the government departments focus on having at least a few people who have the experience of working in the field? e-Gov Projects face major challenges in terms of shortage of experts having knowledge of technology with the IT companies. It also faces challenge in terms of commitment from the top and ownership of the project. It has been observed that those who have driven motorcycle in the field are different from those who know how to drive motorcycle on the blackboard. I am pointing out to the fact that issues being faced in the field are different from those discussed at policy making forums. At planning stage a project might seem very a project is very simple but when it is being implemented in the field, multiple issues related to Vendor Management, Technical Management, Finance Management, HR Management, Legal Management and over and above the Expectation Management starts. So field experience is of utmost importance.

 

You have taken over as the Managing Director of NIELET, a Government of India organisation, engaged in capacity building. What are the main challenges that you are facing in the new assignment? The new challenge is a part and parcel of the assignments I have been executing because unless and until capacity building in the field of IT and e-Governance is undertaken for government employees and citizens, we will not be able to bring the real fruits of IT to our citizens. e-Governance projects will not be able to deliver at the ground level unless there is capacity building in a big way. In my humble opinion, my new assignment is nothing more than a continuation of the activities that I have been part of during my earlier years of service. It provides me with opportunities for using my past experiences of working with actual projects to design new course content and better ways of delivery through IT tools.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/06/2013

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Creating Foundations for Effective e-Governance

 

eGovernance has attained considerable amount of traction during the last few years. Please provide us with an overview of the work that NeGD is doing in the area of e-Governance. The National e-Governance Division (NeGD) has been formed to support the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) in programme management of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). NeGD also performs the role of the Secretariat to the Apex Committee on NeGP. Specifically, NeGD provides support to DeitY in the areas of programme management, technology management, capacity building, citizen engagement, evaluation of projects, etc. As part of the capacity building for NeGP, we are directly responsible for staffing and training of the State e-Mission Teams (SeMTs). DeitY has entrusted NeGD with the implementation of the World Bank assisted e-Bharat project. In recent times, we have played the role of catalyst and think tank for new and evolving thoughts around the EDS Bill, HR Policy for e-Governance, Citizen Engagement and Social Media Frameworks, National e-Governance Academy, Mobile Service Delivery Framework etc., on case-to-case and need basis. NeGD has also been extending support to other Ministries on formulation, implementation and various other aspects of their e-governance projects.

 

The State e-Mission Teams (SeMTs) have been set up in many states and union territories. How effective have the SeMT teams been in furthering the cause of e-Governance in the country? I believe that SeMTs have played a path breaking role in furthering the cause of e-Governance at state level. It is perhaps the best capacity building support that NeGP has provided to the states. In a recent study of the SeMT initiative, states have overwhelmingly suggested the continuation of the placement of SeMTs. They stated that the presence of these highly qualified personnel has provided the much needed support to the state’s IT department and has enabled the states to develop a state-wide, comprehensive and cohesive view of e-Governance projects. SeMTs have been instrumental in extending professional support to track the implementation as well as provide necessary inter-linkages between various e-Governance projects.

 

Please provide us with an overview of the capacity building work that NeGD is doing in different parts of the country. NeGD undertakes capacity building at several levels. At the state level, through our implementing agency NISG, we conduct Specialised Training for e-Governance Programme (STeP: http://step.nisg.org/) that is aimed at building basic sensitisation and skills at all levels of governance. Next, we undertake highly specialised programme to develop Chief Information Officers (CIOs). The CIO programme is focussed on building specific skills required to manage large e-governance projects. Finally, we conduct Leadership Meets in states which are directed at the political and bureaucratic leadership to ensure awareness about and support for e-governance programmes at the highest level. In addition, we conduct specific training programmes as needed by the states and the central ministries.

 

In what ways has NeGD contributed through the creation of core policies and by providing technical assistance, R&D and awareness? As I stated earlier, NeGD plays a very important role in development of new ideas and does necessary research to enable informed policy formulation. Some of our notable contributions include EDS Bill, Citizen Engagement and Social Media Framework, Mobile Service Delivery Framework, HR Policy for e-Governance, Integrated Public Service Delivery Framework, RFP Toolkit, Interoperability Standards, etc. For each one of these, NeGD undertook necessary research, coordinated stakeholder consultations and held intensive discussions with states and ministries. All this was done in a time bound manner and I am happy to say that today our outputs are being implemented as policy measures by the government.

 

NeGD is also providing technical assistance to Central Ministries and State Line Departments. Tell us about the work that you are doing in this vertical. The mandate of NeGD is to support the DeitY in the implementation of the NeGP. Since NeGP spans across various central ministries and states, we interact and provide necessary support to them in the areas of programme management, capacity building, technology management, etc. We are an integral part of many MMP technical committees such as CCTNS, eBiz, MCA21, etc. We are also playing an important role in formulation of new MMPs such as Education and Health. Given our unique mix of skill sets, ministries and states are increasingly approaching us and we are happy to be of help to them.

 

e-Governance has seen lot of developments during the last few years. But the expectations of the people from the e-Governance area are also growing. So how do organisations like NeGD keep pace with the expectations of the people? NeGD is not a project implementation agency, and does not come in direct contact with the public. However, I NeGD is alive to the changing scenario in the field of public service guarantee and citizen charters. Electronic service delivery would increasingly become the medium of service delivery by public authorities and NeGD has a critical role to play in enabling implementing departments in keeping pace with people’s expectation through its research, assessment and awareness based activities. Towards this end, various initiatives on which NeGD has worked – EDS Bill, Citizen Engagement Framework, Mobile Service Delivery Framework, etc would be supportive. In addition, we are also working on compiling best initiatives in electronic service delivery and helping in rapid roll out of such methodologies across the states to enabling implementing departments meet the raising expectations of the public in a faster timeframe. We are enhancing our capacity building initiatives to help build sufficient capacities within the government to cope with such rising demands.

 

Tasks for NeGD Programme Management of NeGP, inter-alia including facilitating and supporting DIT in undertaking the following tasks and responsibilities assigned to DIT under NeGP:

•Facilitating implementation of NeGP by various Ministries and State Governments

•Providing technical assistance to Central Ministries and State Line Departments

•Serving as a secretariat to the Apex Committee

•Undertaking technical appraisal of all NeGP projects to examine issues such as overall technology architecture, framework, standards, security policy, service delivery mechanism, sharing of common infrastructure etc.

•Human Resource Development, Training and Awareness Building

•Framing core policies, technical assistance, R&D, awareness and assessment and creation of organization structure

•Acting as a Central Agency for an effective implementation of Capacity Building Scheme inter-alia involving provisioning of manpower at various SeMTs across States/ UTs

Positioning of a Capacity Building Management Cell for effective management of manpower at SeMTs together with management of other Scheme activities including training, setting up HR policies, etc.

 

In your opinion what are the key successes achieved by NeGD during the last few years. Where would you like to see NeGD in next five years? In my opinion, NeGD’s success is a result of its unique blend of skill sets and therefore our successes too have been in areas as diverse as our human resources. On one hand we helped DeitY draft the EDS Bill and on the other the HR Policy for e-Governance. While one set of experts worked on the Integrated Framework for Service Delivery Framework other drafted the Citizen Engagement and Social Media Frameworks. While one team focussed on looking at integrating Mobiles in Public Service Delivery, another worked on standards for inter-operability framework for e-governance. As the expectations of citizens on public service delivery attain higher standards and as new technologies emerge, e-governance is striving hard to meet these demands. With such an evolving domain, I visualise a greater role for NeGD in the coming years.

 

What are the strategies and the systems that NeGD uses for conducting the technical appraisal of all NeGP projects? The appraisal of all projects is done in a holistic manner. Some of the key elements that we look for are – (1) government process reengineering, (2) leveraging of core service delivery infrastructure i.e. SWAN, SDC, CSC etc., inter-linkages with other related MMPs, adherence to e-governance standards, capacity building, change management, awareness and assessment and, most importantly, citizen service delivery and service levels. Tell us about your vision for e-Governance in the country? Provide us with an overview of the role that NeGD is playing in facilitating the implementation of NeGP objectives by various Ministries and State Governments.

 

In my view, e-Governance is the future of service delivery to citizens. Citizen Charters and Public Service Guarantees that are being notified by governments can be best achieved by e-governance. In a few years, e-governance would transform the way services are delivered in the country. This larger goal requires tremendous effort on part of government departments. NeGD would play an important role as a promoter of electronic service delivery as well as provide the necessary support. The field of e-Governance is changing at a fast pace. Tell us about personal views on how you see NeGD developing over the next few years. Given the wide spectrum in which NeGD today functions, and the request for kind of support that are being received by us, I visualise NeGD to evolve into a kind of a Think Tank where the blend of public and private sector professionals will help us define and refine our country’s vision of e-Governance.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 0206/2013

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E-Governance Is Reaching the Citizens Directly

 

The tagline for the NeGP is “Public Service Closer to Home.” Is the agenda of bringing public services closer to the citizens being fully implemented through National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)? Please provide us with your view on status of e-Governance in the country. If you see the e-Governance domain at a macro level, then you reach the conclusion that as a country we have done quite well during the last decade. We have been able to reach out to the citizens directly and in a more systematic manner through electronic mode. Now many more departments are able to offer their services to the citizens through electronic means. The processing times for various services sought by the citizens have reduced drastically and there is more transparency as well as accountability. However, despite all the successes that we have had, we also realise that e-Governance continues to be a work in progress. We are currently working to develop new e-Governance systems that will get launched in the near future and we are also engineering further improvements in the systems that have already been rolled out. I believe that e-Governance can enable disintermediation of governance, the idea is to enable people to access the services directly, and on this count, the e-Governance systems launched in the country have been a success story.

 

Most of the projects that were initially conceived under the NeGP have by now been largely implemented. The SDCs and SWAN infrastructure is in place. So now there is the talk of NeGP 2.0. What kind of initiatives can we expect under NeGP 2.0? The NeGP 2.0 is now in the very initial stages of conceptualisation. The next phase of e-Governance in the country should focus on ensuring the speedy availability of electronic services through devices like mobile phones and tablets that are already popular with citizens. The penetration of mobile phones in the country is much higher as compared to the penetration of computers and Internet. We have close to one billion mobile phones in the country, so if we can bring e-Governance services on the mobile platform, we will enable a very large section of the population to access these services. We have already launched the Mobile Service Delivery Gateway (MSDG) and mobile based services under a new initiative called “Mobile Seva”. The system is already operational and the details can be seen at our website: http://mgov.gov.in.The SMS gateway and Mobile App Store are already fully operational. About 150 departments from both Centre and the States are using the SMS gateway, developed by DeitY through C-DAC, to reach out to the citizens. Over two lakh SMS messages are being sent to the citizens every day for actual transactions and this number is increasing at a rapid pace. During the last one year, from January 2012 to December 2012, around 2 crore push SMSs have been sent. Our Mobile App Store already has 26 live and 50 demo applications which can be downloaded by the citizens for availing a range of government services.

 

The other aspect of the next phase of NeGP focuses on the development of an integrated information infrastructure. For instance, we are now focusing on cloud enabled data centres and integrated network connectivity. We are also aiming at rapid replication, under which the successful projects of one state can be replicated in other states with the necessary customisation. For rapid replication, we will be using the cloud platform in a major way. Once applications are developed and hosted on the cloud platform, then any other state or department can make use of it with the necessary customisations. This would save substantial costs and time.

 

Are there plans for a national rollout of the Mobile Service Delivery Gateway? Yes, that is being done. This will lead to scaling up of the infrastructure, thus enabling many more departments, from both the centre and the states, to start using this as a common infrastructure. So the departments need not invest their own funds in creating their own infrastructure separately. This will lead to substantial savings in time and efforts. As I mentioned earlier, we have also developed a mobile App Store on the Android platform. The apps have been fully integrated with the back-ends of the government departments. There are apps that allow users to apply for a copy of duplicate birth certificate, submit a grievance for redressal, check the status of UID enrolment, etc. All the apps are free. There are many other requests that can be made through the mobile phone itself using the SMS pull service. The details can be seen at http://mgov.gov.in. The Android platform is an open platform; anyone can add apps or make changes in it. So what about the security aspect of the e-Governance apps that are being created on the Android platform? What is being done to ensure that these apps are not tampered by hackers? Actually, the main strength of the Android platform is that it is Open Source. There exists a large community of developers who are supporting the Android platform and making improvements in it on a regular basis. These developments help in making the platform more robust with passage of time. As it is Open Source, all the latest developments in the source code are available to our technical team for developing new applications. Our team is also following the relevant best practices to ensure security of the applications and the Mobile Seva platform.

 

Many of the e-Governance initiatives can prove to be much more fruitful if we had a foolproof system of online authentication. What kind of initiatives are you taking in this area? Electronic authentication is of crucial importance for success of e-Governance initiatives. At present,there is no uniform system for online authentication of users of e-governance services. For accessing most services, people have to physically present themselves with a paper based identity proof at a government office. As a consequence, very few government services are truly electronic from end to end. To address this issue, we are working on a system for introducing online authentication which will allow government departments to authenticate the identity of a user electronically. DeitY has recently notified the policy framework for this initiative, which has been named as “e-Pramaan”. The process of authentication would be completely electronic and would incorporate the Aadhaar based authentication mechanisms. Different government departments will be able to use e-Praman as a service to authenticate the identity of their users. The details of this initiative can be seen at the website: http://epramaan.gov.in.

 

“The key objective is to ensure that the projects are rolled out and services are delivered to the citizens” Many citizens in the country are unable to access e-Governance services as they are digitally illiterate or they lack access to computers or Internet. As mobile telephones are available to most people these days, the SMS services that you have mentioned can be tools for empowerment. Can you provide us with more details of the SMS service that you have launched? Our Mobile Seva provides a host of SMS based services. In case of the departments that are integrated, the citizens can send an SMS and track the status of any request. For instance, if you have applied for a new ration card, you can track the status of your application at the ration card department through SMS. The Mobile Seva portal also provides a very easy and automated process for government departments to integrate their services and start offering them to the citizens. The details can be seen at the portal mentioned above. We are expanding at a rapid rate, so within a short span of time you are going to witness a large number of new services being launched under the Mobile Seva platform.

 

So how does the user start using the e-Praman website? Does he have to present himself at any government office to get a user ID and password? No, the system is being developed in such a way that the entire process is online. The user needs to register at the e-Praman website, by providing his/her identification details like name, address, Aadhaar number, PAN number, ration card number, etc. In the background, the e-Praman gateway will do the verification electronically through the respective electronic databases. Once the verification is done, the user becomes a verified entity. Even those who are yet to get their Aadhaar numbers or those who don’t have PAN card, ration card, etc. can also join in and register. They will also get a user ID and password. Once you are registered, you can do a single sign-on for accessing various services from different departments that are part of the e-Praman gateway. This service is not only secure; it also allows the users to avoid the hassle of logging in separately to each department’s portal. Under the Capacity Building Scheme, we have set-up State e-Governance Mission Team (SeMT) and done much else. Is that proving to be effective enough?

 

Capacity Building is a work in continuous progress. People have to be constantly trained so that they can make efficient usage of new technologies. National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) envisions establishment of an institutional framework for state-level decision-making including setting-up of State e-Mission Teams (SeMTs) having relevant expertise and experience to provide technical and professional support to the States and Union Territories. These SeMTs have been playing a very vital role in strengthening the capacities of different states for implementing e-Governance initiatives. Now states are capable of implementing more e-governance initiatives and have better knowledge of various aspects of e-governance projects. With every passing year, we are building a bigger and bigger pool of trained resources.

 

In your opinion what are the key challenges that are being faced in the implementation of e-Governance ideas in the country? The key challenges, according to me, are to build capacities across central and state departments and ensure optimal usage of the entire core ICT infrastructure that we have created under the NeGP. We need to avoid any duplication in creating the infrastructure. The key objective is to ensure that the projects are rolled out and services are delivered to the citizens. Recently, we have also started focusing on outcomes and transactions to judge the success of any e-Governance project. Transaction approach basically means that the number of transactions delivered to the citizens must be taken as a key indicator of the success of any e-governance project. The challenge is to ensure that the projects are delivering actual services to the citizens. The CSCs in the country are expected to curb the incidences of digital divide, but now questions are being raised about the financial viability of these centres. How do we tackle the problem of financial viability? With rising popularity of e-Governance services, and also due to the fact that CSCs are also offering B2C (business to citizen) kind of services, the CSCs have started doing reasonably well. The number of CSCs that are operational in the country has also gone up substantially during the last year. The CSCs are playing a vital role in the success of e-governance in the country; most of them are located in rural areas, where people don’t have access to computers and internet and rely on the CSCs for accessing government services. The B2C services being offered by CSCs are gaining maturity, and the VLEs who are enterprising are able to make reasonable profits.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/06/2013

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New Technologies for e-Governance

 

Provide us with an overview of the role that EMC is playing in India? Since opening its India operations in 2000, EMC in India has evolved to be a critical contributor to EMC’s long-term strategy by driving global innovation and revenue growth for this region. EMC’s operations in India are also multi-dimensional – which is common to very few markets around the world. We have been evangelizing our technology solutions for information storage and information infrastructure for more than 10 years now; and are market leaders for network storage since the last seven years. Last year has been one of many milestones in India – we clocked our 1500th enterprise customer, our 100th city where we have support services, and completed 10 years in India. Today, we address over 2500 customers. As it is one of the fastest growing economies and a country with immense human capital, India has been high on EMC’s radar for several years now. Despite being perhaps among the last major global IT companies to enter India (when we did so in 2000), we have been very dynamic and focused on growing our India operations.

 

What kind of response are your cloud based solutions seeing from the government departments in India? Please provide us some details on the government departments where your solutions have already been implemented. According to the EMC-Zinnov study, apart from IT/ITES, other verticals are spending less than 4 percent of the total IT spend on Cloud computing with Government being one of the lowest with a mere 1 percent spent on the Cloud. However the scenario is under a rapid transformation and we see this as an opportunity since the Government is riding high on citizen services as part of the national e-governance program. Government is a very big vertical for EMC with the segment contributing over 20 percent of the overall revenues as com- pared to less than 10 percent a couple of years ago. EMC has played a vital role in a number of flagship projects of the Government of India including the UIDAI (Aadhaar) initiative, Passport and Census among others. Some key considerations for government would include evaluating the existing IT portfolio against tomorrow’s organisational requirements, map service level requirements and arrive at the kind of future infrastructure that’s required; evaluate the future IT requirement against budget outlay and Cloud vendor services and maturity levels available in the market to deter- mine which IT services need to be move to the cloud and which need to remain physical; and finally, identify an end-to-end vendor solution provider to bring together different pieces from the larger ecosystem.

 

“Big Data era has arrived in full force, bringing with it an unprecedented opportunity to transform governance and the wa we work and live.” Security related concerns are always associated with data that is being handled by the government. These days there is some insecurity about the safety of the data that is being stored in the cloud. What kind security systems does EMC have to provide an extra layer of security to its clients? As the businesses are focusing on transforming their digital strategies and the way IT will sup- port them, the security risk landscape is also enhancing. Stance on security must change from preventing breaches to assuming you will be breached and to protecting your most critical assets. Government organisations must have a zero-tolerance approach to data leakage, insider threats, and zero-day and targeted malware. RSA, The Security Division of EMC, is the premier provider of security, risk, and compliance solutions, helping the government sector and leading organizations succeed by solving their most complex and sensitive security challenges. RSA NetWitness views these issues as inter- related and can help your organization address them with a single enterprise security platform.

 

Is Big Data a buzz word or is it really necessary for government departments and private organizations to find ways of managing it more efficiently? The Big Data era has arrived in full force, bringing with it an unprecedented opportunity to transform governance and the way we work and live. Through the convergence of massive scale-out storage, next-generation analytics and visualisation capability, the technology is in place. What’s needed to fully realise its value is a vibrant, interconnected, highly-skilled and empowered data science community to  reveal relevant trend patterns and uncover new insights hidden within. As per the latest EMC-IDC Digital Universe study, proliferation of devices such as PCs and smartphones worldwide, increased Internet access within emerging markets and the boost in data from machines such as surveillance cameras or smart meters has contributed to the doubling of the digital universe within the past two years alone, to a mammoth 2.8 ZB. The study further reveals that the digital universe will reach 40 ZB by 2020. India is one of the leading contributors to this digital information explosion.

 

Can Big Data be used to bring more effectiveness in delivering citizen services through e-Governance? India, which has already set the stage with the ambitious Aadhaar project, the world’s largest biometric identity platform, has a classic opportunity to leverage Big Data to make radical improvements in citizen services. And, that is what makes Big Data an exciting space to watch in the future. It is important to view the promise of a Big Data as a revolution for a better future. The attitude of Governments and businesses towards data will differentiate the progressive from the rest and define the impact they will have on their constituents. To India, Big Data presents the roadmap for it to achieve its vision of becoming a knowledge superpower.

 

Tell us about EMC solutions for Data Centre automation. EMC is helping transform the data centres. The first step to transform the data centre is virtualisation. More importantly, to exploit all the benefits of virtualisation, CIOs need complete infrastructure visibility and streamlined management, along with new levels of productivity and efficiency. This is where EMC storage, EMC de duplication backup software and system offer the ideal solution to virtualized infrastructure challenges. Automation of various feature within storage like fully automated storage Tiering helps deliver sustained performance under unpredictable load scenarios at optimized cost levels.

 

In what ways is the cloud technology evolving over a period of time? What kind of developments can be seen in 2013? Today, Cloud is revolutionizing the IT process by making it possible to run IT As-a-Service to drive maximum efficiency. By deploying a pool of elastic resources, IT is dramatically reducing hard- ware costs and making it simple to provision and help rapid application deployment to unleash the benefit of application to target audience. As users bring new devices to the workplace, they  expect to operate them using both personal and enterprise resources. IT must provide a new end user computing model so they can maintain control over information and access, while allowing users to choose their own devices. EMC thinks of this as the new layering of IT which requires end-to-end security and management across layers. As IT transforms its operations to run IT- As-A-Service, its role will also transform – from an exclusive provider of IT services to a broker of IT services – some of which IT creates and delivers itself, some of which are delivered by service providers. This new role for IT combined with new cloud technology will drive maximum business efficiency.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 02/06/2013

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AZERBAIJAN: Taxes Ministry Creates Organisation to Deal with Electronic Audit

 

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes is creating a special organisation to deal with an electronic audit, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister Sahib Alakbarov told Trend on Monday. "In the coming days we intend to make changes to the structure of the Ministry," he said. "This will be a very strong organisation consisting of IT specialists and tax employees. This organisation will begin its activity in early 2013 enabling us to conduct an e-audit." He said that the project of introducing e-audit is under completion. "Specialists at the Ministry underwent special training," he said. "The project consisting of six components (establishing a legal framework, the information base and staff training), is under completion." Head of Tax Policy and Strategic Studies Department of the Ministry Akif Musayev told Trend earlier that the regulatory framework for the electronic audit will be created within the bill on amendments and additions to the Tax Code. This bill is being developed. The electronic audit is intended to protect the rights of taxpayers. An automated information system is required for its application. The Ministry of Taxes has the system, including all the possibilities for an e-audit the ministry said. Using an electronic audit will reduce the number of on-site inspections by 90 per cent.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/07/2012

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E-Service Application for Licensure in the ICT Field Integrated into “E-Government” Portal

 

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan added e-applications for various licensures into its "e-government" portal (ehdis.az), a report published by the portal said on Wednesday. Currently, the ministry offers 25 e-services. Also, services provided by the State Committee for Family, Women and Child Affairs are also integrated in the portal. Currently, an online application for international adoption is also available. "E-government" contains 36 state agencies and integrates over 168 online services. A number of state institutions also appealed to the agency in hopes of joining the portal; this process will be carried out in stages depending on the readiness of their individual IT-infrastructures. The "e-government" portal is a key tool in supporting interaction with citizens as well as with the public and private sectors. The portal is intended to reduce the number of documents requested by citizens, given that different agencies will communicate with each other electronically. Access to the portal is through the use of electronic digital signatures (EDS), the identification data of private businesses and citizens, as well as through the use of verification data (username and password), that may be obtained upon registration with the portal.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/26/2012

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Azerbaijani Communications Ministry Introduces Mobile Platform for E-Government Access

 

The Information Computer Centre of the Azerbaijani Communications and Information Technologies Ministry has introduced an authentication system for access to the portal of electronic government through mobile devices (mobile phones and tablet computers). The centre presented an application that will provide access to the e-government portal through mobile devices. The new system empowers users to create digital certificates by using a two-factor authentication system and receive access to the portal of e-government by scanning the QR code. In future, application functionality will be supplemented by modules providing assurance of legally significant documents by electronic signature and its address to relevant departments.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/24/2013

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Newly Established Commission to Consider Online Media Complaints in Azerbaijan

 

A commission has been established under the Press Council. It will consider complaints and other issues relating to online media, head of the Press Council Aflatun Amashov said at a briefing today. He said that the commission will consider complaints relating to online media, hacker attacks on websites and other issues in this area. The general concept of the commission's activity will be established, Amashov said.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/14/2013

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UZBEKISTAN: To Create ‘E-Government’

 

The Uzbek government has adopted a decree on measures aimed at improving the work of the online state portal with consideration of delivering public services via the Internet. According to the document, the State Committee for communications, information and communication technology of the country has developed and will launch a single portal of interactive public services which will operate as part of the state portal and in the single window mode as well. A single portal providing online public services will be aimed at ensuring access of individuals and entities to information on services and functions provided by the state and economic management bodies as well as public authorities in the field. Alongside, users will be given an opportunity of exchanging data online, making requests through a single point of access to integrated, interactive public services by public and economic administration and public authorities in the field and on a paid basis as well. Consideration of requests and appeals of individuals and entities concerning the functioning of a single portal, including the monitoring of the quality of online public services provided by public and economic administration bodies and public authorities in the field will become available. This measure is taken to ensure full exchange of data in electronic form, to expedite the procedures for the request and improve the interaction of entrepreneurs and the public with public authorities on the basis of use of information and communication technologies.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/10/2013

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Creation of "Electronic Government" to Be Accelerated in Uzbekistan

 

Uzbek Cabinet of Ministers instructed State Committee for Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies to accelerate the development of the concept and comprehensive program for the creation of "electronic government" to introduce electronic delivery of interactive public services to businesses and individuals. This was stated in a decree signed by President Karimov at the meeting of Cabinet of Ministers which reviewed the results of socio-economic development of the country in 2012 and priorities of economic program for 2013. The document was published in the mass media on Tuesday. As previously reported, the Uzbek government adopted a decree on measures aimed at improving the work of the online state portal with consideration of delivering public services via the Internet. It is planned that a single portal of interactive public services will operate as part of the state portal and in the single window mode as well. A single portal providing online public services will be aimed at ensuring the access of individuals and entities to information on services and functions provided by the state and economic management bodies as well as public authorities in the field. Also, users will be given an opportunity to exchange data online, making requests through a single point of access. The portal will also consider the requests and appeals of individuals and entities and conduct monitoring of the quality of online public services provided by public and economic administration bodies and public authorities in the field. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided technical assistance to Uzbekistan for the creation of "e-government" to the sum of $ 1.1 million. The funds will be sent towards development of a strategy for government's interaction with the public and businesses through the portal and development of electronic government applications.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/22/2013

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AUSTRALIA: Tax Regulator Moves to Cloud Services

 

Australia’s Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is taking the lead as one of the first federal government agencies to use an integrated cloud-based solution to better access, share and manage tax data from dispersed sites. The board regulates more than 53,000 tax and business activity statement agents. It is moving to cloud services to help staff and board members make informed decisions in a fast-changing business environment. When the cloud service is fully operational, data access will be available from any device – onsite and remotely, and in a secure environment. The cloud roll-out is supported by a virtual desktop platform. Business apps and data will reside on a central virtual server. The platform is “device-independent,” and connects key business offices around Australia. This cloud initiative increases the board’s ability to respond more readily and cost-effectively to dynamic and complex business needs, according to Mark Maskell, secretary of the TPB. He said the board is one of the first Australian government agencies to use a complete cloud-based solution. “This will enable us to be more agile and efficient which will ultimately benefit the tax practitioners we regulate.”

 

The TPB registers and regulates Australian tax practitioners. The cloud project marks the start of a physical and logical separation of systems and services from those of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Currently, the board does not have its own independent IT system; this is shared with the ATO. Once up and running, cloud-hosted services will be available in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The TPB contract has been awarded to solutions provider, the ASG Group. This group supports other key federal agencies, including the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 11/30/2012

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Australian Govt Fights Against Internet Governance Changes

 

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is in Dubai this week for the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU's) World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and said that the Australian government will oppose changes that would give governments greater control over the internet. The ITU will seek the support of delegates from 193 different nations to change the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) to give more control over the internet to governments, rather than existing independent organisations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The treaty was first created in 1988 at a similar conference in Melbourne. The proposal likely to come from the closed-door meeting has already been met with opposition from Google and Anonymous, with Google's chief evangelist Vint Cerf saying that the changes could "put government handcuffs on the net", with a number of governments that have track records of opposing internet freedom getting a vote on the changes to the ITR.

 

Others have warned that the changes would make internet "blackouts", such as those seen in Egypt and Syria, much easier to coordinate. Conroy announced today that the case had not been made for the changes to the ITR to be accepted, and he believed that ICANN should still be kept in charge. "ICANN's multi-stakeholder model has played a significant role in the success of the internet, and is essential for ensuring that the internet remains a central point for innovation and a driver of economic growth," Conroy said. "Australia wants to make sure that any amendments to the ITRs do not undermine this model or fundamentally change the way the internet operates. Australia does not believe a case has been made for change." Conroy said that the ITU should still focus on developing technical telecommunications standards that ensure networks can work with one another across the globe, but said that ICANN should continue to oversee the global Domain Name System. "There appears to be little value in either organisation seeking to encroach on the responsibilities of the other," he said. "Given the increasing importance of communications networks in our day-to-day lives, governments should continue to play a role in developing and protecting this vital infrastructure from harm — either from deliberate attacks or natural disasters."

 

Conroy said that he would be meeting with the delegations from other nations to seek support for Australia's position on the proposed ITR changes. Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde this morning dismissed the concerns about the conference as "conspiracy theories," stating that it was not a "takeover of the internet by the UN," but working to build a consensus about ITR. "The decisions that have been made over that time have been based on consensus, and the Secretary-General of the ITU, the UN body in charge of the organisation organising the conference, is determined that any decision-making at this conference will take place on that basis also." He claimed that people with vested interests were seeking to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the conference. The conference comes just weeks after the government announced that it would drop its proposal for a mandatory internet filtering system in Australia, which, under its initial proposal, would have seen all content that sat outside the government's rating system blocked from view. Instead, the government has opted to force internet service providers to block content on the Interpol black list.

From http://www.zdnet.com 12/03/2012

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Aust Gov Drives High-Tech Transport Reforms

 

Facing a high rate of road fatality, the National Transport Commission (NTC) is driving the adoption of intelligent transport management systems – while supporting regulatory reforms to cut the national toll. The NTC is weighing in behind introducing nationwide Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) – noting this technology will cut Australia’s road toll by 25 per cent. Nick Dimopoulos, Chief Executive for the NTC, says C-ITS have the potential to revolutionise road safety. Research indicates a widespread introduction may save hundreds of lives. Road trauma in Australia accounts for almost 1,300 deaths each year. These fatalities annually cost the nation an estimated US$27 billion (AUD$27 billion). “With road trauma in Australia currently accounting for 1,300 deaths each year, this technology has the potential to provide a leap forward in road safety,” says Dimopoulos. C-ITS are an emerging technology that enable vehicles and surrounding infrastructure to exchange information about the location, speed and direction of other road users and infrastructure also using C-ITS.

 

Notifications are also relayed about changed traffic conditions such as a train approaching a railway crossing. Among its features, C-ITS technology enables different elements of a transport network, including vehicles and infrastructure, to exchange information using dedicated short range communication. This technology is supported by warning systems that are activated, alerting road users about potential collisions. In Australia, C-ITS is expected to be incorporated into new vehicles by manufacturers over the next three to five years, starting in the high-end car market. La Trobe University (Victoria) recently trialled C-ITS technology for rail level crossings, to warn cars of oncoming trains, at two locations in metropolitan and rural Victoria. The trial was conducted in partnership with Public Transport Victoria and the Australian Automotive Co-operative Research Centre. Other Australian trials are in planning stages and will potentially incorporate heavy vehicles and ports.

 

Active trials are also under-way in Europe and the US – with a large-scale trial being conducted on public roads in the State of Michigan. This trial involves nearly 3000 vehicles. In Australia, work on C-ITS technology is being driven by various State and Territory roads agencies. Australian-New Zealand association, Austroads, and the private sector are also involved, including several technology and automotive manufacturers. The NTC is an inter-governmental agency that is charged with improving the productivity, safety and environmental performance of Australia’s road, rail and inter-modal transport system.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 12/12/2012

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Super Fast Broadband and Government Service Delivery

 

Senator the Honourable Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Australia, reveals to FutureGov the strategic considerations and the far-reaching vision behind Australia’s bid to be a leading world digital economy by 2020. As the appetite for services using broadband rises inexorably, many nations are investing in super fast broadband infrastructure. In Australia, the Government has announced the AU$36 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) project that will connect 93% of premises to broadband using optical fibre while the remaining 7% will receive broadband via either a 4G fixed wireless connection or a next generation satellite service. The NBN is to be rolled out over the next decade. In addition to speed and capacity, the characteristics which differentiate the NBN from current broadband services include its Australia-wide coverage, as well as its stability and reliability. The establishment of the NBN as a wholesale-only, open access platform is designed to deliver stronger retail competition, greater choice, lower prices and more innovation.

 

The Australian Government has also released a National Digital Economy Strategy which has the overarching vision to make Australia one of the world’s leading digital economies by 2020. The Strategy includes eight high level goals focusing on the following areas:

·          Online participation by Australian households

·          Online engagement by Australian businesses and not for profit organisations

·          Smart management of our environment and infrastructure

·          Improved health and aged care

·          Expanded online education