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Spring 2015 Issue 49

 

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

 


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

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif GLOBE: Towards a More Inclusive Society Through the Use of ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cyber Sovereignty Must Rule Global Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Tools to Implement Egovernment

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Lessons About Government Performance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Building Single Log-In for Central, State and Local Government Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: E-Commerce to Play Key Role in Poverty Relief

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Internet Governance Model to Balance Public & Private Interests

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Nation to Promote Big Data Experts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Revealing New ICT Vision

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Tops OECD Fibre Broadband Subscription Growth

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Belgium Expensive for Big Mobile Data Plans – Study

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Estonia Plans 5G Mobile Network Pilots in 2016

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: Canada’s Cloud Computing Strategy Calls for No Cross-border Data Storage

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif U.S.: 7 Essential IT Infrastructure Strategies That Customers Need Now

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: To Roll Out Draft of First E-Commerce Law

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Nation to Promote Big Data Experts

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Govt to Form Creative Economy Body

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Country Aims to Put All Services Online by 2019

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Digital Economy Bills 'Must Address Public Concerns'

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Ministry Wants to Resolve Network Issues Before 4G Auction

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Civil Code Draft Open for Feedback

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Incentive Policies Necessary to Develop Support Industry

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Guidelines for E-Auction of Coal

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif US, India to Formulate Smart City Action Plans in 3 Months

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SRI LANKA: Policy of Going Forward Not What You See

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: To Reduce Tariffs for Mobile Communications

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Introduces Electronic Leasing

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Workers of ICT Sphere to Fulfill Tasks Set by Azerbaijani President

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov't Planning to Attract New Sources for Internet Development

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KAZAKHSTAN: National Fund to Finance 4G Network Expansion Project

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Not So Fast on Data Retention, Says Committee

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ACS Urges QLD Govt to Put ‘Digital First’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Draft Copyright Code Published

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AFRICA: Botswana Puts Egovernment Architecture Deal Out to Tender

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Libya: Virtual News Agency in the Planning

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Togo Trains Staff to Manage E-Government Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: MEPs Debate Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Bulgaria: Visegrad Four to Share E-Government Best Practices

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Spain Launches ID Card with Contactless E-Government Apps

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Lessons About Government Performance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - White House Names New Federal CIO

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Tools to Implement Egovernment

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Our Opinion: Protect Internet from Government's Control

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Multistakeholderism Unmasked: How the NetMundial Initiative Shifts Battlegrounds in Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif For the Internet Governance Leaders of Tomorrow: Learning in a Multi Stakeholder Environment

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Towards Democratic Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Voting Doesn't Inspire the Apathetic: E-Democracy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif International Cyber Governance: Engagement Without Agreement?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ensuring Trust in Internet Governance

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Urging Better Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Standardizes Official Govt Websites

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Launches Website for Complaints About Party Officials

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Launches Website on Military Weaponry Procurement

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif A Safer Internet Needs Better Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Online Voucher Websites Restore Trust, Gain Popularity

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: More Gov't Data, Info to Be Released to Public

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MYANMAR: Over US$16 Million Spent on E-Government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MALAYSIA: Connectivity Raises Quality of Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: New Mobile App OneService Enables One-Stop Municipal Feedback

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: FM - Role of IT Sector Is Crucial in Order to Promote E-Governance for Empowering Citizens; to Promote the Inclusive and Sustainable Growth of the Electronics, IT and ITeS Industries and Enhancing India’s Role in Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India's Internet Governance Model to Balance Public & Private Interests

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-GovWatch: Single Smartcard Soon for Workers' Social Security Benefits

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Governance an Essential Part of Digital India: Indian PM

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: Largest Bank Connects to E-gov’t Portal

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Starts to Apply E-Mortgage Portal

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BAHRAIN: Among Top 25 Egovernment Leaders Worldwide

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: To Establish Ministry of Development of IT and Communications

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: NICTA Advises Government to Do More on Identity Assurance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Australia Latest to Create Specialist E-Government Unit

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Digital Transformation’ Office to Be Setup

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Australian Government Unveils Cloud Services Panel

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Australia Building Single Log-In for Central, State and Local Government Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: How govt.nz Listens to Citizens’ Problems

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif How the NZ Govt Can Do More with Data

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: German State to Use Budget Surplus for Faster Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Dutch Govt Looks into Influence of Internet Companies

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Online Digital Goods Could Be Subject to GST Under OECD Global Plan

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: A Business Model for the Internet Age

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JD.com Copes with Intel for Real Sense Shopping Online

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Amazon Begins Chinese-language International Shopping Services in China

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Trust rating for Cloud Firms on Cards

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Global Christmas Buyers Embrace Chinese Online Retailers

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Commerce to Play Key Role in Poverty Relief

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's NetEase Attacks Alibaba with New Cross-border Shopping Website

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's E-Commerce Trade Reaches US$2.1 Trln in 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China E-Commerce Targeting Rural, Foreign Markets

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Chinese Internet Company Sets Domain Name Record with USD17 Million Purchase

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Commerce Stands Test as Couriers Go Home for Holiday

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Electronics Makers Focus on Low-Cost Smartphones

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif High-Speed Visible Light Communication Tech Developed for Smartphones

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Japan’s Biggest Online Retailers Now Have More Smartphone Traffic Than Desktop Site Users

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Fund to Market ICT, Broadcasting Overseas

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif FSA to Allow Bank-IT Firm Alliances

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: LG Electronics Keeps 3rd Place in Global Smartphone Market

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Shopping on the Rise

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov't to Promote Smart Factories, Software Companies

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea to Allow More Corporate Investment in Online Banks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea Ranked 12th in IoT Penetration

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea Seeks to Boost Exports Through E-Trade

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Goods Bought from Foreign E-Commerce Shops Surge in Last 5 Years: Report

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: IDA Launches Challenge to Discover Private Sector Datasets

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Three Factors Key to Success of 'Digital Economy', Forum Told

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministry to Pressure E-Commerce Businesses to Register Legally

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif True's 4G Service Expected to Be a Major Growth Driver

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 'Sound Telecom Frequency Allocation' Key to Digital Era

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministry Joins Hands with Microsoft

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Wireless Data Charged on an 'Actual-Use Basis'

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Electronics and Appliance Sales Surge to $1.3 Billion

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Firms Offering E-Wallet Services to Get Licences

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Retailers Yet to Take to Online Shopping in VN

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Delivery Firms Urged to Tap E-Commerce Potential

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Study Finds Gaps in E-Commerce Growth

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Balance of Trade Not in Favour

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif From e-Com to Movie Making, Amazon Takes a Leap Forward

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif FDI Liberalisation Sought in E-Commerce in India

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SRI LANKA: Creative Marketing for TechTurnaround

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: Nar Mobile Supports Another Online Media Project

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Online Shopping Increases in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-commerce Market in Azerbaijan Increases by 1.5 Times

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: New Mobile Network Operator Kicks Off Operations

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif APAC Online Games Revenue to Hit $30B in 2018

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Infosec Budgets Are Probably Wrong - Deloitte

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Data Retention Cost ‘Up to’ $400 Million a Year

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Government Claims NZ$239 Million in Savings from Common ICT

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AFRICA: Nigeria - UNESCO Offers ICT Training to 60,000 Women

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: German Pupils Criticise IT Conditions at School - Survey

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Estonia: 26 Countries Show Interest in E-State Solutions

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif French Demand for Software Developers Outstrips Supply

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Benchmarking Public Demand: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UK Govt to Invest GBP 3.6 Mln in Teacher IT Training

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Closing the Gender Gap in Federal IT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New York City Launches City-Specific ID Card

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Can Be Used to Undermine Freedom, Too

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Net Control Decision a Crucial One

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ADB Urges Greater ICT Use to Deliver Affordable Universal Healthcare

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Launching Its First National Traffic Management Website

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Banking to Increase Accessibility for Disabled

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's 2014 Online Audio-Visual Market Revenue Tops 6 Bln USD

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's Small Schools Go Digital

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Authorities Cleaning Up China's Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Year-Long Internet Cleanup Deletes 1 Bln Posts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: E-Books, Digital Music on Overseas Sites to Be Taxable

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: High-Tech Classroom Opens in Paraguay

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Park Asks Officials to Handle Disasters with Science, Technology

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov’t to Open 7 E-Book Zones Across the Country

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MS Korea Launches Cloud-Based Predictive Analytics Service

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Race Heats Up in Bid to Build National Emergency Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SKT Boasts Emergency Network Tech

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Jakarta to Monitor Flood Reports on Twitter

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PHILIPPINES: More Accurate Maps to Save Rehabilitation Costs, Says Environment Secretary

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Philippines Asked to Lead the Way in Online Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: Elderly, Youths and SMEs Prioritised in Smart Nation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Mobile Community Health Centre Will Benefit Patients with Diabetes, Chronic Illness

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Digital Economy Requires Everyone to Adapt

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Usage Cuts Time Spent on Books

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Internet Day Celebrates Growth of Online Activity

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ADB Urges Use of ICT in Healthcare

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Library to Be Built at Police Academy in Vietnam

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Networks Ensure Tet Service

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministry Revokes Licence of Online Newspaper

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BANGLADESH: Viber, Tango, 3 Others Services Resume

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 4G Within This Government's Tenure: Joy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: E-toll Collection to Enable Fuel Savings Worth 86,000 Crore

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India Launches E-Visa Facility for 43 Nations

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Education Through Broadband Facility

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gadkari Launches E-Books on His Ministry's Achievements

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Technical Observations About Recent Internet Censorship in India

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital Era Spelling Doom for Hindi Pulp-Fiction

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Idukki: Indian District with Total Rural Broadband Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Internet Users in India to Have 213 Million Users by June: Report

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India to Have Largest Facebook User Base on Phones by 2017: Report

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India, a World Leader in Space Technology: Jitendra Singh

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smart Cities to Promote Harmonious Living: Indian Minister

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smart Cities Are More for the Poor, Says Indian Minister

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: Wi-Fi-Zones to Cover Baku

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Demand for E-Signature Increases in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Transparency Azerbaijan Welcomes Use of Mobile Digital Signature Asan Imza

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Sees Decline in Tourism Flow by E-visas

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Number of Issued E-Signatures Increases in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Bakcell Supports “Digital Village” Project

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Ministry, SOFAZ Postpone Financing of Fiber to Home project

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Tech Predictions for 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 2014's Top Three Depressing Network Stories

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Satellites a New Tool in Pacific Fight Against Disease

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: National Library Hits 15 Million Digitised Newspaper Pages

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Connection Speeds Up Despite Hitting Quarterly Speed Hump

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NICTA Experimenting with Health Records App

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Aussie Study Aims to Capture True Value of Public Wi-Fi

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Parents ‘Want Kids Taught Digital Skills’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Tauranga Happy to Get Connected

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Zealand Homes Increasingly On-Line: Census Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif $450K NZ Govt Spend Targets Ed-Tech Expansion

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AFRICA: Uganda - Cyber Security and Internet Freedoms - Finding the Balance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: French IT Agency to Pilot Cloud Security Label

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Internet of Things in 2015 - Security Threats Continue to Grow

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ottawa to Spend $100M to Battle Cyber Attacks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif U.S.: The Cyber Threat in 2015 - 10 Twists on Hackers’ Old Tricks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Federal Cybersecurity Spending Is Big Bucks. Why Doesn't It Stop Hackers?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Obama Turns Focus to Internet Security, Privacy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Year, New Threats - Electronic Health Record Cyberattacks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cybersecurity Expert Says Government Hasn't Done Enough to Protect Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif White House Big Data Report Stresses Importance of Protecting Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Tightening the Net: Governments Expand Online Controls

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cyber Sovereignty Must Rule Global Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Protecting the Internet from Government Control

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Added Protections for Consumer Information on Health Website

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ENISA Draws the Cyber Threat Landscape 2014: 15 Top Cyber Threats, Cyber Threat Agents, Cyber-Attack Methods and Threat Trends for Emerging Technology Areas

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Censorship: The Worst Offenders

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Most Dating Apps for Mobile Phones Vulnerable to Hackers, Says IBM Security

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Enhancing Security Checks for Govt Websites

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cost of Cybercrime Surging

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 93% of Chinese Govt Websites Have Security Loopholes

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Lawmakers Press for Fair, Efficient Social Security Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Online Info Security Boosted by Alliance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Rule to Protect Cyber Security 'On the Way This Year'

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Sony Hack Adds to Security Pressure on Companies

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Tech Identifies Users Vulnerable to Cyberattack Based on Ways They Use Their Computers

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Insurance System for Cyber-Attacks Planned

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Computer Hacking Case Demonstrates Need for Better Cyber-Investigations

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Hacker Posts More Reactor Info on Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Park Calls for Increased Cyber Security for Infrastructure

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korean Military to Set Up Cyber Operations Team

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Korea to Enhance Hi-Tech War Systems

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Country Plans to Set Up National Cyber Security Agency

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PHILIPPINES: Eyes for Centralized Crime Reporting System

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: No Violation of Privacy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Computer Virus Costs Users 400 Mln USD in 2014 - Survey

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BANGLADESH: Govt Blocks Viber, Tango on Security Grounds

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BHUTAN: Internet Usage for Terrorist Activities - A Concern

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Government to Launch Security Web Portal

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Israel Offers Azerbaijan Solutions in Cyber Security

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Research: 59% Expect IT Security to Be More Secure in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Revision of Cyber Security Strategy in the Works with 37% Increase in Attacks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Two Countries Lead Asia Pacific in Cyber Security Capabilities

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Two Countries Top the Region in Cyber Security Capabilities

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Irish Government Wants 60% Increase in ICT Graduates

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Dutch FTTH Network Penetration Rises to 31% in 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Brazil - GVT Clocks Fastest Broadband – Study

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - The State of the Union's IT Issues

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ITU Releases Annual Global ICT Data and ICT Development Index Country Rankings

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IDC Reveals Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif More Than 35 Organizations from 19 Countries Launch Global Net Neutrality Coalition

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Towards a More Inclusive Society Through the Use of ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Web Report: Online Surveillance and Censorship Are Getting Worse

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 2015 a Pivotal Year for Internet Freedom

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Global Information Technology Report 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Web Freedom Is Seen to Be Growing as a Global Issue in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Freedom Saw Drastic Decrease in 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Schools in the Cloud: How Digital Media Is Changing the Future of Learning

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Riding the Digital Wave – The Impact of Cyber Capacity Building on Human Development

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Mobile Web Isn’t Dead, IAB Says

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Open Data and Privacy Not 'Headbanging' Concepts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Report Highlights Opportunities to Build Tomorrow’s Electricity Sector

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ITA and Industrial Innovation Centre to Boost ICT Industry

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministers Firm on ICT Use to Narrow Gap in Development

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: ICT Market to Grow Steadily

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Mobile Eyes 250 Mln 4G Customers Next Year

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Mobile Aims at 250 Million 4G Users in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Big Data Tops China's Top 10 Management Practices

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 3D Printing Ready to Revolutionize Manufacturing

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Mobile's 4G Users Top 100 Mln

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Ranking No. 2 in ICT Development

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Shifting of Korea’s Mobile Social Media

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Korea Reveals New ICT Vision

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea, China to Launch Joint Research on '5G' Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 2015 to See Dawn of Internet of Things

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KT Manages the World’s Largest Underwater Telecommunications Network

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smartphone Industry Eyes Technological Leap

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Evolving for Consumers in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea's ICT Exports Grow in 2014 on Strong Semiconductor

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Park Vows to Boost IT-Based Cultural Content Industry

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Great Leap Forward for Network Connectivity, but There’s a Catch

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: Why the URA Is Using 3D Maps for Future Planning

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Technological Innovation Vital to Increasing Competitiveness

 

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/04.gif

 

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BANGLADESH: World Class IT Training for 30,000 Launched

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital World-2015 Begins in Bangladesh Monday

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India and US to Further Strengthen Their Ties in the Field of Electronic Manufacturing and Information Technology

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: Improving Positions on ICT Development Index – ITU

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan, Iran to Support Entrepreneurs of ICT Sector

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan, Qatar Agree to Cooperate in ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Sector Revenues in Azerbaijan Increase by over 7.3%

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Nar Mobile Continues “New Smartphone for New Year” Campaign

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Volume of ICT Services in Azerbaijan Grows 15.1%

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CEIBC Discusses ICT Prospects

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan, Israel Discuss Development of ICT Cooperation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: Seeking to Cut Cost of Industrial Production

 

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/06.gif

 

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: To Finally Get Sky High Internet via NBN Satellites in 2015, 2016?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Coming Soon - Better 4G for the Bush

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: On Edge of Phone Revolution

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Faster Connectivity on the Way for FSM

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Zealand Tops OECD Fibre Broadband Subscription Growth

 

 

 

 

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GLOBE: Towards a More Inclusive Society Through the Use of ICT

 

H.E. The President of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca together with Parlamentry Secretary Hon Dr Jose Herrera and Hon Kristy Debono, presided the Annual General Meeting of the Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility (FITA). “It is important that whoever is providing ICT services, appreciate and implement effective ICT accessibility mechanisms in order to have a more inclusive society through the use of technology.” stressed H.E. President of Malta while thanking FITA, the private sector, government departments and persons with disability for their dedication and tangible actions. This year’s FITA AGM was preceded by a mini Expo to which local organisations and suppliers of accessible ICT products were invited. During the activity a live demonstration of ICT accessibility products was showcased, where visitors were able to try the products and evaluate how they could benefit from them. Some of these products are also part of the FITA ICT pool and can be borrowed all year round from FITA. The mini Expo also included a number of presentations about ongoing projects and accessibility aspects which drew a lot of interest. Ms Elizabeth Olivieri, Chairperson of FITA addressed those present and thanked the esteemed guests, for their continued support. She also thanked Mr. Tony Sultana, MITA’s Executive Chairman for the support that MITA regularly gives to FITA.

 

Ms. Olivieri described how FITA has a reltively wide portfolio of services and initiatives geared at addressing both disabled persons and also educators and employers who seek to enhance the accessibility of their services. She also urged disability NGOs and service providers to make use of these tools and opportunities provided by FITA. As per Government’s vision in this sector, FITA can collaborate with private and public sector entities to ensure that more persons with disabilities can be integrated into various jobs and initiatives. This will be done by improving the ICT knowledge and skills of persons with disability through FITA’s various programmes and also by suggesting applicable ICT platforms for entities to operate more inclusively. Mr Stanley M Debono, FITA CEO delivered an overview of FITA’s activities, including the use of the MSE over the years and the benefits for entities like local banks and their clients from using FITA’s ICT Accessibility Certification services. Mr Tony Borg and Mr Joseph Cauchi, both FITA service users, delivered short presentations outlining how they benefited from FITA ICT Training and FITA’s ICT Accessibility Consultancy respectively. Opposition Spokesperson for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Hon Kristy Debono, explained how important it is that more individuals get to know about FITA’s work and how this is benefitting large amounts of disabled persons through increased accessibility.

 

Hon. Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, commented how the training and ICT solutions must be used for persons with disability to generate exposure to work opportunities. This will not only lead to financial independence, but as FITA experienced directly through its own ICT courses, an increased level of self confidence. “These people that are working wholeheartedly to gain qualifications and maximise their potential” he said. Persons with disability have increased access to education and rightly so, now have higher expectations. It is therefore important that they are given equal opportunities for work, so they will continue to become more productive and contribute more actively in society.

From http://www.di-ve.com/ 12/07/2014

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Cyber Sovereignty Must Rule Global Internet

 

China-U.S. relations in the field of the Internet is now an important component of the new model of major power relationship. To a great extent, the Internet will decide the future of both countries. As it is now, the relationship is generally positive and making progress in a steady manner in spite of hurdles. The relationship displays two features: First, deep fusion and high stakes. China and the U.S. have never been so closely interconnected as they have become in cyberspace. China is the biggest overseas market for U.S. Internet companies. Almost all leading U.S. Internet companies have made great profits in China. For instance, half of the profit of Qualcomm is realized in China; half of the new users of Apple products come from China. Nearly a thousand U.S. investment funds have designated China as their priority, reaching to every corner of the Chinese Internet market, accounting for more than half of their total overseas investment in this field. The success or failure of some U.S. companies is closely related to the Chinese market.

 

The U.S. is the main overseas IPO destination for Chinese Internet companies, almost 50 of which are listed in the U.S. with a total market value of nearly U.S. $500 billion. U.S. shareholders have benefited from the development of the Internet market in China. Not long ago, the IPO of Alibaba in the U.S., the largest IPO ever in the world, raised over U.S. $25 billion. Experts believe that the investments made by U.S. shareholders in Alibaba demonstrates they have great confidence in the Chinese Internet, the Chinese market and the future of China. Second, disagreements and frictions still exist. It is because of the deeper integration, more extensive exchanges and closer contacts between the Internet industries of China and U.S. that our differences are easily put under magnifying glasses and spotlights -- not to mention we also have the impact of cultural differences. Disagreements on certain issues thus understandably rise. For example, with regard to the cyberspace governance, the U.S. advocates "multi-stakeholders" while China believes in "multilateral." ["Multi-stakeholder" refers to all Internet participants on an equal footing making the rules and is considered more "people-centered" while "multilateral" refers to the state making the rules based on the idea of the sovereignty of the nation-state representing its citizens.]

 

These two alternatives are not intrinsically contradictory. Without "multilateral," there would be no "multi-stakeholders." Exaggerating our disagreements due to difference in concepts is neither helpful to the China-U.S. Internet relations nor beneficial to global governance and the development of the Internet. Our deep integration is because of confidence, but our disagreements are due to lack of trust. Confidence without trust is the unavoidable issue of the current China-U.S. Internet relations. Looking back at the 20 years' history of exchanges and development between the Internet industries of China and U.S., despite the disagreements that still exist, we can make the following judgments: our consensus is greater than our disagreements and our cooperation is more important than disputes. President Xi Jinping has pointed out that those who share the same idea and follow the same path can be partners, and those who seek common ground while reserving differences can also be partners. We can have disagreements but we must not stop communication.

 

We can have arguments but we must not discard trust. We should not be confused or blinded by chaotic situations. Instead, we should look carefully at the issues with a historic perspective. We should see that cooperation between China and the U.S. benefits our two countries as well as other countries, while confrontation can only hurt both sides and even the world at large. It is the essence of the development of the Internet that the Internet should bring peace and security to humans, should deny access to criminals and terrorists, should help younger generations to grow in health and should also serve the interests of developing countries since they need the Internet more than others. We should realize that the Internet has turned the world into a global village. Big convergence, great development and deep fusion are the trends of this era, and co-sharing and co-governance are the choices of the history.

 

In this spirit, I therefore put forward five propositions:

1. First, mutual appreciation instead of mutual negating.

The Internet was invented in the U.S. and then spread across the world, which is a great U.S. contribution to human development. China is the world's largest Internet market with over four million websites, 600 million Internet users and four of the world's top 10 Internet companies. Trade via e-commerce is expected to reach 200 million U.S. dollars in China this year and will keep growing at 30 percent a year. Chinese Internet companies Baidu, Alibaba and Jindong all reported more than 50 percent increase in their 2014 third quarter revenue, which is really rare growth in the Internet industry. These achievements are a demonstration of the openness and good governance of China's Internet industry. They are also testimony to the success of China's reform and opening up, of the development path chosen by the Chinese people, and the leadership of the Chinese communist party. We should not only cheer for our common ground, but also learn from each other's merits and experiences, rather than negating each other.

 

2. Second, mutual respect instead of confrontation and accusation.

All countries, big or small, should be equal. We should respect each other's cyber sovereignty, Internet governance, major concerns and cultural differences. We should strengthen communication, increase understanding and broaden consensus. The success of the Internet in China over the past 20 years shows that successful foreign companies in China respect China' s market environment and abide by China's law and regulations. U.S. companies operating in China show that those who respect the Chinese law can seize the opportunity of China' s Internet innovation and create immense value, while those who chose opposition will be isolated by themselves and finally abandoned by the Chinese market.

 

3. Third, mutual governance instead of self-interest.

President Xi has called for a multilateral, democratic and transparent international Internet governance system that upholds peace, security, openness and cooperation of cyberspace. That is the common consensus of international cyberspace governance. "No country can achieve absolute security without the overall security of international cyberspace." The gauge of a great country is not its power, but its responsibility. Peace between major countries may not result in a peaceful cyberspace, but distrust will definitely bring chaos. A responsible major country should never restrain others for its own development, or infringe on other countries' security to protect its own security. No country can achieve absolute security without the overall security of international cyberspace. As long as we take a long-term view and prepare for a new era of shared governance, we can translate the diversity of development into the driving force of world Internet development.

 

4. Fourth, mutual trust instead of mutual suspicion.

As the nation with the most Internet users in the world, China knows all too well the value of a peaceful cyberspace. As the main victim of hacking, China understands too well the importance of security. Our government has always opposed all forms of Internet attack. On the issue of cybersecurity, China and the U.S. should increase communication, deepen mutual trust, fight cybercrime, terrorism, hacking and invasions of privacy together, and jointly protect intellectual property rights, making the Internet as the treasure trove of Alibaba rather than a Pandora' s box. With wisdom and courage, cybersecurity will not become a source of conflict in Sino-U.S. relations, but a new bright spot of cooperation.

 

5. Fifth, win-win instead of zero-sum.

The development of China's Internet over the past 20 years resulted in mutual benefit, a win-win situation and integration with the United States. Between China and the U.S. Internet industry, there are differences in terms of market volume, operational mechanisms, technology and training. These differences should not be obstacles. It is precisely through these differences that we can complement each other and create all kinds of possibilities for cooperation and mutual benefits. When the largest developed country and largest developing country cooperate; when modern Western civilization interacts with long-standing Chinese culture; when the most advanced information technology is applied in the largest Internet market -- the scope for cooperation between China and the U.S. will definitely be wider than the Pacific Ocean.

From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ 12/20/2014

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New Tools to Implement Egovernment

 

The eGovernment is linked to the consolidation of democratic governance and seeks ways to facilitate and enhance the participation of citizens in public debate and policy formulation in public policies through participatory consultations of citizens, so, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched GobAPP.com, which intends to be a think tank to promote the use of digital tools that bring citizens and governments and facilitate a more inclusive and transparent governance. When XVII Ibero-American Summit of Chiefs of State and Government, gathered in Santiago de Chile on November 10, 2007, it resolved to aprove the Ibero-American Electronic Government Charter adopted by the IX Ibero-American Conference of Ministers of Public Administration and State Reform, and this was the beginning, with firm and determined step, of a path that will soon have, with the help of the IDB, a technological element that will enhance it even more.

 

For the Ibero-American Charter, eGovernment and eAdministration are synonymous and refer to the use of ICT in administration bodies to improve information and services offered to citizens, guide the effectiveness and efficiency of public administration and increase substantively the public sector transparency and citizen participation. The adoption of egovernment in public administration from the Ibero-American States tries to contribute to the development of Society and would never be a simple response to technological opportunities that come from the market. The eGovernment is symbiotically linked to the consolidation of democratic governance and seeks ways to facilitate and enhance the participation of citizens in public debate and policy formulation in general or sectoral public policies, among other means, through participatory consultations of citizens, so, in this line, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched GobAPP.com, which intends to be a think tank to promote the use of digital tools that bring citizens and governments and facilitate a more inclusive and transparent governance.

 

GobAPP.com will bring together various initiatives, as yoGobierno.org, SomosAfro.org andGob247.org, and will be a place to test new ideas of governance through social and digital media in order to transfer them to other institutions once entrenched. This think tank has the support of different governments in the region: Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile and Dominican Republic. The Organization of American States (OAS) is also helping. The principles on which the eGovernment is based, Equality, Legality, Conservation, Transparency and accessibility, Proportionality, Accountability and technological adequacy, will be relaunched with hackatones and online voting for proposing and selecting priority projects, social networks, and use of mobile services for citizens to communicate their needs to the rulers. Because Latin America is one of the most active regions in the use of social networks worldwide, which together with different technological solutions, applications, mobile services and other ICT platforms, constitute a package of valuable tools that promote new forms to think about development, modernization of the State and to improve the quality of citizen services, the tools are not designed to go unnoticed.

From http://www.lexology.com/ 01/08/2015

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LATIN AMERICA: Lessons About Government Performance

 

Harvard’s Bob Behn has written about the spread of the “PerformanceStat” movement across the U.S during the past two decades. Now the creation of “Delivery Units,” which is another name for this phenomenon, has spread across the world -– even to Latin America. Behn’s recent book on PerformanceStat says this data-driven management approach is more of a leadership strategy than a process or a program to deliver better performance and results. However, a new study by the Inter-American Development Bank shows that having the right processes and structures matter as well. The study examines the increased attention in Latin American and Caribbean countries on defining and delivering results. They found that using tools and techniques, such as Delivery Units that report to the heads of government, are an effective way to strengthen the coordination and implementation of cross-agency initiatives.

 

The authors of the IDB study highlight the importance of “an integrated, whole-of-government approach (i.e., one that emphasizes a common strategy for the entire government, rather than letting each department implement its own agenda)." They recommend a range of routines, processes and technologies that help make this approach work for public executives. The study’s recommendations reach beyond Latin America, though, in popularity. As Behn notes in his book, a centralized implementation function, which he calls PerformanceStat, was pioneered in American cities and states, as well as by Britain’s prime minister, Tony Blair, who called it the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. In fact, Delivery Units have been subsequently created in Thailand, Malaysia and India. The IDB study notes that several developing countries in Eastern Europe and Africa have banded together to create a Global Network of Delivery Leaders.

 

The authors examine different configurations of how to best achieve integrated policy implementation at the “center of government” in Latin American countries. They describe the use of competitive, collegial and hierarchical managerial styles, noting that different chief executives have tailored their management styles “according to their own personalities, political realities, available information, or other contextual factors." The authors also observe that the structures developed for effective centers of government “are less relevant than the capacity to perform the functions. [However,] to embed this capacity, certain processes, mechanisms, and technologies have to be institutionalized so that new administrations do not have to create them afresh." In reaching these conclusions, they researched the use of Delivery Units and other central government approaches in the U.S., British and Australian governments. In each of these countries the focus was on a handful of critical priorities, a central office was empowered by the chief executive to add value to the delivery of services (largely by integrating efforts across agencies), and there was a greater reliance on data and evaluation in the decision-making process. Two Latin American governments stood out as noteworthy pioneers in using these approaches: the national government of Chile and the state of Pernambuco in Brazil.

 

Chile's Priority Pillars

Chile’s “center of government” operations have evolved over the past two decades, but when a new government took office in 2010, the new president, Sebastián Pi?era, established a President’s Delivery Unit (somewhat patterned after the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in the United Kingdom, 2001-2010). The new government identified seven programmatic priorities, or “pillars” (e.g., citizen security, employment, health and education). This new unit created an evaluation and results monitoring system that reported to the president. For these broad priorities, the President’s Delivery Unit was involved in drafting protocols to coordinate interagency committees, assisted the sectors in defining what results were to be achieved in each priority area, and how those results would be channeled into the formal decision-making process. It was also involved in drafting the president’s May 21st Speech (akin to our State of the Union) and the budget. As a result, when it came to maintaining the government’s strategic focus, the discipline that the PDU imposed on each ministry or agency proved important. “The PDU’s contribution had less influence on creating the substance and content of the actions to be unrolled, but focused instead on securing the coherence and integration of these actions,” the IDB study says. For example, the “citizen security” pillar created in 2010 included a commitment to reduce household crime by 15 percent by 2014. By marshaling resources across agencies, it exceeded this goal.

 

Pernambuco's Performance Pacts

When governor Eduardo Campos took office in 2007, he had 66 agency heads reporting directly to him. He quickly decided he needed a better center-of-government structure and he committed to using a data-driven management approach. Pernambuco is the seventh most populous state in Brazil, with a population of 9 million. It is located in the northeast of the country, which is the poorest of Brazil’s regions. Campos separated key public management responsibilities -– such as planning, budgeting, and monitoring and improving performance -– from the more routine tasks of a public administration secretariat, such as human resources and procurement. He integrated planning, budgeting, management, and monitoring of delivery of results into a single unit so these functions could better integrate their efforts. Within this structure, he established a routine similar to those of a Delivery Unit, chairing weekly progress meetings organized around one of the 12 strategic objectives set in his strategic plan.

 

He also established a secretariat of planning and management that created multiyear strategy maps. For example, the study says, "the 2012-15 map includes 12 objectives and 750 priority goals (of which 382 were still being monitored as of late 2013)." The plan was developed with citizen input, not unlike what Oregon did years ago. Campos led 12 regional seminars. During the 2011 planning cycle, about 13,500 people participated. The priority goals and strategic objectives in the strategy map were cross-walked to budget accounts. A project management office was created to monitor about 100 priority goals, such as key infrastructure projects, and an online dashboard was created for each priority goal (somewhat like Performance.gov in the U.S., but only for internal government use). Performance pacts were created in three policy areas (somewhat like the U.S. government’s cross-agency priority goals). "Management for Results Centers, formed by eight to 10 [of the secretariat’s] analysts, have been established in each of the secretariats (defense and public security, education, and health),” the IDB study says.

 

“These analysts collect information, monitor the planned activities, prepare the monitoring meetings, and oversee the delivery of the agreements made at the meetings." The authors say, "Engaging employees from all levels of the civil service, from managers to a range of front-line staff, has begun to change the organizational culture of Pernambuco’s public administration." It also increased its focus on achieving tangible results. For example, one of the pacts, called the "Pact for Life" – the state's violent crime reduction goal – resulted in a 30 percent reduction in homicides between 2007 and 2012. Homicides rose in the rest of the country.

 

A New Leadership Strategy?

In most governments that have employed PerformanceStat or Delivery Units, their success seems to be based on the level of commitment of the leader. Behn says its value is rooted in its role as a leadership strategy, not a process or function. The IDB report, however, offers several ideas to help institutionalize several processes that may incentivize – or at least make it easier – for future leaders to want to adopt them as their own leadership strategy. These include:

- Creating or empowering a secretariat or program management office focused on achieving results.

- Creating routines and using analytic tools to inform decision-making.

- Documenting the processes used.

- Establishing stronger links with the delivery system, including local governments.

- Investing more attention in learning from what works and what doesn’t (rather than relying on them as primarily an accountability tool).

- Increasing citizen engagement in the process (so they demand better value from their political leaders).

 

In the U.S. federal government, top-level, periodic reviews of progress on priorities, which are key elements of most Delivery Units, is embedded in a new law. A number of agencies find the requirements a useful underpinning for their leadership strategy. But there is no guarantee these requirements will serve as a leadership strategy in the next administration. It will be interesting to see if the IDB suggestions for institutionalization help bridge the transitions in government in the U.S. as well as Latin America.

From http://www.govexec.com/ 01/23/2015

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AUSTRALIA: Building Single Log-In for Central, State and Local Government Services

 

Australia's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) will build a single log-in for government services that will operate across federal, state and local governments. The move is important because it bridges the divide between central and local government digital services by creating a common system for citizens anywhere in Australia. The current federal myGov system, run by the Department of Human Services, will now be managed by the DTO and made available to local government. Speaking in Parliament, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull - who is responsible for the DTO - said that “to bring on board a state government service agency costs only $50,000 [US$39,000] in onboarding costs. We are going to make this available to all local and state government for no charge from the Commonwealth. This is going to revolutionise the way state services are delivered, it's going to make government more efficient”. According to a post on Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's website, the DTO will also work with state and local governments on a “digital mailbox and a digital identity platform.”

 

Like others in the region, including Singapore and New Zealand, Australia has established a central digital team with a remit to work across all central government digital services. “The DTO has been established so that agencies can adopt a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to service delivery, moving beyond the current model of agencies operating in silos,” according to Turnbull. The services built by the DTO will be “reusable and interconnected”, he pledged. DTO's announcements mark a significant step forward for the concept of 'government as a platform', an idea coined by Tim O'Reilly and being popularised in the UK. This concept sees all government agencies using the same basic systems based on a framework set by central government. Britain's Government Digital Service - which inspired the launch of the DTO - is looking to expand its mandate to cover local government services. Both the government and opposition parties in the UK have committed to make this happen after the next general election in May.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/16/2015

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CHINA: E-Commerce to Play Key Role in Poverty Relief

 

China will push forward the use of e-commerce platforms to more than 60,000 impoverished villages in the next five years to aid its relief effort, a senior official said on Wednesday at a conference in Beijing on national poverty alleviation.Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said the country will encourage residents in poor rural areas to open stores on major e-commerce platforms to distribute their agricultural produce.The authority will select 1,500 poverty-stricken villages in 2015 for a e-commerce pilot project, Liu said.The e-commerce program is part of the authority's effort to help those with the most pressing needs and to make the most efficient use of poverty reduction funds."We should further increase the intensity of our relief effort, but we should also make sure the relief effort will go to those who need it most," he said at the conference.The authority will roll out favorable measures to the poor villages to develop e-commerce networks and platforms that will enable villages and households to sell their products directly to the market. Training sessions for farmers in the use of the platforms will also be organized, he said.The authority will sign more agreements with e-commerce platforms to encourage more of them to join the poverty relief effort in the rural areas.

 

Several leading e-commerce companies in China have already announced plans to boost their infrastructure and facilities in rural areas to further explore the untapped market.E-commerce giant Alibaba announced plans in October to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) within three to five years to build thousands of facilities in rural China that include 1,000 "county operational centers" and 100,000 "village service stations". The move will extend the company's network to one-third of China's counties and one-sixth of its rural areas.JD.com has initiated its first pilot program for rural e-commerce in Renshou, Sichuan province. The company has posted its ads on more than 8,000 walls in more than 100 townships across the country since the fourth quarter of last year.China has already identified 128,000 impoverished villages and 88.6 million people living in poverty thanks to a national database project that started this year.Liu told the conference that the country will meet its target of lifting more than 10 million people out of poverty this year.In 2015, the country will also push forward the use of solar panels in rural areas to generate electricity, and the planting of paper mulberry as a cash crop in impoverished areas as part of the new programs.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/25/2014

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INDIA: Internet Governance Model to Balance Public & Private Interests

 

NEW DELHI: India's Internet governance model will be consistent with the role private firms play in widening Internet's reach and the pre-eminent role of government in public welfare, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. In recent times, issues related to privacy, content regulation and barrier to access Internet or Internet based services have been in the spotlight. "Today I tried to understand the trend and cross trend of Internet governance and related issues across the world. India will decide on its Internet governance model which will be consistent with the role private players play in spread of Internet and pre-eminent role played by government in public welfare," Prasad told after a meeting on Internet governance with ministry officials. Internet governance applies to activities as diverse as coordination of technical standards, operation of critical infrastructure, development, regulation and legislation. "To come up with a broad framework, we will need to consult various stakeholders," Prasad said. Net-neutrality, which is access to Internet or Internet based services without any barrier or discrimination, has been in limelight following telecom major Airtel announcing a plan to charge separately for Internet based voice calls. The company later backtracked its plan following huge public outcry on social media. TRAI is expected to come out with a consultation paper to take a public view on regulating over-the-top telecom players like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber which facilitate their users to make calls or send messages using the Internet for free. OTT subscribers are only required to pay for Internet data consumed for using. Prasad in his meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli earlier this week had said, "For India, net neutrality is very important."

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 01/18/2015

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JAPAN: Nation to Promote Big Data Experts

 

The government, companies and universities are trying to meet the challenge of producing more “data scientists,” experts that skillfully utilize statistics and other techniques to analyze big data, large volumes of electronic data gathered by corporations, for use in creating managerial and sales strategies. Compared to other countries, Japan has been weak in the field of so-called big data. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to launch a free online course on basic data science targeting corporate workers and others, beginning in the middle of March. Professors from the University of Tokyo and others will teach the course, which will focus on giving students a basic understanding of analysis, including how to view and understand data. A video nearly 10 minutes long will be shown four to seven times a week, and quizzes as well as final exams will be taken using laptops, smartphones or other devices.

The “office for considering the development of data scientists,” launched by 10 companies and organizations, including IT companies NTT Data Corp. and Nihon Unisys Ltd., established a system in June 2014 to clarify the skill and knowledge required for five different levels, such as “beginners” and “instructors.” This system is then applied to training programs provided in each company. In addition, the Japan DataScientist Society, created by 30 companies and groups including major advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and major online search company Yahoo Japan Corp., publicly announced a similar system in December 2014. However, these activities fail to follow a common path.

 

According to a survey conducted by the Japan Users Association of Information Systems, only slightly more than 8 percent of companies currently utilize big data in their systems (including those in the process of doing so). A major factor contributing to this is that Japanese students of universities and other educational institutions have few opportunities to learn statistics, especially those in the arts and humanities fields. According to a government report on information and communications, only about 3,400 graduates of Japanese universities had received training as of 2008, around one-seventh of the total in the United States. Universities have also begun reconsidering methods of instructing students. For example, Keio University’s faculties of Policy Management and Environment and Information Studies put into place from the 2014 academic year the “data science” program, in which students learn statistics and other relevant knowledge, as one of key curricula on a par with studies of “foreign languages” and “information technologies,” in which students learn programming and other skills. Prof. Fumitoshi Kato feels that “these skills are necessary to be successful in today’s society.” Makoto Shirota of the Nomura Research Institute points out that “Japan still has a large number of companies that rely on intuition or experience, rather than data. They need to quickly accelerate the pace of their employees’ development.”

 

In 2013, about 6,000 U.S. companies reportedly hired data scientists. More and more universities throughout the United States have also begun establishing master’s programs to train experts in the field. Even in Japan, which possesses relatively few data science experts, such a move has begun to accelerate, mainly among IT companies. Rakuten Inc., for instance, appointed Harvard graduate and theoretical physicist Takuya Kitagawa as an executive officer, and continues to actively hire such experts, many of them foreigners. Yahoo Japan has around 200 employees in its data analysis department. The company enjoys around 60 billion monthly page views. It capitalizes on this huge figure by using data processing to display ads targeted to each user’s specific interests and preferences. Big data utilization is absolutely essential in building strategies that are logical for each company. Akindo Sushiro Co., a popular Japanese conveyor belt sushi chain, decided to place IC tags on each sushi plate, recording over 1 billion pieces of data in one year. It then analyzed this data to create a system where computers calculate the amount and types of sushi to send out to the conveyor belt, enabling them to reduce uneaten food to about a quarter. SoftBank Corp. has used a smartphone app to gather around 2 billion pieces of data monthly on data transfer times, locations, and more, which they then utilize in the construction of base stations.

From http://the-japan-news.com 01/20/2015

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SOUTH KOREA: Revealing New ICT Vision

 

The South Korean government has set forth a new vision for enabling the country to achieve sustainability through information technology amid the dawning of the Internet of Things era. In an event commemorating the country’s achievement of connecting the society through IT since 1984 in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, Friday, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning unveiled a road map for the future of Korea’s technology. The five strategic visions are: developing a digital market where everyone can think and come up with creative ideas, strengthening the country’s software capability, establishing and expanding the economic foundation for sustainability, advancing technology for increased connectivity, and fostering global ICT leaders. “We hope that these visions can be shared with everyone and become stepping stones for the country to leap forward toward a new hyperconnected age,” said ICT Minister Choi Yang-hee in his keynote speech at the event.

“We urge everyone in the public and private sectors to participate and achieve their dreams in the new digital nation,” the minister added. However, he said that the private sector rather than the government and its public enterprises should lead the way in creating the envisioned economy. The government said the road map for the new connected era should most of all aim to narrow the digital divide by improving the lives of the underprivileged through IT. Also, technology enabling hyperconnections of not only mobile devices but also wearables such as glasses should help the country create an environmentally friendly environment. The country set out its IT initiative to build a connected society in 1984 when it began developing a network infrastructure to back mobile communications. The ministry said that Asia’s fourth-largest economy should aim to develop a “humanized technology,” allowing everyone not just to collaborate, but cocreate and share value in order to sustain the economy. “Korea should move to develop a ‘horizontal industry’ (where players and participants treat each other equally) and achieve a paradigm shift,” the ministry said in a press statement. The country, overall, aims to develop a “creative society” through hyperconnections by 2025.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 12/05/2014

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NEW ZEALAND: Tops OECD Fibre Broadband Subscription Growth

 

New Zealand has topped the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in fibre broadband uptake, seeing a 272 percent increase in fibre broadband connection growth for the year ending June 2014, almost double the rate of increase of Luxembourg, which came second, with 139 percent. By comparison, Australia came in sixth, after Canada, Spain, and Chile, with an annual growth rate in fibre broadband connection of 77 percent, according to the OECD. The OECD, which has tallied up the broadband growth among its 34 member countries, revealed in its latest report that mobile broadband penetration has risen to 78 percent within its catchment area. This equates to just over three wireless subscriptions for every four inhabitants, according to data for June 2014 released on Friday. Mobile broadband subscriptions in the OECD were up 11.9 percent from the previous year to a total of 983 million, driven by the growing use of smartphones and tablets. Seven countries, including Australia, Finland, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Korea, and the United States, now lie above the 100 percent penetration threshold for mobile broadband.

 

Meanwhile, fixed-line broadband subscriptions in the OECD area reached 344.6 million as of June 2014, up from 332 million in June 2013 and making an average penetration of 27.4 percent. DSL remains the prevalent technology, making up 51.5 percent of fixed broadband subscriptions, but it continues to be gradually replaced by fibre, which now accounts for 17 percent of subscriptions. Cable made up most of the rest, with 31.4 percent. New Zealand saw 31.2 per 100 people, or just under 1.4 million, with a fixed broadband subscription. Australia claimed 26.9 per 100 inhabitants, equating to just over 6.2 million people, with a broadband subscription. The OECD average was 27.4 per 100. Australia had one of the top rates of mobile broadband subscriptions, coming in third after Finland and Japan. Australia had over 26.6 million mobile wireless broadband subscriptions -- the country's population, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is just under 23.8 million. New Zealand came in ninth, seeing 95.5 per 100 people with a mobile broadband subscription, or just over 4.2 million subscriptions out of a population of just under 4.5 million. Australia saw a 6.5 percent increase in fixed broadband penetration between June 2013 and June 2014, while New Zealand recorded a 5.4 percent increase in fixed broadband penetration for the same period. Luxembourg, Chile, and Switzerland claimed the top three positions in fixed-line broadband penetration increase. According to the OECD figures, as of June 2014, Australia had over 6.2 million fixed broadband subscribers, while New Zealand claimed 1.4 million. According to the figures, Australia holds the second position after Finland in wireless broadband penetration over the past 10 years.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/20/2015

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EUROPE: Belgium Expensive for Big Mobile Data Plans – Study

 

Belgian telecom prices are in line with the average charged in neighbouring countries, according to a study by the regulator BIPT. This is the third edition of the study aimed at helping to orientate government policy in the sector. The study looked at almost 700 telecom plans advertised in August 2014 in the Netherlands, France, UK and Germany and compared the prices with Belgium based on the standard usage profiles recommended by the OECD. BIPT said it also consulted with local operators on Belgian usage habits. In the postpaid mobile market, Belgium ranked third for the cheapest average prices, after France and the UK, and in mobile prepaid, Belgium came second after the UK. For mobile internet it scored less well, with the highest prices of the five countries for plans with a lot of data. Few plans of more than 2GB are available in Belgium. For low to medium usage, Belgian mobile internet prices were the second lowest after the UK. In fixed telephony, the country had the cheapest prices for the two profiles with the highest usage and ranked second or third for the other three usage profiles compared. The comparison in the broadband market proved more complicated, as standalone broadband is not available in Belgium and only some of the other countries had the same type of dual-play plans. The comparison of triple-play offers showed Belgium remains relatively expensive, with its position improving only once the cost of a bundle of fixed calls is included in the comparison. Especially for plans with speeds of over 100 Mbps, Belgium services were costly compared to its neighbours.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 01/23/2015

 

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Estonia Plans 5G Mobile Network Pilots in 2016

 

Estonia is to become one of the first countries to test a potential 5G network, the as yet undefined fifth generation of mobile network technology. Mobile operator EMT, owned by the Swedish TeliaSonera group, is planning to pilot the technology in the second half of 2016. "New mobile internet technologies have come out every ten years on average, and this will probably happen with 5G too," said EMT's technology director Tiit Tammiste. "5G enables more devices to interact with each other. We are already seeing the birth of the Internet of Things based on 4G networks, but at some point they won't be enough and 5G is going to be introduced." Other areas interested in pioneering 5G include the Isle of Man and South Korea, while London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that he hopes the nation's capital will roll out the next generation data network by 2020.

 

What exactly 5G will actually consist of is still up for debate, though some industry experts believe it will be around 100 times faster than current 4G LTE technologies. Other significant technological advances that 5G promises include the possibility of something referred to as the Tactile Internet - an innovation that could transmit augmented and virtual reality data across mobile networks in real time. "In principle, all of our human senses can interact with machines, and technology's potential in this respect is growing," a 2014 report by Technology Watch stated. "The Tactile Internet will enable haptic interaction with visual feedback, with technical systems supporting not just audiovisual interaction, but also that involving robotic systems to be controlled with an imperceptible time-lag." EMT's plans for a 5G network would theoretically allow download speeds of up to 100Gbps, though tests have so far recorded speeds of around 4.4Gbps.

From http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ 02/07/2015

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada’s Cloud Computing Strategy Calls for No Cross-border Data Storage

 

Keeping data inside Canada’s borders is a key consideration in the federal government’s cloud computing strategy. Public Works and Government Services Canada’s Request for Information seeking industry feedback on how the government can use and deliver cloud computing services to Canadians, outlined some of the requirements that potential providers would likely face. The deadline for submission to the RFI expired on January 30 and it is unlikely that the public will have access to the submission since the RFI includes a non-disclosure agreement. However, the RFI itself sheds some light into the government’s data encryption and cloud storage concerns.

 

Public works wanted to find out from industry if the following strategies for “reducing Canada’s risk associated with contracting cloud services” were viable as well as what challenges could be present and what alternative solutions should be considered:

- Require that all domestic data traffic be routed exclusively through Canada;

- Require that all databases in which data is stored be running on servers located in Canada;

- Ensure that there are no connections from the Canadian database(s)/servers to any supplier database located outside Canada, with no way (short of hacking) of accessing the Canadian database(s) from a location outside of Canada;

- Encrypt the data (in transit and at rest) and ensure that encryption keys are held only by Canada;

- Require physical segregation of Canada’s data as part of the design of the solution

 

The government also wants any contract with a provider to clearly state that “Canada owns and controls all data.” The government also wants it to be considered a breach of contract if the contractor accessed data “except as necessary to perform the contract” or to print, copy or provide access to the data to any third-party. The Treasury Board of Canada has been developing a government-wide policy on the use of cloud computing services since 2014, according to privacy advocate Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and holder of the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce law. He said the government hopes to complete its consultation and come up with cloud computing usage policy by this summer. The requirements of the government are not unique to Canada, according to a recent article in Infoworld.com.

 

“Some European countries also won’t allow certain types of data to leave the country,” said writer David Linthicum. However, he said, if Canada were to go with a large multinational providers it is likely that data will be replicated across borders and in some cases “you’ll have no clue” that this is happening. If the concern is that data cross the border might not be safe from the prying eye of United States authorities, the idea of data sovereignty is “a bit of an illusion,” according to David Fraser, a Canadian privacy lawyer and partner with the Halifax firm McInnes Cooper. He said most countries have legal tools that allow their law enforcement agencies to make legal claims to data held in their countries or outside their borders. The real issue for Ottawa when considering outsourcing that includes storing data in the U.S. should be assessing the risk that data can be lost or unlawfully accessed and taking steps to lower the risk, Fraser said.

From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 02/05/2015

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U.S.: 7 Essential IT Infrastructure Strategies That Customers Need Now

 

As we begin 2015, what do your customers really need from you? What is your government technology infrastructure plan of action for the coming year? Here are seven must-have strategies for enterprises to enable long-lasting innovation. More than fifty years ago, U.S. government leaders recognized a huge infrastructure need for our nation to succeed both economically and militarily. In order for goods and services to quickly move around our country, something big needed to be done to our transportation networks. After the best and brightest came together to construct a new national strategy, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Highways Act of 1956 to implement a massive road-building project. President Eisenhower vision turned into a reality that now offers over 47,700 miles of roadway in our nationwide interstate network.

 

Today, our opportunities to improve are just as great in our new 21st century information society; however, our current needs are different. Technology upgrades are essential to enable the online services that require an upgraded electronic transport infrastructure that is both safe and fast. In order to take full advantage of the explosive growth in data as well as new service opportunities, there is a desperate need for infrastructure action at federal, state and local levels of government. The trouble is, progress is not as easy as just buying new technology. No doubt, new innovative software, hardware, networks, tools, databases, monitoring equipment and more are available for purchase to help the public and private sectors. But legacy systems often slow down progress dramatically. Industry experts have long recognized that the right mix of people, process and technology is needed to integrate new solutions. What’s also required is a sense of urgency by government leadership on these infrastructure projects across the nation.

 

Background on This Essential 7 List

So what infrastructure upgrades should be on everyone’s 2015 roadmap? As background, plenty of infrastructure priorities were offered in 2014 from the National Governor’s Association (NGA) to National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) to the National Association of Counties (NACo). NASCIO’s top ten CIO priority list is a great place to start – along with the award-winning NASCIO projects. (Top tip:  Take the time to read through the innovative NASCIO award winners and finalists from the past three years to help with relevant project details.)

 

There are also excellent lists from Gartner, Forrester and Deloitte that offer great direction as well as resources, aids and potential building blocks for conceptual frameworks in coordinating or integrating solutions or projects. But before we go to the list, here’s a warning. These labels aren’t new and the technology concepts are not difficult. In fact, the broad categories described can become a hindrance to action, in my view. The reason?  Management may be tempted to think they’ve “been there, done that and got the T-shirt” regarding infrastructure topics, rather than see the need for evolutionary improvements.

 

All of these technology areas are in vastly different places in 2015 than they were even a few years back. In fact, it is not uncommon to be on version 2.0 or 3.0 regarding many of these topics. Just as many users of the original iPhone have annually upgraded to a new device with numerous additional features, most of these infrastructure strategies require a fresh look and a strategy refresh approximately every two years. In each of these seven essential technology areas, I have listed one or two award-winning government examples that can be used to kick-start your efforts. There are also numerous vendor case studies from around the country that can offer helpful solutions, and I’ve listed a few of those examples.

 

1)  Cloud strategy – Whether using a public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid mix, every government needs a workable cloud strategy that can transform service delivery. As the Federal government’s cloud.cio.gov points out, “There are many types of cloud computing services and each provides unique benefits.  As you consider moving to the cloud, learn how agencies are already benefiting from cloud computing and how your agency can use cloud services to reap similar benefits….” Cisco, Google and Microsoft Cloud for government programs are all worth considering. Also, take a look at the FedRAMP program for help with cloud providers.

 

2)  Mobile-first strategy – More and more governments have declared “mobile-first” strategies. Two leading approaches come from Utah and Michigan. You may also include your approach to BYOD in this category. Delaware has also been a leader in mobility and BYOD. Utah’s mobile program is truly the top in the nation, in my view. Why? “Our mobile strategy is reaching new population groups that haven’t interacted with government before. That’s why total visits to the state’s websites have grown substantially in the last couple of years,” said Dave Fletcher, the state’s chief technology officer. The state’s website received 1.63 million unique visitors in June -- 26 percent of which came from mobile devices.

 

3)  (Big) Data analytics strategy – More and more governments are using big data analytics strategies to reduce fraud, build enterprise-wide data warehouses and much more.  The Tech America Foundation published this report on Big Data. According to this Pew Trust article, “Indiana began a big crackdown on identity crooks this year and the results are startling: The state has saved Hoosier taxpayers $85 million so far by not paying out bogus tax refunds.” Bottom line, data analytics, or big data projects are a must for governments moving forward, and can bring big benefits.

 

4)  Network / Datacenter architecture redesign strategy – After the aggressive virtualization of servers and networks in datacenters in governments over the past few years, many networks now requires redesigns. Cisco and VMWare offer case studies and tutorials to help. Here’s some helpful metrics from the VMWare:

-  Virtualization provides government organizations with an evolutionary path to cloud computing that preserves existing IT investments, security and control….

-   Reduce data center and capital costs by as much as 60 percent.

-   Cut the operating expenses around your end-user computing environment by up to 50 percent.

-   Reduce time spent on routine administrative tasks by about a third.

-   Reduce power, cooling and real estate needs to cut energy costs by up to 80 percent.

 

5)  Identity & Access Management (IAM) strategy – For more than a decade, enterprises having been seeking the “holy grail” of single sign-on for end user customers. Sorry, but it’s not happening. In fact, the number of passwords and access methodologies is increasing in many organizations as social media and disparate system use grows dramatically. Still, federated identity management can dramatically improve service delivery and help governments offer better customer service. From a security and provisioning perspective IAM is a must-do to reduce password and provisioning challenges. Deloitte has delivered several excellent solutions using IBM technology, and there are numerous other solutions that work well.  NASCIO offers a good description of the benefits here.

 

6)  Broadband / wireless connectivity strategy – Faster Internet speeds. More WiFi. Better reliability. These technology challenges continue to evolve as things speed up, so governments are in the never-ending cycle of trying to keep up. Therefore, governments need a strategy to constantly assess and adjust online speeds and service for internal government customers and citizens. The State of Vermont’s Strategic IT Plan includes many components, including upgrades to statewide connectivity. From laying fiber to working with Google on high-speed options, what’s your plan?

 

7)  Disaster recovery (DR) / business continuity planning (BCP) / incident management strategies - And what if something goes wrong? Are you ready? From breaches to fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, strategic plans and specific projects for critical infrastructure protection are now a must. These topics are often also be split into different groupings in most states, but make sure these strategies align. The DR & BCP topics are not new. NASCIO published this IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Toolkit in 2007, but most of the items in the checklist still apply. Still, more must be done to prepare for the inevitable. FEMA has highlighted the Michigan Cyber Disruption Response Strategy as a best-practice in governments working with the private sector on cyberattacks. The State of Maryland also published this action plan on disaster recovery after Hurricane Sandy, which was approved by HUD in 2013.

 

Why Infrastructure Urgency?

I suspect that readers have seen the items on this list before. Nevertheless, is your government making progress on turning your strategies into projects with deliverables that matter? Are funding and resources being applied to these priorities? Are Request for Proposals (RFPs) being issued? Is staff being held accountable to deliver? Are you measuring progress? Government technology leaders have an opportunity to leverage the work of other public and private organizations to leap-frog the pack and make meaningful progress. And yet, a lack of action will certainly hamper innovation efforts as new applications come on line that rely on state-of-the-art infrastructure. Sadly, many government staff now have more up-to-date technology at home than at work.

From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/04/2015

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Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet

 

When state officials seek to censor online speech, they're going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever. The copyright law that state actors most often invoke is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA was the first major digital copyright law passed in the United States, creating strict procedural rules for how and when a copyright holder can claim that uploaded content infringes on their copyright. US-based tech companies that receive these infringement notices must comply with these rules to receive their safe harbor—the protection they have from being liable for hosting unlawful user content.

 

The DMCA has become a global tool for censorship, precisely because it was designed to facilitate the removal of online media. The law carries provisions on intermediary liability, among many other strict copyright enforcement rules, which induce websites, Internet service providers, and other such "intermediaries" to remove content that is alleged to be a copyright infringement. If the DMCA is US law, how can governments around the world use it to censor speech? The DMCA has become the default template for tech companies to respond to copyright infringement notices. Since many major tech companies have offices in the US, they must comply with US law. But even if they don't operate in this jurisdiction, most major companies have implemented a DMCA-style takedown procedure anyway because it has become a de facto legal norm.

 

It's a norm that is reinforced and exported abroad by dozens of trade agreements that carry provisions that mirror, and further entrench, restrictive interpretations of the DMCA. The South Korea-US free trade agreement (aka KORUS) and the Australia-US free trade agreement (aka AUSFTA) are just two examples. The language in those agreements were actually a lot like the DMCA. But the negotiators abstracted the language just enough so that US law could still be compliant with it, while the other countries could be pressured to enact even harsher domestic restrictions. Following their trade agreements with the US, South Korea enacted a three-strikes takedown regime, and Australia was pushedinto enacting policies requiring intermediaries to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are two multilateral trade agreements that may contain similarly expansive copyright terms. Now we're seeing a disturbing trend where governments and state-friendly agencies are abusing DMCA takedowns to silence political criticism. Here are the cases we know about where governments have misused US copyright law to censor the Internet.

 

DMCA and State Censorship Around the World: A Timeline of Case Studies

UNITED STATES: YouTube removed a 30-second Air Force recruitment ad after lawyers for the Air Force's Cyber Command sent a DMCA notice demanding it take it down. The notice was likely invalid, since US government works are in the public domain. (March 2008)

CANADA: The House of Commons sent takedown notices to Friends of Canadian Broadcasting for posting videos and podcasts of Parliamentary committee proceedings on their website. (May 2009)

CANADA: The Auditor General issued a takedown to both The Globe and Mail and Scribd, for posting one section of the Auditor General's report on immigration, claiming that crown copyright applies. (November 2009)

CANADA: Transport Canada issued a takedown notice to Scribd over an on-the-record response to a journalist. (February 2012)

CANADA: Department of National Defense demanded the removal of a widely discussed leaked copy of the Canadian Land Force Counter-Insurgency Operations Manual from the site PublicIntelligence.net. It is unknown if other websites that published the document received similar notices. (April 2012)

 

UNITED STATES: The Department of Homeland Security reportedly issued copyright takedowns to YouTube over some conspiracy theory videos, when federal agencies themselves cannot own copyrights—unless it has been assigned to them, which seems unlikely in this case. (August 2012)

ECUADOR: A law firm, Ares Rights, has been sending DMCA takedown notices to dozens of websites, companies and individuals over tweets, documentaries, and search results on behalf several Ecuadorian state officials. (2014 and ongoing)

SAUDI ARABIA: A satirical show on Youtube called "Fitnah" was censored when the primary, state-funded Saudi TV channel, Rotana, sent DCMA notices to take down several of their videos. Later, a Lebanese TV show did a report about the takedown, and then another DMCA notice was sent and it was also removed from Youtube. All of the videos were later restored. (September 2014)

BRAZIL: Videos critical of 2014 presidential candidate and former governor, Aécio Neves, have been targeted by copyright takedowns. Although the identity of the sender cannot be confirmed, there is much speculation that Neves himself is behind the takedowns. (October 2014)

 

There are likely many more notices that state actors have used to censor users. Rightsholders are sending more and more DMCA takedowns by the year, and a telling sign of this is that some companies have begun to quantify this abuse in their transparency reports. As companies are increasingly being forced to be complicit in this censorship, it's now more important as ever for them to be transparent about the notices they receive, and for them to take advantage of the flexibility they have under the DMCA to do what they can to protect users' speech. If you know of any cases of state-mandated Internet censorship carried out through the DMCA or other copyright laws' takedown procedures, please send them to maira@eff.org. We already track general DMCA takedowns with our Takedown Hall of Shame. Now we're looking for more cases where governments and their agencies have directly sought to censor the Internet via their own takedown requests.

From https://www.eff.org/ 12/07/2014

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CHINA: To Roll Out Draft of First E-Commerce Law

 

It's been reported that China is set to complete the drafting of the country's first e-commerce law in the second half of this year.Related organizations are said to be working on an outline for the new law, with the goal of completing that task by March.China's booming online shopping market is faced with challenges in online transaction security, intellectual property rights protection, and the protection of consumers' rights. The e-commerce law is going to play an important role in protecting consumers and creating a healthy market environment.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/08/2015

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JAPAN: Nation to Promote Big Data Experts

 

The government, companies and universities are trying to meet the challenge of producing more “data scientists,” experts that skillfully utilize statistics and other techniques to analyze big data, large volumes of electronic data gathered by corporations, for use in creating managerial and sales strategies. Compared to other countries, Japan has been weak in the field of so-called big data. The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to launch a free online course on basic data science targeting corporate workers and others, beginning in the middle of March. Professors from the University of Tokyo and others will teach the course, which will focus on giving students a basic understanding of analysis, including how to view and understand data. A video nearly 10 minutes long will be shown four to seven times a week, and quizzes as well as final exams will be taken using laptops, smartphones or other devices.

The “office for considering the development of data scientists,” launched by 10 companies and organizations, including IT companies NTT Data Corp. and Nihon Unisys Ltd., established a system in June 2014 to clarify the skill and knowledge required for five different levels, such as “beginners” and “instructors.” This system is then applied to training programs provided in each company. In addition, the Japan DataScientist Society, created by 30 companies and groups including major advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and major online search company Yahoo Japan Corp., publicly announced a similar system in December 2014. However, these activities fail to follow a common path.

 

According to a survey conducted by the Japan Users Association of Information Systems, only slightly more than 8 percent of companies currently utilize big data in their systems (including those in the process of doing so). A major factor contributing to this is that Japanese students of universities and other educational institutions have few opportunities to learn statistics, especially those in the arts and humanities fields. According to a government report on information and communications, only about 3,400 graduates of Japanese universities had received training as of 2008, around one-seventh of the total in the United States. Universities have also begun reconsidering methods of instructing students. For example, Keio University’s faculties of Policy Management and Environment and Information Studies put into place from the 2014 academic year the “data science” program, in which students learn statistics and other relevant knowledge, as one of key curricula on a par with studies of “foreign languages” and “information technologies,” in which students learn programming and other skills. Prof. Fumitoshi Kato feels that “these skills are necessary to be successful in today’s society.” Makoto Shirota of the Nomura Research Institute points out that “Japan still has a large number of companies that rely on intuition or experience, rather than data. They need to quickly accelerate the pace of their employees’ development.”

 

In 2013, about 6,000 U.S. companies reportedly hired data scientists. More and more universities throughout the United States have also begun establishing master’s programs to train experts in the field. Even in Japan, which possesses relatively few data science experts, such a move has begun to accelerate, mainly among IT companies. Rakuten Inc., for instance, appointed Harvard graduate and theoretical physicist Takuya Kitagawa as an executive officer, and continues to actively hire such experts, many of them foreigners. Yahoo Japan has around 200 employees in its data analysis department. The company enjoys around 60 billion monthly page views. It capitalizes on this huge figure by using data processing to display ads targeted to each user’s specific interests and preferences. Big data utilization is absolutely essential in building strategies that are logical for each company. Akindo Sushiro Co., a popular Japanese conveyor belt sushi chain, decided to place IC tags on each sushi plate, recording over 1 billion pieces of data in one year. It then analyzed this data to create a system where computers calculate the amount and types of sushi to send out to the conveyor belt, enabling them to reduce uneaten food to about a quarter. SoftBank Corp. has used a smartphone app to gather around 2 billion pieces of data monthly on data transfer times, locations, and more, which they then utilize in the construction of base stations.

From http://the-japan-news.com 01/20/2015

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INDONESIA: Govt to Form Creative Economy Body

 

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PALEMBANG -- President Joko Widodo has reiterated the government's plan to set up a creative economy board in support of the national creative industry, including film industry. "In the past one month, we are in the process of setting up a creative economy board. This body will directly be responsible to the President. This is a form of our seriousness (about developing the creative economy)," the President said at a function marking the conferment of Citra Awards at the 2014 Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) here on Saturday night. He said the government's support for the national film industry was part of efforts to achieve self-reliance in creativity and arts. "I call on the public to love Indonesian films. Our films are our face to show that we love Indonesia as a whole. May the peoples of Indonesia and other countries love our films," he said.

 

The government had taken a number of policies to unite assets to develop self-reliant creative economy, encourage creativity and promote awareness of intellectual property rights, he pointed out. The creative industry in Indonesia is classified into 14 groups of industry including architecture; design; fashion; film, video and photograph; craft; computer and software services; music; art and antiques markets; publishing and printing; advertising; interactive games; research and development; performing arts; television and radio. The government is determined to make the creative industry a major contributor to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the next five years. The creative industry now employs more than 11.79 million workers or about 10.65 percent of Indonesian workforce which reaches 110.80 million workers. Currently, the creative economy sector ranks seventh out of the 10 economic sectors and contributes to the tune of 6.9 percent of the GDP or Rp573.89 trillion, according to data from the Young Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association.

 

The government has set a target to develop the creative industry sector by 10 percent this year and make it the third-largest contributor to the GDP. Chairman of the Young Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association of Jakarta Chapter Rama Datau noted recently that the creative industry shares 10 percent of the total number of businesses in Indonesia as a result of its growth rate that reached one percent in the same period of time. In 2013, Indonesia had 5.4 million units of creative industry, absorbing 12 million employees and contributing Rp19 trillion or 5.72 percent of Indonesia's foreign exchange. In the first half of this year, the Indonesian creative sector exports had reached Rp63.1 trillion or increased 7.27 percent over the same period last year.

From http://en.republika.co.id/ 12/07/2014

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Country Aims to Put All Services Online by 2019

 

Indonesia’s Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (PAN-RB) has launched a new programme to put nearly every single public service online by 2019. The programme is jointly developed with the Ministry of Information and Communication (Menkominfo) and is looking to be completed by the end of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s five year term. If the public wants to know information on development in east and west Java, they should be able to see it through a single window, Yuddy Chrisnandi, Minister of PAN-RB said. “If the public has to search for this information it will take a long time,” he added. He also stated that for the programme to work, e-government systems have to have reliable software and strong security.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/15/2014

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THAILAND: Digital Economy Bills 'Must Address Public Concerns'

 

Drafters of the digital economy bills have admitted that the draft needs to be revised to better address public concerns before they become laws this year. The Electronics Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), a public organisation responsible for drafting the bills, hosted an open forum yesterday to hear public opinion on the points of concern over the proposed bills. The Agency's executive director and chief executive Surangkana Wayuparb said that as the bills were hastily drawn up so that the National Legislative Assembly could pass them before the next election, some points of concern raised by the public, especially regarding the Cyber Security Bill's Article 35 (3), lacked detail about the authority's power. "We're committed to the balanced use of [the authority's] power, checking [the authority's] power, and people's rights," said Surangkana. She insisted that the goal of the bills was to support development of the digital economy and not impose a set of security laws. "If it's done too quickly or in a hurry, we tend to forget some things. We forgot to have public communication. And we admit that we missed some points and missed the chance to communicate with the public, who have raised concerns over these bills," she said.

 

"We will revise them, especially the particular points of concern. We will open a forum to hear public opinion parallel with the consideration of the Council of State. We will communicate and hold public hearings until they become law." She said the bills were expected to become law this year. The first batch of laws would include the bill on the establishment of the National Digital Commission for the Economy and Society and the bill on ministerial restructuring, she revealed. The second batch would in-clude the Electronics Transaction Bill and related bills, while the last batch would be the National Broadcasting and Telecommunica-tions Commission Bill, the Digital Economy and Society Development Fund Bill, the Cyber Security Bill, the Computer Crime Bill, and the Personal Data Protection Bill. "These difficult bills cannot get passed by a normal government. We would like to get them finished during the term of this government. The first batch will be passed in the first round within the next three months," said Surangkana. Sarinee Achavanuntakul co-founder of the Thai Netizen Network, said that in principle nobody denied that Thailand should have the bills but the content needed to be looked at more closely because "the devil is in the detail". She said there were many points of concerns such as the Cyber Security Bill's Article 35, as it did not give a definition of cyber-threat.

 

'Revise the bills'

"It seems that the process to pass the 10 bills is not to be retard, it is just to have an open forum every Saturday. I think that is not enough. Instead, it should have the solid mechanism of having a public hearing on these bills," said Sarinee. She suggested that the drafters revise the bills by using as a guideline the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Privacy and Personal Data Protection document. "The digital economy is boundless, so the digital economy bills should be internationalised. The important point is the balance between cyber-security and computer crime and people's privacy and personal data protection, which will affect the development of the digital economy," said Sarinee. Pichet Kongsri, a member of the Digital Economy Working Group Committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, said the bills were not designed to be security laws; they were a set of bills to support the digital economy.

 

Pichet said that the word "security' contained in the bills did not relate to government security but security for society, the economy, the political sphere, and each member of the public personally. "We are finding solutions to balance security in these four dimensions," said Pichet. Kriengkrai Bhuvanij, a representative of the Thai Federation of ICT Technology Association, said that global technology firms were paying attention to how the government was handling the matter, especially the Cyber Security Bill, as it would affect them. Nawanan Theera-Ampornpunt, deputy executive director for Informatics, the Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, said the government's attitude was important - that it was not looking for control but ways to deal with cyber problems. Nawanan said the administration should find a point to balance between ensuring the public's privacy and facilitating business and public services, while also balancing personal and public-data protection.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com 01/25/2015

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ICT Ministry Wants to Resolve Network Issues Before 4G Auction

 

The INFORMATION and Communications Technology Ministry wants to completely settle the fight over network ownership by state and private telecoms before the 4G auction can take place. "We need to resolve the disputes, especially over ownership of telecommunications towers and infrastructure under the concessions, as these assets will be the keys for business expansion under the new licences," a government source said yesterday. The state enterprises or the private operators would gain the upper hand in expanding their business with 4G if they get to legally own the assets, the source said. MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, reaffirmed that the auction would take place in the first half of this year and that the government has given top priority to it. ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said the ministry strongly supported the auction. Recently Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the NBTC might have to delay the auction from August to December or even later as so far there has been no go-ahead sign from the National Council for Peace and Order to resume preparing the plan to auction the 1800MHz bands of TrueMove and Digital Phone. The bands can be used to provide 4G service. The NBTC had planned to hold the auction in the middle of last year, but on July 17 the junta ordered it to suspend the auction for one year, pending complete clarification of the auction plan.  The telecom operators are hopeful that the auction will happen as soon as possible to allow them to acquire more bandwidth to serve rising demand for wireless Internet service from their subscribers.

 

Legal battle

According to the build-operate-transfer terms of their concessions, the private operators have to transfer assets under their concessions to the state telecom enterprises after the concessions expire. CAT Telecom and Total Access Communication (DTAC) are engaged in a legal ownership battle over 10,419 telecom towers under the concession, while CAT and TrueMove are wrangling over 8,031 telecom towers. Advanced Info Service and TOT are clashing over who owns 13,198 telecom towers under the concession. The private telecom operators in recent months have also tried to seek ways to end these disputes with the state enterprises by suggesting partnerships. AIS proposed to join with TOT to manage the 13,198 telecom towers in the concession. However, TOT still has yet to make a decision. CAT's board recently approved DTAC's proposal to set up a joint venture with CAT to operate the telecom towers under dispute. Then CAT forwarded this matter for the consideration of the State Enterprise Policy Commission. ICT Minister Pornchai also said yesterday that certain digital economy bills, including the one creating the Digital for Economy and Society Ministry, are expected to be taken up by the National Legislative Assembly in April and go into force in June. The government has drafted 10 bills related to the promotion of the digital economy.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/26/2015

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VIETNAM: Civil Code Draft Open for Feedback

 

The draft amendments to the Civil Code will be open for feedback from Vietnamese people from all walks of life, both inside and outside the country, from today until April 5, according to the National Assembly Standing Committee. Members of the public can submit their opinions via the Ministry of Justice website at http://www.moj.gov.vn as well as in documents or at related conferences and dialogues. The revision aims to recognise and better protect the rights of individuals and organisations in the civil realm, helping complete socialist-oriented market economy regulations and stabilise the legal framework for the country's socio-economic development. The current draft comprises 672 articles, shorter than the 2009 Civil Code, which contains 777 articles. Some are the same, while others were adjusted or added. A report collecting public opinion on the draft revision of the Civil Code will be submitted to the National Assembly at the ninth session of the 13th NA, scheduled to start in May.

From http://vietnamnews.vn 01/05/2015

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Incentive Policies Necessary to Develop Support Industry

 

More support should be given to several key industries to help add value and increase the localisation ratio of exports, the Industry and Trade Department of HCM City has said in a new report. The department urged the city to develop incentive policies for support industries, especially for engineering, electronics and garments, and encourage local enterprises to use domestic technology, machinery and materials. To help businesses, the department said it had provided capital, business space, IT application and re-investment for new technology. In the near future, the city plans to give priority to increase exports that have special advantages, including high value-added and high-technology exports. It will also reduce exports of raw materials. Support industries will be set up in high-tech parks, new export markets will be approached, and high value-added agricultural products and food will be created. More worker training courses are also part of the city's plan. As for exports, the proportion of technology, processing and manufacturing industries comprise 68.26 per cent, more than the city's target of 62 per cent by 2020. On a national level, it is 58.5 per cent. The proportion of four key industries in HCM City to total industry increased from 54 per cent in 2006 to 59.4 per cent in 2014. Engineering rose from 15.4 per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2014; electronics and information technology, from 3 per cent in 2006 to 4.1 per cent in 2014; chemical substances-plastics-rubber, from 16.8 per cent to 19.2 per cent; and food and food processing, from 14.8 to 17.2 per cent. For two labour-intensive industries, shoes and textiles and garments, most workshops have been moved to rural areas where industries can take advantage of the supply of labourers. Value-added processes like design, new models and luxury fashion have remained in HCM City with a proportion of 18 per cent.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/14/2015

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INDIA: Guidelines for E-Auction of Coal

 

The Government has formulated an Approach Paper for auctioning of coal mines which includes the proposed time schedule of the bidding process. The Approach Paper has been uploaded on the web-site of the Ministry seeking comments from members of the public and stakeholders concerned as a part of the process of public consultation. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, (Minister of state (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

From http://pib.nic.in/12/22/2014

 

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US, India to Formulate Smart City Action Plans in 3 Months

 

The United States of America will assist in development of smart cities in three Indian states of UP, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. New Delhi: India and the United States of America today agreed on taking quick measures for development of Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as smart cities. Issues relating to development of these cities as smart cities were discussed in detail at a meeting between the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and the visiting US Secretary of Commerce Ms.Penny Pritzker. The discussions lasted about 45 minutes. The US delegation agreed to the suggestion of Shri Venkaiah Naidu for setting up Task Force for each of the three cities for formulating concrete action plans in the next three months. Each Team will consist of three representatives each from central and respective state governments and the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Each city Task Force will discuss city specific features, project requirements and appropriate revenue models for enabling flow of investments etc., before suggesting action plans for developing them as smart cities.

 

Penny Pritzker said ‘this meeting was in pursuance of the directive of President Barack Obama to work on the economic dimension of strategic and commercial dialogue between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama and the decisions taken’. USTDA and the respective three state governments signed Memoranda of Understanding on January 25, for developing Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as smart cities. Referring to the Modi-Obama Joint Statement of September last year and signing of MoUs on smart city cooperation, Shri Naidu said ‘it is now time for both the sides to walk the talk by acting quick and concretising the agreements reached. The Joint Statement and the MoUs have raised high hopes about smart cities becoming a reality. President Obama’s current visit to India has even furthered these expectations and action is the need of the hour’. In her response, Penny Pritzker said she was in agreement with Naidu’s views and needful would be done. Referring to her meetings with Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu and of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Pritzker noted that she found them to be ‘go getters’ and was confident of making a success of smart city cooperation between the US and India. She also said that US companies would be told that ‘what is being talked about India is real and they should seize the opportunities’.

 

Venkaiah Naidu assured the US delegation that he would personally ensure that things move fast with regard to development of smart cities. Naidu informed the US delegation that the Ministry of Urban Development will be represented by Durga Shankar Mishra, Additional Secretary and Dr.Sameer Sharma and Shri Praveen Prakash, both Joint Secretaries on the Task Force for each of the three cities. Soon after the meeting, Naidu spoke to Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and will soon appraise Chief Minister of UP about the decisions taken. Chief Minister of AP informed that his government will be represented by the state’s Urban Development Minister Dr.P.Narayana besides Secretary(UD) and Municipal Commissioner of Visakhapatnam.

From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 01/28/2015

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SRI LANKA: Policy of Going Forward Not What You See

 

Sri Lanka’s Deputy Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, said that the new government would get the private sector and industry involved for a better economic policy in going forward. The new government’s interim budget 2015 has been dubbed as a “Robin Hood budget” in various fora as its fulfilment of election promises and heavily imposed tax on private sector and industries “This has been done in just 20 days,” Dr. de Silva said at the LBR/LBO CEO Forum answering a question from the audience about tax on hybrid vehicles. “This is not necessarily means our policy Going Forward," “Our policy Going Forward will be formulated via discussion with industry and looking at evidence from the past," “You must consider many of these are one-time adjustments that will not be repeated in the future. That is the way you need to look at it.” he said.

From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 02/05/2015

 

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AZERBAIJAN: To Reduce Tariffs for Mobile Communications

 

Tariffs for mobile communication will be reduced in Azerbaijan, 1news.az reports. As stated by Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov, the transition to a single rate of inter-operator tariff will be conducted in the near future.  "Mobile operators are agree to these measures," Abbasov said.  The Minister noted that the transition to a single inter-operator tariff will balance the competition in the mobile market of the country.  "In addition, it will create conditions for reducing mobile communication tariffs for the population," the head of department said.  At the present time Azerbaijan has three mobile operator - Azercell Telecom, Bakcell and Azerfon (Nar Mobile brand).

From http://news.az/ 12/02/2014

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Azerbaijan Introduces Electronic Leasing

 

Azerbaijan’s state-run leasing company Agroleasing will render its services via the e-government portal at www.e-gov.az.  This was possible thanks to the changes made to the Cabinet of Ministers decision, dated Nov. 24, to approve the “Rules of e-services on specific fields provided by central executive bodies” and “List of types of e-services”, published Dec. 8 by the official press.  From now on it will be possible to submit applications and documents online to get agricultural equipment in lease.  Agroleasing, created Oct. 23, 2004, is on the balance sheet of the Azerbaijani Agriculture Ministry. Its activities are aimed at improving the agricultural sector and support the entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan through the purchase and distribution in lease of agricultural machinery to local landowners.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/08/2014

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Workers of ICT Sphere to Fulfill Tasks Set by Azerbaijani President

 

All workers of the sphere of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will make every effort to fulfill the tasks set by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the country’s Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov said on Dec.24.  He made the remarks during the conference entitled ‘10 years of development: 2004-2014’.  Abbasov said Azerbaijan’s projects for the development of the information infrastructure throughout Eurasia were supported with three decisions of the UN General Assembly and the country was approved as the coordinator of Eurasian communications alliance.  Although Azerbaijan is a small country, it can render qualitative services in the ICT sphere not only within the country, but also in the region and increase the export potential, said the minister.  He said the World Economic Forum praised Azerbaijan’s development model throughout the past 10 years, as well as its development models for the future.  The minister added that this development was achieved as a result of the efforts of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.  If the development potential in the ICT sphere in Azerbaijan was 30-35 percent in 2004-2008, this figure increased to 60-65 percent after 2008, said the minister.  “This shows at least a threefold increase of potential in the ICT sphere every three years, which is 2-2.5 times more than the world average figure,” Abbasov added.  Installation of telephones in all settlements of the country (for the first time among CIS countries), the expansion of the mobile communications infrastructure in recent years and etc. are the bright examples of this development, according to the minister.  Azerbaijan became the ninth country in Europe and 37th in the world to use 4G technology,” said the minister. “The country is among 20 countries in the world with 100-percent coverage of 3G technology.”  “In terms of the internet penetration rate - 73 percent - Azerbaijan is a leader among the CIS countries and has been maintaining this position throughout several years,” Abbasov added.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/24/2014

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Gov't Planning to Attract New Sources for Internet Development

 

Azerbaijan’s Communications and High Technologies Ministry is planning to attract new financial sources for the development of broadband Internet project in the country, said Elmir Velizade, Deputy Minister of communications and high technology. "Earlier the State Oil Fund was considered as a sole source of funding for the project and now the Ministry is aimed at attracting other resources," he said. Velizade said the main point is to attract loans from various structures to implement the projects. "This project is important for our country and due to its economic feasibility problems, attracting new financial resources from other sources is not expected easily. The project will be successfully implemented," Velizade assured. Currently the final cost of the project has not been determined, since the attitude to it has changed, the Deputy Minister added. The project will cover 2014-2016. Previously, the total project cost was estimated at more than 450 million manats. Last year, 100 million manats were expected to be allocated for the project from the State Oil Fund. The Ministry plans to cover all settlements of Azerbaijan with the high-speed access to the Internet until 2017.

 

The first-priority areas of the project are expanding the number of users and improving the quality of Internet services, expansion of infrastructure and availability of electronic services. The project envisages increasing the number of ports of broadband Internet and number resources in 47 cities and regions of the country. The works are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Implementation of this project will increase the number of broadband connections at 60 percent. The results of the first year of the project will form the basis of the works to be done in the following years. Currently, about 70 percent of the population use the Internet, and the broadband Internet penetration among the population stands at 50 percent. Azerbaijan is taking the 64th place in the world in terms of ICT development, the International Telecommunication Union has said. The country is adopting measures to develop the non-oil segment of its economy. In this context, ICT is one of the prominent sectors, and the income of Azerbaijan's information technology sector has doubled in the past five years.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 01/14/2015

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KAZAKHSTAN: National Fund to Finance 4G Network Expansion Project

 

Kazakhstan’s Development Bank, a subsidiary of the national managing holding Baiterek, began to finance projects with help of funds from the Kazakhstan National Fund.  The Development Bank said in a message that the first such project will be a project of the ALTEL, a subsidiary of the Kazakhtelecom JSC.  ALTEL’s project is for the expansion of the 4G (LTE) mobile broadband internet network.  The message said the project costs 104.9 billion KZT ($1 - 182.05 KZT), and about 35 percent of the necessary financing is provided by Kazakhstan’s Development Bank for up to 10 years.  Kazakh tenge (KZT) will be the loan currency, according to the message.  The message also said this is the first project financed by the Development Bank with the help of funds from the Kazakhstan National Fund. “The launch and development of 4G network is planned in all cities and settlements in Kazakhstan,” the message read. 

 

“The project is designed to be realized in two phases. The first one (until 2018) suggests the emergence of a new generation wireless communication in all the major cities and settlements of 50,000 residents, and the second one (up to 2022) suggests the development of LTE/GSM/UMTS networks and introduction of LTE network in all the settlements in the country,” according to the message.  The project will make it possible to provide a data transmission rate of up to 100 Mbit/s, to actively introduce e-learning at higher and secondary educational institutions, as well as provide an opportunity to watch high definition streaming video.  Kazakhstan’s Development Bank continues long-term financing of the economy, based on its key mission – to promote the development of the country’s non-raw-materials sector.  Kazakhstan’s first converged network with a simultaneous support of 4G, 3G and 2G technologies has been already deployed in 200 settlements with a total population of about 10.6 million people, accounting for 62 percent of the country’s population.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/31/2014

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AUSTRALIA: Not So Fast on Data Retention, Says Committee

 

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has started another inquiry into the Government’s planned data retention bill. The committee has six Coalition members and five ALP members, including former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and former Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. It also includes Father of the House and former Justice Minister Phillip Ruddock. The Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare is on the committee, but Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is not. There are no Green or other members. The committee says it wants to take another look at the controversial legislation. Given that the Coalition is in the majority it is unlikely to want to embarrass Turnbull or Attorney-General George Brandis, but by extending its inquiry and calling for further submissions it may have that effect. The bill seeks to implement a mandatory telecommunications data retention regime. It contains measures to require telecommunications suppliers in Australia to retain certain data for two years. It was introduce hastily, with no reference to Malcolm Turnbull, who has subsequently had to defend it after Brandis’s inept performance.

 

As it stands, says the committee, “the data to be retained does not include a person's web-browsing history, or the content of a communication, email or social media post. The bill also limits those able to access telecommunications and stored data to enforcement agencies with a demonstrated need and with appropriate internal procedures to protect privacy.” The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill states that data retention is necessary at this time as:

# Serious and organised criminals and persons seeking to harm Australia’s national security, routinely use telecommunications service providers and communications technology to plan and to carry out their activities

# Agencies have publicly identified the lack of availability of data as a key and growing impediment to the ability to investigate and to prosecute serious offences.

 

The proposal for a data retention regime was considered by the Committee in its 2013 Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation. In that report the committee recommended a number of features that should characterise any proposed regime and the oversight mechanisms. The chair of the committee, Liberal MP Dan Tehan, said that “Australia has recently introduced a number of counter terrorism measures to address emerging threats. The committee has carefully scrutinised each of these measures and made a number of recommendations to ensure adequate safeguards and oversight are in place. “We will be considering the appropriateness of the data retention regime proposed in this bill and its application to the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offences and to countering threats to national security. Safeguards and oversight will be a key focus for the committee.”

From http://www.itwire.com 11/28/2014

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ACS Urges QLD Govt to Put ‘Digital First’

 

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has some suggestions for QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to turn Queensland into Australia’s ‘leading digital economy’. Without delay, the ACS has urged new QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to go digital with gusto. Dr Nick Tate, the Chair of the Queensland branch of the ACS said: “A new Government has a chance to set the policy priorities for Queensland and ensure that developing a strong digital economy is at the heart of the Government’s agenda. “By focusing on four key issues identified before the election by the ACS, the new Government can build a policy suite which will see Queensland lead the nation in the digital space. We look forward to working with the Government and assisting them in policy development based around these key issues.” The ACS reminds us and Premier Palaszczuk of the four initiatives the ACS says are ‘critical to establishing Queensland as Australia’s leading digital economy’. These are:

 

1. Digital Economy Ministry & Digital Ministerial Advisory Council

Establish a dedicated Digital Economy Ministry headed by a Cabinet Minister, supported by a Digital Ministerial Advisory Council. The Council would provide advice to the Government on issues and initiatives related to the demand and supply for ICT skills, digital literacy of the workforce, workforce development planning, and assisting key Queensland industries to become more competitive in a digital economy.

 

2. Digital Skills

A far stronger emphasis on digital technologies in the education system. The ACS strongly recommends mandating a Digital Technologies stream as part of the primary and secondary school curriculum; encouraging VET providers to ensure all students attain some minimum level of ICT skills and competencies; and employers and educators working collaboratively to provide ICT students (tertiary and VET) with more work-integrated learning opportunities (such as internships) to help develop work readiness.

 

3. Digital Literacy of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

With SMEs representing the vast majority of businesses in the economy, driving growth requires Governments to create an environment where these businesses can thrive. This includes SMEs being assisted to attain minimum levels of digital competence and literacy. The ACS recommends the creation of a “hands on” program which works with individual businesses to benchmark their digital literacy, identify specific areas of weakness, and assists them engage with suitable organisations and professionals who can help address these weaknesses.

 

4. Digital Cities

A commitment to building one or more ‘digital cities’ in Queensland by 2020. A digital city deploys digital technologies deeply to generate significant and widespread community benefits. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – the world's largest association of technical professionals – defines Digital or Smart: "A smart city brings together technology, government and society to enable the following characteristics: smart cities, a smart economy, smart mobility, a smart environment, smart people, smart living, smart governance.”

From http://www.itwire.com 02/16/2015

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Draft Copyright Code Published

 

Rights holders and ISPs have published a draft of the Government mandated code intended to combat online copyright infringement. Stakeholders have published a draft of an industry code of practice intended to drive down the rate of online copyright infringement, or ‘Internet piracy’ in Australia. The draft code has been released by industry group Communication Alliance for public comment. Communication Alliance CEO John Stanton said it is the product of an intensive development process by Internet Service Providers and a ‘broad alliance’ of content rights holders from the music, film, TV and performing arts industries. The code is scheduled to be submitted in final form to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) by 8 April for registration – in line with the tight timeline requested by the Government December 2014. The code creates a ‘Copyright Notice Scheme’ through which residential fixed Internet users who are alleged to have infringed copyright online will receive an escalating series of infringement notices designed to “change their behaviour and steer them toward lawful sources of content.” Stanton said the scheme has a strong emphasis on public education and does not contain explicit sanctions against Internet users. But it does provide for a “facilitated preliminary discovery” process through which ISPs can assist rights holders to take legal action against persistent infringers.

 

“The scheme contains strong safeguards against any threat to the privacy of Internet users,” said Stanton. “It allows an account holder who receives three infringement notices in a 12 month period to have the validity of the allegations independently reviewed.” Several key issues are still under discussion between rights holders, including who will pay for the scheme and the volume of notices anticipated to be sent during its initial 18 months of operation, after which time the Government has said its effectiveness will be independently reviewed. Stanton praised the “cooperative spirit and energy” shown by rights holders and ISPs to reach agreement on the draft. “These issues are complex, and while both industries want to eradicate online copyright infringement, it has proved very difficult in the past for rights holders and ISPs to agree on the shape of a notice scheme. Stanton was referring to previous arguments between copyright holders over who would pay for the policing and enforcement actions of a stricter anti-piracy regimen. Rights holders have long argued that ISPs should pay, because they control customers’ access to the Internet and they benefit from the increased traffic piracy generates. ISPs have argued that rights holders should pay because they are the ones who would benefit, through increased sales of their content, from a stricter regime.

 

“Much work remains, but publication of the draft code is an important milestone toward greater protection for the legitimate rights of the creative industries,” Stanton said, indicating that the cost issue has still not been solved. Rights holders involved in the code development include APRA AMCOS, ARIA, Australia Screen Association, Copyright Agency, Foxtel, Free TV Australia, Music, Rights Australia, News Corporation Australia, Village Roadshow (which has been particularly active) and World Media. Chris Woodforde, the representative of many of the rights holders during the negotiations, said “The creative industries believe that the implementation of an effective code is an important step in protecting creative content in the online environment. “The release of the draft code for public comment is important in achieving that goal. The creative industry representatives will continue to work with the Government, ISPs and other stakeholders to implement the code and address the serious issue of online copyright infringement.” A Copyright Information Panel (CIP) will be created to oversee the scheme and to coordinate the public education program, including via a dedicated website. Consumer representative body ACCAN (see following article) and the Internet Society of Australia are among the stakeholders involved in the code development process. Members of the public and other stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the draft Code by submitting comments here. The deadline for public comment is 23 March. Public comments will be taken into account before the Code is finalised and submitted to the ACMA.

From http://www.itwire.com 02/23/2015

 

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AFRICA: Botswana Puts Egovernment Architecture Deal Out to Tender

 

The Botswanan government modernisation office has put the provision of professional services for the development of eGovernment service-oriented enterprise architecture out to tender, IT-Web reported. The bidding process is expected to close by 21 January. The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) said the project should solve the architectural problem in achieving seamless eGovernment interoperability, and help in finding a common understanding of e-government and its realisation. The tender invitation states that 100 percent foreign-owned companies should subcontract up to 30 percent of the undertaking to a 100 percent citizen-owned company, and must indicate the sub-contractor by name, as well as the percentage of work to be subcontracted, in line with Botswana's Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy of 2012.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 01/18/2015

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Libya: Virtual News Agency in the Planning

 

Imagine this: journalists produce solid, accurate news reports around the clock; correspondents report from locations throughout the country; and domestic and international media as well as other correspondents and cloud subscribers can access this new source of information. The news sector has stabilized and reports out of Libya can now be trusted. A farfetched scenario in this country riven by conflict? Not necessarily, especially now that the Cloud News Agency (CNA) is set to be launched online this summer, one of the components of the long-term EU project "Stability through Structure." DW Akademie has been playing a leading role in developing the CNA since December 2013. The idea was born out of necessity. Projects already running in Libya had to be put on hold in July 2014 after violence escalated between rival militia groups. Political solutions are still nowhere in sight and fighting continues. "Government authority is basically nonexistent and the national news agencies and institutions we were working with have since collapsed. People simply can't access information," says Martin Hilbert, DW Akademie country manager for Libya. But that's where a virtual news agency comes in. "The goal is to acquire and distribute news independently," says Hilbert. DW Akademie's role in the "Stability through Structure" project is to help with the technical aspects as well as offer editorial support and training modules. Participating journalists are to be trained as cross-media correspondents able to upload their reports to CNA. The project includes multi-stage educational programs and a comprehensive mentoring concept.

 

Developing an independent agency

The CNA project is coming together. Since November 2014 sixty Libyan journalists have been trained in Istanbul or Tunis as correspondents, receiving basic and advanced instruction in various journalistic areas including conflict-sensitive reporting. Other workshops, including security training, are also planned. By April this year some 100 media workers will have been coached, some of them also as mentors. A roadmap has been created for the establishment of an editorial team. Chief editors will be responsible for checking the facts and sources of incoming material. "Stability through Structure" is based on an initiative by the EU delegation in Libya. At the end of January this year, EU Ambassador Nataliya Apostolova spoke in Tunis to participating journalists about the importance of independent news. "Independent and reliable news sources and open and responsible public debates are essential to a society in transition," she said. All the more so, she continued, "in these highly polarized times." Germany's ambassador in Tripoli, Christian Much, also sees independent news and the CNA as a constructive strategy toward solving the current crisis. He said it reflected the project's goals of creating stability by improving the quality of information available to people.

 

Ambassador and journalists in discussion

"Stability through structure" is a comprehensive EU project being conducted by DW Akademie. At the Tunis dialogue, diplomatic representatives and participants discussed the current situation for journalists in Libya. "Journalists are expected to be partisan and take a clear position in the conflict," said one of the journalists taking part. "That makes us part of the conflict and that's dangerous because we become targets for those who don't like what we're writing or thought we were firmly on their side." He said participants were now learning "that journalists need to distinguish between fact and opinion and remain neutral."

 

The trainees come from all regions in Libya and from all ethnic minorities. "Stability through Structure" is the most comprehensive project that DW Akademie has so far conducted in the field of EU-funded media development. The 30-month project is to run until mid-2016 and is divided into four components; three are to be conducted by DW Akademie and the fourth by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). New media associations and committees will also receive project support as well as journalism workshops and consultation services for media managers. Under the auspices of "Media Governance," DW Akademie is advising government agencies and the government itself on modern media regulations and legislation. This includes supporting new media associations and boards. Another focus is the development of a public broadcasting system. A third component looks at strengthening independent and professional journalism in the region. Trainings are to fit the needs of staff at individual radio and TV stations. Accompanying surveys on media consumption are to be developed together with universities in Bengasi and Tripoli and conducted in various parts of the country. The final component involves a planned Content Development Fund that supports media workers and institutions, and that will subsidize independent reporting. This component is being developed by IWPR.

From http://www.dw.de/ 02/17/2015

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Togo Trains Staff to Manage E-Government Network

 

Togo wants to resuscitate – or relaunch – its e-government services, and is therefore looking for highly skilled staff to manage this sector. An intense training workshop, which is currently taking place in the capital Lomé and will last for eight weeks is being attended by technicians, engineers and other ICT professionals under the government’s patronage. Those who will do well will be sponsored to continue their training overseas, the government said, without elaborating on the name of the country or putting a price tag on the project. Post and digital economy minister Cina Lawson, who reiterated that the government was determined to put Togo at the forefront of high-speed internet, said the country’s public services needed to be improved through a successful and well performing e-government platform. “That’s my main focus,” US-educated Lawson said. The training consists of building capacity to help ICT engineers and technicians acquire all the knowledge they need to manage broadband network infrastructure with the aim of enabling the country’s e-government to perform well and produce the desired results. Speaking at the opening session of the training workshop, Lawson said Togo's ICT sector was like a work in progress. “We did not want to wait for problems to arise in the management of infrastructure and equipment before we could seek solutions. That’s why we chose to be proactive,” she said, adding that the government wants to reposition Togo's ICT sector in the sub-region and Africa.

From http://www.biztechafrica.com/ 02/02/2015

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EUROPE: MEPs Debate Internet Governance

 

European Parliament President Martin Schulz opened this month's plenary session on 9 February 2015. After approving a request from the centre-right EPP group to add a resolution to next month's plenary sitting relating to a debate on internet child abuse, scheduled for this Thursday, MEPs began the session by debating intellectual property (IP) rights protection. MEPs pressed the Commission on a decision it made last September to set up an expert group on intellectual property rights, charged with helping member states to improve protection of IP and combat infringements. Members of the Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee had questioned this decision, given that a body called the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) had already been given the task of gathering experts on this subject. After that, MEPs debated the work of the Internet Governance Forum, a United Nations body helping countries decide good policy in relation to the Web. A resolution to be voted on Wednesday supports the role of the body in helping preserve an open and democratic internet, and calls for the UN to renew its current five-year mandate. A full text report of the opening of Monday's session can be found here.

From http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 02/16/2015

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Bulgaria: Visegrad Four to Share E-Government Best Practices

 

Good practices in the implementation of electronic government services will be presented at an expert workshop in Sofia organized by the embassies of the four countries of the Visegrad Group in Sofia on 26 February. The event will be held at the embassy of the Slovak Republic which is holding the rotating presidency of the V4 group also comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The forum, to be officially opened by Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister for Coalition Policy and Public Administration Rumyana Bachvarova, will include presentations on the current state of e-government in Bulgaria by the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications. Presentation by members of the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM) on e-government activities as well as presentations by Czech, Polish, Slovak and Hungarian institutions on best practices in the implementation of e-government are on the agenda. The event will also feature presentations of e-government solutions by leading companies in the IT sector from the V4 countries. Comparisons with Bulgarian e-government experience will be drawn. Bulgaria’s government coalition that came to power in November has ranked the modernisation of public administration and expansion of e-government services among its priority task

From http://www.novinite.com/ 02/17/2015

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Spain Launches ID Card with Contactless E-Government Apps

 

Spanish officials this week launched a new national identity card featuring NFC connectivity and a faster microchip that powers electronic signature capabilities. The card, known as the DNI 3.0, uses NFC to link to an online platform on smartphones or tablets with different mobile applications to manage services and features. E-government apps can be used to contact the police, town hall or Social Security,as well as manage traffic tickets and pay taxes. Meanwhile, authorities can also use the cards to verify citizens’ identities by using its NFC features with mobile devices. It can also be used as a travel document within the European Union. The first card was issued to Olympic swimmer Mireia Belmonte at a ceremony in Lleida attended by Minister of Internal Affairs, Jorge Fernandez Diaz. The DNI 3.0 will initially be tested in Lleida before a nationwide rollout. The card will be followed by the launch of a new ePassport which will feature a higher chip capacity and speed; a new security paper, new holographic components and other invisible security measures.

From http://www.securitydocumentworld.com/ 01/18/2015

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LATIN AMERICA: Lessons About Government Performance

 

Harvard’s Bob Behn has written about the spread of the “PerformanceStat” movement across the U.S during the past two decades. Now the creation of “Delivery Units,” which is another name for this phenomenon, has spread across the world -– even to Latin America. Behn’s recent book on PerformanceStat says this data-driven management approach is more of a leadership strategy than a process or a program to deliver better performance and results. However, a new study by the Inter-American Development Bank shows that having the right processes and structures matter as well. The study examines the increased attention in Latin American and Caribbean countries on defining and delivering results. They found that using tools and techniques, such as Delivery Units that report to the heads of government, are an effective way to strengthen the coordination and implementation of cross-agency initiatives.

 

The authors of the IDB study highlight the importance of “an integrated, whole-of-government approach (i.e., one that emphasizes a common strategy for the entire government, rather than letting each department implement its own agenda)." They recommend a range of routines, processes and technologies that help make this approach work for public executives. The study’s recommendations reach beyond Latin America, though, in popularity. As Behn notes in his book, a centralized implementation function, which he calls PerformanceStat, was pioneered in American cities and states, as well as by Britain’s prime minister, Tony Blair, who called it the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. In fact, Delivery Units have been subsequently created in Thailand, Malaysia and India. The IDB study notes that several developing countries in Eastern Europe and Africa have banded together to create a Global Network of Delivery Leaders.

 

The authors examine different configurations of how to best achieve integrated policy implementation at the “center of government” in Latin American countries. They describe the use of competitive, collegial and hierarchical managerial styles, noting that different chief executives have tailored their management styles “according to their own personalities, political realities, available information, or other contextual factors." The authors also observe that the structures developed for effective centers of government “are less relevant than the capacity to perform the functions. [However,] to embed this capacity, certain processes, mechanisms, and technologies have to be institutionalized so that new administrations do not have to create them afresh." In reaching these conclusions, they researched the use of Delivery Units and other central government approaches in the U.S., British and Australian governments. In each of these countries the focus was on a handful of critical priorities, a central office was empowered by the chief executive to add value to the delivery of services (largely by integrating efforts across agencies), and there was a greater reliance on data and evaluation in the decision-making process. Two Latin American governments stood out as noteworthy pioneers in using these approaches: the national government of Chile and the state of Pernambuco in Brazil.

 

Chile's Priority Pillars

Chile’s “center of government” operations have evolved over the past two decades, but when a new government took office in 2010, the new president, Sebastián Pi?era, established a President’s Delivery Unit (somewhat patterned after the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in the United Kingdom, 2001-2010). The new government identified seven programmatic priorities, or “pillars” (e.g., citizen security, employment, health and education). This new unit created an evaluation and results monitoring system that reported to the president. For these broad priorities, the President’s Delivery Unit was involved in drafting protocols to coordinate interagency committees, assisted the sectors in defining what results were to be achieved in each priority area, and how those results would be channeled into the formal decision-making process. It was also involved in drafting the president’s May 21st Speech (akin to our State of the Union) and the budget. As a result, when it came to maintaining the government’s strategic focus, the discipline that the PDU imposed on each ministry or agency proved important. “The PDU’s contribution had less influence on creating the substance and content of the actions to be unrolled, but focused instead on securing the coherence and integration of these actions,” the IDB study says. For example, the “citizen security” pillar created in 2010 included a commitment to reduce household crime by 15 percent by 2014. By marshaling resources across agencies, it exceeded this goal.

 

Pernambuco's Performance Pacts

When governor Eduardo Campos took office in 2007, he had 66 agency heads reporting directly to him. He quickly decided he needed a better center-of-government structure and he committed to using a data-driven management approach. Pernambuco is the seventh most populous state in Brazil, with a population of 9 million. It is located in the northeast of the country, which is the poorest of Brazil’s regions. Campos separated key public management responsibilities -– such as planning, budgeting, and monitoring and improving performance -– from the more routine tasks of a public administration secretariat, such as human resources and procurement. He integrated planning, budgeting, management, and monitoring of delivery of results into a single unit so these functions could better integrate their efforts. Within this structure, he established a routine similar to those of a Delivery Unit, chairing weekly progress meetings organized around one of the 12 strategic objectives set in his strategic plan.

 

He also established a secretariat of planning and management that created multiyear strategy maps. For example, the study says, "the 2012-15 map includes 12 objectives and 750 priority goals (of which 382 were still being monitored as of late 2013)." The plan was developed with citizen input, not unlike what Oregon did years ago. Campos led 12 regional seminars. During the 2011 planning cycle, about 13,500 people participated. The priority goals and strategic objectives in the strategy map were cross-walked to budget accounts. A project management office was created to monitor about 100 priority goals, such as key infrastructure projects, and an online dashboard was created for each priority goal (somewhat like Performance.gov in the U.S., but only for internal government use). Performance pacts were created in three policy areas (somewhat like the U.S. government’s cross-agency priority goals). "Management for Results Centers, formed by eight to 10 [of the secretariat’s] analysts, have been established in each of the secretariats (defense and public security, education, and health),” the IDB study says.

 

“These analysts collect information, monitor the planned activities, prepare the monitoring meetings, and oversee the delivery of the agreements made at the meetings." The authors say, "Engaging employees from all levels of the civil service, from managers to a range of front-line staff, has begun to change the organizational culture of Pernambuco’s public administration." It also increased its focus on achieving tangible results. For example, one of the pacts, called the "Pact for Life" – the state's violent crime reduction goal – resulted in a 30 percent reduction in homicides between 2007 and 2012. Homicides rose in the rest of the country.

 

A New Leadership Strategy?

In most governments that have employed PerformanceStat or Delivery Units, their success seems to be based on the level of commitment of the leader. Behn says its value is rooted in its role as a leadership strategy, not a process or function. The IDB report, however, offers several ideas to help institutionalize several processes that may incentivize – or at least make it easier – for future leaders to want to adopt them as their own leadership strategy. These include:

- Creating or empowering a secretariat or program management office focused on achieving results.

- Creating routines and using analytic tools to inform decision-making.

- Documenting the processes used.

- Establishing stronger links with the delivery system, including local governments.

- Investing more attention in learning from what works and what doesn’t (rather than relying on them as primarily an accountability tool).

- Increasing citizen engagement in the process (so they demand better value from their political leaders).

 

In the U.S. federal government, top-level, periodic reviews of progress on priorities, which are key elements of most Delivery Units, is embedded in a new law. A number of agencies find the requirements a useful underpinning for their leadership strategy. But there is no guarantee these requirements will serve as a leadership strategy in the next administration. It will be interesting to see if the IDB suggestions for institutionalization help bridge the transitions in government in the U.S. as well as Latin America.

From http://www.govexec.com/ 01/23/2015

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NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - White House Names New Federal CIO

 

The White House has named Tony Scott, CIO and senior vice president at VMware, as U.S. chief information officer and administrator of the Office of EGovernment. Like his predecessor, Steven VanRoekel, Scott is an alum of Microsoft Corp. Scott has been at VMware since August 2013. Before that, he served as CIO at Microsoft from 2008 to 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also previously was CIO at Walt Disney Co. and chief technology officer for General Motors. Noting Scott’s "over 35 years of global leadership and management experience," OMB Director Shaun Donovan and Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert wrote on the OMB blog that "under Tony’s leadership, we will continue to build on the remarkable work done by the nation’s first CIOs Vivek Kundra and Steve VanRoekel in changing the way the Federal government manages IT." Deputy CIO Lisa Schlosser has been serving as acting CIO since September 2014, when VanRoekel left the post to return to the U.S. Agency for International Development as chief innovation officer and senior advisor to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, at the height of the West Africa Ebola crisis.

From http://fcw.com/ 02/05/2015

 

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New Tools to Implement Egovernment

 

The eGovernment is linked to the consolidation of democratic governance and seeks ways to facilitate and enhance the participation of citizens in public debate and policy formulation in public policies through participatory consultations of citizens, so, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched GobAPP.com, which intends to be a think tank to promote the use of digital tools that bring citizens and governments and facilitate a more inclusive and transparent governance. When XVII Ibero-American Summit of Chiefs of State and Government, gathered in Santiago de Chile on November 10, 2007, it resolved to aprove the Ibero-American Electronic Government Charter adopted by the IX Ibero-American Conference of Ministers of Public Administration and State Reform, and this was the beginning, with firm and determined step, of a path that will soon have, with the help of the IDB, a technological element that will enhance it even more.

 

For the Ibero-American Charter, eGovernment and eAdministration are synonymous and refer to the use of ICT in administration bodies to improve information and services offered to citizens, guide the effectiveness and efficiency of public administration and increase substantively the public sector transparency and citizen participation. The adoption of egovernment in public administration from the Ibero-American States tries to contribute to the development of Society and would never be a simple response to technological opportunities that come from the market. The eGovernment is symbiotically linked to the consolidation of democratic governance and seeks ways to facilitate and enhance the participation of citizens in public debate and policy formulation in general or sectoral public policies, among other means, through participatory consultations of citizens, so, in this line, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched GobAPP.com, which intends to be a think tank to promote the use of digital tools that bring citizens and governments and facilitate a more inclusive and transparent governance.

 

GobAPP.com will bring together various initiatives, as yoGobierno.org, SomosAfro.org andGob247.org, and will be a place to test new ideas of governance through social and digital media in order to transfer them to other institutions once entrenched. This think tank has the support of different governments in the region: Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile and Dominican Republic. The Organization of American States (OAS) is also helping. The principles on which the eGovernment is based, Equality, Legality, Conservation, Transparency and accessibility, Proportionality, Accountability and technological adequacy, will be relaunched with hackatones and online voting for proposing and selecting priority projects, social networks, and use of mobile services for citizens to communicate their needs to the rulers. Because Latin America is one of the most active regions in the use of social networks worldwide, which together with different technological solutions, applications, mobile services and other ICT platforms, constitute a package of valuable tools that promote new forms to think about development, modernization of the State and to improve the quality of citizen services, the tools are not designed to go unnoticed.

From http://www.lexology.com/ 01/08/2015

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Our Opinion: Protect Internet from Government's Control

 

Last month, China hosted the first World Internet Conference and gave everyone reason to worry. At the last minute, Chinese officials tried to ram through a declaration calling for governments to exert greater control over the fastest and freest communications tool the world has ever seen, using the chilling concept of “Internet sovereignty” to justify it. Russia, meanwhile, has crushed its most prominent Internet entrepreneur — Pavel Durov, the founder of a major Facebook-like application — after he refused to cooperate with the Kremlin. It’s bad enough that these authoritarian governments repress online expression within their borders. They should not be let anywhere near the governance of the Internet’s global infrastructure. Yet the Commerce Department is proceeding with a plan to relinquish supervision of one crucial element of world Internet governance to an international body, which may not be sufficiently resistant to influence from the world’s many would-be censors. If the situation doesn’t improve, Commerce should halt the march toward a formal turnover.

 

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for a lot of everyday maintenance — essentially acting as the Internet’s phone book. Until recently, its major policy dilemmas have revolved around whether to create new top-level domain names such as .tv or .xxx. But now it is at the center of a potentially perilous transition. It continues to operate under the Commerce Department’s benign oversight, but Commerce’s contract with ICANN is up next year. Relying on a global community of Internet engineers, businesses and other nongovernmental entities, ICANN wants to end one of the last vestiges of formal U.S. control over the global Internet, completing the transfer of responsibility for maintaining basic Internet functionality to a multi-stakeholder organization that operates by consensus and independently of any government.

 

The problem is that no one yet has a convincing explanation for how the multi-stakeholder model will be immune to pernicious influences from governments. Independent voices from global nongovernmental interests are supposed to suffuse the ICANN system and provide a self-correcting ethos. But civil society in many countries is deeply connected to the state, and those states will try to manipulate or control as much as they can. Details of the technical transition are being hammered out, but the accountability measures and controls that will be vital to establishing and preserving a legitimate global Internet governance are taking longer. Commerce still holds a trump card: It can renew its contract with ICANN. The Obama administration has said it will insist on adequate protections for freedom of speech before it lets go, and it must stick to that commitment. That could be hard: The Snowden revelations have put pressure on the Obama administration. Yet the free and open Internet has thrived under existing arrangements. The United States should not allow other governments to use the leaks as a pretext to gain control of Internet governance.

From http://www.timesrecordnews.com/ 01/08/2015

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Multistakeholderism Unmasked: How the NetMundial Initiative Shifts Battlegrounds in Internet Governance

 

Julia Pohle is a researcher at the centre for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication (SMIT) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is a fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and the Global Governance Futures (GGF 2025) program. Since 2013, Julia has been a member of the steering committee of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet). This piece is part of the ‘The Global Governance Futures 2025’ programme which brings together young professionals to look ahead and recommend ways to address global challenges. The year 2014 was a historic year in internet governance: From the announcement of the IANA transition process to the NetMundial meeting and the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the procedures and policies regarding the coordination of the internet seem to be more than ever a central topic of global governance. Most of these events have been welcomed by large parts of the internet community for fostering an inclusive multistakeholder approach at the expense of more traditional intergovernmental forms of governance. But just before the end of the year, yet another process in internet governance added a bitter aftertaste to this development: the NetMundial Initiative (NMI). Perceived by some as an attempt to create a “Security Council of the Internet”, this new initiative has stirred an intense debate among civil society groups about the limits of multistakeholder governance – a debate which could actually help to overcome the gridlocked controversy between multistakeholder and intergovernmental governance models for the internet.

 

The NMI was officially launched on 6 November 2014 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br). It is hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), best known for arranging an exclusive annual meeting for the world’s political and economic “elite” in Davos, Switzerland. Aiming to “take advantage of the WEF’s uniquely interdisciplinary, leader-level multistakeholder community”, the NMI does not appear to have much in common with its namesake,NETmundial, the “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of internet Governance” hosted by Brazil in April 2014 in São Paulo. Indeed, the original NetMundial process brought together 1500 representatives from governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil society to develop new principles of internet governance and a roadmap for the future. While this one-time event was praised by many for its open, inclusive and transparent structures, the new ICANN-WEF initiative has been met with serious reservations – and this despite its seemingly well-meant objective to “seek through multistakeholder dialogue and action to apply the NETmundial Principles in ways that enhance trust in the capacity of the Internet’s distributed governance ecosystem to respond to a range of emerging policy challenges”. Within civil society and the technical community, where reactions range from unconcealed scepticism to categorical rejection, the doubts mainly concern three different aspects of the NMI.

 

Firstly, the process through which the NMI was created and functions has been heavily criticized for its lack of transparency, bottom-up inclusion and consultation. It is perceived as a significant departure from the NETmundial outcomes, which called for internet governance to be based “on democratic, multistakeholder processes, ensuring the meaningful and accountable participation of all stakeholders”. In contrast to these principles, the NMI created a “Coordination Council” that was supposed to comprise 20 members and – like the UN Security Council – five permanent seats, all chosen through a centralized top-down approach. Reacting to the criticism on this arrangement, the NMI’s initiators have since distanced themselves from the idea of permanent seats and allowed stakeholder groups to appoint their own representatives to the council. Secondly, concerning the objectives of the initiative, many worry that the NMI could have a negative impact on the UN Internet Governance Forum which, despite all its flaws, has served since its inception in 2006 as a unique grassroots discussion-forum for policy problems related to the internet. While ICANN’s CEO Fadi Chehadé tried to smooth ruffled feathers by asserting that the NMI’s work is not supposed to serve as a substitute for the IGF but rather complement its efforts, critics continue to question how additional leader-level coordination could in any way add separate value to the existing internet governance landscape. In addition, suspicion arose about ICANN, currently in charge of the narrower technical issues of naming and numbering, having a possible agenda regarding the establishment of an equivalent institutional framework for broader internet public policy issues.

 

Thirdly, and most interestingly, it is the interests behind the initiative that unsettle many in the internet community, in particular those civil society representatives who always view with a critical eye the involvement of industry in internet governance. Due to its link with the WEF, a small and wealthy group with expertise in facilitating engagement between big business and governments but with little experience in grassroots decision-making, the NMI is considered by many to be “an attempt by economic and political elites to secure a central role in Internet governance”. This is one of the reasons why several civil society groups usually involved in internet governance decided to abstain from participating or endorsing this new initiative, most prominently the Internet Society (ISOC) and the JustNet Coalition. When looking at all the clamour over NMI, some observers rightly wonder how much influence such an institution could actually have in terms of real governance authority over the public policy aspects of the internet. But despite its marginal political impact, the NMI’s announcement has already resulted in an interesting twist in the debates about authority in global governance because it exposes the hidden perils of multistakeholderism.

 

Indeed, until recently, most controversies about internet governance were the result of a dichotomy between the proponents of traditional regulation through intergovernmental authority and those of a multistakeholder model, the hypothetical middle ground between a free-market model, a cyberlibertarian idea of self-regulation and the classical governmental approach. What the debates about the two divergent approaches rarely reveal is that most implementations of the multistakeholder approach are far from an ideal governance model. In fact, while multistakeholderism may have so far allowed various non-state actors to participate in internet governance processes, it does not necessarily lead to a wider range of views or a more global representation of interests and concerns. In several instances, multistakeholder processes actually tend to increase the overrepresentation of actors from the highly developed Western world, whereas they neglect developing countries, which often lack independent civil society networks and strong business players that could meaningfully engage in the existing structures. But with the discussion around the NMI, the battleground seems to have shifted: Without any intent to do so, WEF and ICANN’s new initiative contributes to revealing this imbalance and the inherent contradictions of stakeholders usually united by their opposition to an intergovernmental approach to internet governance. The NetMundial Initiative therefore fosters a new but much needed discussion on power mechanisms and could eventually shed light on the real interests of those proponents of the multistakeholder approach who seem eager to maintain the unbalanced representation of voices and concerns in internet governance. In the long run, this discussion could lead to a more honest and transparent scenario for multistakeholderism, which does not fail to consider the rights and interests that all countries and all users have in the governance of the global internet.

From http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/ 01/18/2015

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For the Internet Governance Leaders of Tomorrow: Learning in a Multi Stakeholder Environment

 

Do you want to understand the multilayer, multi player mechanisms of Internet Governance? Do you want to know what the political, economic, social and legal implications of Internet Governance are? Do you want to learn what is behind cryptic acronyms like ICANN, RIR, DNS, ccTLD, gTLD, iDN, IPv6, ISP, IETF, W3C, IAB, WHOIS, GAC, IGF, WGIG and WSIS? Do want to get more detailed information about technical Internet standards, protocols, codes, domain names, IP addresses, registries and registrars? Are you interested to look deeper into the opportunities and risks of the emerging global Internet Economy? Do you want to become an Internet Governance leader of tomorrow? Than you should apply for the “9th European Summer School on Internet Governance” (EuroSSIG). The 2015 Summer School offers a unique multidisciplinary high level 48 hours academic programme. The programme is a well balanced mixture of theoretical lectures with world leading academics as well as practical presentations from well known experts working directly in the technical community, the market or in policy. It offers unique opportunities for learning in a multi stakeholder environment, which includes also intense and individual interactive communication with faculty members and fellows from all over the world. The faculty is chaired by Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter, University of Aarhus.

 

Application

Applications will be accepted both from students and individuals working in the private sector, in government or in civil society groups from all over the world. Application criteria are a basic academic degree or relevant practical experiences. The full course fee is 1000 EUR (plus 19% VAT), but we offer reduced fee for master students of 500 EUR (plus 19% VAT). It includes, next to the lecture programme:

six nights accommodation in the guest rooms of the academy

breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee

one evening reception in the “Meissen Porcelain Manufactory”

gala dinner in the historic wine restaurant “Vincenz Richter”

boat trip on the river Elbe

free WiFi access and

all teaching material.

Fellowship programme

 

We can offer students from developing countries an opportunity to apply for the global fellowship programme.  These fellowships are limited and do not all include travel costs. Therefore we kindly ask you to indicate if you are able to cover your travel costs. The application period starts in January 2015 and remains open until 15 April 2015. If you are interested in the European Summer School on Internet Governance (EuroSSIG), please apply by using the online application form. For any additional questions please contact Sandra Hoferichter the coordinator of the Summer School.

From http://www.fs-datenserver.de/ 01/22/2015

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Towards Democratic Internet Governance

 

The Internet might have pervaded the common man's life but its governance still remains in the hands of a few corporate giants. To counter this, civil society organisations propose democratic Internet governance. Though Google’s Eric Schmidt predicts the “disappearance of Internet into the background”, a group of organisations have set out to bring to fore voices that have remained in the background in spite of the Internet’s all pervasive nature.As the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2015 is in progress in Davos (Jan 21-24), civil society organisations have come together to create a global ‘Internet Social Forum’ countering the WEF's NETmundial initiative for Internet governance. The organisations aim to create an Internet space governed in public interest. Bengaluru-based organisation IT for Change will be an active part of this global forum, along with five other Indian organisations: Society For Knowledge Commons, All India Peoples Science Network, Free Software Movement of India, SLFC.in and Digital Empowrment Foundation.

 

The Internet Social Forum will consist of civil society organisations from across the globe who believe that Internet governance should not be limited to the vested interests of corporate giants. Their endeavour is to put in place a “bottom's up” approach, where grassroots groups can have their say in regulating Internet space. Civil organisations feel that the WEF’s global internet policy making and governance initiative the ‘NETmundial’, restricts itself to the voices of the global elite. The concept of WEF itself has been countered by the “World Social Forum” and the Internet Social Forum draws inspiration from it. In fact, the “preparatory process” of the forum is likely to be held in March 2015 in Tunis, during the World Social Forum meet. When one searches for something on the Internet, the most popular links related to the subject appear at the top of the list. However, more often links that appear first are not guided by popularity but by the money invested by interested parties to ensure they are displayed on top. In this regard, the Internet Social Forum will fight for “Net neutrality”.

 

IT For Change Executive Director Parminder Jeet Singh said, “In its current form, internet governance has not yet become a people's movement. The Internet is increasingly controlled by corporates.” Community owned broadband, data ownership, limits to copyright and including rural communities in the dialogue process are some of the issues that the forum seeks to address. Rishab Bailey, Director (legal), Society For Knowledge Commons, added that such an initiative was significant as, at present, a lot of thought is going into setting up institutions for Internet governance. “We have to ensure a representative and democratic Internet governance. Internet is a global construct and it touches all our lives. As of now there are no concrete mechanisms to deal with issues pertaining to Internet governance. We have to make sure that Internet governance is a true bottoms up approach.”

From http://www.deccanherald.com/ 01/27/2015

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Internet Voting Doesn't Inspire the Apathetic: E-Democracy

 

CAMBRIDGE – According to a study, more people used Internet voting during the last municipal election than ever before, but the relatively new method of marking a ballot shouldn’t be regarded as a panacea to improve voter turnout and political engagement. “Of the 97 (Ontario) municipalities that used Internet voting in 2014, voter turnout increased in 52 communities and decreased in 44 from 2010,” explained Dr. Nicole Goodman, research director with the Centre for e-Democracy, which helped fund the Internet Voting Project (www.internetvotingproject.com). Results of the study, which included survey feedback from Internet voters in 43 municipalities, including Cambridge, will be released online next week. Goodman shared highlights during a webinar this past Thursday (Jan. 29) afternoon. Voter turnout is contextual, so other factors such as issues, candidates and how Internet voting was structured in various jurisdictions need to be considered as well, Goodman said.

 

Yet, 14 per cent of survey respondents said they definitely or probably wouldn’t have voted if not for the Internet voting option. Internet voting won’t have a huge impact on turnout because it won’t likely encourage the apathetic to vote, Goodman discerned. But it does have the potential to encourage some non-voters to participate, she said. “Typically, these are people who cite 'everyday life issues' as their reason for non-voting.” The vast majority (95 per cent) of survey respondents reported a “strong satisfaction” with Internet voting, saying it was easy, straightforward, private and convenient, and between 94 and 98 per cent said they would use it again in a future election. The average Internet voter was 53 years of age, with a household income of at least $80,000 per year and access to home Internet service. “These people were engaged, not apathetic voters,” Goodman emphasized.

 

Survey respondents also included candidates themselves, who reported a 69 per cent satisfaction rating with Internet voting. The majority – 64 per cent – felt the method made the beginning of their campaigns much more crucial, as many voters they spoke with door-to-door had already cast a ballot online. Goodman acknowledged a dramatic increase in advanced voter turnout, but those results weren’t mirrored across the board. However, administrators surveyed in municipalities offering online voting as an option reported a 96 per cent satisfaction rating. The majority believe Internet voting is the least risky form of voting compared to other methods such as mail-in and traditional paper ballots. In addition to convenience and accessibility, administrators cited “counting efficiency” as a main benefit of internet voting and public outreach as the biggest challenge.

From http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/ 02/02/2015

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International Cyber Governance: Engagement Without Agreement?

 

The following post is the latest installment of our Monday Reflections feature in which a different Just Security editor takes an in-depth look at the big stories from the previous week and/or a look ahead to key developments on the horizon. In mid-January, the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)—China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—sent a revised draft International Code of Conduct for Information Security to the U.N. Secretary-General. The new document updates an initial draft that China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan circulated in September 2011. The United States, among others, rejected the 2011 version because it seemed to deny the applicability of existing international law to cyberspace, advocated increased government control over the Internet, and legitimized limitations on freedom of expression. Although the revised draft now discusses the right to “seek, receive and impart” information (see par. 7), in other major respects, it doubles down on the 2011 positions. The draft even seems to walk back from a 2013 concession by some of the SCO states that existing international law applies to cyberspace.

 

Despite its intransigence on major areas of disagreement, the latest draft does include a promising new provision on “develop[ing] confidence-building measures aimed at increasing predictability and reducing the likelihood of misunderstanding and the risk of conflict.” This provision, while desirable in the abstract, won’t make the rest of the Code any more palatable to the United States and others that opposed the initial draft. Its inclusion, however, may signal that China, in particular, is ready to re-engage in bilateral discussions with the United States on cybersecurity issues nearly a year after terminating the countries’ working group in retaliation for U.S. indictments against Chinese officials for hacking U.S. companies. In their letter to the U.N. Secretary-General transmitting the 2015 draft, the SCO states suggested that they revised the Code in response to comments received on the 2011 version. Chinese diplomats quoted by Xinhua characterized the revised Code as “more comprehensive and balanced” and as having taken into account “reasonable suggestions from the international community.” The Russian Foreign Ministry similarly noted that the revised draft is “based on the new realities and proposals submitted by the states concerned.”

 

Despite the revisions, the SCO members’ core vision for state control of cyber governance remains largely unchanged. Both the 2011 and 2015 versions (in par. g and par. 8, respectively) seek to establish “multilateral, transparent and democratic” Internet governance, rejecting the current multistakeholder model of governance that includes not just states but civil society, technical experts, and other interested parties. Both also highlight states’ “rights and responsibilities” to protect their “information space” (par. e in the 2011 version, and par. 6 in the 2015 version). The new draft does concede a somewhat increased role relative to the state for the private sector and civil society. Whereas the old draft declared that states would “lead all elements of society, including its information and communication private sectors, to understand their roles and responsibilities with regard to information security” (par. h), the new draft declares that states must “cooperate fully with other interested parties in encouraging a deeper understanding by all elements in society, including the private sector and civil-society institutions, of their responsibility to ensure information security” (par. 9).

 

However, this apparent elevation of “other interested parties” comes after and is separate from the new Code’s provision on Internet governance in paragraph 8, which focuses solely on states: “All States must play the same role in, and carry equal responsibility for, international governance of the Internet, its security, continuity and stability of operation, and its development . . . .” This provision echoes a controversial resolution adopted at the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). WCIT was convened to revise the International Telecommunication Regulations, a treaty administered by a U.N. body—the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)—that sets standards for “global interconnection and interoperability” in telecommunications, like telephone calls. In advance of the conference, Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s desire to “‘establish[] international control over the Internet’” under the auspices of the ITU. Although Russian proposals for ITU control of the Internet were kept out of the final text of the treaty, a version of the proposal was adopted in an accompanying resolution, which declares that “all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance and for ensuring the stability, security and continuity of the existing Internet and it future development” (Res. 3, par. E). As I noted in a prior post, the United States and other key countries, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, refused to sign the revised treaty, citing the Internet governance resolution and its incompatibility with the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.

 

The invocation of the controversial WCIT language in the revised Code makes clear that the SCO member states’ views on Internet governance have not shifted and are not intended as any accommodation to the advocates of the multistakeholder governance model. The revised draft Code also has two potentially troubling omissions. First, it makes no mention of agreement reached in a 2013 U.N. report that existing international law applies to cyberspace. The United States has repeatedly asserted that existing international laws, including laws on the use of force, apply to cyberspace (see, for example, here and here). Prior to the June 2013 U.N. report, China had not agreed with that proposition, and with the proposal of the 2011 draft Code, China appeared to suggest that new law was needed because existing law did not apply. In June 2013, however, the U.N. Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (GGE)—a group that includes China and Russia—reached consensus that “[i]nternational law, and in particular the Charter of the United Nations, is applicable and essential to maintaining peace and stability and promoting an open, secure, peaceful and accessible [information and communication technology] environment” (par. 19).

 

The revised Code cites the GGE Report, but does not reference the agreement that existing international law, particularly the U.N. Charter, applies. Instead the draft Code cites only an earlier paragraph of the GGE Report on “norms derived from existing international law” and the possible development of additional norms “over time” (par. 16). Maybe the lack of citation to the international law paragraph is simply an oversight; the draft Code does at least cite the GGE report. But China’s reluctance over the course of years to agree to the applicability of existing international law combined with the re-proposal of the Code, which would itself be new international law if adopted, suggest that the lack of reference to the international law paragraph may be best understood as a sign that China continues to resist applying existing international law to cyberspace.

 

Second, the revised Code entirely omits a provision regarding proliferation of weapons. The 2011 Code would have required states “[n]ot to . . . proliferate information weapons or related technologies” (par. b). This provision is simply missing from the new draft, and the motivation for the omission is unclear. On the one hand, the United States criticized the proliferation provision in the 2011 draft on the ground that it “ignores the fact that this technology is a quintessential dual-use technology.” Perhaps the SCO countries omitted the provision in response to this critique. On the other hand, given the recent attention to zero-day vulnerabilities, including acknowledgements that the U.S. government does not always disclose vulnerabilities of which it is aware, the provision may have been omitted in recognition of the fact that cyber powers stockpile and use vulnerabilities that might be conceptualized as “information weapons or related technologies.” One provision of the revised Code that should appeal to the United States—if it can be pursued without acceptance of the rest of the Code—is a new paragraph (par. 10) pursuant to which states would:

 

develop confidence-building measures aimed at increasing predictability and reducing the likelihood of misunderstanding and the risk of conflict. Such measures will include, inter alia, voluntary exchange of information regarding national strategies and organizational structures for ensuring a State’s information security, the publication of white papers and exchanges of best practice, wherever practical and advisable. This provision may suggest a willingness on China’s part to resume dialogue with the United States on cybersecurity issues. The countries established a bilateral working group on cybersecurity in 2013, but after the United States indicted five Chinese military officials for hacking U.S. companies, China suspended its participation in May 2014. As Adam Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations has noted, the suspension of the working group “is bad for both sides,” which have a “shared interest in confidence building in the areas of cyber conflict and in preventing third party attacks on critical infrastructure.” If the confidence-building provision of the revised Code can jumpstart renewed dialogue, it would be a significant silver-lining to a proposal that otherwise seems likely to do more to highlight disagreement than to build agreement on international cyber governance.

From http://justsecurity.org/ 02/03/2015

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Ensuring Trust in Internet Governance

 

By Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. This week in Singapore, important decisions are being made about the future of the Internet at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 52 conference. At stake are fundamental questions: Should the American people surrender stewardship over core technical functions that have preserved the open and neutral operation of the Internet since its inception? Should the Obama Administration cede this authority to an organization many consider to be non-transparent, unaccountable and insular? If the administration insists on a transfer, what guarantees, capabilities and conditions first should be demanded and stress-tested by the global multi-stakeholder community?

 

This discussion began with the surprise announcement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Department of Commerce, which asked ICANN to develop a proposal to transition NTIA's role as "the historic steward of the Domain Name System (DNS)." The announcement came as a shock to many who follow Internet governance issues and others who depend upon the Internet to communicate freely or conduct commerce around the world. Indeed, NTIA's announcement appeared to directly contravene long-standing positions of both the legislative and executive branches that the United States should retain its stewardship in overseeing the management of the Internet for the benefit of users worldwide. Since this announcement, the administration's process and the factors it weighed preceding this decision have not been fully disclosed. However, evidence suggests that the proposal to transition the responsibility for administering changes to all top-level domains, as well as serving as the historic guarantor of the DNS, was dictated not by technical considerations but rather in response to political motives. Moreover, questions persist as to whether the Obama Administration had the authority to commence such a transition without congressional oversight and approval in the first place.

 

In its original press release and subsequent communications, NTIA referred to two congressional resolutions, S.Con.Res.50 and H.Con.Res.127, which were passed by the 112th Congress. These resolutions affirmed House and Senate opposition to attempts by foreign governments and inter-governmental organizations to assume control over the Internet and generally endorsed the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. These resolutions were specifically intended to signal U.S. opposition to efforts by other nations to enlist the United Nations and empower the International Telecommunications Union as the global regulator of the Internet. However, neither resolution mentioned ICANN, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions that NTIA now proposes to transfer oversight over, or contained a suggestion, explicit or otherwise, that the United States should contemplate surrendering stewardship over the administration of these critical functions to ICANN or any other entity. In fact, two other resolutions passed in 2005, H.Con.Res.268 and S.Res.323, affirmed that operation and management of the Internet's domain name and addressing system should remain under the oversight of the United States. The administration's practice of playing fast and loose with clear statements of Congressional intent is not the way to inspire confidence, build support or work towards achieving consensus. Serious questions remain about the wisdom of ceding this authority, as well as the specifics of any transition. Our committees have been conducting oversight of ICANN and we will continue to closely examine the processes of the United States government and ICANN as these transition discussions continue.

 

We welcome NTIA Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Larry Strickling's recent acknowledgements that there are no hard and fast deadlines for completing this process. If the administration is determined to give up oversight of ICANN and the IANA contract, permanent improvements to ICANN's accountability and transparency are critical to building public and congressional trust for any proposed transition. Any consideration of such a transition must be done carefully and in close coordination with Congress, rather than in a unilateral way. Further, we encourage members of the public and the many constituencies with interests in this process to make their voices and concerns heard. We also encourage ICANN to ensure that whatever results from this process shows that the outcome emanated from a true bottom-up multi-stakeholder process and was neither imposed on nor unduly influenced by ICANN's leaders, staff, or members of its board. The U.S. has served as a critical and responsible backstop against censorship and threats to openness and free speech on the Internet. As a result, the Internet has thrived. We must ensure that these principles remain intact for all Internet users across the globe. The future of the Internet as a medium for free speech, the flow of ideas and global commerce is at stake, and must be protected.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 02/16/2015

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CHINA: Urging Better Internet Governance

 

China held the First Internet Conference in the rivertown of Wuzhen, calling for global Internet interconnectivity and shared governance by all. The conference saw roughly 1,000 Internet professionals, officials and experts from more than 100 countries and regions in attendance. Founders of China's top three Internet companies Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu as well as executives from global giants including Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook all joined the gala. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory note to the ceremony, hoping countries can jointly build a cyberspace of peace, security, openness and cooperation and an international Internet governance system of multilateralism, democracy and transparency. Xi urged better international cooperation, more respect for sovereignty on the Internet and for countries to uphold cyber security following the principle of mutual respect and mutual trust. Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai, who attended the opening ceremony, called for joint efforts of the international community to promote the interconnectivity of Internet infrastructure, prosperity of Internet economy, strengthen the sharing of Internet technologies and to ensure cyberspace safety. Ma added that Internet infrastructure will be one of the prioritized investment areas of the planned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, hoped the attendees would make plans for Internet interconnectivity and shared governance as well as promote consensus and to make a historical contribution for the Internet.

From http://www.news.cn/ 11/20/2014

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China Standardizes Official Govt Websites

 

China will add an official label to all official government websites, according to the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform (SCOPSR) and Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Tuesday.Domain names of some government outlets were not properly labeled while the approval for portals has been careless, causing problems and confusion to the public, said Song Qing, deputy chief of SCOPR's E-government affairs department.The misuse and choice of domain names also brought security problems including hijacking or falsifying of websites to steal personal information.The label will be exclusively used on approved government sites and philanthropic portals to distinguish them from commercial ones, Song said.The label in the background of the home page will include the department name, category, address, domain name, issuer of the label and the time of issue.The central government will soon review all existing government portals and rectify irregularities, said Wang Rongxiang, vice dean of the communication bureau of the CAC.

From http://www.news.cn/ 11/25/2014

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China Launches Website for Complaints About Party Officials

 

A website allowing people to complain about Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations and members in government departments was launched Tuesday.Either by real name or anonymously, people can report breaches of Party rules by organizations and members. The public can also submit proposals to improve Party work and build clean government. The website is run by the committee in charge of discipline for central government departments.The Internet is an important way of reporting wrongdoings by Party members and government officials.Also Tuesday, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) opened a new "whistle blowing channel" on its website to support its campaign to hunt down fugitive corrupt officials abroad. People, at home or abroad, with relevant information are encouraged to pass on the intelligence on the website.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/09/2014

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China Launches Website on Military Weaponry Procurement

 

A website on military weapon procurement was officially launched on Sunday.Under the General Armament Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), weain.mil.cn provides information on the country's weapon and armament needs, relevant policies, procurement notices, enterprise lists and technology.Private enterprises, military armament-purchasing departments and military industry groups as well as personnel can register on the website for consultation and further information.According to the PLA General Armament Department, the new platform was established to cement military and civilian integration and aims to accelerate steps in armament procurement system reform, break procurement barriers, improve competitiveness and promote efficiency.Since 2014, a series of policies have been issued to improve military and civilian integration, market access, information exchange, supervision, and security.In May, 2014, the first "military and civilian integration forum" released around 200 items on weapon procurement, which attracted more than 100 private enterprises and scores of cooperation agreements were subsequently signed.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/04/2015

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A Safer Internet Needs Better Governance

 

As the world marked Safer Internet Day 2015 on Tuesday, which aims to promote safer and more responsible use of digital technology for children and young people, China was concerned about Internet safety in a broader sense.China had 648 million Internet users by the end of 2014 and more than 70 percent were worried by Internet security.Besides the safety of computers, servers and online content, cyber security includes the safety of national interests.

China has been the target of cyber attacks, over 10,000 Chinese websites are maliciously tampered every month and 80 percent of the government's websites have been hacked, according to Lu Wei, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).IT development globally is uneven, which means some less-digitally developed countries are at risk of being controlled by more sophisticated nations.Mass surveillance by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) on governments and individuals disclosed since June 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that cyberspace also has boundaries.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also heads the central Internet security and informatization leading group, told a meeting in February 2014 that "no Internet safety means no national security".Countries should respect for each other's sovereignty in cyberspace; all countries have the right and power to exercise jurisdiction over information facilities and activities within their own territories, and to enforce their own policies.When governments regulate the Internet within their boundaries, they should act in line with laws and regulations, which is what China has been doing.As the flow of information is border-free and cyber security is a common challenge faced across the globe, shared governance should also be advocated globally, just like this year's slogan for the Safer Internet Day -- "Let's create a better Internet together".

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/10/2015

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JAPAN: Online Voucher Websites Restore Trust, Gain Popularity

 

The number of consumers who use websites that sell purchasing rights for goods and services at discounted prices for a limited time has been increasing recently. The image of these websites was once damaged after a series of problems caused by sloppy quality management. However, constant efforts by major online voucher providers to increase the trust of consumers have led to growth in the market. The Japanese unit of U.S. online voucher provider Groupon Inc. has resumed selling rights to buy traditional osechi Japanese New Year’s food for the first time in four years. Groupon Japan, Inc. had suspended sales of osechi after the company had trouble selling the festive boxed meals for the 2011 New Year. Numerous buyers of osechi lodged complaints that the item, created by a restaurant operator and sold on the website operated by Groupon Japan, differed from the sample images posted online — the boxed meal contained very little food, unlike the images. Ahead of restarting sales of osechi, the company reinforced its checking system for delivery and quality control. The firm has also increased the variety of osechi it sells online. “We’ve kept improving systems [to provide services,] with the osechi scandal in mind,” Groupon Japan President Satoru Nemoto said.

 

Online voucher providers in the nation were an approximately ¥40 billion industry in 2013, up about 10 percent from the previous year, according to an online service company. Two major voucher providers, Groupon and Ponpare, operated by Recruit Holdings Co., are competing head to head. Ponpare has the advantage of selling a wide variety of goods, cooperating with tour and restaurant information websites operated by Recruit. Operated by Rakuten Inc., RaCoupon is also popular for its loyalty program that gives buyers discounts for future shopping. Recently, an increasing number of people are using voucher websites through smartphone apps. Observers say improving services offered through apps, such as sending e-mails automatically to the app users in order to introduce items as they pass by stores that offer the items, will likely hold the key for surviving the competition among online voucher providers. Such websites sell vouchers for goods and services, or purchasing rights, at discounted prices for a limited time. Those who buy items receive vouchers online and by other means and they receive items or services by presenting the vouchers at stores. The system enables sellers to sell a large quantity of items in a short period of time.

From http://the-japan-news.com 12/30/2014

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SOUTH KOREA: More Gov't Data, Info to Be Released to Public

 

Additional public data that is in high demand will be opened to the public in the near future. Within the first half of this year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced that it would revise its existing management guidelines concerning public data and set up a policy to promote the free use of such information. The ministry’s action will lead to an increase in the amount of public data released to the public to about 5 million items, from the current number of nearly 3 million. To encourage the use of public data, in 2012 the government launched an online portal, Gonggongnuri (www.kogl.or.kr). The website allows people to use previously-protected works and copyrighted works that used to belong to public organizations for free with certain conditions. Also, they do not have to sign a contract or apply for copyright use. At the end of last year, a total of 10,936 items owned by the National Museum of Korea were added to the portal. Early this year, approximately 130,000 items, including photos of ancient artifacts that are part of the Cultural Heritage Administration, will be released for public use through the website.

This website provides not only data about historical remains. Its collection also includes about 265,000 documents, ranging from white books from the main projects undertaken by the Seoul Metropolitan government and research reports through to history-related writings from public organizations. The use of public data has helped many firms design and develop new products. It has enabled the commercialization of 12 products so far, and helped the companies create successful business models. These products include a wallpaper pattern at Homeart and bead puzzle kits by Puzzlia, which recorded sales worth some KRW 83 million and KRW 10 million, respectively, since their launches last year. “If nearly 7.6 million copyrighted data points from public organizations are released to the public for free, it will have an effect worth up to KRW 2.8 trillion on the economy. We will support the nation in this respect so that the people can create added value by using the released public data, extended in terms of both quality and quantity,” said the culture ministry.

From http://www.korea.net 01/15/2015

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MYANMAR: Over US$16 Million Spent on E-Government

 

Myanmar has spent over US$16 million on its e-government masterplan in the last four years, the ICT Ministry has announced. Since the 2011-12 financial year, 65 regional and state governments have been implementing e-government projects, said Thaung Tin, Deputy Minister, ICT Ministry. The government is developing applications which can be shared by all ministries, building infrastructure and writing a roadmap to support the uptake, he added. Each ministry is working on its own plans for delivering online services. Thaung Tin hopes that the projects will be completed by March next year. The World Bank approved a further $5.4m of funding to implement e-government projects in Myanmar in January, including a single portal for citizens and businesses to access government information and services. This money is to be spent over a four year period The government has also recently formed two units to promote transparency, acting on its plan to join the Open Government Partnership by 2016.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/28/2014

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MALAYSIA: Connectivity Raises Quality of Governance

 

As the world becomes more connected, citizens are able to share their ideas on how they are governed and hold their governments to account said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in a speech earlier this week. "People can access a huge range of statistics, indicators and international comparisons. They can read and engage with opinions and political philosopies from different systems around the world, and if they are unhappy with the state of their government, they can and will tell the world about it, in real time, with pictures, videos and hashtags to help their message across," Prime Minister Najib noted. The Malaysian leader has been a longstanding advocate of the role of social media by the public sector, requiring senior officials to create accounts, and building up 2.23 million followers on his Twitter account. Speaking of the challenge of engaging citizens, the Prime Minister referred to the challenge posed by 'disengagement in the age of distraction'. "We must find new and creative ways to ensure people remain engaged with their local communities, that they feel as much a part of their nation as they do their favourite Facebook group," he continued.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/28/2014

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SINGAPORE: New Mobile App OneService Enables One-Stop Municipal Feedback

 

SINGAPORE: To provide more timely feedback on municipal issues in Singapore, the public can now make use of "OneService" - a mobile app for Android and iOS users. Minister in the Prime Minister's office Grace Fu, who is also the Minister overseeing the Municipal Services Office (MSO), launched the app on Sunday (Jan 25). The app aims to make it easier and faster for the public to report any issues they encounter. For starters, feedback can be submitted according to categories such as "Animals", "Cleanliness" and "Roads and footpaths" instead of agencies. This way users do not have the added worry of identifying the agency in charge of a particular issue. The app will automatically channel all feedback to the relevant agencies so more timely service and response can be provided. Plus, the geo-tagging function in the app will automatically pinpoint the exact location of the problem, while the photo-taking feature will provide a clearer picture to agencies. Ms Fu said there is scope for agencies to improve in their delivery of municipal services - particularly in areas where multiple agencies need to be involved or when the issue is complex in nature. She added that with the app, it will be more convenient for the public to give their feedback and the MSO will progressively enhance the app to be even more user-friendly. According to MSO, agencies will send an acknowledgement reply upon receiving a feedback. While turnaround time may vary from case to case, users can expect a response within a week of submission for straightforward municipal-related issues. Feedback requiring further investigation or review may take up to three weeks.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 01/25/2015

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INDIA: FM - Role of IT Sector Is Crucial in Order to Promote E-Governance for Empowering Citizens; to Promote the Inclusive and Sustainable Growth of the Electronics, IT and ITeS Industries and Enhancing India’s Role in Internet Governance

 

The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said that the role of IT sector, be it hardware or software, is crucial in order to promote e-governance for empowering citizens. He said that the role of this sector is also important in promoting the inclusive and sustainable growth of the electronics, IT and ITeS industries and enhancing India’s role in internet governance. The Finance Minister said that at a larger scale, the role of IT sector is crucial for boosting manufacturing sector in the country. He said that reviving manufacturing, diversifying its base and equipping it for robust long run expansion is one of the major challenges of our economic management in the next five years. The Finance Minister, Shri Jaitley was making his Opening Remarks during the Pre Budget Consultative Meeting with the IT (Hardware & Software) Groups here today. The Finance Minister further said that the government introduced ‘Make in India’ initiative in this context which refers to the production in India at a competitive price with global quality standards. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the idea is that large scale production at competitive price in India for the global market will create gainful employment and will help India reap demographic dividend, increase their purchasing power faster, and finally, with rising incomes will generate a huge market within India.

 

The Finance Minister, Shri Jaitley said that the overall rapid growth of the section in recent years, including exports earnings of about US$86 billion demonstrate sustained competitiveness and an ability of the sector to overcome structural deficiencies related to business and policy environment. He further said that the portfolio and capabilities of Indian IT/ITeS industry have significantly expanded, and is perhaps the only country other than the USA, with the capability of providing end to end services in IT, BPM, Software Products and Engineering, Research and Development and more recently in Internet and e-Commerce. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the success of ‘Digital India’ initiative will necessarily rely on the IT/BPM sector for design, deployment and its continued success. Realization of ‘Make in India’ is inseparable from ICT sector. He said that modern manufacturing relies on IT for efficiencies and innovation leading to ‘know-why’ of products and processes. He further said that similar contribution from the IT sector can be made in healthcare, education and defence etc. He said that the Government’s focus on financial inclusion will require enabling financial transactions on the mobile and internet for greater access.

 

The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley said that the Government is, therefore, keen to leverage the inherent strength of the IT sector as it charges the growth map for the country and would certainly take further policy and regulatory initiatives based on the inputs from the participants in today’s meeting.  The meeting was attended among others by Shri Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, Shri Rajiv Mehrishi, Finance Secretary, Shri Shaktikanta Dass, Revenue Secretary, Shri Ratan P. Watal, Secretary (Expenditure), Secretary, Electronics, Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, and Ms. Snehlata Shrivastava, Additional Secretary (DFS). The representatives of the IT (Hardware & Software) Groups present during the meeting included Shri Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys, Shri Suresh Senapathy, CFO, Wipro, Shri Anil Chanana, CFO, HCL Technologies, Shri Phiroz Vandrevala, Executive Vice President, TCS, Shri R. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, NASSCOM, Shri R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM, Shri Sachin Bansal, CEO, Flipkart, Shri Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal, Shri Rostow Ravanan, ED, Mindtree, Shri Naveen Tewari, CEO, InMobi, Shri Vinod Nayyar,Tech Mahendra, , Shri Nitin Kunkolienkeer, Vice President, Manufacturer’s Association for Information Technology, Shri Sandeep Girotra, Head of Indian Region, Nokia, Shri N.K. Goyal, President, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India, Shri Pankaj Mahendra, Cellular Ltd. and Shri Subhash Goyal, President, ELCINA Electronic Industries Association of India among others.

 

This was for the first time that the Finance Minister held an exclusive Pre-budget meeting with the representatives of IT industry.  Various suggestions were made by representatives of IT industry during the meeting. Major suggestions include incentives for setting-up of data centers within the country. It was said there is a need to give tax incentives for building infrastructure for large data centers and cloud services within the country to ensure data security as well as to have a big network of large software products companies within the country. Besides it, other suggestions include more budgetary allocation for digital literacy programme in order to make Digital India a success, to promote innovations by allowing angel funding, stable tax regime, direct tax benefits for the sector, tax benefits for cashless transactions, resolving issues relating to double taxation on software products, transfer pricing and duty drawback. There is need for clarity on royalty payment on software products (whether goods or services)

 

Other suggestions include initiatives to improve overall business environment including ease of doing business and setting-up of a High Level Committee for industry interactions. In order to make ‘Make in India’ success, extend investment allowance for efficiency enhancing tools like IT products, remove exclusion for expenses towards software tools for R&D deduction, incentives for digitization of SMEs, tailor incentives for skill development and employment generation for SMEs and large companies, revision/clarifications on export related issues like foreign tax credit policy, drawback scheme for services, carry backward of business losses etc. among other. Suggestions were made for clarity in service tax between domestic and overseas vendors for e-commerce and export proceed realization (SEZ). There is need for MAT rate to be rationalized, applicability on transfer pricing on companies eligible under section 10A and 10 AA and introduce duty drawback scheme for software services like goods among others.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 01/14/2015

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India's Internet Governance Model to Balance Public & Private Interests

 

NEW DELHI: India's Internet governance model will be consistent with the role private firms play in widening Internet's reach and the pre-eminent role of government in public welfare, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said today. In recent times, issues related to privacy, content regulation and barrier to access Internet or Internet based services have been in the spotlight. "Today I tried to understand the trend and cross trend of Internet governance and related issues across the world. India will decide on its Internet governance model which will be consistent with the role private players play in spread of Internet and pre-eminent role played by government in public welfare," Prasad told after a meeting on Internet governance with ministry officials. Internet governance applies to activities as diverse as coordination of technical standards, operation of critical infrastructure, development, regulation and legislation. "To come up with a broad framework, we will need to consult various stakeholders," Prasad said. Net-neutrality, which is access to Internet or Internet based services without any barrier or discrimination, has been in limelight following telecom major Airtel announcing a plan to charge separately for Internet based voice calls. The company later backtracked its plan following huge public outcry on social media. TRAI is expected to come out with a consultation paper to take a public view on regulating over-the-top telecom players like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber which facilitate their users to make calls or send messages using the Internet for free. OTT subscribers are only required to pay for Internet data consumed for using. Prasad in his meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli earlier this week had said, "For India, net neutrality is very important."

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 01/18/2015

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E-GovWatch: Single Smartcard Soon for Workers' Social Security Benefits

 

BENGALURU: Labour Ministry plans to issue a single smartcard for formal sector workers to help them avail of a host of benefits under different social security schemes such as pension, provident fund and health insurance. The ministry will seed employees’ details such as Universal PF Account Number (UAN), Employees State Insurance, Aadhaar, PAN, bank account numbers as also the IFSC codes of the bank branches, with the smartcard that will benefit employees. “The Labour Ministry has worked out a scheme to provide a single smartcard for availing various benefits of social security schemes available for the organised sector workers,” a senior Labour Ministry official said. This card will be used as a tool to verify identity, age, address, bank account and dependents for providing benefits to those workers and their dependents under various social security schemes run by the government through its agencies and bodies like Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), he added.

 

He further said the scheme would be rolled out after all UANs issued by the EPFO get operationalised and stabilisation of the database. EPFO had issued over four crore UANs to its subscribers and started seeding these portable PF account numbers with the various know-your-customer details like bank account, PAN and Aadhaar in July last year. At present, out of the 4.26 crore UANs issued as many as 31,41,173 PF accounts were activated by the subscribers. For activating the UAN, the EPFO subscriber has to log into his account on the web portal after KYC details are verified. A senior EPFO official said that though over 1.7 crore subscribers’ KYC detail is verified, a large number of accounts are not activated because many members are not that tech savvy. In the present scenario, EPFO does not issue any card or passbook to its subscribers. But they can login into their PF accounts online and can take print out of the statement. The ESIC, which has a subscriber base of over 1.8 crore, issues smartcards to formal sector workers for availing health insurance benefits under the scheme run by it. The Labour Ministry official said that with seeding of different data of subscribers of social security schemes together into a single chip, the ministry will be able to use it for providing benefits such as pension, PF and deposit linked insurance. He said it will take at least one year to make the new smart card a reality as all depends on stabilisation of UAN database.

From http://news.siliconindia.com/ 01/22/2015

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E-Governance an Essential Part of Digital India: Indian PM

 

“The more technology we infuse in Governance, the better it is for India,” said Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister. New Delhi: Taking his innovative use of social media and latest technology to the next level, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the 18th National Conference on e-Governance through Twitter. This is the first time such an address has taken place through Twitter. Below is a text from the Prime Minister’s address to the 18th National Conference on e-Governance. The Prime Minister tweeted: “Good morning friends! I am delighted to join the 18th National Conference on e-Governance through Twitter. I wanted to personally attend the conference but was unable to do so. However, there was no way I could miss interacting with you. I thought- despite not attending, how can I connect with you. That is when I decided to use technology and talk to you via this medium. Am told this conference brings together several delegates from Central and State Governments, Armed Forces, Academia, Industry and private sector.

 

The participants and their expertise make this conference a perfect forum to look at the way forward to effective and efficient e-Governance. I am also told that 22 awards will be presented in 12 categories. I congratulate all the award winners and laud their efforts. Am particularly delighted that the theme of this year's conference revolves around digital governance, skill development and employability. Centre is committed to realising dream of a Digital India, with a vision to make India a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. We are actively working to create a robust digital infrastructure that would serve the interests of our citizens and transform their lives. E-Governance is an essential part of our dream of Digital India. The more technology we infuse in Governance, the better it is for India. I am also certain that technology and e-Governance will make processes simpler and remove several obstacles slowing the pace of work and progress. While we look at e-Governance, let us think about ‘mobile first’ and thus give importance to m-Governance (mobile governance).

 

I urge you to explore ways to provide as many services as possible through mobiles. Let us bring the world into our mobile phones! The youthful energy that our Nation possesses is our prized asset. Giving an impetus to skill development through technology is essential. Scale and speed at which we have to take India's development journey requires maximum and smart utilisation of latest technology. I am sure this all-India conference will become a focal point of several innovative ideas that will help our Nation in the years to come. Once again, my best wishes to everyone in the conference. Thank you very much.” Recently, during President Obama's visit to India, the Prime Minister shared through "SoundCloud" the special episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat.’ He also shared a native video on Facebook and an audio tweet and video tweet of glimpses of his speech at the NCC parade on 28th January.

From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 01/30/015

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AZERBAIJAN: Largest Bank Connects to E-gov’t Portal

 

International Bank of Azerbaijan has started issuing electronic certificates through the portal of electronic government (e-gov.az), the message of the Information Technology Center of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan said Jan.21.  The message said the project is being implemented in order to provide personal information to the citizens appealed to the bank.  One can use the service with the help of the “Online help on personal data of the citizens.”  Citizens will be able to create personal information about them after registering on the portal of electronic government and send it to the bank. Online Help will have legal force that will simplify the procedure of registration of documents for bank lending.  Along with this, clients of the IBA will be able to use this service in the specific terminals installed in the bank. At present, the service is available in the central branch of the IBA, the branch “Premier” and branches located in Sabail and Yasamal districts of Baku.  Bank Respublika, Unibank, Bank of Baku, AccessBank, Muganbank and VTB Bank (Azerbaijan) also joined the project of ITC. It is planned to expand cooperation in this field with other banks as well in the future.  There are 44 banks in Azerbaijan.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/21/2015

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Azerbaijan Starts to Apply E-Mortgage Portal

 

The portal will be avaliable for population since February. Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund has successfully completed application of E-mortgage portal and the system has been put into use of market participants.   AMD told APA-Economics that the system allows market participants – authorized credit institutions, insurance and appraiser companies to implement all technical procedures online.   Along with this, the e-mortgage portal (www.e-ipoteka.azwil) will be launched since 2 February.

From http://news.az/ 01/31/2015

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BAHRAIN: Among Top 25 Egovernment Leaders Worldwide

 

Bahrain has been ranked among the top 25 eGovernment leaders in the world, according to the UN eGovernment Survey 2014. Bahrain is the only Arab country to feature in this category of advanced countries which have a very good development rate on the eGovernment Development Index, said the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication. South Korea has retained the top spot this year with its continued leadership and focus on eGovernment innovation. Australia (second) and Singapore (third) have both improved their rankings considerably over their 2012 performance. Bahrain was ranked 18th out of 193 UN member states, followed by Iceland, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium. “The global achievement acknowledges Bahrain’s landmark eGovernment strides,” said Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi as he received a copy of the survey from eGovernment Authority chief executive Mohammed Al Qaed.

From http://www.tradearabia.com/ 01/02/2015

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UZBEKISTAN: To Establish Ministry of Development of IT and Communications

 

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov signed a decree on "Establishment of the ministry of development of information technologies and communications".  According to the decree, released on Feb.5, the ministry is being established on the basis of the State Committee of Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies.  Ensuring the implementation of a unified state policy in the field of information technologies and communications, creating the "e-government" - are among the main tasks and directions of the new ministry’s activity. Working out and implementing the comprehensive programs for the implementation and development of a national information and communication system are also among these tasks. The ministry will be charged with further development and modernization of the telecommunication infrastructure. 

 

The ministry will implement the state programs for the creation of the "e-government", interministerial coordination, monitoring, evaluation and control of the activity of the ministries, departments, companies and associations, on the scene public authorities charged with informatization and improvement of interactive state services.  The ministry will also create a unified system of formation, storage and use of state information resources and databases.  The ministry was also tasked to further develop the national segment of the Internet.  It will also coordinate and assist the development of domestic production and domestic market of competitive software and services, and the introduction of modern software, information systems and information resources.  The ministry was entrusted to implement measures to ensure information security, and organize researches and developments, and will also execute the functions of government regulation, licensing and control of the activities in telecommunications area and in the use of the radio spectrum.  It will also carry out international cooperation in the field of communications and information technologies.  The State Committee for Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies was established by a presidential decree in October 2012, replacing the Uzbek Agency for Communication and Informatization.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 02/06/2015

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AUSTRALIA: NICTA Advises Government to Do More on Identity Assurance

 

Australian Government agencies must adopt identity authentication techniques, according to a new report by the agency which advises the public sector on ICT. A white paper from National Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA) said that using these tools will verify that people on the website are citizens, and allow them greater flexibility in how they access government digital services. Some governments are already starting to test identity assurance services like those provided by Google and Facebook, the report said. Last month, the United Kingdom announced a new beta program for people to choose from a variety of private sector identity assurance options. Meanwhile, the Estonian Government has pioneered a single system for people to register for all citizen-facing services. NICTA also said that Governments’ storage of data must move towards cloud-computing services to save cost by eliminating unnecessary data centres.

 

Further, it suggests that agencies should review service arrangements to provide more room for private platforms to work with the government. In a speech to the FutureGov Summit this week, Paul Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, said that the mindset that governments should not outsource their platforms to external parties “is increasingly incompatible with end user needs in the digital age”. The NICTA report also warned of challenges faced by Australian government such as the unpopular reception of digital channels from the public, the cost, complexity, and lack of skills to change and implement e-government systems. Appropriate protocols are yet to be implemented for shared services and data between agencies, it added.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 11/28/2014

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Australia Latest to Create Specialist E-Government Unit

 

The Australian Government has today announced plans to establish a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) to manage the development of digital public services across government. Based in the Department of Communications, the unit will combine web developers, designers, researchers and content specialists from across government into a new unit to quickly improve e-government services. The announcement said it will “operate more like a start-up than a traditional government agency”. One of the DTO’s first tasks will be creating a single digital identity for citizens to use to log in to every online government service. The unit is also intended to work closely with state governments, according to the announcement.

 

The DTO is a very similar approach to that taken first in the United Kingdom, and then in the United States. Britain set up the Government Digital Service in 2011, taking the management of e-government services away from individual departments and placing it in a specialist unit with greater hiring power and management structures more akin to a startup than a government agency. Last year, the United States government created 18F, its own specialist digital team operating from the centre of government with a remit to work across all departments. Singapore has also established its own government digital team within the Infocomm Development Authority, although its remit is less wide-ranging. The move comes after Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (pictured), invited members of the Government Digital Service to Australia last year to discuss their operating model.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/23/2015

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‘Digital Transformation’ Office to Be Setup

 

AUSTRALIANS will be offered a single “digital identity” to access all government services. The identity will replace the tangle of usernames, passwords and processes that Australians use to log on to dozens of government agencies and departments online. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull will oversee the change, which will be driven by a new Digital Transformation Office in his department. The DTO will recruit developers, designers, researchers and content specialists working across government to improve digital services. Mr Turnbull said it would operate more like a tech start-up than a traditional government agency. “Interacting with government should be as easy as internet banking or ordering a taxi through an app,” he said. The minister said security and privacy of personal information would be protected.

From http://www.theaustralian.com.au 01/23/2015

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Australian Government Unveils Cloud Services Panel

 

Microsoft, Datacom, IBM, and Macquarie Telecom are among the first to be included in the Australian government's new whole-of-government cloud services panel. As part of the Abbott government's digital strategy, the Department of Finance went to tender in September last year for a whole-of-government cloud services panel to provide software, platform, and infrastructure as a service to the government. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Friday announced the first 49 companies to be added to the panel, including F1 Solutions, Fuji Xerox, Redcore, and Zettagrid. The government had originally targeted finalising the panel at the end of 2014. Under the revised cloud policy released in October, government agencies must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data, and delivers value for money. The commonwealth is attempting to drive up agency usage of cloud services after it was revealed that despite the government spending nearly AU$6 billion per year on IT, total procurement of cloud services by federal agencies since July 2010 added up to just AU$4.7 million.

 

Now that the cloud panel is in place, the government is likely to begin examining the possibility of moving to a whole-of-government arrangement for desktop services and email. "We're closing at the moment a scoping study on what we're calling GovDesk and GovMail, which are similar infrastructure-level offerings for agencies to provide office automation services for a subscription price they can use and provide it centrally, and potentially the same thing for email," federal government chief technology officer John Sheridan said in November. Sheridan indicated that the services could be put to the market later this year or in 2016.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/13/2015

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Australia Building Single Log-In for Central, State and Local Government Services

 

Australia's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) will build a single log-in for government services that will operate across federal, state and local governments. The move is important because it bridges the divide between central and local government digital services by creating a common system for citizens anywhere in Australia. The current federal myGov system, run by the Department of Human Services, will now be managed by the DTO and made available to local government. Speaking in Parliament, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull - who is responsible for the DTO - said that “to bring on board a state government service agency costs only $50,000 [US$39,000] in onboarding costs. We are going to make this available to all local and state government for no charge from the Commonwealth. This is going to revolutionise the way state services are delivered, it's going to make government more efficient”. According to a post on Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's website, the DTO will also work with state and local governments on a “digital mailbox and a digital identity platform.”

 

Like others in the region, including Singapore and New Zealand, Australia has established a central digital team with a remit to work across all central government digital services. “The DTO has been established so that agencies can adopt a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to service delivery, moving beyond the current model of agencies operating in silos,” according to Turnbull. The services built by the DTO will be “reusable and interconnected”, he pledged. DTO's announcements mark a significant step forward for the concept of 'government as a platform', an idea coined by Tim O'Reilly and being popularised in the UK. This concept sees all government agencies using the same basic systems based on a framework set by central government. Britain's Government Digital Service - which inspired the launch of the DTO - is looking to expand its mandate to cover local government services. Both the government and opposition parties in the UK have committed to make this happen after the next general election in May.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/16/2015

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NEW ZEALAND: How govt.nz Listens to Citizens’ Problems

 

New Zealand’s new e-government web site - govt.nz - is focused on meeting user needs, the government has said. FutureGov spoke with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to find out how the agency has used user feedback in the new web site. Users have told the government that they don’t want something flashy and with a lot of images, but a service that gets the job done, said Nadia Webster, Principal Adviser, Digital Engagement at DIA. “The point of it is not to attract people or get them excited because what they really want to do on a government web site is answer the question, get the information and get to where they want to go,” she said. With these in mind, the government developed and launched in a new web site consolidating services across agencies in July. As a result, the web site has seen an 84 per cent increase in traffic through organic search in November 2014, compared to November 2013, Webster said. The department has been analysing user behaviour on its web site and listening to feedback from visitors to understand what they want. “We’re doing a lot of work on the analytics of the site to understand the user journeys and to tweak how the site works in response,” Webster said. The department is tracking what visitors click on, what pathways they use to get to the information they want and what search terms they use.

 

Govt.nz also has the traditional feedback form, so visitors can tell DIA about problems they find or things they don’t like. The department used feedback and statistics on govt.nz’s predecessor, newzealand.govt.nz, to understand what users want as well. “We used to get a lot of emails [with] people requesting information because they couldn’t find it on government web sites,” she said. DIA is using all of this to make small, but continuous improvements to the web site. Australia is also using this “agile” approach for its recently launched e-government portal and has continued to collect feedback on it. A challenge to this approach is that “you’re always trying to get the right mix that’s going to suit most of the people”, Webster admitted. “We do a lot of user research to do that [and] to understand those [needs], but it’s never going to be a 100 per cent for everybody.” Another challenge was in translating government jargon to simple language, which was one of the design principles of the web site, she added. The challenge was to get over 40 agencies to check that the translation to plain language done by DIA was accurate. “There was a lot of to and fro because some agencies insisted on using certain language and we had to [compare] that with what our user testing showed us.”

 

The department has come up with a style guide which defines the language that should be used and how government-related topics should be described in simple language. It is published on govt.nz and other agencies are starting to use it in their communications with citizens, Webster said. The government is also planning to take learnings from the govt.nz experience and make iterative improvements to the open data portal, data.govt.nz, she said. In the mean time, DIA will continue collecting user feedback to decide what functionalities to introduce next and what content to bring from other agencies.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 12/18/2014

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How the NZ Govt Can Do More with Data

 

New Zealand’s recent ranking as the joint-fourth leading country in the world in implementing open data strategies carries greater significance according to one industry analyst. “This is about more than just transparency,” says Nick Wallace, analyst, Ovum. “Opening up city data provides the raw material for a whole range of new services.” Examining open data readiness, implementation, and impact across 86 countries, the UK once again earned the top spot in the Barometer’s global rankings this year, followed by the US, Sweden, France and New Zealand while Australia ranked joint-tenth in the list. But according to Wallace, governments, including that of New Zealand, should help poor cities to build their own platform. “The new edition of Open Data Barometer has once again ranked the UK as number one for openness, but finds that with the exception of a few leading countries, most are falling behind on their stated plans,” Wallace claims. The report also observes that the presence of city-level open data initiatives correlates with a higher social impact of open data, and argues that opening up city-level data will help to complement national initiatives.

 

“The most popular open-data-based tools come out of city-level data, because such data is relevant to citizens’ daily lives,” Wallace says. “It is being used to build navigation apps that incorporate real-time public transport information, to map out the cost of renting a house, and to show availability at city bike-sharing terminals. The potential social value of city-level data deserves special attention from policymakers. What might be accessible to a machine or long-in-the-tooth city bureaucrat could look like gibberish to anyone else, even a well-heeled data analyst,” he adds. “Unintentional misuse of incomprehensible – or worse, unreliable – data could carry social costs: nobody wants a navigation app that makes them miss their train or catch the wrong bus. Open data doesn’t just mean pushing data onto the Internet; it means investing in making sure that others can reuse it with confidence. Some countries have national platforms for local government data, but they are generally unimpressive, even in leading countries,” he adds. “The best examples of city-level open data around the world are locally controlled.” As a result, Wallace recommends that instead of spending money on trying to open up cities’ data for them, national governments should help poorer cities’ attempts to develop their own platforms.

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 02/02/2015

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EUROPE: German State to Use Budget Surplus for Faster Internet

 

In the run-up to the state budget talks on 3 February, municipalities in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania demand that the surplus from the federal state budget is used for faster broadband expansion, heise.de reports. In order to get companies to invest in the area as well as to increase competitiveness and tourism, high broadband coverage is essential, according to local politicians. Infrastructure minister Christian Pegel (SPD) had already announced the government will give a higher priority to digital infrastructure when distributing the expected surplus of EUR 165 million.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 02/02/2015

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Dutch Govt Looks into Influence of Internet Companies

 

The Dutch government wants to identify internet “gatekeepers”, companies that play a special role in the internet economy and which have therefore garnered a position of power, like Google or Facebook. The ministry of economic affairs did not preclude the need for further regulation, which it said it also needed in Brussels. Providers of fixed and mobile networks have a special position as gatekeepers for the internet, the ministry said. That is why net neutrality rules were developed for providers. Other parties also play that role, such as companies with a platform (search engine or social network), that brings people into connection with each other. The ministry will this year continue to look at the role these platforms play in the internet economy market and if further regulation is needed. European competition rules could play a role, promoting a sort of “platform neutrality”. In both national and Europe-wide cases, this would mean rules for providers such as Google and Facebook. This could mean splitting up activities, for example. Talks will continue with both traditional and new players, as well as European partners. Measures protecting end-users may also be discussed.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 01/02/2015

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Online Digital Goods Could Be Subject to GST Under OECD Global Plan

 

A global regime that would lead to Australians paying GST on digital books, music, games and other items bought online from overseas is a step closer after the release of a proposal for consideration by advanced economies. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released a paper in December that was strongly backed by local retailers. It was released just before the federal government signalled it could move on the issue as part of its own white paper process. The OECD paper follows a forum in Tokyo in April where 100 countries agreed, in principle, to take action. Australia attended the forum. If adopted by member states, including Australia, it would mean that foreign suppliers would have to pay sales taxes, such as GST, on online goods bought by local consumers. Major suppliers of digital products including Amazon, Apple and Google would be likely to comply with a flat tax.

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In Australia, goods bought online and worth less than $1000 are not subject to the 10 per cent GST. The paper recommends that overseas suppliers be required to register in countries where they ship goods as the "most effective and efficient approach" to tax. At the same time, it recommends that governments implement simplified registration and compliance regimes. The OECD proposal, which is out for consultation until February, also recommends that jurisdictions work more closely together to ensure the correct tax is collected from companies based beyond their borders. New Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in December that the federal government would consider whether to apply GST to low-value online purchases from overseas as part of its white paper process. Australian retailers have long complained about the loophole, saying it puts them at a disadvantage compared with overseas competitors.

 

They want items bought from overseas websites for as little as 1¢ to be subject to the tax in order to even the playing field. KPMG's head of indirect tax, Dermot Gaffney, said the OECD proposal, if implemented in Australia, would result in a large amount of lost revenue now being taxed. "Digital books, music, games and other items purchased by Australian residents would all be subject to GST for the first time," he said. Online retailer Gerry Harvey, who has long advocated that online goods be subject to GST, said the exemptions benefited overseas technology giants. He described it as a "rort that's been going on for a long time". "All the big tech companies have been exploiting that right [to not pay GST]," Mr Harvey said. "They milked it, and they will continue to milk it until someone stops them." He said a change to the GST threshold would not benefit the Harvey Norman retail chain "but it does have a big impact on things that are brought into [the] country like handbags, shoes, dresses and books".

 

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the OECD plan made sense, and, if implemented, would ensure that local retailers were no longer disadvantaged. "If you're an online retailer in Australia selling e-books, you still have to pay the GST, but if you shift yourself offshore, you don't have to pay it any longer," he said. While there would always be price differentials, Mr Zimmerman said it would give local retailers a chance to be more competitive against overseas players. Mr Frydenberg has said the upcoming tax white paper would examine the issue, although he did not go as far as saying how low the existing $1000 threshold should fall. "It makes sense to have a serious look at this from a jobs perspective because the retailers are such big employers," Mr Frydenberg said.

 

Attempts to raise GST or change the threshold would need the support of the states. Treasurer Joe Hockey had commissioned a joint working group of state and federal bureaucrats to finalise proposals for lowering the threshold at its March meeting, but state governments failed to reach a deal. An options paper ahead of the tax white paper, which Mr Frydenberg will play a big part in steering in his new role, is expected to be released early in 2015. The white paper will also canvass changes to GST, such as increasing its rate or broadening the base to include other goods such as fresh food. Mr Hockey has ruled out immediate changes to GST, saying that the budget could not afford the compensation needed to make a GST increase politic­ally palatable. Abbott government adviser and pollster Mark Textor had told Fairfax Media in an interview that any increase in GST would need to be supported by tax cuts and/or greater spending on public services such as health and education.

 

Mr Hockey agreed that middle and low-income Australians would have to be "compensated" with "significant tax cuts" but said "we haven't got the financial capacity to do that at the moment". While the government would not take action on GST in its first term, Mr Hockey has not ruled out taking the proposal to the next election. In an interview with Fairfax Media in December, the OECD's head of tax, Pascal Saint-Amans, said there was scope to lift the GST rate and broaden the base to bring Australia into line with other countries. The OECD is taking written submissions on its proposed plan regarding taxing digital goods. Public consultation on the discussion draft will be held in February at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris.

From http://www.smh.com.au/ 12/31/2014

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CHINA: A Business Model for the Internet Age

 

Since the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978, China has imported and adapted international business theories and practices. But the winds of change may be coming as some of the more successful Chinese companies are trying to pursue their own innovative ways to work in the market.Zhang Ruimin, chairman and CEO of the Haier Group, recently talked to China Daily about how the company, one of China's largest manufacturers of electronic and electrical appliances, is pioneering new values and practices in its organizational management.Zhang not only wants to make Haier a big global company, but also a business "platform" where different Haier teams offer niche services to customers.He says that requires the company change its old pyramid-shaped, command-and control-based organization into a "flattened" community of small business organizations that, to a large extent, are self-managed.And that is a revolution in Zhang's traditional power as CEO."What power?" Zhang asked. "The bosses are not customers, why should the workers listen to them?"In Zhang's model, the CEO can only earn his authority from the consent of the small "enterprises" operating on the company's platform.

 

The CEO's responsibilities are to coordinate the "system", and to provide expertise-based services to the different units that are essentially self-managing.There have already been some 200 "micro-enterprises" under the Haier umbrella. But up to now, only 10 percent have become fully independent and able to draw all their revenues from market-oriented innovations. "It takes time, as it inevitably will, for workers to adapt to the change and to tap the new resources they can use," he said.Haier still doesn't have a mature organizational model, Zhang admitted. But he is quite clear about its basic goal. That is for it to become a company of many innovators and implementers, a company of "makers" who are good at combining new technologies and practical skills.Zhang has been active in explaining his new management concept at various business forums, although he says it is still too early to obtain tangible results and solid data from the structural change he has initiated."As a direction for progress, I think this is absolutely correct", he said, although he noted that such a change will unavoidably meet many uncertainties along the way and will have to avoid contracting the so-called large-enterprise disease, such as rampant bureaucracy. But the key, he stressed, is that in the "Internet age" it needs to be done.

 

Since 2013, Haier has radically restructured - cutting 26,000 positions for middle-level managers in a company that had 86,000 employees in total.Zhang explains business in the Internet era has three main characteristics: zero distance from customers, centerless organizations and distributive use of resources."Hanging on to the past is just impossible," said the 65-year-old industrialist.Following these new characteristics of the times, Haier's ongoing organizational change aims to make the company into a platform that encourages employees to become innovators (or "makers", in Zhang's own word) by utilizing the resources within the company and on the Web so they can provide customized products and services to satisfy the demands of customers.By transforming Haier into an open business platform, Zhang said he hoped that the company would enable customers to access services provided by some of the most intelligent people in the world.Zhang's determination to pursue change comes from his deep conviction that Haier's growth up to now is mainly a result of its following trends rather than creating trends."When a storm comes, pigs can also fly in the sky - although they don't know why," he said.During that storm in the early 1980s, Zhang turned a bankrupt State-owned refrigerator factory in the coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong province, into a company that takes in 160 billion yuan ($27 billion) in global revenue now.To achieve that, the company has been engaged in a constant learning process, whether adopting the Total Quality Management from Japan in the 1980s, or the Six Sigma management model from the United States in the 1990s."But these models are losing their shine in the Internet age," Zhang said, and so, braving all kinds of criticism and disbelief, he is courageously pursuing his own model.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/03/2014

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JD.com Copes with Intel for Real Sense Shopping Online

 

China's e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. on Wednesday signed a framework agreement with Intel Corp. to set up a joint innovation laboratory to explore "real sense" shopping online.According to the strategic cooperation agreement, the two Nasdaq-listed firms will develop applications such as 3D product display and visual fitting rooms for Jingdong's retail website JD.com.Other collaborative projects in the pipeline for the next two years include smart hardware as well as plans to develop tailor-made servers for corporate customers to help them promote online sales of their products.JD.com Inc. is one of four Chinese firms in the world's top 10 Internet companies by market value. The company said that its partnership with Intel will help promote a slew of new applications that will improve its e-commerce services, for example, digital image processing, database monitoring, identity authentication and website security.JD.com Inc. moved online in 2004, selling consumer electronics, computers and books. It now has 25 million registered users and 6,000 suppliers nationwide. By the end of 2013, JD.com Inc. had 82 warehouses in 34 cities, almost 1,500 delivery terminals in 460 cities, and 209 locations for customers to pick up their orders.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/17/2014

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Amazon Begins Chinese-language International Shopping Services in China

 

Amazon.cn announced that its Chinese-language international shopping store started trial operation this past week.The overseas products purchased by Chinese consumers will be delivered to them in an average of two weeks, with expedited shipping times of as little as three days.Consumers can directly visit Z.cn to access the full Chinese-language Amazon international shopping store. With localized familiar operating processes, they are able to buy products from Amazon.com, enjoy the same price and quality as American consumers, and read the product comments of American consumers.In regards to tariffs, Amazon will help collect the import duties when consumers place their orders. If the collected amount is higher than the actual amount, the company will refund the consumers; while if it is lower than the actual amount, consumers do not need to make up the difference.As for post-sales services, all products purchased from Amazon international shopping store can enjoy the localized post-sales service support in China.The first batch of 80,000 products from Amazon.com is now available during the trial operation started from November 11, 2014, covering apparel, shoes, maternal and child products, cosmetics, toys, personal care, outdoor, and sports.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/19/2014

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Trust rating for Cloud Firms on Cards

 

China will soon start rating the trustworthiness of cloud computing service providers, especially for government procurement contracts, a move that could potentially shut the doors to foreign companies, a leading expert involved in drafting the policy told China Daily on Friday.Only companies that get full security clearance from the government will be allowed to join Smart City and various other government-funded projects, said Zuo Xiaodong, vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute, an industry think-tank."The basic idea of the security rating mechanism is to find trustworthy hardware, software and service providers to ensure that the government has total control of the entire ecosystem," Zuo said.He said the country is building a cloud security assessment, authorization and monitoring system similar to the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program adopted by the United States two years ago.Zuo is one of the key officials involved in drafting one of the two fundamental national standards designed to avoid security loopholes in for-government-use cloud products. The standards will be implemented from April.

 

The new policy, however, poses a threat to the market share of overseas companies in the sector although they will be allowed to take the assessment. China may ask cloud providers to hand over key operating data and source codes for security reasons, but no overseas company has publicly agreed to disclose such information to the government.Increasing IT safety concerns are pushing China to hire more local cloud technologies. A number of projects even abandoned overseas providers for made-in-China products.Earlier this year, Beijing-based virtualization company Sugon Information Industry Co Ltd replaced VMware Inc, a US firm, in a high-profile cloud project in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.Sugon, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd are among the most active supporters of replacing overseas cloud products.Wang Zhengfu, chief operating officer of Sugon, said years of heavy investment in research and development have made local firms more competitive in the market. He said the company sees the government's security requirement a golden opportunity to take on foreign players.

 

Industry sources said China may want overseas IT providers - including cloud companies - out of the government procurement market by 2020. According to Zuo, though the government has no fixed timetable, it is "determined" to use safer IT products.Turnover of the Chinese public cloud market is expected to exceed 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) this year, a 30 percent growth over the corresponding period in 2013, according to figures from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.The academy expects the government to be the major buyer of cloud products in China.Zhou Min, deputy director of the State Information Center, said local providers are capable of meeting most of the technological demands in the cloud-based public service sector. As the country demands a bigger say in the entire ecosystem, local companies are ready to take a bigger share, he said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/20/2014

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Global Christmas Buyers Embrace Chinese Online Retailers

 

Christmas shopping adapts to the internet age, Chinese e-commerce sites are grasping the opportunity to play Santa Claus for the whole world.In Russia, 29-year-old Eva is waiting for her son's new coat to arrive from China. A Christmas gift for her seven year old, she bought it using AliExpress, an overseas online shopping platform under Chinese e-commerce giant the Alibaba Group.The platform, launched in 2010, has expanded its business to 220 countries and regions worldwide. Jiang Dongjian, director of Alibaba's international department, said, during this Christmas season, the platform has been providing discounts for various products including garments, beauty products and electronics.He said Russia is a major market for Aliexpress. The website once organized a painting activity named "Santa Claus in my heart", with Russian children participating."One of the children even painted a Santa sitting on a Chinese dragon, and another kid's Santa was a giant panda in Santa's clothes," he said.In recent years, China's booming e-commerce sector has been increasing expansion abroad.

 

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show cross-border e-commerce companies in China recorded a foreign trade volume of about 3.1 trillion yuan (497.1 billion U. S. dollars) in 2013, up by about 31.3 percent from 2012. The ministry predicted the volume will grow to 6.5 trillion yuan in 2016.The LightinTheBox Holding Co., Ltd., another Chinese online retailer serving global consumers, has been offering discounts of up to 80 percent during this Christmas buying season.On Black Friday, which is considered to be the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, the company set a one-day sales record of 2.65 million U.S. dollars, a growth of 65.6 percent from last Black Friday, according to a report by the company.China's manufacturers are also benefiting from the development of cross-border e-commerce.MyLED.com, a subsidiary of Huaqiangwoguang based in Guangdong Province, provides Chinese LED products to customers around the world. Since September, the platform has been busy preparing for Christmas sales, since Christmas lights produced by Chinese LED manufacturers are a major export for China.The company's CEO Zhang Bin said this year's Christmas sales have exceeded 10 million yuan, with the biggest order, including more than a hundred different products, coming from Germany.

 

"The good performance of the Chinese cross-border e-commerce firms is based on the advantages of 'Made in China' products. Meanwhile, online retailers have provided chances for the Chinese-made products to reach the international buyers more easily," he said."Manufacturers are enjoying a larger profit margin as they no longer have to rely on middlemen to go abroad," he added.Cross-border e-commerce is also bringing discounted products from the foreign market to Chinese consumers during the Christmas season.Xiu.com is a Chinese e-commerce focused on selling foreign luxury and fashion goods to Chinese buyers. Ji Wenhong, CEO of the website said, the Christmas buying season in western countries is a golden business opportunity for his company."Many foreign retailers start a clearance sale several days ahead of Christmas, and that is when we manage to buy the products at the lowest prices," he said.China's e-commerce sector boom is backed by the central government's preferential policies.

 

The Ministry of Commerce and other departments issued a paper on implementing policies to support cross-border e-commerce retail export in August 2013. It defined six supportive policies for e-commerce exports, which covered areas such as inspection, quarantine, payment and tax rebate.In January 2014, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation ruled qualified cross-border e-commerce retail export enterprises could utilize the same tax exemption and rebate policies as ordinary foreign trade enterprises."Establishing Chinese e-commerce brands and deepening their engagement in the global market competition should be the goals for the Chinese cross-border online retailers," Zhang Bin said.However, further development of Chinese cross-border e-commerce is still facing obstacles such as the slow logistics and inconvenient cross-border payments, Zhang said.E-commerce companies should pay more attention to improving the user experience in order to attract more international customers, he said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/24/2014

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E-Commerce to Play Key Role in Poverty Relief

 

China will push forward the use of e-commerce platforms to more than 60,000 impoverished villages in the next five years to aid its relief effort, a senior official said on Wednesday at a conference in Beijing on national poverty alleviation.Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said the country will encourage residents in poor rural areas to open stores on major e-commerce platforms to distribute their agricultural produce.The authority will select 1,500 poverty-stricken villages in 2015 for a e-commerce pilot project, Liu said.The e-commerce program is part of the authority's effort to help those with the most pressing needs and to make the most efficient use of poverty reduction funds."We should further increase the intensity of our relief effort, but we should also make sure the relief effort will go to those who need it most," he said at the conference.The authority will roll out favorable measures to the poor villages to develop e-commerce networks and platforms that will enable villages and households to sell their products directly to the market. Training sessions for farmers in the use of the platforms will also be organized, he said.The authority will sign more agreements with e-commerce platforms to encourage more of them to join the poverty relief effort in the rural areas.

 

Several leading e-commerce companies in China have already announced plans to boost their infrastructure and facilities in rural areas to further explore the untapped market.E-commerce giant Alibaba announced plans in October to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) within three to five years to build thousands of facilities in rural China that include 1,000 "county operational centers" and 100,000 "village service stations". The move will extend the company's network to one-third of China's counties and one-sixth of its rural areas.JD.com has initiated its first pilot program for rural e-commerce in Renshou, Sichuan province. The company has posted its ads on more than 8,000 walls in more than 100 townships across the country since the fourth quarter of last year.China has already identified 128,000 impoverished villages and 88.6 million people living in poverty thanks to a national database project that started this year.Liu told the conference that the country will meet its target of lifting more than 10 million people out of poverty this year.In 2015, the country will also push forward the use of solar panels in rural areas to generate electricity, and the planting of paper mulberry as a cash crop in impoverished areas as part of the new programs.

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/25/2014

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China's NetEase Attacks Alibaba with New Cross-border Shopping Website

 

Chinese Internet portal NetEase.com announced the public testing of its cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola.com, which currently provides maternal and child products, food and health care products, cosmetics and personal care products, and overseas direct mail service.New users can directly login to the website with their NetEase accounts. The definite date for emergence from the beta testing has not been released.Kaola.com launched two models: bonded zone delivery and overseas direct mail. With bonded zone delivery, products will be purchased via centralized procurement and stored in bonded warehouses in China.Users will be able to receive the goods in less than three days after order placement. With overseas direct mail, products will be shipped by overseas certified vendors and consumers can receive goods in seven to 30 days.This new website marks NetEase's latest attempt to gain traction in the e-commerce sector. In September 2012, NetEase launched Huihui.cn, which offered advertising solutions for B2C and C2C partners. In December 2012, the company launched an Internet sales platform for health and nutrition products.Kaola.com more importantly is a direct response to Alibaba's latest moves to entice buyers both outside of China to purchase goods in China and for buyers in China to purchase goods from international sellers who ship goods to China.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/15/2015

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China's E-Commerce Trade Reaches US$2.1 Trln in 2014

 

The government says China's e-commerce transactions totaled 2.1 trillion US dollars in 2014.The spokesman of the commerce ministry says the number represents growth of 25 percent compared to 2013.China has the world's biggest online population, 632 million as of last year.Online shopping has exploded in recent years as consumers turn to the Internet for cheaper products and overseas goods that are believed to be safer than domestic options, such as baby formula.Authorities have said they hope e-commerce will become a new "engine" for growth in the world's second-largest economy.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/22/2015

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China E-Commerce Targeting Rural, Foreign Markets

 

As the world's biggest e-commerce market, China has attracted global attention for an online shopping spree that has revolutionized the nation's shopping habits.In 2014, China's e-commerce transactions expanded 20 percent year on year to hit 12 trillion yuan (1.96 trillion U.S. dollars), while online retail sales grew 41 percent, ringing up transactions of 2.6 trillion yuan, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) showed.Hoping to tap the new territory to offset a saturated urban market, China's e-commerce giants have stepped up expansion of online retail business in rural areas and abroad while promoting targeted and tailored services to consumers.Alibaba announced in October 2014 that it will invest 10 billion yuan over the next three to five years to build 1,000 "operating centers" in county seats and up to 100,000 "service outlets" in villages in order to expand its presence in the rural market.

 

JD.com Inc., a Nasdaq-listed e-commerce firm, has also announced plans to set up a county-level center in south China's Guangdong Province to facilitate farmers shopping online.Suning Commerce Group, another major player in Chinese e-commerce, also plans to establish 10,000 depots covering 25 percent of Chinese rural areas in five years, according to its vice president Sun Weimin."The rural market will become a new engine to drive e-commerce growth and the competition to dominate the new territory has just started," said Sun.Experts forecast the rural e-commerce market will top 460 billion yuan in sales by 2016, and that it will exceed consumption by urbanites in as few as 10 years.Meanwhile, Chinese online shoppers' appetite for overseas goods is also growing.

 

The Ministry of Commerce forecast cross-border trade by e-commerce companies in China will be worth 6.5 trillion yuan in 2016, with an average annual growth of over 30 percent.To capitalize, Amazon China announced in August that it will begin cross-border online shopping with a facility in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Chinese buyers can go to Amazon websites in the United States and other countries to buy online and receive shipments from Shanghai in a week to 10 days with lower delivery costs.Alibaba has also opened channels for buying goods online from overseas and is using its global payment system, Alipay, to bring in more players from abroad, including U.S. retailing giants Macy's, Bloomingdale's and luxury brands like Prada and Hugo Boss.

 

China's e-commerce giants are also using Big Data technologies to grasp consumer trends and exploit analysis of personal consumption habits.Li Xi, vice president of JD.com, told Xinhua that adopting Big Data was allowing JD to customize its products to consumers based on their previous orders."Data mining has become an important driver for business innovation and decision-making," said Li.In other words, Big Data is fulfilling sellers' dreams of knowing what their customers want, and is helping bosses make business decisions.As Suning's Sun Weimin has put it, no matter how the online business mode, science and technology develop, the purpose of e-commerce will remain unchanged: "to always serve the customers."

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/31/2015

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Chinese Internet Company Sets Domain Name Record with USD17 Million Purchase

 

How much is a good website domain name worth these days? An insider from Qihoo 360 confirmed that the company has invested USD17 million, which is about CNY110 million, to acquire the top-level domain 360.com.This top-level domain was previously owned by telecom carrier Vodafone.At present, the domain has directed to Qihoo 360's search engine site Haosou.com. At the same time, the owner information of domain record has been updated to Beijing Qihoo Technology Company Limited.Qihoo 360's domain acquisition price reportedly sets a new record for domain transactions, making 360.com the most expensive publicly-priced domain in the world. Prior to this, Sex.com held the first position. This domain was acquired by Clover Holdings Ltd from an adult entertainment company named Escom LLC for USD13 million in 2008.

 

The insider from Qihoo 360 said that the lack of an international top-level domain was a major brand risk for the company. The domain acquisition will help Qihoo 360 improve its international brand image and eliminate the brand risk. In 2015, Qihoo 360 will enhance expansion in overseas markets and this new top-level domain will become a big advantage.The security software and mobile services company previously relied on the domain 360.cn, but now it will focus on solely using the new 360.com domain name.Dropping the .cn domain name is important for international expansion because many email providers will block email coming from .cn domains; search engines pigeonhole .cn domains as only focusing on Chinese users; and many international users are unaware of the .cn extension and will attempt instead to always visit the .com address.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/09/2015

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E-Commerce Stands Test as Couriers Go Home for Holiday

 

China's e-commerce industry is being tested as more than half of couriers are going home for the Lunar New Year holiday.Though the State Post Bureau has urged companies to continue deliveries over the period, which lasts about three weeks, some have found it hard to cope with the shortage of labor.Wu Bo of Best Express said they had to work around the clock to handle packages before Spring Festival, but efficiency may be affected as many couriers in big cities have to go back home.Xiong Jun, a manager with STO Express, said more than half of its couriers in Beijing have gone home.China's e-commerce industry employs some 1.2 million couriers. Though a large number of couriers go home for family reunions, some are choosing to stay as many Chinese people can't do without delivery services.Liu Xin, a courier from YTO Express, said he would stay in Beijing during the holiday because he can earn several times his usual salary.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/14/2014

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JAPAN: Electronics Makers Focus on Low-Cost Smartphones

 

Major electronics makers are rushing into the low-cost smartphone market, shifting a business focus from supplying handsets for major mobile phone carriers such as NTT Docomo Inc. Earlier this month, retail giant Aeon Co. started offering Fujitsu Ltd.’s Arrows M01 handsets for its inexpensive smartphone services. For Fujitsu, the smartphone is the first low-cost model. While cutting costs by downgrading the performance of the smartphone’s camera, compared with cameras of models supplied to major carriers, Fujitsu keeps the low-end model water- and dust-proof. Peer Sharp Corp. has started supplying its Aquos SH-M01 smartphones to low-cost services operated by a unit of online shopping service provider Rakuten Inc. In the meantime, Kyocera Corp.’s KC-01 model has been adopted for low-cost smartphone services by KDDI Value Enabler Corp., a unit of KDDI Corp. Monthly fees for low-cost smartphone services offered by retailers is about half of those for services provided by major carriers. Smartphones for such services have been supplied mainly by Taiwanese and Chinese electronics makers as well as small and midsize manufacturers in Japan. But demand for major domestic makers’ handsets has grown particularly among housewives and older people considering purchases of low-cost smartphones, a Fujitsu official said. Domestic makers face pressure from U.S. Apple Inc.’s iPhones on supplying smartphones to major mobile phone carriers, said Eiji Mori, analyst at private research firm BCN Inc. Mori noted that the recent launches of low-cost smartphones have come at a time when major makers seeking new customers share a mutual interest with low-cost smartphone service operators hoping to offer quality devices.

From http://the-japan-news.com 12/14/2014

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High-Speed Visible Light Communication Tech Developed for Smartphones

 

Panasonic Corp has developed a visible light communication technology that uses a smartphone camera for reading and features a high data transmission rate of several kilobits per second. The data transmission rate of conventional visible light communication technologies that use a smartphone camera is lower than 20 bits per second. The company will commercialize a device that transmits an ID from a light source in fiscal 2015. As ID transmitters, Panasonic is considering lighting apparatuses, digital signage, signboards with a built-in light source, etc. For transmitting an ID, the brightness (contrast) of a power source is used. In the case of digital signage whose width is 1 meter, it is possible to receive an ID from a distance of about 5 meters. A dedicated application software is installed in the smartphone used as an ID receiver. By reading an image taken with a smartphone camera after separating it into several blocks, it became possible to read data at a speed faster than the frame rate of the camera. Panasonic plans to organize events where some customers can experience the new technology in cooperation with Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd and Isetan Shinjuku.

From http://www.japantoday.com 12/16/2014

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Japan’s Biggest Online Retailers Now Have More Smartphone Traffic Than Desktop Site Users

 

Japan’s most visited sites saw PC traffic decline by between 10 and 20% in 2014, while access from smartphones rose rapidly, according to a Nielson survey published this week. Online retailers saw the most marked changes, with some experiencing as much as a 60 percent rise in mobile internet traffic. It’s easy to see this shift to mobile as part of a wider global trend – after all, Americans already spend more time accessing the internet via mobile and tablet apps than with computers. But smartphone use in Japan looks a little different. When Japanese consumers use smartphones to access the internet, it is mostly via mobile web browsing, rather than dedicated apps. The data, published by global market research company Nielson on Dec 16, gives the average monthly visitors to Japan’s most popular sites for desktop site browsing and mobile internet, as well as app users. By comparing this to last year’s data, we can see how internet usage is changing in Japan. Mobile browsing and app access are up; computer browsing is down.

 

Overall, the average number of visitors accessing Japan’s top ten sites via mobile was up 34% on last year; app users rose 32%. The number of people using PC sites, by contrast, was down 8%. This can be attributed to rising smartphone ownership: 70% of 16 to 49-year-olds in Japan now have a mobile device. The most visited desktop site was Yahoo!, still a big favorite in Japan, which saw a fall of 12% in PC access with a rise in smartphone visits of 31%. The most visited site on the mobile web, however, was Google. PC browsing still trumps mobile…but for how long? In terms of overall numbers, though, more people still visit the top sites using computers than smartphones. The average number of monthly PC visitors to the top ten sites was 52.1 million, compared to 42.6 million people using mobile browsing, and 41.9 million dedicated app users. With big shifts to mobile compared to last year, though, it looks like 2015 could be the year that mobile browsing completely overtakes computer access in Japan. Social networks and online retailers see big shift to mobile. The sites that had the biggest increase in mobile internet visitors were online shopping and social networking sites: Amazon JP and Twitter saw mobile access increases of 61% and 45%, respectively, while Facebook and Rakuten were both up by 42%.

 

Users prefer Facebook and Twitter’s mobile sites to apps. In many other countries including the United States, social media apps way outperform mobile sites. Not so in Japan, where Twitter’s mobile site had on average 26 million monthly visitors, compared to 14 million people using the Twitter app. Facebook is a similar story, with the mobile site averaging 27 million mobile site visitors, compared to 20 million people using Zuckerberg’s app.  Although global sites such Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s myriad services dominated the most-used sites and apps in Japan, home-grown services were well represented too. Japanese blogging sites livedoor and Ameba made the list of ten most-visited websites, as did video hosting site FC2, which narrowly beat YouTube for desktop site visitors. It may come as no surprise that messaging service LINE, Japan’s largest social network, was the most-used app; what’s more impressive is that LINE saw a 46% increase in monthly users this year.

From http://www.japantoday.com 12/21/2014

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Govt Fund to Market ICT, Broadcasting Overseas

 

The government is likely to establish a fund with the private sector in fiscal 2015 to help market the nation’s telecommunication technology and equipment in other countries, sources have said. The project is designed to support Japanese companies with “All-Japan” cooperation, namely joint efforts between public and private sectors, and to contribute to the improvement of such technology in developing countries. Preparations to establish the fund will start after approval is given by a subgroup of the Fiscal System Council, an advisory panel to the finance minister to be convened soon. The fund is expected to bring together ¥30 billion to ¥50 billion in total. The government will finance the fund with money from the nation’s fiscal investment and loan program, and will collect investment from the private sector including telecommunication companies, equipment manufacturers and financial institutions. Joint ventures and local companies that receive investments from the fund will sell devices related to digital terrestrial broadcasting and communication equipment for cell towers to local TV stations and communications companies. The investments are expected to be recouped by returns on the trading of shares held by the fund. Due to varying signal transmission systems and other factors, there are four international standards for digital terrestrial broadcasting: Japanese, European, American and Chinese. Possible candidate markets for the sales of Japanese communication devices include about 20 nations such as Brazil, the Philippines and the Maldives, as these countries have adopted the Japanese standard for digital terrestrial broadcasting and so are ready to receive the devices. The government intends to secure an opportunity to regain momentum for the nation’s communications and broadcasting technology in these countries, and expand it to other developing nations.

From http://the-japan-news.com 01/12/2015

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FSA to Allow Bank-IT Firm Alliances

 

The Financial Services Agency will allow banks to do business with online shopping firms and companies that manage electronic money, through IT-related subsidiaries, according to sources. If banks do business with such companies, bank cards could then be equipped with e-money functions. Users will be able to load value onto the cards from their bank accounts at an ATM, making their shopping more convenient. The FSA plans to submit a bill to revise the Banking Law during the ordinary Diet session next year and have part of the new law put into force the same year. Under the current law, a bank, in principle, must limit its capital contribution ratio in a company in sectors other than banking to up to 5 percent. This rule is designed to prevent banks from failing in businesses other than banking and having their overall corporate management deteriorate, which would have an adverse impact on the entire financial system. As online shopping services and e-money are now widely used, however, pressure has grown to allow banks, whose main business includes settlements, to enter such sectors. By allowing banks to work in such sectors, problems concerning payments and receipts for goods and services would be reduced, which many bank card holders could find more convenient, according to the FSA. The FSA assumes a bank will participate in the management of an online shopping service operator by taking a stake in, or setting up, an e-money business enterprise. However, the revised law will include certain restrictions so that banks will be permitted to own only information technology-related companies that deal with finance-related businesses.

 

The agency plans to hash out the details of the new system soon. If banks are allowed to buy IT-related companies with technologies that secure safe money transactions, they can enter new businesses, including e-money management. Such a collaboration could make it easier for consumers by making each bank card multifunctional, allowing users to load e-money on the card at ATMs while using it as a credit card. The law revision will likely boost business alliances between banks and IT firms in such areas as settlement services for online shoppers. Possible business collaborations will help banks reduce their system management costs — a heavy financial burden on their management.  For example, a major bank and a major IT-related company could jointly launch an IT start-up that handles system management, and the new company could offer services for multiple regional banks to lower their financial burdens considerably. The agency’s decision has been welcomed by the banking industry, with one megabank official saying, “We appreciate the regulation easing as it could lead to an expansion of our settlement services.”  Banks are set to examine how they can utilize the new system for their businesses. However, they should take care not to destabilize their core banking business through an unsuccessful alliance with an IT firm. One major financial institution’s business failure could have an extensive adverse impact on the real economy — as can be seen in the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers that triggered the global financial crisis.

From http://the-japan-news.com/ 02/04/2015

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SOUTH KOREA: LG Electronics Keeps 3rd Place in Global Smartphone Market

 

LG Electronics Inc., South Korea's No. 2 smartphone maker, has retained its third place in market share for a fourth consecutive quarter ending in September, data showed Wednesday, largely due to robust sales of its marque G3.  Its global market share by revenue stood at 5.4 percent in the third quarter, up from 4.8 percent three months earlier, recent data by Strategic Analytics showed. LG has climbed from 4.1 percent in the last quarter of 2013 and 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year.  Its stable market share stems from brisk sales of its flagship G3 models. The company shipped a fresh record high of 16.8 million units of smartphones in that period, with its mobile communication unit logging a record-setting quarterly operating profit of 384.4 billion won (US$346.3 million) in the same period.  LG's third-quarter operating profit more than doubled from that in the previous quarter, with the net surging 87 percent on-quarter over the cited months.  Its firm market presence compares with a fall in bigger rival Samsung Electronics Co., the world's No. 1 player. The portion for Samsung reached 24.8 percent in the third quarter, a significant drop from 31.2 percent in the second quarter. Samsung was the second-largest smartphone maker by revenue after Apple Inc., which took up 32.3 percent.  China-based Xiaomi Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co., two fast-growing upstarts, saw their shares come in at 4.3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 11/26/2014

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Mobile Shopping on the Rise

 

South Korea is witnessing a surge of mobile shoppers on the strength of the solid broadband network and consumers’ preference for faster and easier shopping experiences on the go. The ratio of consumers who use their smartphones to shop online rose to nearly 60 percent this year, sharply up from 24 percent in 2012. The increase in mobile shopping is largely attributed to the growing number of smartphone users in the country. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said the number of Korean households who own at least one smartphone stood at 84.1 percent this year, up about 20 percent from 65 percent in 2012. While the majority of shoppers ― 81 percent ― still used their desktop computers as their main device for browsing and purchasing products on the Internet, the ratio is down 8 percentage points this year from 89 percent two years ago. Of some 25,000 households nationwide, 98.5 percent have access to the Internet.

From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 12/15/2014

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Gov't to Promote Smart Factories, Software Companies

 

The government intends to concentrate on developing core industries and on creating new growth engines for the country's future prosperity. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced on January 15 that it would focus on nurturing the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and cloud computing industries, with the goals of boosting competitiveness, improving information and communications technology (ICT) and creating new markets. The ministry's announcement was made at Cheong Wa Dae during a briefing on its specific objectives related to the government's three-year plan to promote innovation and to grow the economy. During the briefing, President Park Geun-hye said, "Many startups fail to pass the so called 'death valley' stage when they commercialize their ideas. The government needs to concentrate more on its efforts to solve the difficulties experienced by startups, such as raising capital when entering new markets and developing sales channels."

"It is important to preemptively secure source technologies in such promising areas as biotechnology, nanotechnology and in responding to climate change so that we can create industries and jobs. Developing new technologies takes a lot of time and money and the risk of failure is very high. Thus, the government needs to preemptively invest in those areas." The ministry intends to increase the number of its "Creative Vitamin 2.0" programs from 57 to 90 this year. These are comprehensive, pan-government joint projects that pursue pilot trials, conduct R&D and train and publicize achievements. It will also raise the number of "smart factories," which are designed to integrate the entire creation processes, covering product design, manufacturing and distribution. Its aim is to increase from 1,000 such factories in 2015 to 4,000 in 2017, and onward to 10,000 by 2020. By 2017, the ministry plans to invest KRW 240 billion into developing core components and in upgrading major industries. It will also help secure Korean firms' competitiveness in next-generation products, including smart cars and environmentally friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships.

 

In a bid to improve companies' competitiveness in ICT and to create new industries and markets, the ministry intends to invest another KRW 704 billion in R&D this year. It will also introduce a fast-track system to reduce the amount of time needed to go from R&D planning through to financial assistance from one year to three months. It will help develop 5G technologies to commercialize a system by 2020 and increase the penetration rate of giga-speed internet from 40 percent this year to 90 percent in 2017. The ministry will build IoT research complexes to nurture new software-based industries, covering the IoT, big data and cloud computing. It also plans to nurture global software companies and digital content companies, and introduce a system in June to examine whether public corporations infringe on the private sector software market. In order to secure the future biotechnology market, the ministry intends to invest KRW 560 billion this year. It will help develop stem cell and DNA treatment technologies and medical equipment, and expand its support for technological development for potential new services, such as the early diagnosis of dementia. In order to reduce the amount of time required to conduct clinical trials of new medicines, it will operate technology verification platforms at six hospitals and designate personnel to deal with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. It will also train investors specialized in biotechnology companies in order to promote related production and exports, and provide market information about 37 target nations.

 

The government plans to invest KRW 1 trillion this year in R&D to secure green technology and energy markets, including the reduction of greenhouse gases. It will also help develop industry models in the solar cell and fuel cell industries to achieve KRW 216 trillion in sales by 2020 in both the energy-saving and clean energy industries. The ministry will strengthen its support for developing nanotechnology, which will become a common base technology across many industries. It will also help develop technologies for the disaster response and safety industries. To help the country become a nanotechnology power, the government said it would help develop component- and censor-related technologies and commercialize advanced source technologies. The ministry plans to create a "mid- to long-term technology development investment road map" to increase the effectiveness of its plans and to help promote innovation across the national R&D sector. It will also connect the public and the private sector in conducting R&D and assign roles for the two sectors. Finally, it will create a window in which 40 R&D institutions can provide technologies to the private sector.

From http://www.korea.net 01/15/2015

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S. Korea to Allow More Corporate Investment in Online Banks

 

South Korea is to begin a deregulation drive to encourage investment in Internet-only banks to be introduced in the first half of 2015, the financial regulator said Tuesday, as the country hastens to match technology with financial business. In promoting what has been named "fintech," the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said it will ease certain measures, which include revising local banking laws that require all commercial banks to have brick-and-mortar offices and face-to-face channels with customers. "The second-tier financial sector, such as brokerage houses and insurance firms, is free from these regulations, but the banking sector is strictly limited," the FSC said. "As fintech has been the most important trend in the global financial sector, there is strong demand for deregulation in fostering the financial technology industry," the FSC said. "The current banking system focuses only on offline institutions. We will have local financial regulations reflect the new online, mobile trend."

The regulator said it will also adjust restrictions that limit manufacturers from owning financial institutions in order to encourage large companies to invest in the online banking industry. Under the current law, a manufacturing company is banned from holding more than a 4-percent stake in a bank. "We've been considering making the rule less strict, and we are still discussing it. No details have been finalized yet," said Son Byung-doo, head of the Banking and Insurance Bureau at the FSC. Market watchers expect the FSC to raise the ceiling up to 20 percent to attract investment from big-name companies including Samsung Electronics Co., Hyundai Motor Co. and Naver Corp. The real-name financial transaction regulation will be revised for online banks as well, the FSC added, as it is impossible for internet-based banks to identify the real name of an individual who opens an account in person. The FSC said it will announce a more detailed plan during the first half of this year after completing the revisions.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 01/27/2015

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S. Korea Ranked 12th in IoT Penetration

 

South Korea ranked 12th among the world's 20 major economies in terms of readiness for the Internet of Things technology, a report showed Monday. Asia's fourth-largest economy was given 52.2 points out of 100 in the National Absorptive Capacity index for IoT, according to the report released by market researcher Accenture. A higher number indicates a more IoT-friendly environment. The United States took the top spot at 64 points, trailed by Switzerland with 63.9 points and Finland with 63.2 points. Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands followed at 62.4 points, 61.8 points and 59 points, respectively. Japan was the only Asian country in the top 10 at 54.4 points. IoT is a concept in which all tangible objects are connected to the Internet and can identify themselves to other devices to exchange necessary data for improved efficiency and convenience. The sector is seen as becoming the key area of focus for the global technology industry, and South Korean tech players have been competing to adopt the concept in their business plans for 2015. Samsung Electronics Co., the country's biggest tech firm, said last month it plans to inject $100 million into funding start-ups and developers of the IoT technologies and connect all of its products to the IoT network by 2020. Accenture expected the IoT to account for around $14.2 trillion of the world's gross domestic product by 2030.

From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 02/02/2015

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S. Korea Seeks to Boost Exports Through E-Trade

 

South Korea will work to nearly double its exports via electronic trading this year, a move that will include support for some 20,000 products, the government said Monday. The plan was unveiled at the first meeting of online exporters hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. "Exports through e-trade will likely provide a greater opportunity for small and medium-sized firms and one-man startup businesses rather than large companies," the ministry said in a press release. The country's online exports rose over 21 percent on-year to 460 billion won ($421.8 million) last year from about 380 billion won in 2013, according to the ministry. The government plans to boost the amount to over 700 billion won this year, it said. The move largely targets China's online market, which jumped 78.5 percent on-year to about $301 billion in 2013. The ministry will provide support to some 1,500 local firms, up from 1,000 in 2014, in having their products registered at Taobao, an online shopping mall run by Alibaba Group, one of the largest online retailers in China. It will also help create personal websites for 20,000 local products in foreign languages, the ministry said. A new cargo service, using passenger and cargo ferries between South Korea's Incheon and China's Qingtao, will be launched before the end of June, reducing the shipping cost between the two countries by up to 40 percent, it said.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 02/09/2015

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Goods Bought from Foreign E-Commerce Shops Surge in Last 5 Years: Report

 

Goods bought from foreign e-commerce shops surged over the last five years with the increase being fueled by demand for such products as coffee, handbags and sneakers, a government report showed Sunday. According to Korea Customs Service (KCS), imports from on-line shops excluding printed materials, compact discs and tissue soared 60 percent in terms of volume and 48.4 percent in value. The data covers a period from January 2009 through June 2014. South Koreans purchased 70.62 million items worth 2.11 trillion won (US$1.92 billion) in the cited period, and of this, 401.9 million won (US$365.3 million) were imported in the first six months of last year. This represents a 21.7 percent and 57.1 percent jump from 12.11 million items and 255.9 million won posted for the first half of 2013. In 2009, the KCS said South Koreans bought 2.2 million items worth 91.1 billion won. The customs service said in terms of numbers and value of items, coffee, handbags and sneakers were the most imported products along with health supplements, cosmetics and clothing. Coffee purchases alone in the last two years reached 15.2 billion won or some 540,374 shipments. For the five-year period, this reached 18.61 billion won, totaling 648,444 shipments. Volume for handbags reached 449,651 shipments worth 49.87 billion won during the five-year period, while for the last two years, numbers hit 39.61 billion won and 375,772 shipments.

Numbers for sneakers for 2013 and 2014 reached 70.76 billion won and 926,648 items with overall numbers topping 107.91 billion won and 1.47 million shipments. The findings added there was a sharp increase in consumer electronics such as TVs and miscellaneous kitchenware along with food products. By country, South Koreans bought from on-line shops located in 137 countries, but the U.S., Germany, China and New Zealand accounted for 96 percent of all products as calculated in volume, although the latter accounted for just 2 percent. U.S. shopping malls made up 85 percent of all items imported and 72 percent of the value. The corresponding numbers for Germany stood at 5 percent and 11 percent, with China standing at 4 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Goods bought from the United States centered around health food, along with fashion items and baby products. Purchases from Germany were mainly baby products, cosmetics and kitchen-related goods, while local consumers bought sneakers, handbags and clothing from China. KCS said it plans help consumers buy products directly from abroad as part of its efforts to fuel competition, which can bring down prices while enhancing quality of service.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 02/15/2015

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SINGAPORE: IDA Launches Challenge to Discover Private Sector Datasets

 

Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority launched a data-sharing challenge to encourage the use of private sector datasets. The Data Discovery Challenge, launched last week, aims to promote the combination of private and public datasets to develop products and services that can benefit businesses and the public. The challenge will use Singapore’s new platform, the Federated Dataset Registry (FDSR), to share public and private sector datasets. According to IDA, many private datasets are residing in siloed servers, or can only be made available through cumbersome processes such as the use of CD-ROMs. The FDSR will enable users to use these private datasets that were previously unconnected. “Currently, there is no coherent mechanism for users to easily discover private sector datasets made available from data providers across various [industries]”, IDA said. The Data Discovery Challenge is open from the 11 December to 25 January next year. Participants will have to use datasets from the FDSR and integrate it with any public and private datasets to develop data visualisation tools, mobile or web applications. “We well understand the importance of finding new ways to effectively use data to deal with challenges of healthcare, transport and energy, to name just three areas. In the midst of harnessing data effectively, we also… understand the importance of protecting the data and respecting the privacy of individuals”, said Steve Leonard, IDA Executive Deputy Chairman.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 12/19/2014

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THAILAND: Three Factors Key to Success of 'Digital Economy', Forum Told

 

INFRASTRUCTURE, legislation, and promotion will be the key factors to make the government's "digital economy" policy a success, one of its backers said yesterday. Sittichai Pookaiyaudom, a member of the Digital Economy Working Group and an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, made these points at a Capital Market Research Forum on "Driving Thailand's Economy under the Digital Economy Concept" hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Infrastructure, both fixed-line and wireless, is now on the way to being available throughout the country. A fibre-optics network is expected to reach every home within three years. Meanwhile, for improved wireless access, a spectrum auction will be held to facilitate establishment of a fourth-generation broadband network. Sittichai said the country needed a lot more international Internet gateways as well as access to submarine-cable networks. These would make Thailand's Internet network stable, accessible and affordable, and help make this country an Asean Internet hub. Legislation is another important factor in making the "digital economy" dream come true, and the military regime is in the process of pushing this through.

 

Even though there have been many concerns voiced that these new laws could amount to an abuse of power and further curtailment of citizens' rights, Sittichai played these down. "The prime minister and deputy prime minister have ordered the drafters [of the legislation] to deal with all the points of concern. They have insisted these will not be dictatorial bills. Accessing any personal information of citizens will require a court order," he said. As for the promotional factor, the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, needs to be convinced that it will benefit from going digital. Once the infrastructure is fully in place, a lot of e-commerce can take off. Varakorn Samakoses, chairman of the executive board of the Electronic Government Agency, said government policy would need continuity to make the digital economy sustainable. He pointed to the "Malaysia 2020" policy as an example of such continuity in a neighbouring country.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/07/2015

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Ministry to Pressure E-Commerce Businesses to Register Legally

 

THE Commerce Ministry will make online traders register with the Business Development Department in order to prevent unscrupulous businesses ripping off consumers. The ministry has called for e-commerce traders to register with the department under the Business Act so they will get a legal business licence and protection under the law. Whichai Phochanakij, deputy director-general of the department, said his agency expected a surge in e-commerce traders as the government pursues a "digital economy" policy, increasing the need for consumer protection in this area. After doing business for 30 days, enterprises need to register with the department to get an e-commerce licence. If they fail to do so, the department will stringently enforce the law and punish unlicensed traders. The department will also call on the Thai E-Commerce Association, the Thai Webmasters Association and other associations and website own?ers not to allow unlicensed enterprises to trade online. Businesses that have registered legally can be inspected easily and therefore will be trusted by consumers who want to do business with them in cyberspace. Consumers can check them with the department and relevant associations so that they know whether an online trader is trustworthy. After an e-commerce site registers, it will get a DBD Registered and DBD Verified Certificate. Enterprises can also use their licence as evidence for financial institutions, and be able to participate in the department's e-commerce support projects. The department has also set up a dispute centre at the Commerce Ministry's head office in Nonthaburi to clear up problems between e-commerce traders and online shoppers. This is in response to many complaints that were forwarded to the department and the Consumer Protection Board. The department is holding a "Thailand Online Mega Sale" from today till Saturday on www.thailandmegasale.com.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/09/2015

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True's 4G Service Expected to Be a Major Growth Driver

 

TRUEMOVE H, the broadband cellular-service brand of True Corp, expects service revenue growth of 10-15 per cent this year and its number of 4G subscribers to increase to almost 2 million, from some 900,000 presently. Kittinut Tikawan, True Corp chief commercial officer for mobile business, said yesterday that the 4G-2.1GHz service would be a key driver of True's mobile-phone service business this year. Market-leading Advanced Info Service (AIS) expects its own service revenue, excluding interconnection-charge income, to grow by 3-4 per cent this year, due to continuously high wireless-data demand and an improving 3G-2.1GHz network. AIS posted like-for-like service revenue of Bt117.99 billion in 2014, up 1.2 per cent year on year. Total Access Communication (DTAC), meanwhile, expects low single-digit growth in its service revenue (also excluding interconnection-charge revenue) this year, driven by the economic recovery and mobile Internet service. Last year, DTAC reported like-for-like service revenue of Bt68.275 billion, down 2.6 per cent year on year, as it was pressured by intense competition and the sluggish economy. True said that by April this year, its 4G service would cover 80 per cent of the population via 9,000 cellular base stations nationwide.

 

TrueMove H generates an average revenue per user of Bt1,000 per month for its 4G service, against Bt600-Bt800 for its 3G service, Kittinut said. As of the third quarter last year, TrueMove H had 26 million subscribers, of which 900,000 were 4G users. Some 23.1 million were 3G users under 850MHz and 2.1GHz bandwidth, and the remaining 2 million were 2G users. Yesterday, True and China Mobile - its strategic partner, which holds 18 per cent of the company -co-launched the "Thailand-Greater China Number Service" for Thai business travellers to China and Hong Kong, and a 4G multi-band smart phone - the True Smart 4G 5.5. The "Thailand-Greater China Number Service" provides local China and Hong Kong numbers on TrueMove H SIM cards, in line with Thai business customers' requirement for convenient communication when travelling to China and Hong Kong, which are listed in the top-5 most-visited destinations among Thai travellers. The service, which was co-launched in Thailand, along with the new 4G phone, means travellers will stay connected via their Thailand-Greater China numbers without the need to change to local SIM cards. The China and Hong Kong numbers can be reached via local Greater China business partners at the domestic tariff. True chief executive officer Supachai Chearavanont said the number service was the first joint service offering by True and China Mobile following the signing of their strategic-partnership agreement last September.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/12/2015

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'Sound Telecom Frequency Allocation' Key to Digital Era

 

INFRASTRUCTURE is important to the military regime's quest for a "digital economy", but more important is a system to make frequency allocation and utilisation more efficient, said panellists at a seminar on "Direction of Thailand's Telecommunication Infrastructure after the Digital Economy Reform". The seminar was hosted yesterday by the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Pacharasut Sujarittanonta, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's economics faculty, said that to make the allocation of telecom frequencies more efficient, existing frequencies had to be reclaimed to prevent hoarding. For example, the 2.6-gigahertz spectrum could be reallocated to provide fourth-generation cellular service. "Some frequencies are not fit for the market system or auctions, but the problem is not only the method of frequency allocation," he said.

 

Superboard

Amornthep Jirattiticharoen, a telecom specialist on the junta's "superboard" overseeing state enterprises, said frequency allocation and resource management were the key challenges facing the digital-economy project. "We still lack efficient frequency management. Thailand now uses only four [telecom] frequency bands, 800 megahertz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz. There are still other bands such as 700MHz, 2.3GHz, and 2.6GHz that Thailand still does not benefit from," Amornthep said. Sudharma Yoonaidharma, dean of the School of Law, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Thailand lacked both hard and soft infrastructure, and both fixed-line and wireless connectivity, but it was likely now to focus on only frequency allocation, while the optical-fibre network is ignored. "Thai government [regulator] favored to play role as investor therefore I agree with the government to move fund from regulator. Regulator should play role as regulator. It is good to have a National Digital Economy Committee to oversee the national infrastructure," he added. Meanwhile, Methinee Thepmanee, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, said that under the digital-economy policy, the two main services to be enhanced would be basic public health and basic education services. Telecommuni-cation infrastructure is the key factor to make these goals a reality.

 

Wi-Fi for schools

The ministry has provided a 2-megabit-per-second Wi-Fi service for 27,000 schools nationwide over the past three years. This year, the ministry will bring it into another 10,000 schools. "We will have a large data centre, jointly invested by the government and the private sector, to store digital content and serve people nationwide. We will provide a fibre-optics network that reaches every village throughout the country as well as improving digital literacy for Thais," she said. Pirongrong Ramasoota, director of the Thai Media Policy Centre, a research unit specialising in issues related to media law and regulations at the faculty of communication arts, Chulalongkorn University, said one role of the digital economy would be to bring new media to the country. New media new media in Thai context, is new digital media and ICTs, and post-reform media such as community radio, satellite TV, cable TV, and digital terrestrial TV (DTT), while in international context, new media is media with possibility of on-demand access to content any time, anywhere, on any devices, as well as interactive form.Pirongrong Ramasoota, director of Chulalongkorn University's Thai Media Policy Centre, said a key component of the digital economy would be new media, in both the international and Thai contexts. He said these would be a mixed blessing, bringing opportunities and challenges. The opportunities are an open society, user empowerment, harnessing participation, democratising content, and precision mapping. Challenges are mismatches with the political regime, polarizing 'echo chamber' effect, reduced consumer protection compared with tangible goods, and asymmetry of knowledge such as case of social media advertising.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com 02/14/2015

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Ministry Joins Hands with Microsoft

 

THE Science and Technology Ministry has joined with Microsoft Thailand to set up the Microsoft Innovation Centre at the National Science and Technology Development Agency's central Bangkok facility to turn out 200 start-ups, or entrepreneurs, per year. "This is an important time for the IT industry as Thailand moves towards a digital economy. We are expecting technology will be able to contribute to the growth of the country. It will also enhance the competitiveness of the country as a whole," Science and Technology Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said yesterday. The collaboration will develop the digital and innovation skills of entrepreneurs to improve their efficiency. It will also use information technology to support local small and medium enterprises, students and entrepreneurs, he said.  Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft Thailand, said that seven years ago, the firm and NSTDA established the Microsoft Innovation Centre at Rangsit University's campus on Sathorn Thani Road. It is being re-launched at NSTDA's central Bangkok facility on Yothi Road.

 

Microsoft will provide all software resources, cloud computing, training and experts to support students, entrepreneurs and start-ups through practical training courses, internships and mentoring. However, during the seven-year collaboration, 50 start-ups were created. The re-launch of the MIC is expected to double the start-ups in the first year. The firm also expects that the innovation centre will transform research from the shelf into commercial applications and give confidence to start-ups to develop their products and services commercially. Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of NSTDA, said the partnership would build an ecosystem in the nation. It will strengthen IT and innovation as well as transfer benefits to the community and business. The collaboration will amplify knowledge and create a cluster centre among the NSTDA Academy, Software Park and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre to develop the ecosystem in the nation. However, the agency expects that the innovation centre this year will give birth to 200 IT start-ups and about 20-30 per cent of them will be able to make it to the commercial market.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/19/2015

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Wireless Data Charged on an 'Actual-Use Basis'

 

FIVE TELECOM OPERATORS yesterday told the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commis-sion that they had been billing customers for wireless data services on an actual-use basis for some time. The NBTC had called the companies in to ask them to charge customers for the use of data services on the basis of what they actually use. All five of them - Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication ( DTAC), True Move H, CAT Telecom and TOT - informed the watchdog they had already been doing so for a long time. The licensing body also asked them to stop using the term "unlimited" when advertising data packages, and to use the term "continuously" instead and promote understanding of the fair-usage policy among subscribers. The NBTC is concerned that use of the term "unlimited" will make people believe - wrongly - that they can consume an unlimited amount of data in the packages at the same constant speed of data transfer. Fair-usage policy, meanwhile, means customers can consume a certain data amount offered by the packages at a high speed of data transfer. However, the data-transmission speed will drop after the usage exceeds that amount, although users can continue to consume an unlimited amount of data.  Meanwhile yesterday, Saree Ongsomwang, chairman of the National Reform Council's committee for consumer protection, said at a separate event that AIS, DTAC and True Corp had introduced new per-second-billing call packages, which were found by the council to be more expensive than existing packages. The new packages also offer fewer privileges and benefits to consumers, she said.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com 02/25/2015

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VIETNAM: Electronics and Appliance Sales Surge to $1.3 Billion

 

Vietnamese consumer spending on electronics products and appliances reached VND28 trillion (US$1.3 billion), a 20.9-per cent increase, in the third quarter of 2014.

Most of the products purchased were mobile phones and earphones, which brought in sales of more than VND12 trillion ($561 million), a 28-per cent year-on-year increase. Information and technology (IT) products ranked second with total sales of VND5.6 trillion ($262 million). Significant growth was also seen in total sales of three major domestic appliances: refrigerators at 15.6 per cent, washing machines at 15.5 per cent and microwave ovens at 12.8 per cent. However, sales of laptop computers declined, even as sales of tablet devices doubled with the exception of the Apple iPad and iPad mini, which ironically experienced a sales decline in the world market following the release of Apple's iPhone 6. GFK, one of the world's largest research companies, predicted Viet Nam's technology and electronics market to continue growing in the last quarter of the year. The company predicted bestselling products to include the LED TV, smartphones and tablet devices, as producers and retailers were expected to offer promotional and sales programmes for these products during the year-end months to stimulate consumer spending. Sales of washing machines, refrigerators and laptops are likewise expected to grow but at a low rate.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 11/29/2014

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Firms Offering E-Wallet Services to Get Licences

 

Vietnamese businesses will be granted licences to provide e-wallet services from March 2015, after five years of a pilot programme. The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has issued Circular 39, stipulating the regulations for intermediate payment services. Accordingly, e-wallet will be recognised as one of the payment services, together with other types such as collection and payment services. Non-banking organisations in the pilot implementation can complete the required procedures and apply for licences. The licences issued during the pilot scheme will be invalid by the end of next year. The e-wallet service was first introduced in Viet Nam in 2008 in the context of an urgent need for payment methods for e-commerce activities. However, all nine businesses that were issued licences to implement the service were part of the pilot project, as the country did not have a specific legal framework covering the payment service. A representative from the central bank said that Circular 39 will be the foundation for the development of the service.

 

However, the SBV asked enterprises providing e-wallet services to open an account to ensure payment, limit risks and refund money to customers in case of emergencies. It has to be ensured that the payment is not more than the total balance of all their e-wallets at the same time. The businesses are not allowed to issue more than one e-wallet to a payment account at a bank, as well as give credit to customers or pay interest rates. Activities to increase the value of the money in the e-wallet are also prohibited. E-wallet providers are required to have a tool for the central bank to carry out checks and inspections of the customers' money. Deposits or withdrawals from e-wallets have to be made through bank accounts. Statistics from the central bank showed that at the end of 2013, the country had 1.84 million e-wallets, with a total transaction of VND23.3 trillion (US$1.1 billion). The figure was said to be modest in comparison with the non-cash payment market in Viet Nam. There were 66 million units in the card market alone, with $52 billion worth of local transactions at the end of last year. E-wallet is virtual money created in mobile phones or other electronics devices, including computers and chips, and used as a non-cash payment method. Users don't need a real wallet or cards, but only a mobile phone to pay bills or do e-commerce activities.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 12/13/2014

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Retailers Yet to Take to Online Shopping in VN

 

The development of e-commerce has played a vital role in the world market as retail continues to modernize. However, many retailers have not utilised more modern trade methods, like online shopping, said Vu Vinh Phu, president of the Ha Noi Supermarket Association, at a conference in Ha Noi promoting internet-based retail. Phu said e-commerce makes shopping more convenient, and increases production and consumption. Consumers can save time and find lower prices online, said Nguyen Ngoc Hung, director of Di Sieu Thi Joint-Stock Company. However, some businesses have posted exaggerated advertisements and poor products online, preventing the online market from developing. Phu urged online retailers to deliver quality products and good customer service to protect the sector's reputation. State agencies should have strict measures for dealing with online trading violations, he said. However, just in case, consumers should research products carefully before buying. However, so far, online shopping accounts for only 0.1 to 0.2 per cent of the nation's total retail revenue, far lower than in many other countries, said Nguyen Lam Thanh, general secretary of the Viet Nam Digital Media Association. In developed countries, popular companies sell products online, but in Viet Nam they haven't paid much attention to the new form of shopping, Thanh said. It's important to change how people in Viet Nam think about online shopping, he said. The conference was co-organised by the Ha Noi Super Market Association, Viet Nam Digital Media Association and Dien dan Doanh nghiep (Business Forum).

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 12/25/2014

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Delivery Firms Urged to Tap E-Commerce Potential

 

The rapid development of online shopping websites has presented both opportunities and challenges for express delivery businesses, said the Viet Nam E-commerce Association (VECOM). According to Tran Huu Linh, Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Department of E-commerce, e-commerce is not a requirement, but a tool that creates favourable conditions for delivering goods and setting up logistical capabilities. Catching up with the trend, several companies in the sector have strengthened their investment to take advantage of the market. Express delivery services are experiencing a boom nationwide. Online shopping has become a vital trend, creating opportunities for both e-commerce and express delivery enterprises as 35 to 40 per cent of the country's population uses the internet daily. It is because of this reason that enterprises in the sector are considering developing special services for customers using e-commerce.

 

For example, DHL-VNPT has invested US$10 million to expand its market and open a 4,900sq m office with modern equipment. It has 134 transport vehicles and more than 400 staff members for processing the over 10,000 orders received daily. Viettel Post, which was ranked third in the sector with a 10 per cent market share, has also tapped into the opportunities by investing 3 to 5 per cent of its turnover in technology, thus maximising delivery time and cost. Nguyen Thanh Hung, VECOM's general secretary said 91 businesses were granted licences by the postal service. However, several enterprises have not implemented the service. In addition, the poor quality of delivery has not made online shopping cheaper than traditional purchasing methods. This has become a big barrier for the e-commerce sector in Viet Nam. Hung said delivery companies should improve quality and competitive prices by expanding their scale, enhancing training, as well as the application of information and technology. He also suggested closer collaboration among online companies and delivery firms to meet customers' demand more effectively.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 01/10/2015

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Study Finds Gaps in E-Commerce Growth

 

A recent report by the Viet Nam e-Commerce Association (VECOM) revealed growing disparity in e-commerce development among provinces and cities, and urged the Government to implement policies that boost development. Ha Noi had topped the Viet Nam e-Business Index (EBI) 2014 with 72.6 points out of 100 perfect points. The index was based on e-commerce application at about 3,500 enterprises throughout the country with four criteria: human resources and information technology infrastructure, transactions between firms and clients, transactions among enterprises and online public services. The capital city was followed by HCM City, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Khanh Hoa, Can Tho and Nghe An. The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai was placed at the bottom of the list. The report pointed out that the average EBI was 56.5 points, nearly a point higher than the previous year, reflecting the expansion of e-commerce in business. However, there were huge gaps among localities, in terms of e-commerce application, as well as readiness for e-commerce, especially between the country's two major cities and other provinces, the association's General Secretary, Nguyen Thanh Hung, stated.

 

The average point among the top five localities was 68.3 in comparison with 48.0 points for the five lower most localities. Hung said mobile platforms contributed largely to the development of e-commerce, with 10 per cent of the surveyed firms admitting to the use of mobile applications for their business and 15 per cent having mobile versions for their websites. Social networks are also becoming a platform for the development of e-commerce, with 24 per cent of the firms saying they do business via social networks and 16 per cent revealing that their efficiency had improved as a result. The report also pointed out that goods delivery services needed to be improve. In addition, consumers' interests must be protected better. The report found that more than 80 per cent of the customers were worried about product quality when buying online. A survey by the Department of e-Commerce and Information Technology under the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that more than 42 per cent of the consumers were also apprehensive about the security of their personal information while shopping online. Hung said the Government should formulate policies to develop human resources and infrastructure for the development of e-commerce, and predicted an e-commerce boom going forward.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/13/2015

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INDIA: Balance of Trade Not in Favour

 

NEW DELHI: Even as it expressed concern over the general adverse balance of trade position, the government today said it is committed to enhancing trade engagement by diversifying to markets in Africa, ASEAN and Latin America which offer immense opportunities."Our trade balance is not really in favour. Simply put, we seem to be importing a lot more than we export," Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. The Minister was here to unveil the Indian Trade Portal, aimed at providing MFN and preferential tariff rules, rules of origin and identifying technical barriers to trade faced by exporters, on a single platform for ease of doing business. Trade is now governed by the rules agreed upon under the WTO under which members are required to accord the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to each other which translates into the privilege of paying similar tariffs, she said. The Minister said she has identified exports as one of the most important sectors to boost the country's economy, while urging exporters and importers to make best use of the website. She said they could give continuous feedback for further improvement and additional details that they may need.

 

"For 2013-14 our trade total was $314.40 billion while we have set for ourselves for 2014-15 a $340 billion target. We need to have a lot more information to be shared among our exporters for them to handle the market better". "We seem to be sharing only 1.7 per cent of all exports that took place in the international trade putting us at the 19th place. Considering the size of our country, the potential that it has, 1.7 per cent is just nothing of the total exports which happen," Sitharaman said. The Minister suggested that the portal should attract non-exporting manufacturers to draw them towards the export market. "The Indian Trade Portal will make available important data for use of exporters & importers at one place, in a user friendly manner and this will contribute to ease of doing business for trade & industry. Consequently the portal facilitates our exports and will also help our exporters to utilise the FTAs," Sitharaman said. As per the current rankings, India is the 19th largest exporter with a share of 1.7 per cent and 12th largest importer with a share of 2.5 per cent of world merchandise trade.

 

Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher highlighted the need for better utilisation of India's free trade agreements (FTAs) and said studies have shown that these were not detrimental to overall trade. "It is also important that we utilise our FTAs in a significant manner. In our exercise in the past 2-3 years, we have clearly seen that the industry has perceived FTAs to be some sort of villain". "In detailed analysis that we have done on the subject we have clearly found that it is not the case. The case in fact is that we have not utilised these FTAs enough to be able to criticise them or to appreciate them," Kher said. PTI RSN

From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 12/08/2014

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From e-Com to Movie Making, Amazon Takes a Leap Forward

 

BANGALORE: Amazon Studios just announced that it will begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Production will begin this year with the goal of offering a dozen original, prestige movies annually, with a focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and upcoming creators. Whereas it typically takes 39 to 52 weeks for theatrical movies to premiere on subscription video services,Amazon Amazon Original Movies will premiere on Prime Instant Video in the U.S. just 4 to 8 weeks after their theatrical debut. Amazon Original Movies creative development will be led by independent film visionary Ted Hope. Hope co-founded and ran production company Good Machine, which produced notable and Academy Award-nominated films such as Eat Drink Man Woman, Crouching Tiger, and Hidden Dragon. Hope’s films have received some of the industry’s most prestigious honors including numerous Academy Awards and BAFTA nominations. He’s also taken home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival more often than any other producer.

 

According to Hope, “Audiences already recognize that Amazon has raised the bar with productions in the episodic realm, tackling bold material in unique ways and collaborating with top talent, both established and emerging,” reports hollywonk.com. “To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility.  Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch. I am incredibly thrilled to be part of this,” added Hope. Amazon Studios head Roy Price added that in addition to bringing Prime Instant Video customers “exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

From http://news.siliconindia.com/ 01/20/2015

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FDI Liberalisation Sought in E-Commerce in India

 

WASHINGTON: Ahead of President Barack Obama's trip to India, two U.S lawmakers have asked him to request Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to liberalise foreign direct investment (FDI) restrictions on e-commerce sector. "Such a move would benefit the economies of both India and the United States," wrote senators Mark R. Warner and John Cornyn, Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus, in a letter to Obama. Warner is one of the four lawmakers who will accompany Obama on the trip to India. "We believe [this FDI] liberalisation would benefit the Indian and U.S economies, as well as helping the nearly 400 million Indians that live below the poverty line with access to cheaper goods and job opportunities," the duo said. "In India, online generation of additional retail transactions would increase consumption, decrease consumer prices, improve market access for small- and medium-sized companies, and create jobs across a range of professional fields," Warner and Cornyn wrote.

 

Currently, they noted, India prohibits foreign businesses from selling items directly to Indian consumers over the Internet which means that US businesses cannot sell products online directly to Indian consumers without involving a "middle man." If the prohibition were lifted, many U.S businesses would have greater access to India's $4.9 trillion economy and a growing middle class, Warner and Cornyn suggested. It also has the potential to increase competition in India by providing less expensive goods and create 250,000 jobs directly with the potential for more than 1 million jobs in customer service, IT, logistics, transportation, and administration by 2021, they said. The Indian e-commerce market currently sits at about $3.5 billion and is expected to increase to $6 billion in 2016. With the increase in low-cost smart phones and mobile broadband, penetration is expected to be significant in rural and semi-rural areas, the lawmakers said. With expanded e-commerce, these consumers gain access to goods and services through retailers that currently lack brick-and-mortar locations, Warner and Cornyn said.

From http://news.siliconindia.com/ 01/23/2015

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SRI LANKA: Creative Marketing for TechTurnaround

 

With the inception into the year 2015, Intel has disclosed an ambitious and innovative approach towards strategic changes in alignment to the significant partnerships with leading giants, Dell and Microsoft. Intel Country Business Manager, Indika De Zoysa said that the rolling out of a creative marketing is a crucial element in this turnaround. Dell has invested heavily into their marketing and has seen returns from this investment without deeming this as expenditure. Ambitious plans are to be foreseen by Intel, Dell and Microsoft and it was noted that 2014 has been the most influential year so far in terms of production and sales. “Microsoft is currently going through a huge transformation with a strong emphasis on the ‘mobile first – cloud first’ ambitions set high on the agenda. Partnerships are very significant for us and Dell is one of our biggest partnerships in Sri Lanka and South East Asia. Sri Lanka has got bold plans ahead with the new operating system, Windows 10 coming up,” Microsoft, Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Imran Vilcassim said. Microsoft aims to ensure the flow of workforce into the IT industry and hopes to assist in the country’s aim to achieve the US$5 billion IT/BPM of the export volume mark by the year 2020. “As a country, what we can achieve would be phenomenal, if we attract the right people in the IT sector. Microsoft has been in the country for the past 10 years. It has not been about making money alone but setting foot into the target of bringing growth into the industry,” Vilcassim acknowledged.

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 01/12/2015

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AZERBAIJAN: Nar Mobile Supports Another Online Media Project

 

“The Support to Online Media Development – 2014” project sponsored by Nar Mobile is successfully completed. Within the Project, one week long training courses for journalists were followed by the Online Media Contest. The names of winners have been made public at the presentation ceremony that took place in the Four Seasons Baku Hotel on 28 November 2014. Special certificates are issued to journalists that completed the courses in the framework of the Support to Online Media Development Project. The other winners and young journalists gaining motivating places in the Online Media Contest are given diplomas and precious gifts.  Osman Gunduz, Director of Multimedia Center which acts as one of organizers, has thanked the authors of the winning articles selected among 22 writings and 10 microbloggers that were extremely active in twitting in the framework of Project. He has wished all of them successes in future activities.

 

Then, Nigar Arpadarai, Head of PR and Corporate Communications Unit of the Azerfon LLC has brought the best wishes to winners and underlined that this enlightening and stimulating project has already become a good tradition. Other guests taking part at the ceremony have also spoken about the importance of the project by thanking specially the jury panel composed of professional experts and by congratulating the winners and asking them to provide more objective and comprehensive articles.  Azerbaijan’s fastest growing mobile operator Nar Mobile serves its subscribers since 2007. Since its creation, Nar Mobile remained always committed to its policy of affordable prices providing an exceptional value for its customers via a variety of attractive tariff offerings. Beyond the convenient voice tariffs, it also offers a great variety of choice and best value for its internet packages and a single price for each roaming zone. Nar Mobile is proud to be an Official Mobile Telecommunications Service Provider of the Baku 2015 European Games.

From http://en.trend.az/12/01/2014

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Online Shopping Increases in Azerbaijan

 

E-commerce market volume amounted to 5.6 million AZN in Azerbaijan in January-November 2014, the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee said Dec. 8.  The total volume of retail e-commerce in Azerbaijan increased by 2.4 times compared to the same period of 2013.  E-commerce market participants are legal and physical entities engaged in e-commerce and buyers of goods and services.  Some 91.2 percent of goods purchased in electronic form by the population of Azerbaijan during reporting period accounted for legal entities and 8.8 percent - physical entities.  Non-food products accounted for 94.7 percent of e-commerce market turnover.  The total retail trade volume amounted to 19.2 billion AZN in Azerbaijan in January-November 2014. The sales of consumer goods in the country increased by 9.5 percent compared to the same period of last year.  About 49.9 percent fell to non-food products. The share of non-food products increased by 3.3 percentage points compared to the same period of 2013.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/08/2014

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E-commerce Market in Azerbaijan Increases by 1.5 Times

 

The State Statistics Committee: In January, e-commerce market in Azerbaijan increased by 1.5 times In January 2015 the volume of e-retailers in Azerbaijan amounted to 864 900, 1news.az reports with reference to the official website of the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan.  Compared to the same period in 2014 the market of electronic commerce (e-commerce) has grown by 1.5 times.  92.8% of the goods were purchased on-line on shopping sites in the network, owned by legal, 7.2% - owned individuals.  Nonfoods accounted for 96% of the turnover of the e-commerce market.  In 2014, the volume of e-commerce market in Azerbaijan