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Winter 2015 Issue 52

 

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 GLOBAL: Top 10 Forecasts for IT Organisations and Users for 2016 and Beyond

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Standards in Personal Data Protection

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif From the Digital Divide to Digital Citizenship

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Government Transparency Aided by the Internet, Report Says

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Nearly 90% of People Worried About Cyberattacks, Survey Finds

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: The Secret Behind Data Centre Success

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: 5 Technologies for Smart Cities

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: E-government Switches to Cloud Technology

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif U.S.: White House Issues Governmentwide Cyber Action Plan

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AFRICA: The Sweet and Sour Bits from the East African Internet Freedom Report; Where Kenya, Rwanda Lead and Burundi Trails

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: EC Opens Consultation on Egovernment Plans

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif FRANCE: Crowdsourcing New Digital Law

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SLOVAKIA: Parliament Passes Amendment on Egovernment

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Turkey Bans Reddit Under Internet Censorship Law

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif North America: U.S. - White House Issues Governmentwide Cyber Action Plan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Pentagon Releases Cyber Acquisition Guidance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Freedom Based on the First Amendment Is Unattainable

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Barbados Endorses OECD's Global Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Society Policy Briefs

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ISOC: Announcing the Internet Society 2016 Action Plan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Standards in Personal Data Protection

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Have Your Say in the Public Consultation on the Next Egovernment Action Plan 2016 - 2020

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Issues Plan to Promote "Three-network Convergence"

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Issues Guidelines on Big Data Promotion

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China to Accelerate Integration of Internet, Agriculture

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Launches First Big Data Pilot Zone

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Government Revs Up Cyberspace Rules

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Revised My Number System Law Enacted

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Japan Enacts Law to Allow Gov't Access to Personal Bank Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Science Ministers to Tackle Global Issues

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Korea to Ease Tech, Medical Regulations

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Prepaid SIM Card Registration Rules Tightened

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CAMBODIA: Gov't Approves Telecom Draft Law

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MALAYSIA: Data Centre Alliance Launched

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Plan to Make Phuket and Chiang Mai 'Smart Cities'

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Government Unveils Six Key Digital Economy Projects

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: New Regulation Expected to Activate Domain Name Market

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Sci-Tech Ministry Plans $45mil. for Training Project

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MIC’s New Regulation Could Create More SMS Spam

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Delhi Govt Approves E-office Plan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Launches Online LPG Connection Scheme ‘SAHAJ’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Launches Three IT Initiatives

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Participate in ‘Digitising India’ and Earn Rewards

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Reform and Perform for Smart City Aid’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Delhi Govt Urges Industry to Bridge Digital Divide

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SRI LANKA: First Smart City to Be Kandy

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: New Rules for Purchasing SIM Cards Declared

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Unveils New Tax Incentives for Space Industry

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Parliament Looking at Adopting BIM for Infrastructure Projects

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Call for Halt to Introduction of ISP Copyright Code

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ISPs Unable to Meet Government Metadata Legislation – Starts Today

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Data Retention Compliance Could Pass to Consumers as Tax Impost: IA

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Senate Passes eHealth Legislation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Telco Wants Certainty for Industry from Regulatory Review

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VANUATU: Law Reforms Culminate in Launch of Online Business Registry

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AFRICA: Kenya Says Open Data Portal Usage Increases

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NAMIBIA: The E-Government Project – A Reform Initiative

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ZAMBIA: Gauteng Opts for E-government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ZIMBABWE: First Internet Governance Forum Event Held in Harare - Seeks Input into Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Armenia - The First Internet Governance Forum ArmIGF 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BULGARIA: E-Government Is a Key Priority of the Present Government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Bulgaria’s Electronic Voting Referendum Falls Short

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Swiss Make Good Use of E-Government Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Estonians to Teach CIG About E-government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IRELAND: Minister Confirms Support for Internet Governance Transfer

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UKRAINE: E-Democracy Expert Says Electronic Governance Can Help Rid Itself of Corruption

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

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Government Will End Multiple Charges by MDAs

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ISU Professor, Student Team to Research E-Government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Governance: What Could Go Wrong?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICANN and EuroDIG Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UN Works Through Issues of a Changed Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Turn Digital Divides into Digital Opportunities,’ Ban Tells Annual UN Forum on Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Anti-Corruption Case Sharing Accelerates Under APEC Network

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Tech, Media, Telecom IPOs to Stall

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Government Transparency Aided by the Internet, Report Says

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Defense Ministry to Toughen IT Checks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Unveils Members of Dynamic Society Panel

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif South Korea Cooperates on Online Gov't Services with Indonesia, Uganda

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MYANMAR: To Launch Information Centers for Election Results

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: Technology Development Centre Established

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Net Gateway for Digital Hub

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Gov't Officially Launches Facebook Pages

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministry's IT Skill Standards Expected to Improve

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Vietnamese PM's Viewpoint on Internet

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Govt to Set Up National Fingerprint Database of Criminals

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PM Modi Reviews Projects via ICT-Based ‘PRAGATI’ Platform

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital India to Hinge on eGovernance, Agree Experts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif DIPP Becomes First Govt Department to Have Cashless Transactions

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Delhi Police One Touch Away’ Mobile App Launched

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India Favours Multi-stakeholder Model of Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PM Pitches for Utmost Use of Space Technology in Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PM Modi Asks Departments to Form ‘Technology Cell’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EPFO Moves to M-governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Ministry of Law & Justice Develops Web App for Monitoring Court Cases

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IAS Recruits to Suggest Ways to Ease Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Shifts to E-Publishing of Gazette Notifications

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Governance on Cloud 9

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ePragati: Andhra Hits New High in eGovernance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AP Shows the Way in eGovernance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Punjab Vows to Make mGovernance Effective

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Discusses Multi-stakeholder Approach to Internet Governance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Reduces Spend on Print Ads, Pushes for Digital Ads

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Environment Ministry Launches New Website on National Clean Development Mechanism Authority

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Army Launches Its Own Cloud, Data Centre, Digi-Locker

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: E-gov Portal Makes Online Payments Available

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan, Serbia to Establish Working Group on ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-government Switches to Cloud Technology

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: Rating Assessment of ICT of State Agencies Summed Up

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Spectrum Review to ‘Bring $177 Billion in Benefits’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Govt’s Telco Framework an “Important First Step” Towards Greater Certainty Telco Investors

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Paving Way for Multi-Billion Euro Potential of Open Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Estonia Creating Conditions for Transnational Data Exchange

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SWEDEN: Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Software Market Grows 12.8% in 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital Economy in LatAm Generates USD 195 bln

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BRAZIL: PC Market to Shrink by a Third in 2015 - IDC

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Global Enterprise Network Equipment Industry

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Global Broadband Growth Slows Sharply: 4 Billion Still Offline

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SMEs Urged to Use ICT in Businesses

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Internet of Things Reaches $90b in 2014

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EU, China Sign Key Partnership on 5G

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Robotic Capabilities to Get Big Boost

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Internet Plus’ Tops China’s Economy Driver Survey

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Pay System, E-commerce a Good Measure of Spending

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-commerce Giants Speed Up Rural Expansion

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Online Services Have Tougher Time Fundraising

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Ranks No. 1 in Global Online Retail Trade

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Builds Asia's 1st Big Data Base for Int'l Shipping

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Online Shoppers Finding a Lot to Complain About

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JD.com Asks for Promo Probe into Alibaba

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Targets Telecom Reform, Merger Plans Remain Unconfirmed

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif National Agricultural E-commerce Platform Set Up

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China’s Rural Areas to Benefit More from E-commerce

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Electric Car Production Surging

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Singles Day’ Sales Exceed $14b

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China’s B2C Market Grows by Half in Q3

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Govt Launches Electricity Retail Market Watchdog

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Economic Growth Lies in Investing in New Tech

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov't to Spend 5.7 Tln Won for 5G, Drones

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smartphone Market Growth to Slow in 2016: Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif FSC Hints Possibility of Approving More Internet-Only Banks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea‘s ICT Exports Edge Up in August

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Q4 Outlook Bright for Building, IT Sectors: Biz Body

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Exports for September Post Year's High

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov't to Create 55 Billion Won Fund to Foster Computer Graphics Industry

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LG Makes Big Push on IoT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KT Vows to Be Game-Changer in ICT

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Blibli.Com to Bring SMEs into the Digital Age

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Indonesia Hopes Its E-Commerce Ecosystem Churns Out a Unicorn or Two by Next Year

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Indonesian SMEs Part I: Driving the Economy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Indonesian SMEs Part II: Lack of Data, Coordination and Will

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Indonesian SMEs Part III: Views from the Ground

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Shift to E-Payment Urged to Cut Costs

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Commerce Business Registrations Jump 544% in 10 Months

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Thai Firms Embracing Cloud Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: E-Commerce Contributes to Growth

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Imports of Used IT Goods to Be Banned in Vietnam

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BANGLADESH: Post Offices Going for E-commerce Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt. May Temporarily Restrict Apps’ Use

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Online Fire Licence to Increase Ease of Doing Business Soon

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif G-2-G E-commerce Portal to Be Launched Soon

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PM Modi Distributes E-rickshaws as Part of Financial Inclusion

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mahindra Forays into E-commerce with M2ALL Launch

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MSME Ministry to Ease Norms for Doing Business

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif BSE Implements XBRL-based E-filing of Financial Results

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif USPTO Gives Cloud Computing Patent to ESDS

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: E-commerce Market Volume Exceeds $7.8 mln

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Atrabank Connects to AzeriCard’s Service Internet Banking

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan, Costa Rica Enjoy Potential to Enhance E-Commerce Ties

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Expansion of ICT Business Expected in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-marketing to Boost Tourism in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Creates a Database on Stock Market

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Taxation of E-Commerce Can Be Started from 2016

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: IT Enterprises Render Services Worth 3.4 Trillion Soums

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Offers Pacific Exporters Avenue to Boost Sales, Cut Costs - ADB

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: ACMA Tackles Challenges of a ‘Digitised’ Economy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Renewed Government Focus a ‘Boon’ for Tech Start-Up Sector

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Bill Shock Down a Further Six Percentage Points

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Service Providers See Boost from Govt's Secure Cloud List

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IoT Could Offer Potential $116 Billion Positive Impact on the Australian Economy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: What’s Driving Multi-Million Dollar Data Centre Demand?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif $300 Million Rural Broadband Scheme Under Flack as Govt Ministry Sacking Unveils UFB Cracks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif What Are the Two Key Barriers Preventing NZ SMEs from Embracing Tech Changes?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Boost for Local Business as New Tech Hub Arrives in Wellington

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Telcos Make “Stuttering Progress” in Bid to Become Digital Service Providers

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif $20 Million Saved as Govt Unveils 12 Telco Providers

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Belgian Court Orders Facebook to Stop Collecting Personal Data from Non-Facebook Users

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Polish ICT School Infrastructure Slightly Better Than Global Average

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SWEDEN: Tele2 Reaches 90% LTE Coverage in Baltic States

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: LatAm Cities Put People First in Developing Urban Transportation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Brazil to Increases Taxes on Smartphones, Computers

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mexico to Bring Free Internet to 7,600 Schools

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Social Media Engagement Rates Decline

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Facebook Bends to Advertiser Viewability Demands

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Free Basics vs. Basic Internet Freedom: Three Questions for Mark Zuckerberg

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Rebuilding Communities and Fostering Lifelong Learning Through Intergenerational Dialogue

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif From the Digital Divide to Digital Citizenship

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Uncensored Internet a Global Concern, Pew Survey Finds

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Green Trade Boosted as Network Takes Shape

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Innovation to Improve Transportation’s Efficiency and Effectiveness

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digitalisation to Drive Asia’s Higher Education IT Spending to US$10.4bil

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: New Mobile Users Should Register Identification

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Internet Users Hit 875m

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet to Aid China to Combat Poverty

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Robotics to Get 5-Year Push

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: 15% of Tokyo High Schoolers Bullied on Internet, Survey Shows

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Manufacturers Crunch Big Data to Find Consumer Preferences

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Repeated Data Falsification Threatens to Harm Nation’s Manufacturing Culture

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Big Data to Analyze Safe Medication for Children

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Gov't Looks to Self-Driving Cars, Drones to Spur Innovation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Innovation in Science, Technology to Solve Global Challenges

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: Moving to Solve ICT Talent Crunch

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Singapore’s Hive to Bring Data Science Goodness to the People

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Secret Behind Singapore’s Data Centre Success

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Cartoonists Opt for New Outlets Online to Survive

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Full 4G Service Will Transform Thailand into True Digital Economy: Experts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: City Uses More IT in Public Services

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Vietnam to Launch 4G Mobile Service in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif High-Tech Park Contributes to City Economy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Learning Changes Classrooms in Vietnam

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Vietnam Urged to Go Ahead with 4G

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smartphones Gain in Popularity as Tablets Sales Decline in Vietnam

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Smart Transportation for Smart Cities

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Free Wi-Fi Facility in DTC Buses Soon

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘Smart Cities Get More for Less’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Smart National Common Mobility Card Model Is Here

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Environment Sustainability Crucial for Smart Cities in India

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ‘E-pragati’ Shaping Growth of Andhra Pradesh

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital India Stepping Stone for Smart Cities, Skill India: SAP

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif E-Tourist Visa Shows an Increase of 893% in 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Criminal Tracking System Launched in Maharashtra

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Kerala Plans to Cash in on Rural IT Parks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Railways Joins Hands with Google for Free Wi-Fi in Trains, Stations

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Facebook Plans to Launch Low-cost Wi-Fi Service in India

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Startups Have an Important Role in ‘Digital India’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Delhi Metro Ranked First in ‘Information During Travel’

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Delhi Govt to Crackdown on Online Sites Selling Liquor

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital India - Netizens Played to Gallery on FB?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital India: Punjab’s Village Turns IT Enabled

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Over 2 Lakh Tourists Arrived on E-Tourist Visa During Jan-Sept 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Railways Launches Paperless Tickets for Local Commuters

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IRCTC Launches Station-based E-catering Service

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Delhi Govt’s eServices to Come for a Price

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Greater Noida Plans Making Property Info Available Online

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Clears Balloon Internet Project of Google

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Make India Digitally Empowered Society

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt to Turn Rural Post Offices into Common Service Centres

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif All Indian Railway Contracts Online from Next Year

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: Expressbank Presents E-Purse Expresspay for Clients

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Bakcell's Ultra-Fast LTE Network to Support 225 Mbps

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Mobile Numbers Ported to Azercell Jump

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azercell Offers Access to Digital Literature Masterpieces

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif TURKMENISTAN: GPS-monitoring Optimizes Transportation System

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: ADB to Provide Loan for Modernization of City Sewer System

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif "Uzbektelecom" Reduces Tariffs for Internet Providers Up to $ 199.7

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Digital Television Coverage of Uzbekistan Reaches 54%

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Innovations in Healthcare

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: Government Looks for Providers of New Welfare ICT System

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Skilled IT Professionals Key to Turnbull’s Digital Vision: ACS

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Government Promises to Implement Digital ID for All

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif IoT Goes Above and Below Ground to Make Cities Healthier

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Digital? Cloud? Automation? Why You Should Talk to Your SI About Legacy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 1 in 10 NZ IT Teams Waste over $100K a Year on Redundant Tech

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 99% of Kiwis Set for 2025 UFB Access as Govt Makes Ambitious Broadband Pledge

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Boost for Rural Hospitals as NZ Broadband Rollout Finishes

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Spark Digital Draws on Innovative ICT Services Following Govt Deal

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Case C-362/14 Maximilian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Privacy Groups Hail 'Freedom from Surveillance' in European Court's Facebook Ruling

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EU Declares Information War on Russia

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Snowden Criticizes Russia for Crackdown on Internet Freedom

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Russian Censor Blocks Two Independent Crimean Internet Publications

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Efamro Guidance on Safe Harbour and Russia Data

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Brazil's Internet Freedom Is Under Attack

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Brazil Major Target of Cyberattacks in Latin America

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Aggressive Cybersecurity Strategy Offers Greater Information, Protection

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Imation to Showcase Leading Data Protection Solutions at VMworld 2015

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Web Cookies Open the Door to Remote Site Compromise

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CEOs and Governments Should Treat Digital Security as an Economic Risk

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Guarding Against Online Risk: The Battle Against Cybercrime

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Facing Mass Surveillance and Other Threats to Privacy and Freedom of Expression - Council of Europe at the 2015 Internet Governance Forum

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China, U.S. Reach Important Consensus on Fighting Cyber Crimes: Xi

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China to Enhance Crackdown on Infringement, Counterfeit on Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China, US Prepare for Launching Dialogue to Fight Cybercrime

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Beware: 11% of Free WiFi Sites Pose Dangers

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif JAPAN: Public-Private Joint Efforts Needed to Foster Cybersecurity Specialists

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Low Security Consciousness at JPS Exacerbated Pension Data Breach

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Filling the Ranks of Japan’s Cyberwarriors in Time for 2020 Olympics Proves a Major Challenge

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Nearly 90% of People Worried About Cyberattacks, Survey Finds

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: Watchdog to Receive Preliminary Applications for Internet Bank

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif New Cyber Security Technology Demonstrated in Seoul

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Online Travel Agency Traveloka to Use Cybersource Payment Solutions

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PHILIPPINES: Creating Cybersecurity Body

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: Cyberwar Unit Not Linked to Single Gateway

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Military Stresses Need for Cyber Vigilance

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Internet and Network Security

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NA Approves Law on Cyber Information Safety

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Rs 500cr Centre Likely to Come Up to Tackle Cyber Crime

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 74% of Internet Users Can’t Recognise Online Threats

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Govt Plans I-T Software to Track Black Money Trail

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cyber Security Alliance Cracks CryptoWall Crimeware Code

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: To Be Protected from DDoS-attacks

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cyber Threats Decline in Azerbaijan

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cyber Security: Needs a Global Perspective

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: SMBs on High Alert as New Kiwi Security Task Force Builds Cyber Resilience

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Cost of Cyber Attacks Smash $300 Billion Mark, Yet NZ Businesses Still Don’t Care

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif EUROPE: Highlights of Estonian ICT Day at the World Bank and the Future of E-Government

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif FRANCE: President Ilves, Francis Fukuyama Discussed Future of Information Technology

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif LATIN AMERICA: Colombia and Chile to Head Regulatel in 2016 and 2017

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - Why the Government Is Investing Millions in Internet Freedom Technologies

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif America Slow to Cede Internet Control

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Government’s Threat to Internet Freedom Is Growing

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Information and Communication Technologies Uptake in Global Smart Plants Market Shifts to High Gear

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Research and Markets: Global Capital Market ICT Spending 2015-2019

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Role of ICT in a Connected Car Future: Emerging Opportunities for ICT Providers in the Connected Car Sector

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif The Gaps in Global Internet Governance Are Growing, According to New CFR Interactive

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Groups Want to Join Forces

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Global Internet Freedom Continues to Weaken: Report

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT4D: 7 Must-follow Twitter Accounts

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif One Net, One Future

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Internet Governance Forum: Ten Years After

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Measuring Human Rights in the ICT Sector: Why, How, and with What Impact?

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Asia-Pacific Region Rallies Around Info Superhighway

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Rise of the Robots

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif News Analysis: Internet Technology Reshapes China's Economy

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's "Magic Cube" Computer Unlocks the Future

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China's Tech Empire Comes of Age Abroad

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China to Improve Telecom Services in Rural, Remote Areas

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China to Promote S&T Development for Info Protection

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Chinese Cash to Pour into High-Tech Start-Ups

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif China Makes Breakthrough in Li-Fi Technology, with Speed of 50 Gbps

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Tianhe-2 Retains World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Construction of China's Mega Radio Telescope Enters Final Stage

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SOUTH KOREA: To Invest 1.9 Trillion Won Next Year for ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif World Scientists Discuss Science, Technology

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KT Plans to Invest W13tr in Smart Giga Network by 2020

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Korea, China Boost Smart Infrastructure Cooperation

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif World Science & Technology Forum Opens for 1st Time in Asia

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif OECD Holds Technology Policy Meeting

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KT Seeks to Lead Industry 4.0 with Intelligent Infrastructure

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif S. Korea, France to Enhance Cooperation in High-Tech, Space Industries

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDONESIA: Aiming to Beat Malaysia in Internet Access by 2019

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MALAYSIA: Outsourcing M’sia to Local Players - Go Regional, or Drown in the AEC

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SINGAPORE: How to Became Asia’s Data Centre Hub

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Singapore Unveils Task Force to Boost Semiconductor Industry

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif THAILAND: State-Owned Telecom Companies Look to Raise $281m Infra Fund in 2016

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif VIETNAM: Race Begins for Faster Internet

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif SMEs Need to Innovate

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Govt Names 98 To-Be-Made Smart Cities

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif India Slips in UN’s Broadband Penetration Ranking

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Boost for Digital India, Make in India: Qualcomm to Invest $150 Million in Startups

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Indian Tech Industry Revenue to Touch $350 Billion by 2025

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 5 Technologies for India’s Smart Cities

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Big Data Market to See USD 50bn Growth by 2019

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AZERBAIJAN: To Complete Shifting to Digital Television by Year-end

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Could Create Its Own Silicon Valley

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif ICT Revenues Exceed $1B in Azerbaijan

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan Leads Region in ICT

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Azerbaijan to Produce Branded High-Tech Equipment

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif KAZAKHSTAN: Volume of State Grants for Purchasing Technology Increased

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif UZBEKISTAN: Mobile Operators Instructed to Improve the Quality of Mobile Communication

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif International ICT Conference Takes Place at TUIT

 

 

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http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Asia-Pacific Telecommunity Discusses ICT Development

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Top 10 Forecasts for IT Organisations and Users for 2016 and Beyond

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif How ICT Impacted MDGs in 15 Years

http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Digital Savvy the Key to Success

 

 

 

 

 

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GLOBAL: Top 10 Forecasts for IT Organisations and Users for 2016 and Beyond

 

Gartner has revealed its top strategic predictions for 2016 and beyond, looking at the digital future, as well as an algorithmic and smart machine-driven world where people and machines must define harmonious relationships. “The 'robo' trend, the emerging practicality of artificial intelligence, and the fact that enterprises and consumers are now embracing the advancement of these technologies is driving change,” says Daryl Plummer, vice president, distinguished analyst, Gartner. “Gartner's Top Predictions begin to separate us from the mere notion of technology adoption and to draw us more deeply into issues surrounding what it means to be human in a digital world.”

 

1) By 2018, 20 per cent of business content will be authored by machines

Technologies with the ability to proactively assemble and deliver information through automated composition engines are fostering a movement from human- to machine-generated business content. Data-based and analytical information can be turned into natural language writing using these emerging tools. Business content, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases, articles and white papers, are all candidates for automated writing tools.

 

2) By 2018, six billion connected things will be requesting support

In the era of digital business, when physical and digital lines are increasingly blurred, enterprises will need to begin viewing things as customers of services - and to treat them accordingly. Mechanisms will need to be developed for responding to significantly larger numbers of support requests communicated directly by things. Strategies will also need to be developed for responding to them that are distinctly different from traditional human-customer communication and problem-solving. Responding to service requests from things will spawn entire service industries, and innovative solutions will emerge to improve the efficiency of many types of enterprise.

 

3) By 2020, autonomous software agents outside of human control will participate in five per cent of all economic transactions

Algorithmically driven agents are already participating in our economy. However, while these agents are automated, they are not fully autonomous, because they are directly tethered to a robust collection of mechanisms controlled by humans — in the domains of our corporate, legal, economic and fiduciary systems. New autonomous software agents will hold value themselves, and function as the fundamental underpinning of a new economic paradigm that Gartner calls the programmable economy. The programmable economy has potential for great disruption to the existing financial services industry. We will see algorithms, often developed in a transparent, open-source fashion and set free on the blockchain, capable of banking, insurance, markets, exchanges, crowdfunding - and virtually all other types of financial instruments.

 

4) By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a "robo-boss”

Robo-bosses will increasingly make decisions that previously could only have been made by human managers. Supervisory duties are increasingly shifting into monitoring worker accomplishment through measurements of performance that are directly tied to output and customer evaluation. Such measurements can be consumed more effectively and swiftly by smart machine managers tuned to learn based on staffing decisions and management incentives.

 

5) By year-end 2018, 20 per cent of smart buildings will have suffered from digital vandalism

Inadequate perimeter security will increasingly result in smart buildings being vulnerable to attack. With exploits ranging from defacing digital signage to plunging whole buildings into prolonged darkness, digital vandalism is a nuisance, rather than a threat. There are, nonetheless, economic, health and safety, and security consequences. The severity of these consequences depend on the target. Smart building components cannot be considered independently, but must be viewed as part of the larger organisational security process. Products must be built to offer acceptable levels of protection and hooks for integration into security monitoring and management systems.

 

6) By 2018, 45 per cent of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer employees than instances of smart machines

Gartner believes the initial group of companies that will leverage smart machine technologies most rapidly and effectively will be startups and other newer companies. The speed, cost savings, productivity improvements and ability to scale of smart technology for specific tasks offer dramatic advantages over the recruiting, hiring, training and growth demands of human labor. Some possible examples are a fully automated supermarket or a security firm offering drone-only surveillance services. The "old guard" (existing) companies, with large amounts of legacy technologies and processes, will not necessarily be the first movers, but the savvier companies among them will be fast followers, as they will recognise the need for competitive parity for either speed or cost.

 

7) By year-end 2018, customer digital assistant will recognise individuals by face and voice across channels and partners

The last mile for multichannel and exceptional customer experiences will be seamless two-way engagement with customers and will mimic human conversations, with both listening and speaking, a sense of history, in-the-moment context, timing and tone, and the ability to respond, add to and continue with a thought or purpose at multiple occasions and places over time. Although facial and voice recognition technologies have been largely disparate across multiple channels, customers are willing to adopt these technologies and techniques to help them sift through increasing large amounts of information, choice and purchasing decisions. This signals an emerging demand for enterprises to deploy customer digital assistants to orchestrate these techniques and to help "glue" continual company and customer conversations.

 

8) By 2018, two million employees will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment

The health and fitness of people employed in jobs that can be dangerous or physically demanding will increasingly be tracked by employers via wearable devices. Emergency responders, such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics, will likely comprise the largest group of employees required to monitor their health or fitness with wearables. The primary reason for wearing them is for their own safety. Their heart rates and respiration, and potentially their stress levels, could be remotely monitored and help could be sent immediately if needed. In addition to emergency responders, a portion of employees in other critical roles will be required to wear health and fitness monitors, including professional athletes, political leaders, airline pilots, industrial workers and remote field workers.

 

9) By 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40 per cent of mobile interactions, and the post-app era will begin to dominate

Smart agent technologies, in the form of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and other agents, will monitor user content and behaviour in conjunction with cloud-hosted neural networks to build and maintain data models from which the technology will draw inferences about people, content and contexts. Based on these information-gathering and model-building efforts, VPAs can predict users' needs, build trust and ultimately act autonomously on the user's behalf.

 

10) Through 2020, 95 per cent of Cloud security failures will be the customer's fault

Security concerns remain the most common reason for avoiding the use of public Cloud services. However, only a small percentage of the security incidents impacting enterprises using the Cloud have been due to vulnerabilities that were the provider's fault. This does not mean that organisations should assume that using a Cloud means that whatever they do within that cloud will necessarily be secure. The characteristics of the parts of the Cloud stack under customer control can make cloud computing a highly efficient way for naive users to leverage poor practices, which can easily result in widespread security or compliance failures. The growing recognition of the enterprise's responsibility for the appropriate use of the public Cloud is reflected in the growing market for cloud control tools. By 2018, 50 percent of enterprises with more than 1000 users will use Cloud access security broker products to monitor and manage their use of SaaS and other forms of public Cloud, reflecting the growing recognition that although Clouds are usually secure, the secure use of public Clouds requires explicit effort on the part of the Cloud customer.

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 10/12/2015

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New Standards in Personal Data Protection

 

The issue of the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the United States has long been a touchy subject. The 'Safe Harbour' program has been widely criticized, and recent decisions of the EU Court of Justice are set to introduce a new level of quality. Unfortunately, the Court's decision also entails serious consequences, as explained by Jacek Grabowski from Gemius' legal department. For nearly 15 years the 'Safe Harbour' program has enabled the transfer of data between European and US companies. In fact, it was a compromise which generated certain reservations from the beginning. The EU Directive on the protection of personal data, which came into force during the implementation of this program and is still in place, forbids the transfer of data outside the EU unless the other side guarantees equal or higher protection standards. 'Safe Harbour' guaranteed no such protection.

 

It was criticized primarily for its lack of effective mechanisms for enforcing compliance with the rules of the program; its limited options for individual complaint submissions and its dispute resolution mechanisms were – from a European point of view – non-transparent. 'Safe Harbour' was criticized by the European personal data protection authorities. The European Commission has repeatedly tested the program and subtly advocated its revision. The information revealed by Edward Snowden of the large-scale surveillance conducted by US government agencies added fuel to the fire. Emerging from the impasse required bold political decisions. The Commission transferred responsibility to the national data protection authorities, who were bound by the decision of the Commission.

 

A ground-breaking challenge

In early October, the EU Court of Justice cut the Gordian knot. This was both a bold move and a painful and unfavourable business decision in the short-term. It was stated that the national data protection authorities are not bound by the decision of the European Commission. They are therefore responsible for checking whether the regulations under which European data is transferred outside the EU meet the determined standards. In this respect the judgement strengthens the position of the data protection authorities (e.g. GIODO in Poland) and even encourages the authorities to check whether foreign companies which fall under their jurisdiction are acting in accordance with the law. The CJEU went one step further and assessed that the data protection rules laid down in the 'Safe Harbour' program are not consistent with the standards set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Directive 95/46/EC. The Court determined that the American legal system is lacking when it comes to the guarantee and authorization of data protection (e.g. the right to sue, the right to share and edit data), and that the law allows for mass surveillance, with public authorities having almost unlimited and uncontrolled access to Europeans' data.

 

Practical implications

The CJEU's decision can be approached from many angles and has serious consequences for various stakeholders. In light of this judgment, the General Regulation on the Protection of Personal Data is all the more important; this should define coherent Europe-wide standards for the protection of data and legal requirements for the processing of data. It is worth noting, for example, that the definition of personal data in accordance with this act can be fulfilled by a cookie identifier – it may be that every company making overseas transfers of any information about a given cookie identifier or a group of these IDs is covered by this regulation and all its requirements.

 

The most unpleasant effects will be experienced by companies whose business activity involves the transmission of personal data between the EU and the US, especially considering the kind of information we recognise as personal data. Until there is a relevant international agreement (such as the currently negotiated TTIP), companies must determine the appropriate legal basis for data transfer and ensure that proper standards for its protection are met. They will have to identify which data transfers were carried out under the 'Safe Harbour' program and select the most suitable alternative.

 

In accordance with Polish law, the premise for legalizing such transfers may be, for example, a contract between the data controller and a given person, the individual consent of GIODO for a particular company (to obtain this consent, the company will have to demonstrate that they have provided adequate privacy protection standards), the introduction of binding corporate rules (approved by GIODO) or standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission. Given that US companies are accustomed to self-regulatory programs, in the longer term they may adopt the use of data protection instruments, such as binding corporate rules or standard contractual clauses.

 

Terra incognita

The CJEU judgement paves the way for inspections to be carried out by the European personal data protection authorities. These authorities may be of the opinion that no contractual obligations (standard contractual clauses or binding corporate rules) will protect Europeans against mass surveillance on the part of the United States. This surveillance may result in decisions prohibiting particular companies from transferring data to the US. In this sense, the legal risk of activities conducted by companies with headquarters overseas is elevated. This may result in the improvement of data protection standards, with companies ensuring the adequate and appropriate supervision of their processing, but it can also be expected that some European data protection authorities – despite having doubts – will make the decision to allow transfers. At that point, the practical implications of the CJEU judgement will only concern the procedure for determining the legal basis for data transfer. At present it is hard to predict which scenario will come to pass.

 

The CJEU decision also has a political significance. It could present a huge obstacle to the transmission of data, should the Americans not choose to enhance their protection standards. The influence of the judgement on negotiations under the TTIP agreement between the US and the EU could also be considerable. The agreement, which is intended to standardize regulatory norms, will also have to deal with the standardization of privacy rules on both continents. We have set sail from the 'Safe Harbour' into uncharted waters. Now anything is possible.

From http://www.gemius.com/ 11/10/2015

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One in Three: Internet Governance and Children’s Rights

 

In November 2015, the Internet Governance Forum will focus on the theme of ‘policy options for connecting the next billion’. Following publication of her co-authored report ‘One in three: internet governance and children’s rights’, Professor Sonia Livingstone discusses how internet governance needs to consider the specific rights and needs of children, both in terms of protection from harm as well as the right to access and use digital media. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children below the age of 18 possess the full range of human rights enjoyed by adults. As legal minors undergoing crucial processes of human development, they have additional rights too – to play, to parenting, to develop to their full potential, and so forth.

 

The recent international NETmundial initiative, an important international effort on internet governance, observed that the “rights that people have offline must also be protected online”. Such an idea is not new: over a decade ago the 2003 phase of the World Summit on the Information Society adopted the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action in which the position of children was expressly recognised: “We are committed to realising our common vision of the Information Society for ourselves and for future generations. We recognise that young people are the future workforce and leading creators and earliest adopters of ICTs. They must therefore be empowered as learners, developers, contributors, entrepreneurs and decision-makers. We must focus especially on young people who have not yet been able to benefit fully from the opportunities provided by ICTs. We are also committed to ensuring that the development of ICT applications and operation of services respects the rights of children as well as their protection and well-being.”

 

Yet, over the past decade or so, the complex tapestry of organisations that now constitute internet governance has barely recognised the distinctive rights and needs of children as a substantial group of internet users. For its meeting in November 2015, the Internet Governance Forum chose as its theme ‘policy options for connecting the next billion’. In my paper, ‘One in three: internet governance and children’s rights’, co-authored with Jasmina Byrne and John Carr and just published by CIGI in time for the forum, we estimate that 300 million of that number will be children, most of them in developing nations. This represents a significant responsibility for many key actors, and for global internet governance bodies. How will they meet it? As report co-author John Carr comments: “The internet’s achievements are spectacular and beyond doubt but what this report reminds us is that for all that the internet has worked to change the world’s economy, has changed the way we do politics and hold governments to account, it is also a medium for children. Policy makers need to fix that prosaic but profound fact firmly in their minds whenever they think or talk about the future of the internet or its governance.”

 

So far, internet governance organisations have sought an age-generic (or ‘age-blind’) approach to ‘users’. But children have specific needs and rights that are not met by governance regimes designed for ‘everyone’ – and too often, provision for ‘users’ in general embeds assumptions in practice about their being adults, thereby failing to meet children’s rights in practice. Even when specific provision is made for children, it focuses heavily on child protection, especially in relation to illegal activities that threaten children. This is important, for sure. But beyond this, children’s rights to protection must somehow be balanced against their rights to participation, since addressing the former in isolation risks the unintended consequence of infringing the latter. Such crucial subtleties have been signally lacking in the various multistakeholder policies, Internet Bills of Rights and other regulation increasingly proposed and promoted around the world.

 

Indeed, I find it astonishing how often policy makers debate internet governance as if all users were adults or, failing that, carefully protected by informed parents. Our report argues against an age-generic or age-blind approach to internet provision and governance, drawing on growing international evidence that a substantial minority of internet users are minors and that many encounter risk unsupported. In addition to addressing issues of child protection in the online domain, we argue that policy and governance should now ensure children’s rights to access and use of digital media and the deployment of the internet by the wider society to advance children’s rights across the board. As internet use rises in developing countries, international internet governance organisations face a key challenge in shaping, through multi-stakeholder processes, the emerging models of best practice that will underpin the development of positive norms recognised by states, parents and other relevant parties. Jasmina Byrne observes that:

 

“Implementation of child rights in the digital age requires not only adherence to human rights and values, but also empowerment and participation of child users in ways which foster their creativity, innovation and societal engagement.” We therefore recommend that internet governance organisations acknowledge and address the fact that an estimated one in three internet users are children. Recognition of children’s rights should be embedded in the activities, policies and structures of internet governance processes. This includes provision and participation rights as well as protection rights. Strategies need to be developed to address conflicts between rights – especially to ensure that children’s rights to provision and participation are not unduly compromised in an effort to protect them. While States and public institutions bear the primary responsibility to ensure the realisation of children’s rights through the creation of legislative and policy frameworks, rights frameworks now encompass the activities and responsibilities of business also, and this applies to the internet industry as much as any other. In the multi-stakeholder context of internet governance, parents and children (and their representatives) should be recognized and included as significant stakeholders. This will require specific efforts and the development of appropriate mechanisms of participation and inclusion.

 

In addition to supporting a constructive dialogue between internet governance and child rights organisations, it is important for internet governance to develop mechanisms to represent and implement children’s rights online. To develop these, internet governance organisations could explicitly draw on the experience of child rights organisations (or children’s commissioners or ombudspersons) based on their established work in other domains. Since questions of child protection seem especially likely to trigger critical concerns over internet governance in terms of its remit, accountability and forms of redress, it is vital that internet governance bodies find ways to establish their legitimacy in relation to all stakeholders, including children and those who represent children’s rights. To underpin the above efforts, an evidence base is required. The risks and opportunities afforded to children by ‘the internet’ are far from simple or universal, and they are too little understood especially in the global South and in relation to emerging digital technologies. To ground this research enterprise, internet governance organisations should ensure that important information about children’s internet access and use is collected so that it is known how many children use the internet and which inequalities or other problems exist.

From http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/ 11/04/2015

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From the Digital Divide to Digital Citizenship

 

While much of the current discussion (as with the previous round of these discussions in the early 2000’s) is concerned with how to ensure that the widest possible numbers of people have some form of physical access to the Internet, now as then, there is rather less concern with whether that newly provided “access” in any way enables the end user to effectively “use” the Internet for anything other than the passive consumption of a specific range of messages (with providers such as Facebook determining which messages those might be). Not surprisingly after roughly two decades of more or less intensive academic research on the subject the understanding of the DD is now rather more nuanced and multi-layered than earlier with a strong recognition of the connection between such factors as income, age, gender and location and the ability to (or even interest in) “accessing the Internet and thus presumably “bridging the digital divide”. As well there is an emerging understanding that the DD as such is a “moving target” in that there will always be new technologies, improvements in quality and quantity of opportunities for use and so on; and as such, responses to the DD should probably be seen more as a necessarily continuous process than a discreet and one off set of measures or interventions or technology installations.

 

But given the continuing concern for the DD in a rapidly evolving technology landscape and a somewhat more slowly, but also evolving policy environment, it is perhaps timely to shift the focus and turn the issue around. When the DD discussion was first introduced the challenge was focused on how to ensure that the widest possible numbers of individuals were able to access the Internet so as to take advantage of the opportunities which were just beginning to emerge. By now, almost twenty years after the initial discussions in these areas, many of those opportunities are quite visible and in fact have been turned into the stuff of economic, social, political and administrative life in modern societies and including in both Developed and large sections of Less Developed countries. These applications, programs, and activities on and through the Internet have become in many cases completely intertwined to the point of being inextricably at the very core of economic life (e-commerce); of communications and inter-communications and social interaction with friends and family and seamlessly with strangers as well; of political life through on-line activism, information seeking, advocacy and the range of the day to day activities that constitute political life in modern society; and of life as in the context of administrative governance through e-government and on-line form filling, registration, tax paying among others.

 

What is evident from the above is how commonplace and necessary has become access and use of the Internet for very very large proportions of the population. It has become part of the very substance of their participation as citizens, consumers, voters, social beings in the modern digitally enabled world. Even those without such Internet access are increasingly integrated into the seamless digital environment through the use of the digital by those with whom they do have regular contact whether through trade, cultural interactions or in the domestic/personal sphere.  It is in this time increasingly difficult to not be a part of the digital ecosystem in one respect or another.

 

Precisely this commonplaceness and necessity I think has had the effect of changing what is the nature and response to those who are not online or digitally enabled in modern society. No longer is it that they are on the other side of some imagined “digital” divide (or abyss), rather they are seen as no longer being members of the social, political and economic community which frames the actions and opportunities of the rest of us—in fact they are outcastes, aliens in the world that the rest of us live in and from which we draw such great advantage. In the social and political world, we recognize that having access to such collectively sustained and guaranteed advantages (and rights) is that which is at the very core of being a citizen. One element of the notion of “citizenship” is that it is an “automatic” feature of being born into or being legally accepted within that political jurisdiction, a notion which has considerable resonance both for those currently being defined as “digital natives” or (for the older generation) as “digital immigrants“.

 

Another element of being a “citizen” is to have certain rights (and obligations) in relation to a political entity (generally a State) while the political entity in turn has certain rights and obligations in relation to the individual as well.  The specific nature of these rights and obligations varies as between political entities. It is also evolving over time initially including (primarily) the right (and responsibility) of participating in the political governance, but also evolving into civil (or civic) rights as for example having the protection of the rule of law. Increasingly this is being extended into a range of “social” rights as for example, those which have come to be associated with the social contract and the range of social and public services which may be available at a national level within this context. Thus just as a “citizen” now has the right to the protection of the state, the right to certain benefits (alongside certain obligations) and services, the right to participate in the various modes of determining the practice and outcome of governance, so in a digitally enabled citizenship these protections, services, rights to participate would extend into the ubiquitous digital sphere as well. In this then, not only would the right to digitally enabled services be an aspect of the overall right of citizens to services but equally the right to have various of those services in a digitally enabled format would equally be ensured.

 

To a degree, talking of the “digital citizen” is simply a re-casting of what is already widely accepted in those societies with the widespread use of the digital as the basis for public (and other service) delivery. However, by talking of the “digital citizen” and the rights of the citizen to the full advantages of the digital sphere one shifts the discussion concerning for the example the Digital Divide from one of ad hoc initiatives and voluntaristic programs to becoming an obligatory element in the activities of the modern state. In this of course, it simply reflects the emergent significance of the digital sphere in relation to the activities of the state. It is also a necessary corollary of those jurisdictions such as where digital actions have become a necessary element for active participation in civic life or even as is the case in several jurisdictions where Internet rights (or the Right to the Internet) has become enshrined in the Constitution.

 

In this approach I am going somewhat beyond and outside the current discussions on “digital citizenship” (as for example presented Karen Mossberger and her colleagues or the “civics” education oriented “digitalcitizenship.net“) which focus rather on defining the nature of citizenship in a digital age. Their concerns, as important as they are, focus on how conventional citizenship is supplemented and enabled by the digital. The approach I am suggesting here is one which is based on the notion that the digital, in transforming other aspects of conventional life, is also transforming our civic life. Thus “digital citizenship” is a newer and evolved form of citizenship and moreover one which is necessary to and appropriate in the digital age/the Information Society. This new form of citizenship has multiple aspects but for our purposes the two most salient elements are that with this new form of citizenship goes certain rights – at a minimum to be able to have access to and to effectively exercise citizenship rights in a digital age; and on the part of the State the obligation to ensure that the citizen is in a position to exercise their digital citizenship in an appropriate and effective way.

 

Precisely what might be implied by this remains to be teased out but certainly it includes the universal right to Internet access and at a speed and quality sufficient to be an active and effective citizen, equally it implies sufficient digital (and other) literacy to make effective use of this access in support of effective digital citizenship and it includes the assurance of technology designed and linked directly to legal and rights based structures of anti-discrimination associated with disability, age, ethnicity, language and so on so as to ensure that there is no discrimination in the opportunity for use. In this framework rather, we can look forward to a society where rather than a series of unbridgeable “Digital Divides” with digital “have’s” and “have not’s” the response to which is voluntary and ad hoc, we have “digital citizens” with certain rights guaranteed by the digitally enabled State to ensure digital access and the, training and other pre-requisites sufficient to ensure the opportunity to exercise those rights. (I have recently presented what I think might be an initial program in support of effective digital citizenship

From https://gurstein.wordpress.com/ 11/10/2015

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CHINA: Government Transparency Aided by the Internet, Report Says

 

The Internet has contributed significantly to making the work of governmental departments more transparent over the past five years, a report released today by the China Internet Network Information Center said. The government turned to the Web to disclose information in a big way from 2011 to 2014, with many departments creating official accounts on social media, including the popular WeChat messaging app and Weibo micro blogs, the report said. The report, which reviewed Internet developments and the industry's influence over the past five years, said the number of government WeChat accounts now exceeds 100,000 and the number of government micro-bloggers has reached about 280,000. Additionally, 96 percent of governmental departments have provided residents with online services, improving work efficiency and offering more public convenience, the report said. Departments also started publicizing policies, laws and rules on the Internet and soliciting public opinion. By the end of 2014, they had reported receiving more than 120,000 responses, it said.       

From http://www.news.cn/ 10/29/2015

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JAPAN: Nearly 90% of People Worried About Cyberattacks, Survey Finds

 

A government survey published Saturday showed that nearly 90 percent of respondents are concerned about possible cyberattacks on Japanese companies and government bodies. In the poll, conducted by the Cabinet Office in July, 85.7 percent voiced such concern, while 6.8 percent did not. The survey also showed that 93.2 percent expected Internet crimes to continue increasing, with 56.4 percent concerned about using the Internet — up 11 percentage points from the preceding Cabinet Office survey in 2007. In multiple-answer questions to those who showed concern about cyberattacks, 80.7 percent pointed to the possibility of data leakage through virus infection, while 65.2 percent were alarmed by national security threats due to leakage of diplomatic or defense secrets. Loss of international competitiveness through stealth of advanced technology was mentioned by 53.8 percent. In one of the latest incidents of data leakage due to a cyberattack, the semigovernmental Japan Pension Service lost data in May on about 1 million people, including their pension numbers, names, birth dates and addresses. A National Police Agency official said the Cabinet Office survey reflected increasing anxiety among people about cyberattacks. The survey was the third of its kind conducted by the Cabinet Office, with a 2004 poll being the first. The latest poll carried out from July 2-12 drew valid responses from 57.4 percent of 3,000 adults around the nation.

From http://www.japantimes.co.jp 08/30/2015

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SINGAPORE: The Secret Behind Data Centre Success

 

AT just 718.3 sq km with a modest population of a little over five million, Singapore is just a drop in the ocean when compared with its sizeable neighbours. Yet the ‘little red dot’ has been anything but meek in the data centre industry, accounting for over 60% of the region’s market and leading South-East Asia as a hub, according to a report from DataCenterDynamics. This is quite a feat, especially given the limited availability of space and the novelty of the Singapore data centre scene. Just a few years ago, the data centre industry in Singapore was a vastly different one. With just a few players, the field was largely bare and open. Recently, with the demand for cloud services escalating, the momentum has certainly picked up as more multinational corporations are choosing to set up operations here. So what has Singapore done right in attaining pole position as a data centre hub in South-East Asia? The success of a data centre can be attributed to three main factors: Space, power and interconnectivity.

 

Space

As a small dot on the global map, it should come as no surprise that Singapore does not have much spatial capacity to spare. Given the limited space availability, looking towards new technologies that allow for minimal use of land without any compromise on efficiency has become pertinent. To that end, the Singapore Government has been pushing for ‘Green IT,’ allocating extensive resources to fund R&D (research and development) initiatives to boost green and efficient data centre operations. Apart from the environmental benefits and cost reductions, the widespread proponent for Green IT has been to optimise not only horizontal, but vertical space utilisation as well. Many of Singapore’s data centres are housed across multiple floors. Much like HDB (Housing Development Board) designs, we optimise rack space by stacking multiple layers, allowing the same space to cater to larger data storage needs. Having more storage space in a single data centre facility also makes it easier for data centre operators to better manage overall power efficiency.

 

Power

A reliable power supply is essential to ensure constant uptime and efficiency of data centres. The stable availability of power ensures that less redundancy is needed to be built in. Singapore’s sound infrastructure makes it easier for companies to build power infrastructure and gridlines to support the dissemination, allocation, and re-allocation of power. The Government continues to raise the bar in data centre quality through eco-friendly initiatives and regulations placed on the way data centres are managed. The implementation of the Building and Construction Authority-Infocomm Development Authority (BCA-IDA) Green Mark Scheme for Data Centres serves as good measure to increase the environmental efficiency of Singapore’s data centres. The scheme assesses data centres in Singapore based on five key criteria: Energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable construction and management, and indoor environment quality, as well as other green features. It is important for data centres to implement sustainable technologies to ensure that power is not only utilised and conserved efficiently, but renewed as well. Cooling is essential in for data centres, and the efficient use of water, especially in Singapore, is high on the energy efficiency agenda. Data centres are known for high energy consumption, but sustainable technologies and guidelines from the Singapore Government is making it easier to ‘green’ local data centres.

 

Interconnectivity

The establishment of submarine cable systems has proven to be a pivotal factor in determining Singapore’s pole position in the data centre landscape. The island-republic boasts 15 submarine cable systems that are able to provide high bandwidth capacity. This is especially important to financial businesses that require a network-rich infrastructure that ensures security. Furthermore, the presence of submarine cables offers customers scalable, low-cost and low-latency connectivity – a desirable advantage for multinational companies and startups with global expansion plans. As such, a multitude of companies are not just flocking to Singapore but choosing to headquarter their businesses here. This in turn has given rise to several financial clusters springing up in Singapore, which further propels the need for efficient cloud services. The presence of these vibrant business hubs in itself is an asset for companies to tap into. The heightened digital traffic that passes through Singapore’s data centres allows for an interconnected ecosystem where enterprises and business partners can not only network but also enjoy world-class cloud services.

 

Uniquely Singapore

Space, power and interconnectivity aside, the local government has a large role to play in the quick ascent of Singapore’s data centre industry. Firstly, the Singapore Government is one that is stable and open with its licensing policies. This is in contrast to some other countries within the Asia Pacific region, where companies may face challenges in gaining approval to set up their headquarters. This alone is an attractive factor that places Singapore ahead of its neighbours. Secondly, the Government has relentlessly taken on initiatives to further boost Singapore’s presence on the global data centre map. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) recently announced its plans to establish a data centre park (DCP) aimed at housing at least half a dozen new data centres on the west side of Singapore. With new policies being implemented, it comes as no surprise that Singapore holds reigning pole position as the country with the highest total data centre capacity. Singapore’s close proximity to substantial markets such as Australia, South Korea and Japan is yet another factor that has spurred the rapid development of data centres in the small island. Its geographically convenient location positions it centrally within the mature Asia Pacific market, a region that has been consistently growing, with the public cloud services market forecast to hit US$7.4 billion in 2015, according to Gartner.

 

Ever-growing industry

Not all data centres are built equal. As such, some will certainly reign more successful than others. The keys to their success? Interconnectivity, carrier density and operational excellence. This winning combination, alongside Singapore’s swift rise as a financial and business hub, will further cement the Lion City’s status as a leader in the data centre landscape, not just regionally but also globally.

From https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/ 11/19/2015

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INDIA: 5 Technologies for Smart Cities

Nowadays, technology is fast transforming the way government departments function, adding efficiency, flexibility and transparency to the process. It is also enabling governments to respond faster to issues and improve government services to public, along with reducing operating costs. According to Gartner, the Indian Government spent approximately USD 6.6bn in 2014 and it will increase its IT spend by five per cent in 2015. India’s ambition of 100 Smart Cities guarantees that the government investments in the IT sector will rise even further, with USD 1.2bn already promised for the project from government funds and private investors also betting big on the initiative. Smart Cities ensure that every public utility—from electricity or water supply to sanitation and transport—are dependent on technology, as these are the basic elements for any city. Here’s a look at the top five technologies that India’s future cities are likely to be built upon. Machine-to-Machine Technologies (M2M): Without M2M technology, it would be impossible for Smart Cities to exist. Broadly, M2M technologies enable devices to communicate with each other over wired or wireless ICT systems. Without this, the sensors, smart grids, monitors and other technologies in use in these cities would not be able to function. M2M functions in a manner that connects the information received from sensors through the network and converts it through a software into meaningful content that can be read, analysed and routed to personal computers for consumption. Therefore, no technology involving Internet of Things (IoT) can be made possible without M2M communications.

M2M becomes even more significant and important in the context of Smart Cities considering the burgeoning urban population and their strain on natural resources such as water, electricity, fuel, etc. According to a report by Booz and Company, every minute, 20 Indians move into cities. India’s urban population will increase by 140 million in 10 years and 700 million in four decades, straining natural resources and increasing the need for more environment-friendly technologies like smart meters, sensors and recycling plants, all enabled by M2M technology. Data Security: IoT is the backbone of Smart Cities. However, without a robust security and privacy infrastructure, there can be no practical and safe application of IoT within a Smart City. Access and control standards for ICT networks within the Smart City are imperative for both data and human security, the lack of which can cause serious threats and vulnerabilities to all who live and operate in such cities. For instance, an Air Traffic Control (ATC) system in a Smart City is a completely automated system that manages air traffic at major international and domestic airports and controls the transport of thousands of lives and belongings on a daily basis. Imagine this sophisticated network of sensors, monitors and other IT systems in the ATC being attacked by cyber criminals, who hack and manipulate the system to perpetuate a terrorist attack resulting in large-scale loss of life.

India is now waking up to the importance of IT and cyber security, although it would be a critical success factor in the management and future of our Smart Cities. Building a more conducive security environment will have to be two-fold, with more stringent government regulations for data protection and security, on one hand, and a developed security services industry with the ability to manage advanced targeted cyber security threats and attacks, on the other. New Storage Technologies: As Smart Cities grow, the amount of information gathered and stored for analysis and record will grow tremendously. Moreover, the data gathered will be required for analysis and leveraging big data analytics and for the enhancement and better administration of the Smart City through improved decision-making. New storage technologies, such as flash, high-capacity drives, software-defined storage and Cloud infrastructures, etc., will only grow to serve IoT deployments needed in Smart Cities. Prompted by the requirement of high availability of data and reliability of storage and datacentre systems, these advanced storage technologies will be expected to greatly enhance the productivity and efficiency of Smart Cities and to help manage growth in data volume without large spends. Software-defined storage solutions can increase automation in smart plants and factories and reduce management time and costs.

Technologies for Renewable Energy: Solar, wind, electric mobility, biogas and other alternatives will greatly shape the success of India’s Smart City infrastructure. Smart cities require large amounts of energy supply that can only be achieved through recycling, effective management and new sources of energy. According to the India Renewable Energy Status Report 2014, India achieves only 12.95 per cent of its renewable energy potential: the total renewable energy potential from various sources in India is 2,49,188 MW, while the overall untapped renewable energy is 2,16,918.39 MW. With this much potential, India can achieve environmental sustainability despite rapid industrialisation, urban population growth and increased use of resources without raising concerns over rising energy imports. Disaster Management Technologies: A city cannot be considered smart unless it is capable of defending itself against natural and man-made catastrophes. Information and Communication technologies can greatly help in predicting, preventing and managing these disasters, ensuring that economic loss and loss of life is avoided or minimised. Economic losses in such disasters can be significant, the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011 cost the nation an estimated USD 210bn. Improved surveillance, better weather forecast and monitoring networks, sensors and monitors can ensure timely information, early detection and warning of potential hazards by integrating ICT tools to streamline communication and link the authorities and public during disasters and emergency situations.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/21/2015

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AZERBAIJAN: E-government Switches to Cloud Technology

 

Azerbaijani electronic government portal will now be available on the cloud, according to Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies Elmir Velizade. Velizade says Azerbaijan's main efforts are now focused on the use of modern technology so that the ICT sector could contribute to the development of the country in a short period. “This sector is known to be a priority in Azerbaijan, and serious attention is given to it. For us, it is encouraging that in the framework of the first European Games, we were also able to demonstrate the potential of Azerbaijan in the field of ICT. It is equally important that a large role in this issue played Azerbaijani experts. However, of course, we need to look to the future, and today there is a need in the application of new solutions in many areas. In particular, today the country has successfully implemented the project of e-Government. For us it is very important to transfer the implementation of the solution into the cloud platform,” said Velizade.

 

The deputy minister said that the demand for professionals in this regard is that they are mastering the latest technology, trying to apply them to Azerbaijan. The main objective of the application of cloud technology is to reduce costs, improve the quality of services to citizens and information security. The e-gov portal is a key tool for supporting citizens, businesses and private sectors of the country. It aims to reduce the number of documents requested from citizens because different government bodies interact with each other electronically. Access to the portal is carried out using a digital signature, the identity data of the private entrepreneurs and citizens, verification data, as well as a mobile authentication system, which can be obtained after registration on the portal. The portal, launched in Azerbaijan in 2013, now offers about 400 e-services through 45 government agencies. Over one million citizens are active users of e-services in state agencies. Moreover, the e-government portal allows for the provision of e-services to citizens of foreign countries. All services provided by Azerbaijani government agencies are expected to be online by 2020.

 

Soon, the e-gov portal will also be available in a mobile version, which is essential for a country whereby mobile phone penetration stands at 112 percent. The portal will also receive a function for convenient online payments via the Automated Payment Utility Service. The objectives of the project are to increase the use of non-cash payments, simplifying the process of budget payments, and the integration of e-government projects with the infrastructure of the national payment system. Moreover, subscribers of fixed and mobile communications in the near future will be able to receive statements of their expenses for telecommunications services through the portal. In addition, a service for issuing certificates for central credit register will be available soon.

From http://www.azernews.az/  10/13/2015

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U.S.: White House Issues Governmentwide Cyber Action Plan

 

The White House on Friday issued a broad new plan designed to better respond to cybersecurity incidents such as those that exposed secrets on millions of citizens as well as government operations. The new guidance, which aims to protect the most high-value information assets the federal government holds, is the latest step in the months-long fallout from the devastating hack of sensitive federal employee files from the Office of Personnel Management revealed this summer. “We must continue to double down on this administration’s broad strategy to enhance federal cybersecurity and fundamentally overhaul information security practices, policies, and governance,” said federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott in an Office of Management and Budget blog post Friday. The new plan -- a memorandum to the heads of federal agencies and departments from Scott and OMB Director Shaun Donovan -- builds on a 30-day “cybersecurity sprint” this summer, during which Scott’s office called on agencies to immediately tighten online defenses in the wake of the OPM breach. Agency deputy secretaries will be in charge of implementing the plan, according to the document.

 

The plan lays out an initial set of deadlines. By the end of the year,

- OMB will issue new “incident response best practices” to agencies;

- The Department of Homeland Security will extend the protections under its intrusion-detection system known as EINSTEIN. A new DHS contract will equip all agencies with updated “EINSTEIN 3A” email and network surveillance technology that also blocks certain malicious activities;

- Agencies will be required to report all cyber positions to OPM and a group of agency CIOs will create a special subcommittee focused on rapid deployment of emerging technology.

 

During the cyber sprint, agencies were directed to identify and review the security of their high-value assets -- those containing sensitive or critical data that, presumably, would be of high-value to hackers, too. By Dec. 31, the director of national intelligence will lead a threat assessment of those assets “that are at high-risk of targeting by adversaries,” according to the plan. DHS will lead a separate team -- made up of personnel from the Pentagon, the intelligence community and others -- to “continuously diagnose and mitigate the cybersecurity protections” for the high-value assets. The DHS team will continue to conduct “proactive assessments on a rolling basis” as officials identify new threats, the plan stated.

 

Longer-term deadlines include:

- By Jan. 31, OMB will release a plan for implementing new cybersecurity shared services;

- By March 31, OMB will release new guidance on safeguarding personally identifiable information;

- By the end of April, GSA will finalize a contract vehicle for pre-vetted services for incident response services that can quickly be leveraged by agencies in the wake of a breach;

- By June 30, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will issue new guidance to agencies on recovering from cyber events.

 

DHS is also expected to expand a suite of tools to help agencies continuously monitor and respond to threats on their networks. Full deployment of “Phase 2” capabilities under the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program -- dealing with access control and authentication -- should be completed by the end of fiscal 2016. In addition, the action plan itself pushes agencies to implement stronger identity management for users seeking wide access to federal networks. The percentage of federal employees required to use a smart card in addition to a password to log on to computer networks increased from about 42 percent to more than 72 percent during the cyber sprint, OMB said at the time. That’s continued to grow and is now about 80 percent, according to Scott. Thanks to the cyber sprint and other action taken by the administration, the state of federal cybersecurity “is stronger than ever before,” Scott said in the blog post.

 

But Scott, who has frequently described the federal government’s cybersecurity challenges as more akin to a marathon than a sprint, also hinted at deep challenges that remain. “Cyberthreats cannot be eliminated entirely, but they can be managed much more effectively,” he said. Agencies sometimes neglect to patch security holes identified half a decade ago, and struggle to take inventory of information and devices connected to the Internet, according to numerous Government Accountability Office reports. “Across the federal government, a broad surface area of legacy systems with thousands of different hardware and software configurations contains vulnerabilities and opportunities for exploitation,” Scott said in the blog post.

 

The new plan, he added, “helps get our current federal house in order, but it does not re-architect the house.” Scott and OMB Director Shaun Donovan also issued updated guidance under the annual Federal Information Security Management Act. This year’s guidance, for the first time, defines a “major” cyberincident and mandates agencies report these incidents to Congress within seven days. The new cyber action plan comes a week after Scott’s office proposed a broad rewrite of the federal government’s strategy for buying, managing and securing agency IT systems, known as Circular A-130. Over the summer, the administration also issued updated guidance on how contractors should secure government data.

From http://www.nextgov.com/ 10/30/2015

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AFRICA: The Sweet and Sour Bits from the East African Internet Freedom Report; Where Kenya, Rwanda Lead and Burundi Trails

 

THE JUST released “State of Internet Freedom in East Africa 2015” survey, by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), has some brilliant data on ICT in East Africa. The research mostly covers developments in the period between May 2014 and August 2015 and includes; Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda. One key finding, though not too surprising, was that internet access continues to rise, with penetration in Kenya standing at 69% of the population, Uganda 20%, Rwanda 31% and Tanzania 22%. The mobile phone access rate in Kenya stands at 84%, Rwanda 74%, Uganda 62%, Tanzania 71%, and Burundi 31%.  M&G Africa extracted some of the juiciest pieces of information, key to understanding ICT development in the region:

 

Regional round-up

Kenya

There are 29.6 million internet users in Kenya, representing a 69% penetration rate, while mobile penetration stands at 84%. In 2014, the Kenya government launched the National Optic Fiber Backbone which has now connected 57 towns in 35 counties.

 

Rwanda

There are 3.5 million internet users in Rwanda. Mobile telephone subscriptions stood at 74% in July 2015. The Rwanda Universal Access Fund (UAF), financed by a 2% contribution from the annual turnover of licensed telecommunications operators, aims to accelerate the use of ICT. In November 2014, Rwanda rolled out the Fourth Generation (4G) broadband network in partnership with a South Korean telecom company, Korea Telecom. The high-speed wireless broadband technology builds on more than 3,000 kilometres of fiber optic cable that is rolled out countrywide. The 2015 Alliance for Affordable Internet report, ranked Rwanda as the top developing country with the most affordable internet.

 

Burundi

Burundi has the lowest ICT access figures among the five members of the East African Community. As of June 2014, the industry regulator known as L’Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications (ARCT) reported 3.2 million mobile phone subscribers. This represented a 31% mobile penetration rate amongst the country’s population of 10 million. Burundi’s internet penetration as of 31 December 2014 was estimated to stand at 4.9%.

 

Tanzania

The government of Tanzania is working towards building nationwide high-speed data connections through construction of optical fibre cable all over the country. This, coupled with increasingly affordable smart phones, has enabled internet use to increase at a fast rate. Internet penetration rose from 3.5 million users in 2008 to 11.3 million users in 2014. There are 34 million fixed and mobile telephone subscriptions for the country’s population of 49 million which represents a tele-density of 71%

 

Uganda

There are 11.9 million internet users in Uganda, implying a 34% penetration rate. Telephone penetration stands at 62%. The entry of Vodafone into the sector in the first half of 2015 brought the total number of voice operators to seven. Through the national broadband Initiative, government has laid a total of 1,400 kms of fibre optic cable connecting major towns and government agencies.

 

Most regularly used communication technologies

Findings show that the most frequently used communication technology means was voice over mobile and landline, 77% of respondents use it daily. SMS came in second with 69% of respondents using it daily. Email, and the instant messaging application “WhatsApp”, were used daily by 64% and 57% of respondents, respectively. About 30% of respondents did not use the social networking platforms Twitter and Google Plus, and a similar percentage did not blog or use Viber.

 

Cyber Crime

The survey showed that instances of cybercrime such as cyber fraud, identity theft, website hacking, and online violence against women (including revenge porn) also seem to be on the rise - this provides governments a duty to protect citizens, private businesses and state interests. One country stepping up in this field in Rwanda. In March 2015, Rwanda approved the National Cyber Security Policy aimed at safeguarding data from cyber attacks, and the Rwanda National Police has set up a Cybercrime and Digital Forensics unit and in April 2015, the ICT ministry launched the “Stay Safe Online” campaign aimed at raising public and organisational awareness on the current cyber security threats and ways of preventing them. When rating knowledge of privacy and security the levels were low with only 10% of the respondents indicating they had excellent knowledge. Almost an equal number (11%) had no knowledge at all, while 61% of those surveyed had between good and workable knowledge.

 

When looking at country data, none of the Burundi respondents had excellent knowledge although officials working for the media development authorities were the majority among the 40% who indicated they had a good level of knowledge. In Kenya, of the 20% of respondents who did not have any knowledge, the majority were from the media.

As seen above, at country level the use of tools and technologies, intended to protect privacy and security online, was lowest in Rwanda and highest in Uganda.

 

Governments enact laws infringing on internet freedom

The survey noted that as the number of internet users grows, so did the content questioning governments’ democratic and transparency credentials - this meant a knock on effect with governments enacting laws that threaten the right to freedom of expression, both online and offline.

 

Uganda enacted its Interception of Communications Law in 2010, Rwanda in 2013, while 2013 amendments to Burundi’s Code of Criminal Procedure provides for interception of communications as does Kenya’s 2012 National Security Services Act. More recently, Tanzania passed a Cybercrimes Act that leaves the door open for trampling internet rights, after ignoring civil society protests about the shortcomings of that law. The country also enacted a statistics law that drew civil society criticism for limiting citizens’ access to information. In Kenya, the government justified amendments to the security law, which restricts civic space and gives state agencies more powers over citizens’ digital communications, arguing that the country was at war with Somalia’s Al Shabaab militia and needed decisive measures to fight terrorism. The country also passed a Cybercrime and Computer related Crimes Bill (2014) which threatens free speech.

From http://mgafrica.com/ 10/04/2015

 

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EUROPE: EC Opens Consultation on Egovernment Plans

 

The European Commission announced the start a public consultation on the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, one of the actions for completing the Digital Single Market. The stated aim of the plan is to address the needs, requirements and expectations of European citizens and businesses with respect to the delivery of effective, efficient and user-friendly government services in the EU. Responses are sought from individual citizens, businesses or private organisations, as well as from public administrative bodies at all levels (international, EU-wide, national, regional and/or local). The consultation runs until 22 January 2016 and the EC said the collected views will help define the scope and vision of the new plan, including the cross-border interoperability of government services as well as its overall organisation given the rapid change in digital technologies and society.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 11/04/2015

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FRANCE: Crowdsourcing New Digital Law

 

Democracy in France is entering a new phase, with the first public online consultation of a new digital law. Over a three week consultation period this autumn, more than 20,000 citizens and organisations went online to vote and comment on the text of the new digital law. Its aim is to promote open data, safeguard net neutrality and ensure internet access to all citizens. But will the comments be taken on board?

 

E-government champion

France was ranked 4th in the United Nations E-Government Survey 2014. In the wake of such positioning, choosing regulation for the digital world of online consultation to help legislate on the matter made sense. It could potentially help patch “the huge disconnect between how the policy-makers are thinking and the practical way it affects businesses on a day to day basis,” says Clara Maguire, chief operating officer of the London-based business networking company We Are PopUp. She believes that regulation of the digital world must be participatory and have rapid feedback mechanisms to keep up with “a tech and innovation process that’s moving through iterative and rapid cycles.” The advantage of performing a broad consultation reaching out to a wide variety of stakeholders also helps in avoiding to adopt a blunt top-down approach to regulation. For example, in the digital world, regulation targeting tech giants, such as the web-based private taxi company Uber, could inadvertently end up stifling innovation from smaller companies caught in the regulatory crossfire. This open consultation of the French law is a significant test of the democratic process, according to Gilles Babinet, CEO of data aggregation company Captain Dash and EU Digital Champion for France. “This could affect the constitution of our country. If it [public consultation] works, it could become mandatory,” he says, “Parliament would have a lesser important say.”

 

Engagement level

He believes that the level of participation towards developing the new digital law is encouraging. “Digital laws are normally very technical and therefore it wasn’t obvious that it would be a success,” says Babinet, “but I can see it has worked and plenty of people replied and left comments.” Download PDF Download a free PDF version of the article and spread it! However, some independent observers of the digital sector are not so enthused about participation levels. 20,000 participants is a good start but it is “nothing when you consider the tens of thousands of stakeholders active in France,” says Christophe Deshayes, author of two books on the digital revolution and on how to find happiness in the 2.0 era. Without a certain amount of expertise in the subject area, Deshayes believes that citizens could find participation difficult. This bottom-up participation in law making is new in France but has been tested elsewhere. Switzerland’s semi-direct democratic model has been engaging citizens for years in relation to regulatory decisions through referendums. And the EU has various methods of public consultation via the online portal Your Voice in Europe. By contrast, since 1994, South Africa has systematically made all its new draft bills available for consultation, prior to discussion by policy makers–the issue of adequate level of engagement has, however, been raised in the country.

 

Next steps

Babinet and Deshayes note, that this type of online participation is a good start in promoting citizen engagement in lawmaking. “We need to find the triggers to create engagement,” says Babinet, “It’s an aspect of government in the future to go and fetch the voters in the right manner, to involve people.” The digital law under debate itself will help lay the foundations for future digital engagement of citizens by improving rates of internet access and digital literacy in the French population. The open-source method of inviting public consultation on the text is certainly in keeping with the content of the digital law, which advocates a move to open access to data and use of open-source software. The government is currently compiling the 147,710 votes and 8,501 comments from the online consultation, “a huge job” according to Babinet. The top contributors will then be invited to present their ideas to Axelle Lemaire, secretary of state for digital matters. It remains to be seen how many, if any, proposed changes will be taken on board for the final text of the law. As Maguire points out “it really depends if it’s a legitimate attempt to engage. That will be judged by what follow up consultation they do and where in the process they really were before opening consultation.”

From http://www.euroscientist.com/ 11/19/2015

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SLOVAKIA: Parliament Passes Amendment on Egovernment

 

THE SLOVAK PARLIAMENT passed a legislative amendment on eGovernment on September 23. The bill was submitted by the Finance Ministry and leads to significant  changes in three areas. The first change to be introduced by the so-called electronic government bill concerns the conditions and methods of identification and authentication of individuals via computer. The draft bill has been aimed at making the legal norm more precise and to supplement it so that the rules of identification and authentication are applied exclusively to public administration, and thus prevent any contradictions in interpreting it, for example for use in internal communication between public administrative bodies, the ministry explained, as quoted by the TASR newswire. The move will result in the introduction of authentication certificates and a central authorisation register, it added. The second change concerns payments to public administration bodies which it should make easier; for example, by scrapping the accounting and pairing of payments. Changes are also going to be made with respect to registers. Source registers will undergo a change, while data referencing will also be amended.

 

Legislators also accepted an amending proposal drawn up by MP Róbert Madej of the ruling Smer party regarding discounts (of 50 percent) on fees for judicial administration when these are processed electronically. This aims to increase electronization (the process of moving from paper-based to digital systems) in Slovakia, with every ordinary citizen attracted to submit electronic applications by being offered a discount, according to Madej. The deputy added that many companies like banks, building societies and non-banking financial institutions do not require such a discount because they are bulk-buying claims and bulk-reclaiming them in the courts, often in an unsubstantiated, unlawful and bullying manner. To prevent this, every petitioner will have the right to submit five claims a year to a particular court with a 50-percent discount.

From http://spectator.sme.sk/ 09/29/2015

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Turkey Bans Reddit Under Internet Censorship Law

 

The Turkish government has officially blocked Reddit in the country. Reports of the website being inaccessible first started coming in earlier today, and the status remains unchanged. Turkey's Telecom Authority (TIB) officially confirmed the ban with a vague statement, dated November 13, saying, "After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, ADMINISTRATION MEASURE has been taken for this website (reddit.com) according to Decision Nr. 490.05.01.2015.-252804 dated 13/11/2015 of the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication"

 

The ban has been imposed under the country's Internet Act, officially named Internet Law Number 5651, which allows TIB to ban online content or entire websites for various reasons, including pornography, drugs, terrorism, prostitution and even "crimes against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk", Turkey's first president. This law was introduced in 2007, and has been the focus of heated debate a number of times since, as it gives the country's telecom department grounds to ban anything online, without needed the court's authorisation. And they don't need to have evidence of wrongdoing either, plain suspicion is enough. It's thereforeno surprise that, when the body's censorship power was expanded last year, it resulted in protests and riots in Turkey and Ankara. Reddit isn't even the first major website to face the banhammer, YouTube was banned in April last year, after which the court overturned the order, and Twitter as well. However, if you're in Turkey, there's a way to circumvent the problem. Reddit users are confirming that the ban has been implemented on the DNS level, which is what translates a web address into a navigable IP address. That means you can get around it with simple DNS rerouting, like through Google's service here.

From http://www.dnaindia.com/ 11/16/2015

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North America: U.S. - White House Issues Governmentwide Cyber Action Plan

 

The White House on Friday issued a broad new plan designed to better respond to cybersecurity incidents such as those that exposed secrets on millions of citizens as well as government operations. The new guidance, which aims to protect the most high-value information assets the federal government holds, is the latest step in the months-long fallout from the devastating hack of sensitive federal employee files from the Office of Personnel Management revealed this summer. “We must continue to double down on this administration’s broad strategy to enhance federal cybersecurity and fundamentally overhaul information security practices, policies, and governance,” said federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott in an Office of Management and Budget blog post Friday. The new plan -- a memorandum to the heads of federal agencies and departments from Scott and OMB Director Shaun Donovan -- builds on a 30-day “cybersecurity sprint” this summer, during which Scott’s office called on agencies to immediately tighten online defenses in the wake of the OPM breach. Agency deputy secretaries will be in charge of implementing the plan, according to the document.

 

The plan lays out an initial set of deadlines. By the end of the year,

- OMB will issue new “incident response best practices” to agencies;

- The Department of Homeland Security will extend the protections under its intrusion-detection system known as EINSTEIN. A new DHS contract will equip all agencies with updated “EINSTEIN 3A” email and network surveillance technology that also blocks certain malicious activities;

- Agencies will be required to report all cyber positions to OPM and a group of agency CIOs will create a special subcommittee focused on rapid deployment of emerging technology.

 

During the cyber sprint, agencies were directed to identify and review the security of their high-value assets -- those containing sensitive or critical data that, presumably, would be of high-value to hackers, too. By Dec. 31, the director of national intelligence will lead a threat assessment of those assets “that are at high-risk of targeting by adversaries,” according to the plan. DHS will lead a separate team -- made up of personnel from the Pentagon, the intelligence community and others -- to “continuously diagnose and mitigate the cybersecurity protections” for the high-value assets. The DHS team will continue to conduct “proactive assessments on a rolling basis” as officials identify new threats, the plan stated.

 

Longer-term deadlines include:

- By Jan. 31, OMB will release a plan for implementing new cybersecurity shared services;

- By March 31, OMB will release new guidance on safeguarding personally identifiable information;

- By the end of April, GSA will finalize a contract vehicle for pre-vetted services for incident response services that can quickly be leveraged by agencies in the wake of a breach;

- By June 30, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will issue new guidance to agencies on recovering from cyber events.

 

DHS is also expected to expand a suite of tools to help agencies continuously monitor and respond to threats on their networks. Full deployment of “Phase 2” capabilities under the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program -- dealing with access control and authentication -- should be completed by the end of fiscal 2016. In addition, the action plan itself pushes agencies to implement stronger identity management for users seeking wide access to federal networks. The percentage of federal employees required to use a smart card in addition to a password to log on to computer networks increased from about 42 percent to more than 72 percent during the cyber sprint, OMB said at the time. That’s continued to grow and is now about 80 percent, according to Scott. Thanks to the cyber sprint and other action taken by the administration, the state of federal cybersecurity “is stronger than ever before,” Scott said in the blog post.

 

But Scott, who has frequently described the federal government’s cybersecurity challenges as more akin to a marathon than a sprint, also hinted at deep challenges that remain. “Cyberthreats cannot be eliminated entirely, but they can be managed much more effectively,” he said. Agencies sometimes neglect to patch security holes identified half a decade ago, and struggle to take inventory of information and devices connected to the Internet, according to numerous Government Accountability Office reports. “Across the federal government, a broad surface area of legacy systems with thousands of different hardware and software configurations contains vulnerabilities and opportunities for exploitation,” Scott said in the blog post.

 

The new plan, he added, “helps get our current federal house in order, but it does not re-architect the house.” Scott and OMB Director Shaun Donovan also issued updated guidance under the annual Federal Information Security Management Act. This year’s guidance, for the first time, defines a “major” cyberincident and mandates agencies report these incidents to Congress within seven days. The new cyber action plan comes a week after Scott’s office proposed a broad rewrite of the federal government’s strategy for buying, managing and securing agency IT systems, known as Circular A-130. Over the summer, the administration also issued updated guidance on how contractors should secure government data.

From http://www.nextgov.com/ 10/30/2015

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Pentagon Releases Cyber Acquisition Guidance

 

The Defense Department's acquisition office has released guidance for program managers to better address cybersecurity risk during the acquisition process. In a memo preceding the guidance, dated Oct. 30, officials said, "Program managers must assume that the system they field, including their external interfaces, will be under cyberattack. To be cost-effective, cybersecurity must be addressed early within acquisition and be thoughtfully integrated with systems engineering, test and evaluation, and other acquisition processes throughout the system life cycle." The guidance is based on a handful of acquisition policies issued by the Pentagon in the past 20 months. It includes tips for systems security engineering and sample language for requests for proposals, among many other provisions. It also lists a number of underlying principles, including continuously updating data flows throughout a system's life cycle and using an "open-systems approach" to implement security architectures that can counter emerging threats. Defense officials and outside experts have long spoken of the need to incorporate cybersecurity into acquisitions rather than patch vulnerabilities after the fact. The new guidance is an attempt to do that. Cybersecurity is also front and center in Better Buying Power 3.0, a broader set of DOD guidelines aimed at reforming the acquisition system.

From https://fcw.com/ 11/06/2015

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Internet Freedom Based on the First Amendment Is Unattainable

 

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the National Press Club in which she stated, "New technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas." With those words, the United States began a campaign to establish global Internet freedom based on our First Amendment. The intent was to ensure the greatest possible freedom for people all over the world to take full advantage of the enormous expressive and associational capabilities of the Internet. As laudable as that goal may be, it is also fundamentally unattainable. Given all that is stake for both human rights and the future of electronic communications, a more realistic approach to Internet freedom is needed -- one that seeks global rules that can work across legal jurisdictions and borders. While freedom of speech is nearly universally recognized in modern democratic societies as an indisputable right, the reality is that every society limits speech. The form these limits take, from outright censorship to restrictions on defamation or obscenity, is a reflection not only of the country's political system, but also of its history and culture.

 

It is for this reason that the United States cannot expect the world to simply adopt our domestic First Amendment system. At the same time, we cannot allow other countries to globalize their own content regulations, which often privilege privacy, security, public order and morality over free expression. The European approach to the 'right to be forgotten' laws shows the danger of seeking to globalize a local information ordinance. Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that search engines had to delete search results with links to personal information that was outdated, inadequate or no longer relevant. For all of its good intentions, the ruling was a dark day for free expression. It favored privacy over free speech and put unprecedented judge-jury power in the hands of search engines.  As a result, less information is available to Internet users. At first this only affected Europe, and suppressed information could still be accessed elsewhere. The approach of applying restrictions only within a governed territory is similar to the way in which China, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia restrict content.

 

Unfortunately, European regulators were not content to keep things within their own borders. Based on the theory that only a globally-applied right to be forgotten can be effective, the French privacy regulator recently ordered that any link targeted for deletion under Europe's right to be forgotten regime must also be deleted globally. Google rightfully has rejected that interpretation, and has successfully fought to push the decision back to European courts. Rather than attempting to export its narrow view of the right to be forgotten, Europe should recognize that countries around the world face significantly different security, cultural and political realities. And in doing so, regulators should rely on a principle of comity for international expression. Comity is a live-and-let live approach, holding that global restrictions should apply to only a very limited set of concerns -- such as terrorist plotting, criminal activity, and child pornography. Otherwise, rules governing Internet content should remain local in scope.

 

Of course, pushing Europe to take such an approach means the U.S. itself must accept the principle of comity. American political leaders, who often loudly object when other countries seek to impose their restrictive policies on our Internet freedom, need to exhibit some international modesty. Our current insistence on pushing First Amendment-based Internet governance internationally is not only unrealistic, it will lead other nations to demand we adopt their systems. Like a trade war, this is a game that everyone loses. By adopting an approach that requires people to respect local speech laws when in that jurisdiction, but not to seek to apply local content rules globally, America can forcefully oppose the globalization of the right to be forgotten -- along with other ill-conceived restrictions that are sure to arise around the world.

From http://www.infoworld.com/ 10/17/2015

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Barbados Endorses OECD's Global Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)

 

Today, Barbados formally endorsed the AEOI global standard during a signing ceremony held in Barbados. The event was held in conjunction with a meeting of the OECD's Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes that was also hosted in Barbados. "Transparency and the exchange of tax information between governments has long been a strength of Barbados and it is a cornerstone of our reputation as a leading, low-tax financial centre", said Donville Inniss , Barbados Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, and Vice Chair of the Steering Committee of the Organization For Economic Cooperation And Development (OECD) Global Forum. "However, today's signing, one that binds Barbados to the OECD's global standard for the automatic exchange of information, is important because it reinforces our commitment to transparency and to the full participation of Barbados within discussions regarding international tax matters."

 

In addition to the AEOI global standard, Barbados plans to sign the OECD's multilateral competent authority agreement (MCAA) – a mechanism which facilitates AEOI. Signatories to the MCAA have control over their international relationships and apply their own standards on confidentiality and data protection. "AEOI is an essential practice for Governments and supporting this OECD initiative is now a minimum requirement of entry for jurisdictions that wish to participate within the global economy. As a signatory to the AEOI convention, Barbados once again reinforces its reputation – that of a highly cooperative and well-regulated international financial centre," continued Minister Inniss. "In my role as Vice Chair of the OECD Steering Committee, I will continue to help governments understand that some offshore financial jurisdictions -those that embrace the creation of a substantive businesses and ethical business structures – can, and do, provide an enduring benefit to both domestic markets and the global economy".

 

To facilitate economic development in both Barbados and host countries, Barbados has a long-held strategy to negotiate fulsome double taxation agreements and bilateral investment treaties. Such agreements facilitate mutually beneficial international partnerships and provide Barbados -based structures with a unique ability to go beyond the exchange of tax information and actually stimulate international trade. A study conducted in 2014 by Dr. Walid Hejazi , Professor of International Business, Rotman School of Management, examined the unique economic relationship between Canada and Barbados . The study showed that the use of Barbados -based structures by Canadian companies offered many benefits, including; greater employment in Canada , salary improvements for Canadian workers, enhanced profitability and productivity for companies, and increases in the net taxes collected in Canada .

From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 10/28/2015

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Internet Society Policy Briefs

 

The documents below provide a concise Internet Society perspective on critical Internet issues. Please follow the links to read more on the different topics. Each policy brief is available both online and in a PDF form. The documents are available in English now and will soon be available in French and Spanish.

 

Botnets

The Internet and Human Rights

Internet Governance

Internet Interconnection

IXPs

Local Content

Network Neutrality

Open Internet Standards

Privacy on the Internet

The Challenge of Spam

Botnets

 

Botnets are a complex and continuously evolving challenge to user confidence and security on the Internet. Combating botnets requires cross-border and multidisciplinary collaboration, innovative technical approaches, and the widespread deployment of mitigation measures that respect the fundamental principles of the Internet. Read more...

 

The Internet and Human Rights

Internet-related government policy, corporate decisions, and technical-development choices influence the extent to which the Internet supports or challenges fundamental human rights. Championing trust, open Internet principles, and dialog among stakeholders are critical ways to promote the Internet’s role in supporting human rights. Read more...

 

Internet Governance

The term Internet governance refers to the processes that impact how the Internet is managed. The historic and future success of the Internet as an open and trusted platform for innovation and empowerment depends on a decentralized, collaborative, and multistakeholder approach to Internet governance. Read more...

 

Internet Interconnection

The success of the Internet depends on reliable, efficient, and cost-effective interconnections among networks. Governments need to create policy and regulatory environments that remove artificial barriers and foster flexibility in interconnecting networks. Read more...

 

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Internet exchange points (IXPs) can improve Internet quality and affordability in local communities. IXPs help strengthen local Internet connectivity, develop local Internet industry, improve competitiveness, and serve as a hub for technical activity. Read more...

 

Local Content

Creation of and access to relevant local online content in developing countries is an important driver for the adoption and growth of the Internet in those regions. Well-functioning local connectivity, government support of content development and training, and a clear legal regulatory environment are critical for the growth of local content. Read more...

 

Network Neutrality

Network neutrality is a complex and controversial topic and is an important part of a free and open Internet. Enabling access, choice, and transparency of Internet offerings empowers users to benefit from full access to services, applications, and content available on the Internet. Read more...

 

Open Internet Standards

Open Internet standards are a foundation of the Internet, allowing anyone to set up a new online service and make it available to the rest of the Internet without requiring permission from anyone else. Broad, multistakeholder participation in Internet standards processes and recognition of open standards by governmental and regulatory bodies are important for the continued growth and evolution of the Internet. Read more...

 

Privacy on the Internet

Privacy helps reinforce user trust of online services, yet online privacy is under constant pressure of being undermined. Promoting strong, technology-neutral data-privacy laws, privacy-by-design principles, and ethical data-collection and handling principles is a key approach to protecting and fostering online privacy. Read more...

 

The Challenge of Spam

The proliferation of spam email presents a harmful, costly, and evolving threat to Internet users. Governments can help reduce the impact of spam by deterring offenders via effective laws and enforcement measures, multistakeholder antispam efforts, the adoption of best practices, and citizen education about the dangers of spam. For more information about any of these topics, please view our issues section.  Please do check back periodically as we intend to add more policy briefs in the future.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 11/04/2015

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ISOC: Announcing the Internet Society 2016 Action Plan

 

I am pleased that the Internet Society 2016 Action Plan has been approved by our Board of Trustees at a meeting last weekend in Yokohama. The 2016 Plan is the result of discussions by the staff and the Board with ongoing input from our Chapters and Members. After engaging, through Community Forums, InterCommunity, regular Advisory and Community meetings and on our ongoing digital channels and listening to the voices of ISOC, we present, here, what we believe are the most urgent priorities facing the Internet today. As you read through the plan, you will see that we believe we must focus on two key areas: Connecting the unconnected – While there are 3 billion people online today, the digital divide is rapidly becoming an opportunity divide. We are committed to bringing the benefits of the Internet to the remaining unconnected 4 billion people around the world.

 

Promoting and restoring trust in the Internet - In an era of massive data breaches, the Snowden revelations and large-scale attacks, there has been an erosion of trust in communication over the Internet. We need to reverse this trend and collaboratively implement the technologies and policies that will restore that necessary trust. Access to an open, trusted Internet changes lives. We have seen this in the stories we’ve heard from our many members and Chapters. The United Nations has recognized this and for the first time acknowledged that the Internet access as a key part of implementing the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We must seize on this important development and intensify our efforts to ensure that the Internet is for everyone, everywhere.

 

There are forces, though, that have a different view of the Internet’s future. The Internet has always been a global “network of networks” - interconnected and reachable by all. But some entities would like to fragment that Internet – to break it into separate regional, national or corporate networks. Some would bring us back to an era of walled gardens where access and content was controlled by specific gatekeepers. Some would censor users, limit free expression and turn the Internet into a tool for control rather than a tool for freedom. This is not the future that we want. Our time now is a critical one. We have before us an urgent choice about the kind of Internet we want to have – and through that choice the kind of global society we want. I encourage you all to read our 2016 Action Plan and give us your feedback. At the Internet Society, we are ready for the work ahead in 2016 and beyond. Help us with this important work; join with us to make these goals a reality. We welcome new members of the Internet Society and look forward to working with the many allies and partners who want an open, global, trusted Internet for all.

From http://www.internetsociety.org/ 11/09/2015

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New Standards in Personal Data Protection

 

The issue of the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the United States has long been a touchy subject. The 'Safe Harbour' program has been widely criticized, and recent decisions of the EU Court of Justice are set to introduce a new level of quality. Unfortunately, the Court's decision also entails serious consequences, as explained by Jacek Grabowski from Gemius' legal department. For nearly 15 years the 'Safe Harbour' program has enabled the transfer of data between European and US companies. In fact, it was a compromise which generated certain reservations from the beginning. The EU Directive on the protection of personal data, which came into force during the implementation of this program and is still in place, forbids the transfer of data outside the EU unless the other side guarantees equal or higher protection standards. 'Safe Harbour' guaranteed no such protection.

 

It was criticized primarily for its lack of effective mechanisms for enforcing compliance with the rules of the program; its limited options for individual complaint submissions and its dispute resolution mechanisms were – from a European point of view – non-transparent. 'Safe Harbour' was criticized by the European personal data protection authorities. The European Commission has repeatedly tested the program and subtly advocated its revision. The information revealed by Edward Snowden of the large-scale surveillance conducted by US government agencies added fuel to the fire. Emerging from the impasse required bold political decisions. The Commission transferred responsibility to the national data protection authorities, who were bound by the decision of the Commission.

 

A ground-breaking challenge

In early October, the EU Court of Justice cut the Gordian knot. This was both a bold move and a painful and unfavourable business decision in the short-term. It was stated that the national data protection authorities are not bound by the decision of the European Commission. They are therefore responsible for checking whether the regulations under which European data is transferred outside the EU meet the determined standards. In this respect the judgement strengthens the position of the data protection authorities (e.g. GIODO in Poland) and even encourages the authorities to check whether foreign companies which fall under their jurisdiction are acting in accordance with the law. The CJEU went one step further and assessed that the data protection rules laid down in the 'Safe Harbour' program are not consistent with the standards set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Directive 95/46/EC. The Court determined that the American legal system is lacking when it comes to the guarantee and authorization of data protection (e.g. the right to sue, the right to share and edit data), and that the law allows for mass surveillance, with public authorities having almost unlimited and uncontrolled access to Europeans' data.

 

Practical implications

The CJEU's decision can be approached from many angles and has serious consequences for various stakeholders. In light of this judgment, the General Regulation on the Protection of Personal Data is all the more important; this should define coherent Europe-wide standards for the protection of data and legal requirements for the processing of data. It is worth noting, for example, that the definition of personal data in accordance with this act can be fulfilled by a cookie identifier – it may be that every company making overseas transfers of any information about a given cookie identifier or a group of these IDs is covered by this regulation and all its requirements.

 

The most unpleasant effects will be experienced by companies whose business activity involves the transmission of personal data between the EU and the US, especially considering the kind of information we recognise as personal data. Until there is a relevant international agreement (such as the currently negotiated TTIP), companies must determine the appropriate legal basis for data transfer and ensure that proper standards for its protection are met. They will have to identify which data transfers were carried out under the 'Safe Harbour' program and select the most suitable alternative.

 

In accordance with Polish law, the premise for legalizing such transfers may be, for example, a contract between the data controller and a given person, the individual consent of GIODO for a particular company (to obtain this consent, the company will have to demonstrate that they have provided adequate privacy protection standards), the introduction of binding corporate rules (approved by GIODO) or standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission. Given that US companies are accustomed to self-regulatory programs, in the longer term they may adopt the use of data protection instruments, such as binding corporate rules or standard contractual clauses.

 

Terra incognita

The CJEU judgement paves the way for inspections to be carried out by the European personal data protection authorities. These authorities may be of the opinion that no contractual obligations (standard contractual clauses or binding corporate rules) will protect Europeans against mass surveillance on the part of the United States. This surveillance may result in decisions prohibiting particular companies from transferring data to the US. In this sense, the legal risk of activities conducted by companies with headquarters overseas is elevated. This may result in the improvement of data protection standards, with companies ensuring the adequate and appropriate supervision of their processing, but it can also be expected that some European data protection authorities – despite having doubts – will make the decision to allow transfers. At that point, the practical implications of the CJEU judgement will only concern the procedure for determining the legal basis for data transfer. At present it is hard to predict which scenario will come to pass.

 

The CJEU decision also has a political significance. It could present a huge obstacle to the transmission of data, should the Americans not choose to enhance their protection standards. The influence of the judgement on negotiations under the TTIP agreement between the US and the EU could also be considerable. The agreement, which is intended to standardize regulatory norms, will also have to deal with the standardization of privacy rules on both continents. We have set sail from the 'Safe Harbour' into uncharted waters. Now anything is possible.

From http://www.gemius.com/ 11/10/2015

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Have Your Say in the Public Consultation on the Next Egovernment Action Plan 2016 - 2020

 

The Commission is consulting on the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, one of the actions for completing the Digital Single Market, as announced in the Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe. The new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 will address the needs, requirements and expectations of European citizens and businesses with respect to the delivery of effective, efficient and user-friendly government services in the EU. This consultation seeks to gather views from individual citizens, businesses or private organisations, and from national/ regional/local public administrations. Responses will be analysed together with Member States and will help to define the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020. The Commission will use your views and the collected data to define the scope and vision of the new Plan, its actions, user involvement, cross-border interoperability of government services, key enablers, as well as the plan's organisation given the rapid change in digital technologies and society itself which may require new policies and public services.

 

Responses are sought from

• Citizens

• Businesses

• Public administrative bodies at all levels (international, EU-wide, national, regional and/or local)

Duration

30 October 2015 – 22 January 2016 (12 weeks)

Comments received after the closing date will not be considered.

Transparency

Please state in the questionnaire whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. We ask responding organisations to register in the Transparency Register. We publish the submissions of non-registered organisations separately from those of registered ones as the input of individuals.

How to respond

Respond online

The questionnaire is available in English, French and German but feel free to answer it in any EU language of your preference. You may pause at any time and continue later. Once you have submitted your answers, you can download a copy of your contribution. Only responses received through the online questionnaire will be taken into account and included in the report summarising the responses. Questionnaires sent by email or in paper format will only be accepted from the visually impaired (EN, FR and DE word version available below).

 

Replies & feedback

We shall publish a summary of the results of the consultation 1 month after the consultation closes. A synopsis report covering the substance of the replies will follow within 3 months after the closure of the consultation. Individual feedback is not envisaged; all information will be processed in an aggregated and anonymised manner. Please read the Specific Privacy Statement on how we deal with your personal data and contribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Protection of personal data & privacy statement

• Protection of personal data

• Specific privacy statement

Contact

Write to us for any clarifications you may need.

E-mail: CNECT-CONSULTATION-EGOV-ACTION-PLAN@ec.europa.eu

Postal address:

European Commission

DG Communication Networks, Content & Technology

Unit H3. Public Services

Avenue de Beaulieu 25 3/30

B-1049 Brussels - Belgium

From https://ec.europa.eu/ 11/13/2015

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CHINA: Issues Plan to Promote "Three-network Convergence"

 

China's State Council on Friday released a plan for promoting a nationwide project to deliver telecoms, radio and television, and Internet services over a single broadband connection. The "three-network convergence" project is aimed at connecting IT infrastructures and facilitating information sharing, according to the plan. "The project can help upgrade consumption mode, overhaul industrial structure and improve people's livelihood," said the document. 

From http://www.news.cn/ 09/04/2015

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China Issues Guidelines on Big Data Promotion

 

The State Council, China's cabinet, has issued guidelines to boost the development of big data, an official statement said on Saturday. The action framework for promoting big data, ratified by Premier Li Keqiang, aims to forge a new model for social governance in the coming five to 10 years, highlighting accurate management and multi-dimensional cooperation. It stipulates that a trans-departmental data sharing platform should be formed by the end of 2017 and a unified platform for governmental data should be established before the end of 2018, which allows citizens to get access to public data resources including credit, transport, public health, employment, culture, education, science, agriculture, finance and weather service. China should accelerate the opening and sharing of government data to promote the integration of resources and improve governance, boost industrial innovation and foster new business patterns to support economic restructuring. To this end, the government will set up an overall coordination mechanism for big data development and application, speed up the establishment of relevant rules, and encourage cooperation between the government, enterprises and institutions, according to the statement. China aimed to cultivate a batch of international competitive brands in big data industry, 10 world leading enterprises and 500 firms focused on big data application, service and manufacturing.

From http://www.news.cn/ 09/05/2015

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China to Accelerate Integration of Internet, Agriculture

 

More will be done to promote the application of digital technology in the agriculture sector to reinvigorate the rural economy, Vice Premier Wang Yang said on Monday. The government should improve Internet infrastructure and rural logistics in the countryside, nurture tech-savvy farmers, and encourage big data in agriculture, Wang said during an inspection in Beijing. He encouraged companies to explore sustainable business models and take advantage of the Internet to improve supply, techniques and services. China's cabinet unveiled its "Internet Plus" action plan at the beginning of July, which aims to integrate digital technology into traditional sectors to make them more efficient. Agriculture was on the top of the list. Wang said the move will brighten the prospects of the sector.       

From http://www.news.cn/ 09/14/2015

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China Launches First Big Data Pilot Zone

 

China launched its first big data pilot zone in the southwestern province of Guizhou Friday. It is the latest move since China's State Council issued guidelines to boost big data development earlier this month. The action framework for promoting big data, ratified by Premier Li Keqiang, aims to nurture a group of 500 companies in the industry, including 10 leading global enterprises focused on big data application, services and manufacturing. It said a platform for sharing data between government departments should be established by the end of 2017 and a unified platform for government data should be established before the end of 2018. The big data pilot zone will be an experiment in big data sharing, use, innovation and security, said Wang Na, head of the informatization department with the National Development and Reform Commission, at the launch ceremony. Big data has become a strategic resource and core element for innovation, said Wang Cunfu, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. As the world's most populous country and the second largest economy, China is expected to account for 20 percent of the world's data capacity by 2020, creating a massive market for economic transformation, said Wang.

 

The mountainous Guizhou Province, one of the least developed regions in China, has become a pioneer in China's big data development due to a moderate climate, sufficient power supply and good network infrastructure. Guizhou's visibility has been rising in China's big data scene as a number of heavyweight mobile network operators, including China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile, as well as Internet giants, including Alibaba and Tencent, have moved into the province's Gui'an New District since 2013 to establish cloud computing bases and big data centers. As a pilot zone, Guizhou will build Guizhou on the Cloud, a platform for provincial government data to be pooled, shared and exchanged. The platform will cover data from city- and county-level governments by the end of next year, said Chen Gang, Party secretary of Guiyang City, the provincial capital. "Oriental Cloud," an application that collects information on satellite remote sensing, topography and weather through cloud services to forecast precipitation and optimize reservoir operations, is expected to be used by nearly half of China's water conservancy facilities, according to Yu Linmei, an executive of Guizhou East Century Technology Co. Ltd.

 

"The rapid expansion of our company could not succeed without government support," said Lin. "Governments are most capable of data integration," said Wang Jiangping, deputy provincial governor, adding that building Guizhou on the Cloud will start with integration of government data and then spread to private data. The sharing, exchange and use of big data also leads to concerns about protection of intellectual property and privacy, said Wang. Guizhou was the first provincial-level region in the country to pass a regulation on information infrastructure construction in May 2014. It will explore legislation on big data in the future, said Wang.

From http://www.news.cn/ 09/18/2015

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Government Revs Up Cyberspace Rules

 

Legislation to regulate the Internet and root out nuisances like spam has greatly accelerated over the past five years, the China Internet Network Information Center reported today. The number of laws, rules and guidelines related to the Internet reached 76 at the end of 2014, a 262 percent year-on-year increase, said the center's cyberspace report, which also reviewed Internet industry developments over the past five years. The bulk of the legislation came from the Cyberspace Administration of China, which was established early last year to govern the Web. The administration championed fights against illegal or improper online behaviors, the report said. It also noted achievements such as the blocking of spam texts, in a joint effort with China's telecom giants such as China Mobile, and a campaign to root out terrorism-related audio and videos online.       

From http://www.news.cn/ 10/29/2015

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JAPAN: Revised My Number System Law Enacted

 

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to revise the law for the My Number universal ID system, in which each resident of the nation will be assigned a 12-digit number, in a majority vote supported by the Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito, the Democratic Party of Japan and other parties. The revised My Number law will expand the use of the ID numbers, allowing the government to link the ID number assigned to each person with his or her account numbers at financial institutions. The government plans to put the system into actual use in January 2018. The 12-digit numbers will be issued to each person in October. Linking the ID numbers with account numbers at financial institutions will make it easier for the government to track assets held at those institutions. The government will be able to use the My Number system for tax inspections and to prevent people from obtaining pension benefits illegally.

 

However, linking the ID numbers with basic pension numbers was postponed by up to 17 months following the recent theft of personal information from the Japan Pension Service. The tie-up was originally scheduled for January 2016. The lower house also passed into law Thursday a bill to revise the Personal Information Protection Law. The revised law will make it easier for companies to process personal information collected online to use it as so-called big data. Both bills passed the House of Representatives in May, but deliberations at the House of Councillors were suspended following the revelation in June of the theft of personal information from the JPS. The DPJ later demanded revisions, including delaying linking the ID numbers with basic pension numbers, which the ruling parties accepted. The bill to revise the law for the My Number system was amended and passed anew by the upper house in August. It was then sent to the lower house.

From http://the-japan-news.com 09/03/2015

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Japan Enacts Law to Allow Gov't Access to Personal Bank Data

 

The Diet enacted legislation Thursday to allow the government to access the bank deposit data of all residents from 2018, despite growing public concern over possible leaks and abuse of personal information. The legislation was enacted to revise the Social Security and Tax Number System, known as the “My Number” system, under which the government will assign 12-digit IDs to every resident, both Japanese and foreign, from October to simplify administrative procedures for taxation and social security from January. The revision will expand the scope of the ID numbers’ use by linking it with people’s bank accounts on a voluntary basis, benefiting tax and other authorities in the discovery of tax evasion and wrongful receipt of welfare benefits. Following massive personal data leaks from the Japan Pension Service following cyberattacks in May, deliberation of the bill was stopped for three months after it cleared the House of Representatives and only resumed last week. The legislation was modified to delay linking the ID numbers with people’s pension data until November 2017 at the latest. The government also aims to use the ID numbers to identify victims of disasters and smoothly deliver assistance funds.

 

With the numbering scheme set to launch in January, concerns are growing over slow preparations by municipalities as well as small and medium-sized companies to update data systems and boost security. Companies will be required to manage all of their employees’ ID numbers and include them in tax-related documents. A government survey also showed that of the 55 million households across Japan scheduled to receive the ID numbers by mail, at least 2.75 million, or 5%, may not be able to get them as they reside away from their registered addresses. Those people include senior citizens in hospitals and nursing homes. The Diet also enacted legislation Thursday to amend a privacy protection law to make it easier for businesses to use personal data while toughening penalties for data abuse. The amendment allows businesses to use personal data without the consent of individuals, providing names and other items that could be used to identify them are removed. The amendment followed requests from businesses seeking to use the massive volumes of data they collect. Under the legislation, the government will set up a watchdog next January for the protection of private data that will be empowered to undertake searches.

From http://www.japantoday.com 09/04/2015

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SOUTH KOREA: Science Ministers to Tackle Global Issues

 

The OECD Ministerial Meeting Daejeon 2015 and World Science and Technology Forum will kick off in Daejeon on Monday. Ministers, scientists, and officials from international organizations will gather in the city, often dubbed as an innovation hub in South Korea, to discuss how to achieve sustainable economic growth and to address global challenges including climate change and poverty through science and technology. More than 3,000 participants from 60 nations are expected to join the five-day event, consisting of science forums, panel discussions and information and communication technology exhibits. “Hosting the OECD ministerial meeting in Korea is a great opportunity for the nation as it will advance the nation’s status in the world’s science and technology sectors,” said an official from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the organizer of the event. Korea, which has risen up as one of the world’s economic and ICT powerhouses from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War, will serve as an exemplar of development achieved through its science and technological advancements, the official explained.

During the ministerial meeting, the science and technology chiefs of the world’s governments will explore successful science and technology policies and projects, and discuss ways to make effective investments in the science and technology sectors.  Other discussion subjects include how to utilize information technology, including big data, for open science, as well as new biotechnology and sustainable future technology to protect the environment. This year’s ministerial meeting is being held outside Paris -- headquarters of the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation -- for the first time in the organization’s history.  The ministerial meeting has not been held since 2004 due to the global financial crisis.

 

“What is more meaningful is that the Daejeon meeting will be the largest of its kind to ever take place, since it includes not only OECD member states, but also OECD partners and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” an official from the preparatory organization said. The OECD partners include Argentina, Brazil, China and India, while the ASEAN members include the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. Officials from international organizations such as the World Bank, European Commission, and Inter-American Development Bank will take part in the discussion sessions. Through the Daejeon Declaration, a joint statement to be issued on the final day of the meeting, the global science and technology ministers are expected to vow to work together to help advance the science and technology capabilities of developing nations.

“The government will spare no effort to reach consensus among the participating nations to set long-term directions for the growth of the global science and technology sectors,” the ministry said. After the Monday forum in which scientists and researchers will discuss a wide range of subjects including energy, smart manufacturing, and the Internet of Things, the OECD Ministerial Meeting Daejeon 2015 will take place alongside other events including a tech trade fair and cultural performances. The forum has also invited a number of prominent officials in the field including Jeremy Rifikin, an economist and author of “Entropy” and “The Zero Marginal Cost Society”; Aaron Ciechanover, 2004 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry; and Jim Newton, chief executive of TechShop, a membership-based workshop that provides members tools and equipment.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 10/18/2015

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Korea to Ease Tech, Medical Regulations

 

The South Korean government Friday unveiled plans to ease regulations on drones and self-driving cars, paving the way for the futuristic technologies to spur related industries. The plans were given in a brief when President Park Geun-hye presided over the fourth regulatory reform ministerial meeting at Cheong Wa Dae. “Deregulation is crucial to secure our future growth engines and to revitalize the economy,” said the president, calling for parliamentary support for the passage of related bills at the National Assembly. According to the deregulatory measures, the government will start a pilot program allowing drones to fly high, even at night, above four sites in the nation from December. A total of 15 consortia, consisting of big companies such as Korean Air, KT and CJ, have been selected to conduct the program that aims to verify the safety of drones in use for land surveillance, safety inspection and package delivery purposes. The government also plans to seek a law revision to start test-driving driverless cars from February next year. Last month, the government designated a combined 361 kilometers of both expressways and ordinary roads around the Seoul area for testing. Other than drones and self-driving cars, the government picked an additional six technologies for the deregulation drive ― the Internet of Things, 3-D printing, smart home solutions, carbon fibers, solar power modules and electric boilers. 

These technologies are widely considered next growth engine businesses, but their markets are still too nascent for related smaller firms to pursue research and development support from the government. The government said it will expand support for those small tech firms with growth potential. It will become easier for the new technology to be certified. The government is also considering offering temporary approval for up to two years so that companies can secure clients even before the final approval. Following the deregulation meeting Friday, for instance, the Health Ministry decided to speed up certification of medical equipment. Currently, it takes up to 280 days for a new medical equipment to get safety approval. The ministry plans to reduce the process to 140 days for about half the total equipment tested, particularly testing equipment used outside the body. Bio medicines such as stem cell and gene treatments can be applied to urgent patients even before being approved. Based on EU cases, the new medicines could be used without approval at some authorized hospitals. “Amid technological convergence across industries recently, the nation’s old regulations are hindering business activities. We need to upgrade our regulations to meet global standards,” the president said. 

From http://www.koreaherald.com 11/06/2015

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INDONESIA: Prepaid SIM Card Registration Rules Tightened

 

INDONESIA’S Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has tightened the country’s prepaid SIM card registration process to combat high churn rates and abuse, including SMS spam. The registration requirement for prepaid SIM cards was first rolled out a decade ago, but has proven to be ineffective. Regulation No 23/2005, which allows registration via the 4444 SNS shortcode, has long been abused, industry pundits say. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Rudiantara (pic above) said the new registration system for prepaid SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards will be more “accurate and careful,” especially with regards to the identity of both users as well as retailers. Under the new regulation, which will come into effect on Dec 15, registration will not be done by users but by authorised retailers or outlets, and will only work with valid identification. “The registration system for new prepaid SIM cards will be done in a one-stop manner at the reseller where users get their numbers,” Rudiantara told Digital News Asia (DNA) Oct 19.

 

He said the new registration system will be applied nationwide, including remote areas, but added that the time needed to complete the process will be dependent on the number of customers. Once the new regulation goes live on Dec 15, manual registration via the 4444 shortcode will be discontinued, Rudiantara said. The chairman of Indonesia’s Telecommunication and Cellular Association (ATSI), Alexander Rusli (pic), hailed the new policy, adding that industry players have already put in place the infrastructure to support its implementation. This preparation includes the ‘Retail Outlet Identity’ (ROID) system for prepaid SIM card resellers. But Alexander acknowledged that getting the systems ready was merely one aspect. “Technology support would not be as difficult as educating the outlets, which are huge in number. “Training people can’t be done in one or two days,” he told DNA in Jakarta. According to Alexander, under the new policy, all outlets will have to use the ROID system to identify their owners. In the case of any abuse – such as the reselling of user data, or fraud – it would be easy for the Government to track down the outlet responsible. Any retail or outlet which does not use the ROID system will be automatically blocked from conducting further business. It might also face further action, but such punitive measures are still being discussed, he added.

 

Telco industry response

Telecommunication service operators PT XL Axiata Tbk, PT Indosat Tbk and PT Hutchison 3 (Tri) told DNA they are prepared for the new regulation. XL Axiata president director and chief executive officer Dian Siswarini (pic above) said her company has already prepared its IT system and educated its retail outlets on how to handle the new requirement. Education was the most challenging aspect, she added. “Actually, education for retail outlets for the first phase is done, but it must be continuous because not all retail outlet are big businesses or well educated,” she said. This education also included the measures resellers might face if there are violations. In fact, discussions on violations were conducted earlier this year, according to Dian. XL prepared its IT infrastructure to handle the new regulation in May last year, and has introduced a new standard operation procedure (SOP) for its retail outlets. Meanwhile ATSI’s Alexander, also Indosat president director and chief executive officer, said around 160,000 retail outlets have been educated on the ROID registration system. For its part, Hutchison Tri already had an online registration system in place, according to its chief sales and marketing officer Dolly Susanto. “We developed a next-generation system we have been using since June 2012, for the online registration of all retail outlet identities,” she said. Dolly said Hutchison Tri has around 200,000 resellers on its integrated online identity system. With a total of 54.8 million customers, she said her company was ready to support the new regulation.

From http://www.digitalnewsasia.com/ 10/23/2015

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CAMBODIA: Gov't Approves Telecom Draft Law

 

The Cambodia's Council of Ministers on Friday passed a draft law on telecommunications, which is designed to enhance telecom quality and to attract more investors in the sector, according to a news statement. The passage was made during a weekly cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the statement said. "The draft law is aimed to ensure the quality and efficiency of telecom infrastructures, networks, and services, and to encourage investments in this sector," the statement said. "It is also to protect the interest of users and to mobilize revenues for the national coffer." According to the constitution, the draft law needs to be approved by the national assembly and finally reviewed by the senate before being submitted to King Norodom Sihamoni for promulgation. Cambodia currently has six mobile phone operators, some 27 Internet service providers, and two fixed phone companies. By August 2015, the mobile phone operators have sold 21 million SIM cards, exceeding the country's population of 14.8 million, said the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia, adding that over 5.8 million people have access to the Internet. The fixed phone operators are serving nearly 300,000 customers, it said.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 10/09/2015

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MALAYSIA: Data Centre Alliance Launched

 

THE Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA), a professional alliance for the data centre industry, has been launched to oversee the collective development of data centres in Malaysia. MDCA will lead key initiatives towards growing the industry, and will play an instrumental role in transforming Malaysia into a preferred data centre hub in the region, national ICT custodian the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) said in a statement. “The data centre sector was identified as a key growth area under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and has in the past couple of years shown steady progress,” Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia, said at the launch in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 28. The ETP aims to make Malaysia a high-income nation by the year 2020. Ahmad Shabery said the half-year revenue for the industry was RM292 million (US$92.7 million), this is set to hit RM562 million (US$178.4 million) revenue for 2013, marking a 20% growth from 2012.

 

“With the formation of MDCA and the initiatives that it will undertake, the data centre industry is set to grow further and contribute a total of RM2.1 billion (US$666 million) to the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) by the year 2020,” he claimed. He added that his ministry would work closely with MDeC, which is “behind the reins” of the MDCA, to meet the target of making Malaysia the preferred destination for data centre investors. In 2010, the Malaysian Government, via the ETP, recognised the data centre industry as a key growth area. This resulted in the development of the Entry Point Project 3 (EPP3) which aims to position Malaysia as a world class data centre hub. “As the advisor and champion of the EPP3 initiative, MDeC’s role is to facilitate growth of the industry,” said MDeC chief operating officer Ng Wan Peng. “We are working with the industry to elevate Malaysia’s standing in the robust global data centre sector. Such initiatives include understanding the needs of the industry through regular forums, creating the awareness of the importance of data centres in a business entity, catalysing the industry through incentives and programmes for data centre professionals,” she added.

 

Other initiatives including providing comprehensive facilities, services and expertise that would create a conducive business environment for the sector, Ng said. “With the establishment of MDCA, this effort will be more streamlined and will attract more Domestic Direct Investments (DDIs) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), which will subsequently contribute to the country’s economic growth,” she argued. MDeC said the combined data centre floor space of all 17 founding members of MDCA is approximately one million sq ft, catering to thousands of customers across diverse business sectors such as telecommunications, information technology, manufacturing, financial services, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as the government and public sector. “As the voice for the data centre industry in Malaysia, it is important for MDCA to raise overall awareness with the general public on the roles and importance of data centres, and how they impact lives of the people today,” said MDCA chairman Billy Lee. “MDCA will act as a platform for members to contribute to the establishment of best practices, education programmes, industry leadership initiatives and technical standards,” he added. Lee said that MDCA’s initiatives would centre on five main areas – business development, connectivity and bandwidth, green technology standards, energy, as well as standards and policies.

From https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/ 10/29/2015

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THAILAND: Plan to Make Phuket and Chiang Mai 'Smart Cities'

 

THE INFORMATION and Communication Technology Ministry is eyeing Phuket and Chiang Mai as 'smart cities' that focus on tech start-ups as part of a move to turn Thailand into the digital hub of Asean. ICT Ministry Minister Uttama Savanayana said under the policy the ministry planned to roll out pilot projects to drive the country forward, with the "smart city" plan one of them. Uttama spoke yesterday in a special interview at the Consumer Insight seminar hosted by Nation Broadcasting Corporation. He was interviewed by Suthichai Yoon, adviser to the Nation Multimedia Group's editorial board. The minister said Phuket and Chiang Mai could be piloted as smart cities because of their technology readiness, location, and internationalism.

 

Ministry's two main tasks

He said another possible model for rolling out smart cities was establishing technology hubs in special economic zones. "Currently, there is a lack of direct governmental support in terms of direct investment and direct policies to support tech start-ups, but there are relevant supports such as the support scheme provided by the Software Industry Promotion Agency," he said. Uttama, who was given the portfolio last month, said there were two main tasks the ministry would tackle over the next three months. He said the first task was to formulate a solid digital economy master plan, which is currently being developed. The draft of the plan would consist of five main domain missions - hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital economy promotion, and a digital society. The second task involved delivering the pilot projects including projects centred on e-commerce, e-education, e-industry, and e-government. Uttama said the Ministry would work with other ministries, such as Commerce, to set up an e-commerce platform to help businesses go online, especially small and medium-sized enterprises and those in agriculture.

 

Hi-speed Internet for every village

"The plan is to have a national e-payment platform as a crucial part to help drive e-commerce," he said. "Moreover, the government can also play a role to verify online merchants through the Trust Mark." For education, he said the plan was to have hi-speed Internet coverage for every village in the country by 2016 so as to connect remote communities and schools. He said the e-industry pilot project focused on encouraging SMEs to benefit from using technology. The 2,000 ICT centres nationwide could be utilised to leverage SMEs' capabilities. Uttama said the e-government agency was playing a big role in the planned roll-out of the e-government pilot project. 'Smart cities' would be the fifth pilot project introduced over the next three months, he said.  "The ICT Ministry plans to steer the existing budget, especially the budget for the student tablet scheme, to be used for running the pilot projects," he said.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 09/15/2015

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Government Unveils Six Key Digital Economy Projects

 

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry has announced six flagship projects designed to support the government's "digital economy" scheme. ICT Minister Uttama Savanayana said the projects would support and create opportunities and increase the efficiency of the private sector and the community. Uttama said they would also promote social equality, utilise information technology so people could adopt government services through digital technology, develop human resources to support the digital economy and develop basic networks and connectivity of IT infrastructure. They would also develop super-clusters that improved the quality of life of Thais, the minister said. He said the ministry would provide knowledge to help small and medium-sized enterprises upgrade their IT systems, such as inventory and accounting systems, and enhance their businesses. He said the ministry would order the Electronic Transactions Development Agency to encourage government agencies to provide online services to support the public. He said the ministry would cooperate with universities such as Prince of Songkla University and government agencies to develop IT start-ups and invite content providers to launch businesses in Thailand. The ministry will facilitate the sharing of resources by CAT Telecom and TOT, such as fibre-optic networks, to provide IT infrastructure to support the digital-economy scheme. The government will also develop two "smart city" prototypes in Phuket and Chiang Mai.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/10/2015

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VIETNAM: New Regulation Expected to Activate Domain Name Market

 

VietNamNet Bridge - Circular 24, which took effect on October 10, has made it easier to register ‘.vn’ domain names. According to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC), Vietnamese businesses have registered 182,000 ‘.vn’ domain names out of 500,000 operational businesses. Taking into account that businesses registered more than one domain name, the number of businesses registering ‘.vn’ domain name is even lower than 182,000. The figure, as an analyst commented, showed that Vietnamese businesses do not care about registering domain names, though they know that they will receive benefits, including easy brand identification. “By not having a website and not using email with professional domain names, a lot of businesses and individuals deprive themselves of the opportunities to popularize their image,” he said.  “The businesses which do not register the national domain name will face big problems. They will find it difficult to approach customers and get involved in domain name disputes, while their brands will be affected,” he said. Tran Minh Tan, director of VNNIC, said the ‘.vn’ domain names were not covered by Intellectual Property law, and the domain name registration was implemented in accordance with the international practice ‘first come, first served’.

 

Therefore, state management agencies cannot apply any policies to preserve the domain names related to trademarks if the trademark owners do not protect the names themselves by registering domain names with agencies. According to Tan, many ‘.vn’ domain names relating to businesses’ brands have fallen into the hands of other individuals and institutions, both domestic and foreign. Since the owners of the brands did not register domain name registration quickly enough, they could not acquire the domain names with their brand names. In many cases, businesses had to spend big money to buy the domain names back from other individuals and institutions who registered the domain names just for speculation. Tan cited a series of dispute cases recently which related to ebay.com.vn, heineken.vn, bayer.vn, bitis.vn, samsungmobile.vn, visa.com.vn, mhb.vn and habeco.vn. “As there was no detailed regulation on settling the disputes relating to domain names, most of the cases were listed as ‘administrative claims’. VNNIC, as the state management agency which grants domain names, can only handle with the complaints about the following of procedures.” Pham Tuan Anh, director of NetNam Online Service Center, commented that the new regulation sets easy procedures for domain name registration, under which businesses will have no reason to hesitate to register ‘.vn’ domain names. A VNNIC report showed that by the end of June 2015, Vietnam had developed 56,000 new domain names, raising the total of ‘.vn’ domain names to 319,000.

From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/06/2015

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Sci-Tech Ministry Plans $45mil. for Training Project

 

At a meeting held to collect comments on the project last week, Tran Thi Ngoc Ha of the ministry’s organization and personnel department said around 350 experts, 80 research groups, 500 doctors, and 500 scientific and technological managers would be funded to attend domestic and overseas training courses by 2025 under the project. The project requires some VND900 billion to be sourced from the State budget. Head of the organization and personnel department Tran Dac Hien said the project will be improved based on comments the ministry collects before it goes before the Government in late 2015. If approved, the project will be implemented from 2017. Hien said the project is being drawn up based on comments of many experts and scientists. He added that demand for human resource development in science and technology is large. Associate Professor Dr. Phan Tuan Nghia from the Vietnam National University Hanoi said the draft project should include a binding clause requiring trainees must come back to their home country for work after getting funding of the project to attend training course abroad. Professor Tran Duc Vien from the Hanoi University of Agriculture said the project should contains clear goals for improvements in the scientific and technology sector as well as key and priority technologies to be used in the country in the coming years. Representatives of ministries and agencies at the meeting discussed the criteria and qualifications of candidates selected for training courses of the project, including requirements for foreign language proficiency. Hien said the project aims to develop the quality of human resources for Vietnam in science and technology and that the ministry has a database of more than 1,000 qualified candidates for selection. The ministry will join hands with the ministries of home affairs and finance to issue a joint circular to solve the problems related to candidate selection and finance for the implementation of the project.

From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/07/2015

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MIC’s New Regulation Could Create More SMS Spam

 

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) plans to loosen control over mobile subscribers, thus raising concern about an increase in spam messages. MIC, which is drafting a new circular on mobile subscription, may allow one subscriber to own up to five sim cards instead of three as currently applied. Experts have warned that this may pave the way for more spam messages. Under the draft regulation, theoretically, one pre-paid user can have up to 25 sim cards of five operational mobile networks Viettel, VinaPhone, MobiFone, Vietnamobile and Gtel. Meanwhile, post-paid users can register as many subscription numbers as they want. Mobile network operators say that it is necessary to allow subscribers to own more sim cards because there are more devices which need mobile sim cards such as cars, 3G USB and tablets. The lifting of the cap on the number of sim cards every individual or organization can have aims to help users use their mobile devices. The draft regulation says that users must use the sim cards in compliance with the number of devices they have.

 

However, a telecom expert in HCM City noted that five sim cards are ‘more than enough’ for a user. “I believe that very few people have more than five mobile phones and 3G devices,” he said.  “Meanwhile, allowing more subscription numbers will lead to a waste of resources,” he said, adding that users only need one or two sim cards. The expert went on to say that the new regulation would only encourage the spread of spam messages, which has caused headaches to the watchdog agency and subscribers. Mobile phone subscribers are complaining that they are often bothered with hundreds of spam messages every day. Meanwhile, both the watchdog agency and mobile network operators have not done anything to stop the messages. Users buy new sim cards when mobile network operators launch sale promotion campaigns, offering additional value to scratch cards. However, users will throw away the sim cards after they use up all the money in the accounts, because they do not intend to keep the subscription numbers for contact. “Allowing users to possess more sim cards will do more harm than good,” he said. “This will lend a hand to people to send spam messages.” According to the HCM City Information and Communication Department, spam messages could be sent from three sources – telcos which send flash ad messages, content service providers (CP) and SubCP. SubCP is the most difficult to control.

From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/10/2015

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INDIA: Delhi Govt Approves E-office Plan

 

Delhi Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal gave its approval for implementing the e-office system in every department. In the first phase of the plan, reportedly 15 departments will be cover. It wil make Delhi the first state in the country to totally adopt the e-office concept. The Department of Information Technology will be the nodal department for the project. Delhi government has already procured a combined single-user licence through Delhi e-Governance Society. Also, the Cabinet has reportedly permitted the individual departments to procure the required hardware and manpower from National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (NICSI) at empanelled rates.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/27/2015

 

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Govt Launches Online LPG Connection Scheme ‘SAHAJ’

 

DBT on LPGIn line with Digital India Vision, the government launched online LPG connection scheme SAHAJ. The customers now can register for new LPG connections and make payments online online through the portal – mylpg.in. The scheme was launched by Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. “The vision of Digital India is to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy and ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically,” Pradhan said. Pradhan said that the initiatives taken by Petroleum Ministry in the last seven months have enhanced coverage of LPG and extended better services to customers. The ever-growing expansion of PAHAL, a scheme aimed to improve the subsidy administration of LPG across the country, has ensured smooth transfer of subsidy on LPG cylinder directly to the customers’ bank accounts.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/31/2015

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Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Launches Three IT Initiatives

 

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched three IT initiatives developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of Ministry of Railways. The initiatives include paperless unreserved ticketing through mobile phones between New Delhi and Palwal section, coin-cum-card operated automatic ticket vending machines at New Delhi railway station and a mobile application for freight operations. The Minister said, “IT initiatives are directed towards improving passenger and customer services on Indian Railways. Indian Railways is constantly moving towards e-Governance.” The IT initiatives being undertaken by Indian Railways are in line with the Digital India Programme, he added. Prabhu said that in April & June the ministry had launched Paperless Unreserved Ticketing System for Chennai and Mumbai suburban sections. This system shall now be proliferated to other important suburban sections of Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway and South Central Railway shortly.

 

He said that Introduction of Coin-cum-Currency operated Ticketing Vending Machine is another step forward in ensuring that passengers get their tickets quickly under ‘Operation five minutes’ announced in Railway Budget. These ticket vending machines shall be installed at all the major stations in the country. 450 machines are being procured and installed by CRIS and shall be available at major stations during the next 3 months. The Freight Monitoring App named ‘Parichaalan’ shall greatly help the senior decision makers of Operating Department to plan freight operations on real-time basis. “After the initial experiment, this App shall be provided to other operating officers in the field,” said. The Minister said that very soon Monthly Season Ticket (MST) can also be purchased through mobile by the passengers in Mumbai and Chennai suburban Railway network. The Railway Minister also said that even the platform ticket will soon be made available through the mobile phone. The Railway Minister also announced that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed shortly between Railways Department of CRIS and ISRO for using Geospatial Technology and satellite technology for various operations of Railways.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/02/2015

 

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Participate in ‘Digitising India’ and Earn Rewards

 

The government has undertaken an initiative namely Digitise India Platform (DIP) – digitizeindia.gov.in – for large scale digitization of records in the country that would facilitate efficient delivery of services to the citizens. “Register now as a Digital Contributor to do data entry jobs, earn rewards and redeem them for remuneration,” the official website says Any Indian citizen who wishes to become a contributor can sign up with the platform. “Your participation and contribution as a Digital Contributor will help the country to transform into a knowledge driven economy.” The initiative aims to achieve the vision of Digital India, where every Indian is digitally empowered and every information is digitally available. “Digitize India Platform offers an opportunity for government agencies to transform themselves into digital enterprises and for Digital Contributors, rewards for doing simple data entry jobs,” the website says.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/07/2015

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‘Reform and Perform for Smart City Aid’

 

The smart services in the ambitious Smart City project of the Modi-led Government will come with a nominal user fee for the citizens. Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu made it clear to the states and union territories that those wanted the ‘Smart City’ project rolling in their cities need to reform and perform for complete aid from the Central Government by collecting user charges from people for the smart services in their cities. “If you want to remain like this, remain. It’s your choice. Reform and perform and become a Smart City, the Centre is ready to do the hand holding,” he said while addressing a regional workshop on smart cities in Hyderabad. He stated that transforming cities into smart ones is difficult task, but not impossible. It was the 2nd of the three scheduled workshop on ‘Smart Cities’ project by the Union Urban Development Ministry. Principal Secretaries of urban development ministry of 12 selected states and union territories, and municipal commissioners, deputy commissioners, mayors and deputy mayors from 40 cities selected for smart city development participated in the workshop.

 

The first workshop was held in New Delhi on September 3 and the 3rd workshop is scheduled in Kolkata on September 12. The Union minister stated that many urban bodies had not raised taxes for years, though citizens were ready to pay more if they were provided better services.  “Cities would not be forced to collect user charges, but only those who want to reform and perform will get the help of Central government. The short listing of 100 cities for the ambitious project is only a prequalification process as only 20 of them will be selected for the next round. Those cities which do not perform will not be found in the next round,” he said. The estimated funding for a smart city is Rs 5,000 crore. Of the total, center would pay Rs 500 in a period of five years and a similar amount needs to be contributed by the State government. The rest of the amount will be sourced from the international banks, for which the centre would recommend. He said International agencies such as World Banks and ADB would come forward to lend only if the urban bodies have the ability to pay back.

 

We are going to recommend for loan for those cities which are ready to reform and have creditworthiness. The plans and features of smart city is what citizens want for themselves in their cities. The broad contours of a smart city as visualized by the centre includes essential core infrastructure, sanitation, health and education facilities, clean and sustainable environment, good public transport, city governance, adoption of smart technologies to ensure a decent living and catalyze economic growth, which is the need of the hour, he said. He urged the mayors, municipal commissioners and corporators to raise to the occasion, as lot of responsibilities lies on them.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/10/2015

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Delhi Govt Urges Industry to Bridge Digital Divide

 

The Delhi Government is pitching for partnership with industry to bridge the digital divide. “The Delhi Government seeks to transform the national capital into ‘Digital Delhi’ by leveraging technology to provide better livelihood, improved transportation and enhanced quality of life,” said Adarsh Shastri, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Information & Technology, and Government of NCT Delhi. Shastri said that the state government’s vision was to ensure quick, scalable and robust solutions to improve the city on all fronts. “Delhi government initiated many programmes in this regard, and one of them was to enable 11 districts of Delhi electronically,” Shastri said. He added that there were about 219 firms in Delhi which were needed by the citizens at some of point, hence the government started the process of making these firms online and so far 24 of them have become available online.

 

Delhi Government is trying to leverage technology and internet to provide a single access card to pay for all modes of public transport. Moreover, efforts are being made to create an app which would provide information in real time about various options available to reach a destination from a particular location and also the details of the time and cost that each mode of transport would incur. Sharing his views on public Wi-Fi, Shastri said that Delhi needs a unique model as the scale was humungous with almost six million users expected to be using public Wi-Fi on a daily basis. “To bridge the digital divide in Delhi, partnership between the government and industry was the need of the hour,” he said.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 10/12/2015

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SRI LANKA: First Smart City to Be Kandy

 

Sri Lanka’s central city Kandy will be developed as the first ‘Smart City’ in the island, Rauf Hakeem, new Minister of Town Planning and Water Resources said in a media report.“India under a plan of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already begun forming smart cities and the country is on to set up 100 smart cities,” he said.“Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe has granted his approval to commence Kandy North Water Supply Project and had the government has already allocated 3 billion rupees to carry out three major water supply projects in the Kandy district.”While there is no single definition for a smart city, the purpose of the smart cities is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling infrastructure development using information technology.The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include adequate water supply, uninterrupted electricity supply, proper sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient public transport, affordable housing, good governance, health and education, sustainable environment, and safety and security of citizens.

From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com 09/07/2015

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AZERBAIJAN: New Rules for Purchasing SIM Cards Declared

 

The Azerbaijani government has decided to enact new measures in mobile phone registration to prevent third party users from utilizing registered cell phone numbers. Under the recent governmental amendments, local mobile operators will take a range of measures to assign users to a specific SIM card. Mobile operators have already begun to send SMS messages to subscribers with an invitation to the service center to register his/her mobile number to his/her name. This measure will help operators keep registration records and insure the validity of information and solve any further problems related with his/her respective number. The changes are applied when customers sign contracts with the telecommunications companies, which are prohibited from selling SIM cards to a third party. The contracts currently do not provide a guarantee of control, and if the number is used by a third party, then all responsibility for this number is laid upon the registered owner of the number. About one third of all SIM cards in the country are not registered to a specific user.

 

The mobile operator subscription database was created using data provided by the Interior Ministry from September 1 in order to eliminate mobile phone use by third parties. Database use, however, has been pushed back one month due to some technical difficulties. As of now, operators are attempting to reference personal data through the individual identification number (FIN), which will eliminate incorrect personal information about citizens. These measures will resolve a range of problems existing between operators and subscribers, such as the illegal sale of SIM cards, which creates a lot of problems for its registered owners. They will also rule out the possibility of buying SIM cards using another person’s passport data and work to fight against mobile scams that withdraw funds from the subscriber's balance. The scams could also register the number to someone else’s bank account. As it is impossible to get the money back, the subscriber would then have to contact his/her operator to obtain account statements. Other frequent cases involve false calls from unregistered SIM cards in order to warn of an imminent terrorist attack.

 

The responsibility for such calls in the future will rest on the registered owner of the number. New rules are expected to significantly facilitate the process of notification, as subscribers will regularly receive messages about fines and fees, including gas, water, and electricity bills, violations of traffic rules, the expiration of the identity cards, passports, etc. The possible electronic sale of SIM cards on the Electronic Government Portal (e-gov.az) is under consideration. The online purchase of mobile numbers can be done under the user’s own e-signature and payment method. Currently, there are three mobile operators in Azerbaijan – Bakcell, Azercell, and Azerfon. The mobile connectivity rate has reached 112 percent in the country according to the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 09/03/2015

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Azerbaijan Unveils New Tax Incentives for Space Industry

 

Azerbaijan, which entered the space club with its first satellite in 2013, will support this sector of economy by exempting satellites and other spacecraft from the property taxes starting in 2016. The proposal was reflected in the draft amendments to the Tax Code, which is being presented to the Parliament. The natural resource-rich country realizes that in the current economy, it should count on non-oil sector and today, the information and communication technology sector is one of the top priorities for Azerbaijan. Fiscal freedom is expected to create additional conditions for the further development of the young industry and turning the country into a competitive participant of the international telecommunications market. Earlier, Minister of Taxes Fazil Mammadov noted at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy that orbiting a satellite has a special place among the achievements of Azerbaijan in the field of ICT. “There is a high competition in this area in the world, therefore, Azerspace [first satellite of Azerbaijan] needs a certain time to provide sustainable competition,” he said.

 

Tax incentives are used to enhance the competitiveness of companies in the production of spacecraft in many countries, the minister said, which is important considering that Azerbaijan is working to launch its second telecommunication satellite. Azerbaijan’s space agency Azercosmos is the first satellite operator in the Caucasus. As of now, the agency controls telecommunication satellite Azerspace-1, and low orbit satellite AzerSky. The company also plans to launch its second satellite in 2017. The construction of Azerspace-2 satellite has already started. The country has its own satellite program and other countries of the region are able to use the resources of Azerspace-1. Azerspace-1 provides its customers with highly reliable broadband and broadcast solutions in Europe, Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is equipped with 36 transponders: 24 in C-band and 12 in Ku-band at 46° East longitude. Azerspace broadcasts over 80 TV and radio channels, covering Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa. Some 80 percent of the satellite’s resources are available for commercial purposes.

 

Baku is expecting to earn $500-600 million with the operation of the satellite, which will work in orbit for at least 15 years. In addition, the first telecommunication satellite will be self-subsidized as of 2016. Azerbaijan began operating the Azersky satellite on December 2014. The satellite was launched in June 2014 as part of strategic cooperation in the space industry between Azerbaijan and France. This project has high profitability and the payback period of investment is 5-7 years. The satellite is capable of shooting 6 million square kilometers of the surface of the Earth. The resolution of the images obtained will be 1.5 meters. The satellite will work in orbit for 12 years. Azercosmos suggests using the satellite’s capabilities for agriculture, surveying land, as well as in ensuring the safety of oil and gas pipelines. In addition, to further develop the satellite program, Azercosmos is planning to buy a second low-orbit satellite which will have ultra-high resolution and will be used for photographing the terrain in emergency situations, for agriculture, to address environmental problems, mapping and others. In the current economic situation, the formation of a constellation of satellites can be a costly affair.

 

However, Azerbaijan needs to have at least four satellites to ensure the efficiency and stability of satellite communications services in the event of unforeseen circumstances and emergencies. The future development of the satellite program will lead to a reduction of tariffs for telecommunication services, as well as significantly save costs from the rental of bandwidth from foreign satellites.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 10/19/2015

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AUSTRALIA: Parliament Looking at Adopting BIM for Infrastructure Projects

 

A Federal Parliamentary Committee is examining the feasibility of introducing BIM methodology for future infrastructure projects. BIM (building information modelling) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. BIM allows for the creation of intelligent, three-dimensional models that can be shared in the design, construction and management phases of infrastructure development. Tomorrow, the Infrastructure and Communications Committee will meet with representatives of AutoCAD creator Autodesk, described by the Committee as an international leader in the development of BIM, to discuss the role that BIM can play in improving the quality and efficiency of infrastructure projects. According to Autodesk, "25 per cent of infrastructure project costs are tied to change orders, requests for information (RFIs), rework, and design clashes that are not found until construction begins."

 

“The AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry is showing progress in improving their productivity and reducing these project costs through the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM).” Committee Chairman Jane Prentice MP (Ryan, Qld) said, “The current Inquiry into the role of Smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure has already uncovered a range of exciting and innovative technologies, which have the potential to make the procurement of infrastructure more efficient and long-term management more effective.” Prentice believes that BIM is set to revolutionise the way governments and industry do business when it comes to investing in infrastructure. “The new tools becoming available to government and industry have the power to transform the economic productivity of infrastructure development, making existing infrastructure more productive and new infrastructure more cost-effective.”

From http://www.itwire.com 09/08/2015

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Call for Halt to Introduction of ISP Copyright Code

 

The federal government has again been called on to stop the process of implementing an ISP copyright code. The Internet users rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia has confirmed it wants the process to be halted, with its call coming in the wake of the introduction of new anti-piracy website blocking laws. In an appeal for the process to be stopped, the EFA said today that while it does not condone copyright infringement, international experience shows that copyright notice schemes are of “marginal value at best in addressing online copyright infringement.” In calling for the government to halt the process of implementing an ISP copyright code, the EFA said work on the code should not proceed until the implementation of the new mandatory data retention obligations has been concluded. EFA Executive Officer Jon Lawrence said the process should not continue until the government has conducted a “detailed cost-benefit analysis to ensure that it is not an unnecessary additional regulatory burden that will further harm competition in the sector and result in higher connectivity charges for Australians.”

 

According to the EFA, the majority of online copyright infringement in Australia is demonstrably driven by market failures, and the market is, finally, addressing those shortcomings. Lawrence said 10 weeks have now passed since the “apparently urgent 'website-blocking' bill became law in Australia, yet we are still to see a single case presented.” “The deadline for the ISP Copyright Code has now also passed and, as per previous attempts to find a consensus between the ISP industry and content distributors, the issue of who pays for notices to be sent to allegedly-infringing users remains unresolved. Lawrence said the current government, “which is ostensibly committed to deregulation must accept the reality that finding a consensus on the cost burden of a copyright notice scheme is simply not possible.” "It must also realise that legislating to impose such a scheme will only add another layer of unnecessary regulation on to Australia's ISP sector, which is already struggling with the government's overly-hasty and inadequately-prepared data retention legislation. Enough time and money has been wasted on the ISP Copyright Code. It's time for the government to get out of the way and allow the market to evolve."

 

Lawrence says the Australian video content market has been transformed this year with the introduction and “explosive growth of a number of excellent new streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services.” “As ACMA reports, 'almost two million Australians have subscribed to SVOD services since early 2015',” Lawrence says. “It is therefore no surprise that Choice's research already shows a material decline (from 23% to 17%) in the number of respondents that regularly download infringing content, as well as reporting a massive 33% of respondents who are downloading 'much less often' since subscribing to streaming services. “That's one-third of users whose reported behaviour has changed, in six months.”

From http://www.itwire.com 09/08/2015

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ISPs Unable to Meet Government Metadata Legislation – Starts Today

 

Australian metadata laws come into effect today (13 October 2015) although Attorney General George Brandis says it will not be enforced until April 2017! The AG's comment is fortuitous because most ISPs do not have systems in place to meet their obligations under the Data Retention Act. According to industry lobby group Communications Alliance 84% of ISPs say they are not ready and will not be collecting metadata on time. It also found that 66% were not ‘entirely sure’ what type of metadata the Government wants to collect. Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said ISPs have had to start collecting a significant amount of new data, and complying with the laws has been difficult and time consuming. "The Government's claim that what they are asking for is retention of the status quo has never been correct. The vast majority of ISPS are saying: 'We're trying, but we're not there yet'."

 

Contrary to the Attorney General’s April 2017 deadline for compliance, ISPs must start retaining metadata as of today unless they have been granted an extension – that then gives them another 18 months. Getting an extension – also known as DRIP (which is perhaps an appropriate acronym for Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014) – is not easy. 81% of ISPs have presented a plan [application] and only 10% have been approved so far. “ISPs were not given enough time to get ready. I think the survey shows that very clearly. The way that the legislation is drafted does not provide us with all of the detail about what exactly is required in all of their services. There are a thousand different nuances that I have seen flying around as to what needs to be retained in respect of a particular service. The complexity has always been part of the bedevilling aspect of this regime. There are still many providers, as the survey highlights, that aren't certain that they've got their requirements completely figured out," he said.

 

What is the result of non-compliance? Apparently, the process of complying with DRIP involves a tsunami of paperwork – many smaller ISP believe it will be unviable for them to stay in business. These are predominately from regional or niche areas servicing what the bigger Telcos will not. “It is possible smaller ISPs would close down rather than struggle on. I have seen the emails from smaller providers who are really questioning whether they ought to try to stay in business in the light of this cost of compliance. If you're a small family-owned operator in a regional town, with a few hundred customers, this is exactly the sort of regulatory cost that could convince you to try and find another way to earn your living," he said. Internet Australia, a not-for-profit peak body representing everyone who uses the Internet is equally damning in its findings. CEO Laurie Patton said that a statutory review of the Act, scheduled for three years after it is operational, should be brought forward so that problems are sorted out sooner rather than later. “We maintain that the process is so flawed that it should not be allowed to go unchecked for that long. We are talking about major security issues and significant costs that need to be dealt with now.” According to Mr Patton, “Our industry intelligence tells us that the implementation process is way behind schedule – with many ISP’s affected by the legislation still struggling to understand their obligations and therefore still compiling their implementation plans.”

From http://www.itwire.com 10/13/2015

 

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Data Retention Compliance Could Pass to Consumers as Tax Impost: IA

 

Internet Australia is not letting up with its constant pressure on the federal government over the Data Retention Act, now warning that consumers will be the big losers if the government fails to deal with implementation issues associated with the act. Repeating its call for the legislation to be reviewed immediately, rather than after three years as is currently required, IA now warns that a so-called ‘Internet Tax’ will be passed onto consumer through increased Internet access fees when the real costs of the new Act come to light. IA CEO Laurie Patton says it is widely accepted in the industry that the amount of funding allocated by the Government to cover implementation costs is insufficient, with total funding for capital costs now down to $128 million after the Attorney General’s Department took $3 million for its expenses. “The as yet unknown costs of the Data Retention Act will end up being passed on to consumers in the form of increased Internet fees. “Does the Government really expect Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and the hundreds of smaller ISPs to carry the costs for this problematic legislation?” Patton points out that the status of the data retention implementation is due to be considered at Senate Estimates on Tuesday (19 Oct), and says the Attorney General’s Department is expected to be asked to explain why hardly any ISPs were able to comply with the requirements of the ACT when it came into force last Tuesday.

 

“It has been reported that even Telstra has asked for and been granted an 18 months extension,” Patton said. “The Act is fundamentally flawed and it’s no surprise that so, too, is the implementation process”, Patton says, adding that Internet Australia had received mixed reports from its ISP members. “The general feeling is that the officers in the AG’s department are trying hard to assist, but the plain fact is they’re stuck with a very confusing and poorly drafted Act.” According to Patton, even if the implementation problems can eventually be sorted out there will be huge and ongoing costs to industry in complying with the Data Retention Act. “We tried to assist the Government by putting together some figures on what the real implementation costs might be. However, at this stage many of our ISP members tell us they’d just be guessing.” Patton also maintains that beyond the question of costs is the amount of time required and the frustration experienced by ISPs just trying to complete the paperwork and, he concludes, “If Telstra is struggling to put in place the necessary processes and to complete the forms, with all its resources, how are small to medium sized ISPs supposed to get it done?”.

From http://www.itwire.com 10/19/2015

 

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Senate Passes eHealth Legislation

 

The Senate yesterday passed without amendment the government's legislation to revamp the national eHealth record system. The Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill 2015 implements recommendations from the 2013 review of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), including renaming the record to 'My Health Record'. The bill will allow the health minister to apply an opt-out participation model for the eHealth record to particular areas. The change will enable trials of new approaches intended to boost participation in the system. Health minister Sussan Ley last month revealed details of the opt-out trials, which will be conducted in Queensland and NSW. The bill was endorsed by Senate's Community Affairs Legislation Committee. However, the changes to the system have raised concerns among privacy advocates.

From http://www.computerworld.com.au 11/13/2015

 

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NEW ZEALAND: Telco Wants Certainty for Industry from Regulatory Review

 

With regulation of the New Zealand telecommunications industry under scrutiny, the country’s biggest telco, Spark, says ensuring industry players have certainty to continue investing in New Zealand’s digital future should be the main thrust of a review into the Telecommunications Act. The New Zealand Government today announced a review into the telco act, issuing a discussion document - Regulating Communications for the Future – as a prelude to looking at how the industry should be regulated post 2020. The review will consider key issues, including how to set the wholesale charges that all service providers pay the monopoly fibre lines companies to connect their customers to fibre broadband, and the process for eventually switching off New Zealand’s old copper network for broadband and voice services in favour of the new UFB fibre network. “The most important thing the review needs to do is provide certainty to industry providers and their customers of the regulatory settings that will apply in the period from 2020 onwards, says Spark General Manager Regulation, John Wesley-Smith. We welcome this comprehensive discussion document and the Government’s commitment to engaging with industry and New Zealanders on these matters well ahead of time. Giving service providers and network operators a clear picture of the costs we will face from 2020 on will allow us to focus on ensuring we bring the best of new products, services and innovation to New Zealanders.”

 

The Government’s review will also look at how the mobile industry is regulated. “New Zealand is very well served by three mobile service providers who compete aggressively with one another on price, speed and coverage. As the Government’s discussion document notes, the next challenge for our sector is to ensure our regulatory framework creates the right incentives for mobile operators to extend the next generations of mobile broadband technologies deep into rural New Zealand, and it is timely to review the best way to achieve this.” Wesley-Smith said the review will also look at issues of ‘convergence’, “where previously distinct technologies and industries (like telecommunications and broadcasting) are coming together, and ‘net neutrality’, which has been an issue in some overseas jurisdictions. Convergence is great for consumers and means new products and services are springing up all the time. This is creating huge changes in how New Zealanders live, work and play. It’s positive that the Government is looking to ensure our regulatory settings are keeping up with the rapid pace of change. Net neutrality is a high profile issue in the United States but is not such a problem here in New Zealand because our copper and fibre networks are wholesale-only open access networks and we have a strong product disclosure regime. Net neutrality concerns are grounded in the potential for vertically-integrated monopoly network owners to dictate the terms of internet access to content providers and customers. Customers in New Zealand have a genuine choice of service provider, which is the ultimate protection against that outcome.”

From http://www.itwire.com 09/08/2015

 

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VANUATU: Law Reforms Culminate in Launch of Online Business Registry

 

The benefits of a series of legal reforms are set to be realized in Vanuatu, with the opening of an online service that will dramatically simplify the way business is done in the country. The online business registry allows both Ni-Vanuatu and overseas investors to register a business, maintain its details, and pay fees online, reducing the average time for company registrations from more than 3 weeks to under 3 days. It was launched by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Willie Jimmy, and Deputy Chairman of the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) Board, Lionel Kaluat, at a ceremony attended by representatives of the private sector and supporting development partners, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and New Zealand. “The launch of this registry represents a fundamental shift in Vanuatu’s business environment,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “All business entities—from newly established sole-traders to growing businesses looking to incorporate—can easily enter the formal economy, and women especially now have the option to register their business through an accessible and affordable service.” 

 

The legal reforms recognize new corporate structures, including one-person companies that encourage women to register a business independently, and community companies, which allow communities to run a business and ensure the profits from it, are shared fairly. The registry will add to Vanuatu’s international business standing and make it easier to do business in the country through search functions, which allow users to obtain important information about the status of a business, its management, and ownership structures. “Completion of these reforms and the availability of the services they enable through the registry is an enormous achievement for Vanuatu,” said VFSC Commissioner George Andrews. “In terms of transparency and making it easier to do business, we now have a world-leading legislative and regulatory system.” The convenience of submitting annual filings via the registry, coupled with online payments and digitized reminders, is expected to increase compliance with business regulations.

 

The registry can be found at www.vfsc.vu or accessed through kiosks in VFSC offices. Comprehensive training programs on its use and services will be provided throughout September in Port Vila, Luganville, Malampa, Penama, Tanna and Torba with an extensive corporate governance training program to follow. Support for the creation of the registry and the legal reforms that underpin it have been provided by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI). PSDI is working with ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the New Zealand Government, and ADB.

From http://www.pina.com.fj 08/30/2015

 

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AFRICA: Kenya Says Open Data Portal Usage Increases

 

The Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) has recorded a steady growth in access to content via the country's Open Data portal, signifying its increased importance in planning at national and county government levels for various stakeholders including civil society, entrepreneurs, media, development partners, academicians and researchers among others, CIO East Africa. KODI is a project of the Kenyan ICT Authority providing a one-stop access point for all public data. Open data is data that is publicly available in a discoverable way. The project works with national government agencies and county governments to release and archive data in friendly reusable forms, basically sharing it publicly and freely. ICT Authority said that viewership of Open Data on the KODI's portal, relaunched four months ago, has gone up by 10 million hits to reach 54 million. The authority observed that the last four months have especially been very encouraging with added support from the government.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 10/19/2015

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NAMIBIA: The E-Government Project – A Reform Initiative

 

The Namibian government initiated the e-Government project a few years into independence to enhance the efficient public service delivery through the usage of information and communication technology (ICT). It was in 2005 that Cabinet approved the e-Governance Policy for the Namibian Public Service, after the review and development of legal and institutional frameworks relevant to e-Government. The actual work of the project started during 2010 with the e-Readiness assessment where five categories were identified as the primary target for information collecting. These were policy and legal, access, local content, capacity and competences, and willingness. A survey was conducted among government institutions and ICT businesses. In addition, consultations were done with stakeholders, comprised of representatives of institutions such as the University of Namibia, the Polytechnic of Namibia, NCCI, ICT Alliance, Telecom, and MTC. The analysis resulted in an average score of 2.2 out of the total of 4 points for Namibia’s readiness.

 

Furthermore, the result of the e-Readiness assessment was used to develop the e-Government Strategic Action Plan. This plan outlines strategic objectives, programmes, projects and institutions responsible for the implementation. The table below provides a snapshot of the plan. The implementation phase started with the restructuring of the Department of Public Service Information Technology Management under the Office of the Prime Minister to enable it to carry out additional roles and responsibilities required for the implementation of the e-Government project. The Head of the Department is a Deputy Permanent Secretary and it consists of three directorates. The Directorate of Quality Assurance, Standards, Skills Development and for Coordination is responsible for establishing and enforcing standards and best practices across the government institutions for consistency and alignment of efforts in the e-Government project implementation as well as for the promotion of e-Government within Namibia and collaborative efforts for inter-governmental exchange programs. The Directorate of Technical Support and Network Services is responsible for the ICT Infrastructure of the Government of Namibia for matters of e-Government. The main activities of the directorate are to implement and maintain the Unified Data Centre, the Disaster Recovery Centre and the government-wide ICT networking facility. The Directorate of Solutions Architecture is responsible for the designing, developing, implementing, supporting and maintaining of software solutions for the Government of Namibia.

 

The main activities of the directorate are to provide recommendations on software solution acquisitions, develop and implement software solutions, provide support and maintenance for the software applications, define an Interoperability Framework, develop and implement the Government Portal and implement a Centralised Help Desk solution, all within the government environment. Among the first projects to be implemented are the developments of the interoperability solution for the Government of Namibia, the review of the e-Governance Policy and IT Policy for the Public Service of Namibia, the development and adoption of security guidelines including the necessary standards and the development of the monitoring and evaluation framework and toolkit. The interoperability solution project consists of the software interface that will allow data exchange among databases belonging to government agencies under a secure environment, the review and drafting of required regulations and the competence enhancement for the staff members who will be responsible for the implementation and support.

 

The solution would foster the creation of online services capable of simultaneously using data held in different databases that will be accessed via the governmental portal. The solution will be implemented in a secure environment with encryption, time stamping, audit trails and proper authentication of participating entities. The project is implemented with the assistance of the Estonian e-Governance Academy with whom the Office of the Prime Minister has a signed Memorandum of Understanding. Participants in the pilot phase of the project are the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Roads Authority, and the Government Institutions Pension Fund. The participants were chosen according to the data registries they are responsible for managing. The 24-month project has been running since November 2014, to end in November 2016, with the full-scale implementation to be achieved by April 2016.

 

The implementation of the ICT Security Guidelines is essential and will help the e-Government project to ensure that confidentiality, integrity and availability are always maintained and improved continuously to the level comparable to international standards. In addition, it will help to improve the users’ trust level and create good public perception towards those systems that will be implemented. Stakeholders and relevant parties will be consulted to discuss the draft guidelines to solicit changes, comments and feedback. The main aim of the e-Government project is to improve the delivery of public services to citizens, businesses and clients by taking advantage of the information and communication technologies, hence the computerisation of processes will be carried out to enable access to services through the Internet. Ndeshipanda C. Ndilula is the Director of Quality Assurance and Standards in the Office of the Prime Minister.

From https://www.newera.com.na/ 11/09/2015

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ZAMBIA: Gauteng Opts for E-government

 

The Gauteng Provincial Government has established a new department, to be known as the Department of e-Government, to improve service delivery, modernise the public service and stimulate the province’s knowledge-based economy. The department is mandated to implement the e-Government Strategy of the Gauteng City Region which seeks to, among other things, consolidate back-end systems and processes to bring about better front-line service delivery to the people. In this regard, the department is finalising the architecture for a common platform that will enable all GCR entities to provide online and digitised services to the public. This will ensure that people will access public services at a touch of a button, and in the process saving them time and money as they will no longer have to travel to government offices frequently. As part of this approach, government also launched a self-service invoicing system, which is an online platform that allows service providers to submit their invoices directly to Gauteng Provincial Treasury, a major move in efforts to meet the 30-day payment deadline.

 

The e-government department will oversee the rollout of the Gauteng Broadband Network GBN, which will connect all government buildings and various public service access points, including Thusong Centres, urban renewal zones and targeted economic zones. The establishment of the e-government department concludes the restructuring process that has been going on for some time to ensure that government departments are properly structured and aligned to implement the programme of action. The Department of Finance, which was previously responsible for the functions of procurement, payments, forensic auditing, transversal human resources management and ICT, has been shut down. ICT functions will be performed by the new e-Government Department while the rest of the functions have been transferred to other departments. The Department of e-Government will report to the MEC for Finance and Boy Ngobeni, the current head of the Department of Education, will become its new head effective from 1 October 2015.

From http://it-online.co.za/ 10/08/2015

 

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ZIMBABWE: First Internet Governance Forum Event Held in Harare - Seeks Input into Governance

 

Yesterday, a advisory group that has been set up to lead Zimbabwe’s Internet Governance Forum initiative, hosted an event in Harare to engage the public in coming up with the things that Internet Governance in Zimbabwe should address. The group, called the MCT-ZIGF, consists of individuals from internet companies (Liquid, Powertel, TelOne), Academia (UZ, AU), tech services companies, government, and NGOs. It was a productive day working with diverse groups of people all looking to make the internet ecosystem in Zimbabwe be as useful as possible to all Zimbabweans. It’s important because the internet is the one tool that has changed economic prospects for individuals and countries especially those in Africa. The internet levels the playing field in amazing ways and guarding this levelling effect is critically important. Specifically, the event came up with input on the Internet Economy, Openness, Inclusivity and Diversity, Cybersecurity, Governance Standards and Internet & Human Rights. The input will be submitted to a regional Forum (in a couple of weeks) and then onwards to the international Internet Governance Forum from where it will cascade back as international standards. Just one day though, felt too short to get input on all the things that matter, and it was clear as some items were skipped entirely when the discussions ran out of time. I hope there are other channels for the working group to get this input and I hope that they will hold a similar event in Bulawayo and other cities.

From http://www.techzim.co.zw/ 10/20/2015

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EUROPE: Armenia - The First Internet Governance Forum ArmIGF 2015

 

The first Armenian Internet Governance Forum ArmIGF 2015 is organized by the multistakeholder Internet Governance Council (IGC) of the Republic of Armenia with the support of the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MTC) and the Internet Society NGO (ISOC Armenia). The main objectives of the forum are to provide an open and transparent platform for all stakeholder groups, to bring up and discuss the Internet governance related issues, to give the floor to the wide community, to deliver the messages to the policy makers. The first ArmIGF will be held on 7-8 September, 2015 in Yerevan, Armenia. Deputy Transport and Communication Minister Gagik Tadevosyan emphasized the importance of cybersecurity, net neutrality. “Net neutrality is one of the issues which is in the center of policy makers’ and regulators’ attention. The definitions of net neutrality are different but are in accordance with principles adopted in Armenia. ”, “Armenpress” reports, Gagik Tadevosyan stated.

From http://armenpress.am/ 09/08/2015

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BULGARIA: E-Government Is a Key Priority of the Present Government

 

“Introduction of the e-government is a key priority of the present government,” deputy head of the Bulgarian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation Pavel Hristov told journalists. He presented a report on the implementation of e-government in the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation during the meeting of the Committee on Economic, Trade, Technological and Environmental Affairs, a reporter of Radio FOCUS – Varna announced. Pavel Hristov said that in recent months the government has been actively working on topics related to e-government, e-justice and e-health. The draft electronic identification project has been moving forward as well. “This is a key component required for the successful implementation of this type of e-governance, especially in the part related to the connection between citizens, business and administration,” Pavel Hristov added. "Electronic identification is an electronic certificate verifying the user's identity and electronic signature is another type of certificate", Pavel Hristov added.

From http://www.focus-fen.net/ 10/06/2015

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Bulgaria’s Electronic Voting Referendum Falls Short

 

Preliminary results in Bulgaria’s referendum on whether to introduce online voting showed that turnout was too low to make the result binding on Parliament, but high enough to require the National Assembly to discuss the issue on the House floor. Exit-poll data by Alpha Research put the turnout at 35.3 per cent at 6pm, one hour before polling stations closed, above the 20 per cent threshold needed to put the question on Parliament’s agenda. Official data on turnout was not available as the Central Election Commission said it had technical difficulties throughout the election day, caused by heavy traffic. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of introducing online voting, with 70.6 per cent voting “yes” and 28.8 per cent against, while 2.8 per cent of ballots were invalid, Alpha Research said. The referendum on electoral reform was first put forth by Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev in 2013, but his proposal was stymied by the ruling majority in the now-departed 42nd National Assembly. After the election of the current Parliament in October 2014, Plevneliev resumed his campaign, calling for a referendum on three questions – the introduction of a majoritarian element in the election of MPs, the introduction of compulsory voting, and electronic voting. However, in July 2015, the National Assembly, where the largest party is Boiko Borissov’s GERB, the centre-right force that nominated Plevneliev as its presidential candidate in 2011, cut the three proposed questions down to just one, that on electronic voting. Plevneliev’s proposal to hold the referendum simultaneously with scheduled mayoral and municipal elections was accepted.

From http://sofiaglobe.com/ 10/26/2015

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Swiss Make Good Use of E-Government Services

 

The Swiss government has said its open data policy is paying off among citizens, who have an advanced use of e-government services compared to other countries. Pointing to a recently released study, the government stated that more than two-thirds of its citizens had used some kind of open government portal in the past year in the hopes that doing so would have a “positive influence” on leaders’ effectiveness. According to the comparative study published by the Berlin-based D21 Initiative, 69% of Swiss citizens interviewed said they used electronic government – “e-government” – services in 2015, an 11% increase over 2012. Services studied included mobile access to government information and free access to public data.

 

Switzerland showed the greatest increase in e-government service use of all the countries studied. Usage increased by 6% in Austria and by 5% in Sweden, while usage decreased in Germany. About 70% of Swiss interviewed said they had taken advantage of free government access to public data at least once in the past. In addition, the D21 study looked at user satisfaction with e-government services in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Sweden. Switzerland also showed the highest scores for user satisfaction; however, respondents said that e-government services could be improved through better monitoring and usability. Visibility was another potential area of improvement for Swiss e-government portals, as the study revealed that users are not aware of many of the services offered. The D21 study, titled “eGovernment Monitor 2015”, was published at the end of July.

From http://www.swissinfo.ch/ 09/03/2015

 

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Estonians to Teach CIG About E-government

 

A team of experts from the Baltic state of Estonia will be sharing their knowledge and experience with government officials this week about best practices in e-governance. Although successive administrations have pointed to the power of the web as a way of increasing government efficiency and cutting costs, Cayman has been slow to use the internet to improve public services. Having only just completed the “information-gathering stage” on e-government, officials said the Estonians will be hosting workshops to help transition CIG towards the “strategic development” stage. Although only a small country, the northern European state of Estonia is a leading jurisdiction when it comes to e-government and its practical implication. Four representatives from the country’s e-Governance Academy will present and lead discussions with both the public and private sector about the Estonian e-governance experience, digital identity management and how elements of that country’s model could be adapted and used locally. “Our objective is to fully understand the model by which a country of just over a million people has achieved extraordinary success in this field,” said backbench MLA Alva Suckoo, who was given the responsibility to oversee the development of e-government. “We will also be looking at their best practice to see what can apply in our local situation.”

 

Government appointed Ian Tibbetts as director of e-government almost a year ago. Since then he has been working with the e-government steering committee and the e-government task force to gather information, which is now finished, officials said. At present, government offers very limited on-line services and no on-line payments. Virtually all government entities now have websites but many of them are very basic and even the agencies such as immigration, which has a more comprehensive website and offers online tracking among other internet services, does not accept online payment. The premier and deputy governor ,who have all spoken at length about the possibilities offered by e-government, will alsobe at the opening of the four day-long seminar, as well as representatives from the steering committee and task force. Tibbetts has also invited members of the public to attend the sessions at the Westin Hotel.

From https://cnsbusiness.com/ 09/27/2015

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IRELAND: Minister Confirms Support for Internet Governance Transfer

 

Ireland “firmly” backs the planned transition from US government to international oversight of a critical area of global internet management, Minister for Communications Alex White told delegates yesterday at the Dublin meeting of the powerful internet governance group Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). As the US government prepares to hand over supervision of the internet’s addressing and domain name management to international supervision, the Minister told the opening session of the public meeting that Ireland “firmly supports the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance”. Ireland was an appropriate place to hold Icann’s 54th public meeting, he said. “Few countries have benefited from the transformative power of the internet socially and economically to the extent that Ireland has,” he told the audience at Dublin’s Convention Centre.

 

Some 2,500 delegates from 130 countries are in Dublin for one of Icann’s three annual “public meetings”, at which technical standards for the internet’s core structure, and operating policies, are discussed and decided. Anyone may attend the meeting for free. The structures needed for the historical handover of oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (Iana) will be the dominant – and controversial – concern at the meeting, which runs until Thursday and will conclude with an open session with Icann’s board. Icann hopes the Dublin meeting will produce agreement on a formal handover proposal that will be acceptable to the internet community as well as the US government. But Icann president and chief executive Fadi Chehadé noted the difficulty of finding agreement, especially with the organisation’s consensus-based voting approach.

 

“We’ve tested our multi-stakeholder model to the ends of it,” he said in his opening address. “But we are moving forward. And I think the community that comes together here in Dublin will continue in its commitment to keep the momentum forward, to finish our work and to deliver to the world what the world is watching us do.” On another key issue being debated at the meeting, Mr Chehadé noted that Icann was a technical and standards organisation and could not be responsible for shutting down websites based on demands from copyright holders, national governments, businesses or others with concerns about a website’s activities. “Icann’s remit . . . is not in the economic and societal layer [of internet operation],” he said. However, Icann did have a responsibility to work with authorities and law enforcement. The challenge, he said, would be in finding “balance”. He noted credit card companies manage to get rogue websites closed using international resources, without demanding Icann shut down sites.

From http://www.irishtimes.com/ 10/20/2015

 

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UKRAINE: E-Democracy Expert Says Electronic Governance Can Help Rid Itself of Corruption

 

Jordanka Tomkova joined Ukraine Today in the Viewpoint studio for a discussion on the implantation of e-governance in Ukraine. Jordanka Tomkova is a Swiss-funded E-Governance Advisor in Ukraine working on the E-Governance for Accountability and Participation Program (EGAP) - a programme seeking to promote high standards and practices in electronic governance and electronic democracy in Ukraine. "E-Governance is a cross-sectorial strategy that enables the optimization, efficient and effective use of information and communication technologies across sectors. The services that should be aimed for will include E-Health, creating facilities for business licensing, business licensing; it will be used to create greater transparency, land registration, E-education etc. And also administration services which are important for citizens as it will allow them to get their driving license without standing online, renewing their passports etc." "One of the key aspects of E-Governance is how do you better engage citizens in decision making processes; In Ukraine when you look at international rankings of country, it scores quite low. So, civil servants will need to gain new skills on how to interact with citizens in an online environment effectively and efficiently."

From http://uatoday.tv/ 10/20/2015

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Revisiting Internet Governance

 

You might recall that I played an advisory role to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in 2012 in Dubai. In the run-up to that event — as well as during and after it — I gave my opinion on the role of internet governance, plus an analysis of what was happening. At that time I held a more conciliatory position on the issue, but you may have noticed that, in the wake of the Snowden revelations and the illegal NSA activities, as well as many other similar activities from ASIO in Australia and no doubt the Russian, Israeli and Chinese authorities, my position has shifted significantly. While at WICT 2012 the Americans and their allies positioned themselves as the good guys against the baddies from Russia and China who wanted to control the internet; but whatever credibility the USA had at that time has totally dissipated, and along with that the international discussion on the issue.

 

Yet there are still some NGO organisations arguing for some form of e-governance (or not). The reality is that it is most unlikely the discussion will ever reach such a high level of traction again, and this is all for the best. With the benefit of hindsight I perhaps should have taken a more 'militant' position on the issue, like some of my international colleagues did at the time. The realpoltik is that in addition to all of its other aspects — such as its social and economic elements — the internet has become a weapon in the arsenal of the military and security forces. Of course, we all knew that this was the case but the abovementioned affairs brought this out into the open, and I think even the most militant opponents of internet governance were shocked by the extent to which these agencies were already using the internet and the other technologies it facilitates, such as data-gathering and data analytics.

 

So I am now firmly in the camp of those who support the notion that no government, or any international organisation such as the ITU or the UN, should attempt to concoct some sort of governance. We also know that even if they try this, it can and will not happen. This is something that some of my colleagues such as Doc Searls and David Weinberg have been saying for well over a decade. Their rationale is actually rather simple — there is no such thing as the internet. We have given it a name, but it is not a 'thing'. In 2003 my colleagues described it as a voluntary agreement between thousands of network operators around the globe that facilitates the flow of data for their mutual benefit. For that purpose they have all voluntarily adopted a range of telecommunications standards and protocols that allow this to happen. No one signed an agreement. No one owns more than just their own network.

 

This also makes it totally impossible for any government or international organisation to exert any governance over this non-entity. In this respect it is also futile for any government, telco or ISP to try and filter, control or manipulate the internet in any way. The only way for governments to exercise any control is to build a gigantic firewall around their national networks and operate this national network of networks as a virtual private network. That this can be done is clear, as can be seen from the case of China, North Korea, Iran and, in the past at least, also Syria. However, as is evident from China, there are still ways around the national filter; and at the same time the country would have to weigh up the consequences for their own economic opportunities in the digital economy of limiting the free flow of communication. In a way the internet is similar to iron. It can be used to make weapons and it can be used to make ploughs. And both are happening so we will have to live with that. In the early Middle Ages people like Charlemagne banned the export of iron to stop others making weapons. We can safely conclude that he and others were not successful. And whatever governments do to control the internet, will follow a similar path.

 

In the end, the NSA and other spy agencies will come to a similar conclusion. By all means use the internet to catch criminals, child abusers and terrorists, but do it in a smart way — one that will be more effective, will cost significantly less, and will fit much better in a democratic society. It is that same internet that was used by the spy agencies that was also used by Snowden and Wikileaks. Thanks to the internet, the public reaction was swift and, dare I say, effective. At least, mass surveillance in the way the NSA was doing it, has now been declared illegal in the USA. They will have to be smarter in future and I am sure they will now operate in a way that is more appropriate to a democratic society. If they don't, there will be other Snowdens and Assanges. It is regrettable that the Americans are still on a witch-hunt for those two people so that they can burn them at the stake.

 

So, in conclusion, internet surveillance and internet governance is dead and buried, but some governments don't know it yet. However all those still trying to find the holy internet surveillance grail, will eventually come to the same conclusion and their attempts will quietly disappear — hopefully to be succeeded by a smarter and more democratic use of the internet. Unfortunately, in the meantime trillions of taxpayers' money will have been wasted in building mass surveillance systems. On the positive side, people such as myself, who are in favour of free speech and democratic principles and against mass surveillance, can relax because — unless our governments follow the path laid down by China, Iran and North Korea — the internet will never again allow such restrictions to occur. Any illegal and criminal activity that utilises the internet can be dealt with within the legal systems of our democracies. No extra legislation is needed for this and any attempts to draft it based on using the internet for it will be futile as there are so many ways that can be used to bypass such systems.

From http://www.circleid.com/ 09/29/2015

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E-Government Will End Multiple Charges by MDAs

 

A practitioner in the information technology (IT) space and Managing Partner, Techsol Professional Service Ltd, Mobolaji Moshood, has said the adoption of electronic or e-government will put an end to multiple charges by the state’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). He said e-government initiatives are designed to improve internal efficiencies within the government organisations and improve access to government services for the general public. Moshood, who was reacting to complaints by residents of Lagos State and other states over duplication of services and multiple fee payments from the government agencies, argued that e-government would stop these pains, adding that it was better to address the root cause rather than the reactive method governments usually adopt in bid to satisfy certain business investors or government agents in their quests for personal gains.

 

“The strategies of e-government are enormous. They are designed to create a simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent (SMART) government; promotes the causes of e-citizen and e-democracy; e-government is not translating processes but transforming processes; necessitates capacity building within the government and is targeted at networked and integrated government,” he said, adding that e-government is citizen-centric, provides multi-channel delivery of public services and is aimed at providing convenient access of information to all, and improving service access and delivery. According to Moshood, e-government enables development and participation of all segments of the population, adding that it also allows them to reap the benefits of IT through participation in governance process by allowing their voices to be heard. “E-government supports in development and inclusion of private sector in public service delivery,” he said.

From http://www.biztechafrica.com/ 10/04/2015

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ISU Professor, Student Team to Research E-Government

 

Arafat Kabir, a master’s student majoring in politics and culture, and Michaelene Cox, M.A. ’11, an associate professor in the Department of Politics and Government, teamed up to better understand research trends in e-government. Kabir presented their work at the 2015 Illinois State University Research Symposium held in the spring at the Bone Student Center. Cox began researching e-government three years ago and regularly attends the European Conference on e-Government. Kabir, who is Cox’s graduate assistant, decided to work on a portion of Cox’s e-government research related to public trust and e-democracy. “I encouraged him to do this not just for the research experience, but for the presentation experience, to give him practice with communication skills, and to take responsibility for a product that the public is going to see,” Cox said. Kabir analyzed almost 600 articles published in the past 10 years on e-governments in Europe and the United States. Through looking at research trends, Kabir found more American articles than European articles on public trust and e-democracy. “While it may be speculative to conclude that scholars based in the U.S. are, by far, more interested in public trust and e-democracy than Europeans, the difference in number may simply reflect editorial decisions as what to publish,” said Kabir. “In the end, significant works are being done in this field both in the U.S. and Europe.”

From https://news.illinoisstate.edu/ 10/17/2015

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Internet Governance: What Could Go Wrong?

 

In mid-December, the United Nations General Assembly will meet in New York for two days to discuss the future of Internet governance. A group of countries led by China and Russia is arguing that oversight of the Internet should move from the current “multi-stakeholder” model to a more centralized, government-centric approach managed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Should you be worried? Yes, but not in the way you might think. The risk here lies not so much in the threat of a dramatic UN-takeover of the Internet, but rather in the fact that UN-style bureaucratic paralysis is already forestalling effective action to limit commercial hacking, preserve Internet freedom and identify and prevent potential terrorist threats to critical infrastructure. The main threat is not in what is happening with Internet governance, but rather what is not.

 

How did we get here? In 1998, the Clinton Administration began the process of privatizing the Internet, which until then had been run as a project of the U.S. government. The question was who, if not Uncle Sam, would be in charge? Many governments thought the job ought to go to the ITU, an arm of the United Nations that regulates international telephone services. Others, including the Clinton Administration, worried that the ITU—which was dominated by government-owned telephone companies and public utility regulators—would be overly regulatory, strangling the fledgling World Wide Web in the crib.

 

The answer turned out to be the creation of a unique institution, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN functions as loosely organized set of committees, governed by consensus and overseen by a board of directors. Membership in ICANN is open to anyone, and everyone gets one vote, governments included. Meetings can take days and decisions—which must be based on consensus—are often elusive. Efficient? No. A success? Yes, based on the remarkable growth of the Internet.

 

Despite ICANN’s apparent success—or perhaps because of it—many of the world’s governments have never stopped believing that Internet governance ought to be undertaken by a multi-national body like the ITU, in which they (governments) have the final say. Not surprisingly, the governments that feel most strongly about this are the most autocratic ones. Their cause is strengthened by the fact that the U.S., through a never-invoked contract with ICANN, continues to claim the final say over the assignment of names and numbers to Internet addresses, raising political hackles in many European capitals, especially in the post-Snowden Era.

 

An Internet Governance Battle Simmers for 20 Years

The battle to control the Internet has simmered for nearly 20 years. In 2001, the U.S. agreed to a two-part “World Summit on the Information Society” (WSIS), which was held in 2003 and 2005. At the 2005 meeting, the U.S. agreed to another summit—“WSIS+10”—in 2015. Now, after years of preparatory work and preliminary drafts, the day of reckoning may finally have arrived. The ground rules for the WSIS+10 process were established in July 2014 in UN Resolution 68/302, which outlined “an intergovernmental negotiation process that will include preparatory meetings, resulting in an intergovernmentally agreed-upon outcome document for adoption at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly.” As the date approaches, lobbying over what will be contained in that agreement has been intense. The autocratic states appear to have two main goals. First, they want the UN to endorse their use of censorship to repress online speech. For example, China, joined by the G-77 group of developing countries, has proposed without qualification or apology that the UN “reject the use of [the Internet] for subversive [or] political… purposes.”

 

Second, and more broadly, the pro-government faction seeks to replace the U.S.-sponsored ICANN model with a multinational organization modeled after the UN itself. As the Russian Federation puts it, the UN should declare that governments should “have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance… based on international agreements between the States under the auspices of the United Nations.” China declares: “The roles and responsibilities of national governments in regard to regulation and security of the network should be upheld,” and calls for the “internationalization” of ICANN. It is tempting to see all this as nothing more than diplomatic posturing, and to be sure, the current draft of the proposed agreement stops far short of embracing the autocrats’ proposals. But even if the UN stops short of “internationalizing” Internet governance, the process is upping the pressure on the U.S. to give up what little control it continues to exercise through its contract with ICANN. Indeed, in March 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it was prepared to transition its role in overseeing ICANN’s naming and numbering functions to the multi-stakeholder community, and—conditional on ICANN agreeing to put in place acceptable principles and policies for self-governance—said that it would complete the transition by September 2015.

 

But after months of consultations and committee meetings, ICANN failed to come forward with an acceptable plan, leaving U.S. oversight still in place, but only on the most tenuous terms. It is extremely unlikely that the Chinese and Russians are going to take over Internet governance anytime soon, or even that they will win what would be an essentially symbolic victory at the UN. Rather, the threat arises from paralysis and inaction in the face of the tremendous challenges facing the Internet today. The need for effective action to limit commercial hacking and to identify and prevent potential terrorist threats to critical infrastructure is real. It is also urgent that we achieve some basic international agreements among the major powers on the boundaries between espionage and theft, on the one hand, and armed conflict, on the other. Rather than leading on these issues, the U.S. and its allies appear to be bogged down in a diplomatic rear-guard action focused on arcane institutional issues—fiddling while cyberspace burns. Until that changes, the risks associated with cybersecurity will continue to grow.

From http://www.brinknews.com/ 10/29/2015

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ICANN and EuroDIG Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance

 

CANN and the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further encourage collaboration and cooperation between both organizations in their efforts to further promote and strengthen the multistakeholder model of Internet governance in Europe. The MoU was officially signed on 21 October 2015, during a signing ceremony that took place during ICANN's 54th Public Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. It was signed by ICANN President & CEO, Fadi Chehade, and EuroDIG Managing Director, Sandra Hoferichter. "The agreement aims to further common objectives between ICANN and EuroDIG, including for the planning and organization of the annual EuroDIG event, as well as to strengthen active participation in ICANN's policy-making processes, and to strengthen the support for the multi-stakeholder participation and governance model of the Internet."

From http://www.circleid.com/ 11/01/2015

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UN Works Through Issues of a Changed Internet

 

Most nations in the world agree that all aspects of society now depend on the internet. But this year’s process of reviewing the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is showing how many challenges to the internet have arisen and how far apart nations are on the ways to address them. On 15-16 December at the United Nations, a General Assembly High-Level Meeting will be held to allow “in-depth discussions on important issues in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, including the progress, gaps and challenges, as well as areas for future actions.” But despite the increased importance of the internet worldwide – or perhaps because of it – it seems increasingly unlikely that the event will lead to major new decisions or have the importance of its predecessor two-part WSIS of a decade ago. The WSIS+10 review is now working on the basis of a “zero draft” outcome document [pdf] compiled by the co-facilitators of the process, Latvian Amb. Janis Mazeiks and United Arab Emirates Amb. Lana Nusseibeh. The co-facilitators’ letter accompanying the zero draft is available here [pdf].

 

Following the stakeholder consultations and preparatory committee at the UN in New York from 19-22 October, the co-facilitators said they expect to make changes to the draft and recirculate it. A central issue dividing nations for several years now has been how much of a role to give to governments and the United Nations in global internet governance. A week ago stakeholder consultations and the preparatory committee on the WSIS+10 review were held at the UN headquarters in New York. Governments were generally divided along lines of emerging economies and developing countries that want more government and UN control over internet governance, and developed, largely western economies that favour a continued multi-stakeholder model that keeps governments on par with other stakeholders. Some, such as Russia, called for a new summit to be held, but this was roundly opposed by some such as the United States.

 

The multi-stakeholder issue was heavily discussed during the week, and will continue to be a key issue, but there are differentiated views, making agreement unlikely. “I think that’s a debate that will not get resolved in this review process,” said Nusseibeh. It is one that “we will see go on for many years to come.” A look at an exchange that took place during the preparatory meeting over the need for a third summit reveals differences in perspectives between developed countries seeking to preserve the status quo and emerging economies seeing a need to reopen the process. India said it supports a review of WSIS and would “very strongly” support a high level meeting. “We don’t understand this position of not being able to change anything,” the delegate told the meeting. “We are talking about a dynamic internet. More is yet to come.” He mentioned cybersecurity, ICT for development, and human rights as areas that have arisen since the last WSIS meeting.

 

The US delegate then retorted that a review is ongoing every year, and that the US is “not opposed to taking on new issues,” but that all three issues mentioned by India are being discussed already. The US and other western countries repeatedly said that a compelling case has not been for high level meeting. Russia then weighed in to say it thinks it is “very important to make a new agenda with a summit in 2020.” India came back and said the ongoing review system should continue, however this platform is a different platform. “If the ongoing system was sufficient we shouldn’t be sitting here,” he said, calling for reconsideration of the approach that a review is not needed. “Economies that are growing very rapidly like India see massive growth in the next five years, four times the growth in internet penetration in the country by 2020, which will throw up new challenges,” such as security, cultural, and social issue. “We are an open democracy, voices are expressed and encouraged in our system,” and it is necessary to have ongoing process, “but in the UN context we need to have a review in 2020.”

 

To which the US gave a little ground. The US could see a UN General Assembly review, he said, but a new high level summit “would undermine our work here and the WSIS.” At the WSIS, he said, “they said we should come together in 10 years and see if it is working well. We have and it is.” Still, the US could see sitting down and discussing, he said. Earlier, South Africa made the comment that the WSIS outcomes have demonstrated “the need for new processes to fill gaps in ways for governments to address their responsibilities.” To which the US, which appeared to play a de facto arbiter role in the discussion, noted that the ICANN Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and NetMundial in Brazil had been added to the process. And, the US, said, there have been no specifics about the “responsibilities” of governments that are not being addressed. The US supported a Brazil proposal to work with governments on identifying needs. Reflecting the state of the internet itself in 2015, there are many seeming contradictions from all sides. In general, governments seem driven by a desire to control and track behaviour online, some likely in undemocratic ways. And western countries, led by the US, known to rely on surveillance to monitor users, push for openness and transparency. It it not clear where public concerns about surveillance or other control enter into the government-led UN process.

 

Next Steps to December Assembly

Summing up the weeklong meetings, Nusseibeh said overall, they had seen “reaffirmation of WSIS principles.” Members stressed that ICT for development should be at the heart of the outcome document. Financing, bridging the digital divide, especially with women, education, culture, diversity all seem likely to be emphasised in the document. Aligning the WSIS and 2030 SDGs, she said, “I think this can be done.” Nusseibeh also said there appeared to be an emerging compromise on having nongovermental stakeholders at the table, she said, and it appears IGF will be renewed, probably for 10 years. Developing country participation is needed. The issues of enhanced cooperation and internet neutrality appear to need more discussion. On human rights, there was not consensus on the location of it in the document, but there is consensus on the importance of it. This is also true for cybersecurity, where the gap is on whether it should be included as a section or mentioned elsewhere. On WSIS action lines, it is to be decided whether to mention or build on them. And there was openness to consider the rationale for a high level event, and how to link to the SDGs.

 

Member states “may be closer to compromise than it may have seemed at the outset of these three days,” she said. Mazeiks said in conclusion that were was a “clear desire” among member states to negotiate on on the zero draft text. He said they are now “extremely tight on time,” and urged comments by 30 October. By 10 November the co-facilitators will issue the next text. Consultations are expected during the week of 16 November, after the 10-13 November Internet Governance Forum (IGF) where both co-facilitators will be present. “Informal informal” consultations will result in a document at the end of the week of 16 November, he said, ahead of the 15-16 high-level General Assembly.

 

Panel: Politics of Internet Governance

On 30 October, a panel of the UN co-facilitators, academics and former US WSIS negotiators (now industry lobbyists) discussed the political side of global internet governance. They addressed internet governance, security, freedom and the ongoing effort to transition oversight of the internet away from the United States. The panel at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs was called “The High Politics of Internet Governance: Global Policy Conflicts a Decade after the World Summit on the Information Society.” The Columbia event included the two co-facilitators of the WSIS+10 process. Panellists were: Moderator: Merit Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University. Panel: Laura DeNardis, Professor, American University, and Senior Research Scholar, Columbia SIPA; Gordon Goldstein, Managing Director and Head of External Affairs, Silver Lake Group; Amb. David Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein; Veni Markovski, Vice President, ICANN; Amb. Janis Mazeiks, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Latvia to the UN; and Amb. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN. The event was webcast here: http://livestream.com/sipa/events/4458501

 

On the panel, WSIS review co-facilitator Nusseibeh said three themes emerged from the stakeholder consultations: ICT for development (ICT4D), human rights and building confidence and security, and internet governance. “We are in the middle of a process,” co-facilitator Mazeiks said. There is a consultation track with stakeholders and a negotiation track with governments. On ICT4D, according to Nusseibeh, the broader goal is to harness internet for social good. She cited statistics showing the dramatic growth in mobile phones and other ICTs, to the extent that some take the view that “it ain’t broke,” so we don’t need to fix it, and more government interference is not needed. But despite this progress, she said, other countries say the digital divide remains too large. More than half the world remains offline. Only 37 percent of women worldwide are online, and the gender issue has come up in this round of discussions under WSIS, she said. Another concern is that an estimated 80 percent of content online is available in only one of ten languages.

 

And most importantly, now 10 years since WSIS, it has become clear that mere access to ICTs is not a sufficient measure for developing countries. The new emphasis is the quality of that access, how relevant and how accessible content is for users in developing countries, how does it impact their daily lives. She said there is strong potential for synergies between the WSIS process and the recently adopted 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stakeholders agreed that WSIS should capture the cross-cutting role ICTs can play in the SDGs, and calls for the WSIS process to feed into the larger SDG review process that will look back in 15 years, as it would ensure a larger relationship between internet, an important driver and tool for development, and the global development agenda. Also noted was that cybersecurity is bigger than in the past, and the human rights aspect has increased. Cybersecurity is related to ensuring national security considerations, and there is now concern about balancing privacy/freedom of expression and security/anti-terrorism.

 

On internet governance, the internet has evolved into a global infrastructure, and for many this has to be reflected in its governance structure. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was created at the original WSIS as a non-negotiating body, a platform for discussion of issues of the day. The next IGF meeting is taking place from 10-13 November in Brazil. At the recent preparatory committee meetings, many governments voiced support for extending the IGF’s mandate, perhaps for 5, 10 or 15 more years (15 would put it on the same timeline with the SDGs). It has been noted that the IGF does not represent a substitute for an actual negotiating venue, however. And on a key issue of the review, the WSIS+10 process relies on multi-stakeholder involvement, but there are differing views on the extent of multi-stakeholder engagement. Some, especially the G77+China countries, prefer that governments lead, while others, notably the large developed economies, insist on retaining the multi-stakeholder model making all equal.

 

Rise of State Control

On the panel, Prof. DeNardis talked about what has changed in 10 years. Now, every aspect of society depends on the internet, she said, and the function of the internet has changed. The internet is no longer a communications network. It is now a control network. – Prof. Laura DeNardis. “The internet is no longer a communications network,” she said. “It is now a control network,” with many more things connected than just communications devices. A big question now is how to account for human rights and also have security, she said, as users have data collected on them, and are subject to censorship. “Internet governance has become a proxy for state power,” said DeNardis. Goldstein, a former US negotiator, discussed the terms “multi-stakeholder” and “multilateral.” The internet was unregulated, but increasingly states favour a multilateral system, which means an elevated role for government. The China+G77 submission explicitly calls for a multilateral model, he said.

 

This issue came to a head at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), held in Dubai in December 2012. There, said Goldstein, the meeting broke down when the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which organised the original WSIS, was elevated to be the body in control of internet governance. Some 89 countries signed the treaty at the WCIT, while others, including the United States, walked out. The tension between those two blocs and types of mentality established three years ago continues today, in the background of the WSIS+10. It is “quite unlikely” that the upcoming WSIS+10 conference will resolve those issues, said Goldstein. David Gross was the lead US delegate for the WSIS, long since back in the private sector. His message on the panel was one of caution. “We need to be careful not to go on in the way we have,” he said. Rather, we need to ask a core question: what ought to be the role of the UN?

 

For him, the role should be taking technology and using it for the betterment of humanity. But for issues of where discussions should take place it is not the right place. Internet governance encompasses a whole host of different issues, and “the world does not lack for places to discuss these.” “I do not believe [the UN headquarters in New York] is the right place to have serious … discussions about internet governance,” said Gross. This is consistent with his position at the WSIS in 2005, when he was influential in making the IGF a non-negotiating “talk shop” rather than a place for serious discussions. Gross also said we need to be careful not to “hide the ball” – making it hard for all to participate – by holding too many forums that small countries cannot attend or participate in. Jeni Markovski of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who formerly was a negotiator for Bulgaria, said he recalled that the word “governance” did not translate well into some languages, as it literally meant “government”.

 

He also recalled earlier discussions that sought to separate governance OF the internet (such as the technology of moving packets around) from governance ON the internet. He said there are “so many places” addressing these issues, that the UN is “yet another place.” ICANN, despite being a California non-profit corporation that plays a technical role, is sometimes seen as a competitor to the UN on internet management. It is considered to be multi-stakeholder with a government advisory committee and range of business committees. Markovski noted that “the reality is the majority of people are not online.” He also promoted ICANN as a “very open” organisation. He further downplayed the issue of moving away from US control over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is responsible for making changes to the underlying internet. All the US does is check that ICANN is doing what it is supposed to be doing, he said, so the change would just mean a single government is no longer doing that.

 

Latvian Amb. Mazeiks, the WSIS+10 co-facilitator, promoted the UN, saying there is “not one UN,” but rather many specialisations, and there is an understanding of shared interest. There are differences on how much of a role governments should play in internet governance, he said. But the UN in New York is “where small countries send their best diplomats.” The internet involves much more difficult security issues now. “The discussion should happen at the UN,” he said. DeNardis said now there is governance OF, ON and BY governments, via surveillance. This is leading to lack of trust in the internet. “Don’t take the internet for granted, or the multi-lateral governance of the internet for granted,” she said. The goal should be keeping it open. Gross suggested that it is necessary to find ways for people to gather in virtual ways rather than getting together in person.

 

“This is not diplomatic or academic,” he said. “The world really depends on how this comes out.” He noted reports that show that freedom on the internet continues to go downward. Mazeiks said separately that there was support during the recent WSIS+10 meetings for moving cybersecurity and human rights issues to other places within the zero draft text. DeNardis noted that there are a lot of barriers to participation, and that the multi-stakeholder model is somewhat of an answer to these.

 

Stakeholder Voices

On 19 October, a range of stakeholders, seemingly most from larger economies, took the floor at the UN to voice support or concern for various issues in the WSIS+10 process. Many mentioned areas they feel are missing or insufficiently addressed in the draft, such as: culture and cultural diversity, the needs of people with disabilities, the high cost and low availability of broadband internet, the need for peaceful cyberspace, recognition of IT professionals, people with chronic diseases, regional/community-based development, including women in internet policymaking, and multilingualism. One participant noted that the words “information society” are not mentioned once in the 2030 SDGs.

From http://www.ip-watch.org/ 11/04/2015

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‘Turn Digital Divides into Digital Opportunities,’ Ban Tells Annual UN Forum on Internet Governance

 

To cover the “breadth and depth” of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, the potential of the data revolution must be explored through the use of new and non-traditional sources of data, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed at the 10th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which opened today in João Pessoa, Brazil. “Less than two months ago, world leaders adopted the visionary 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our challenge now is to implement this blueprint for a better future. Information and communications technologies and the Internet can empower this global undertaking,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks at the Forum, delivered by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs Lenni Montiel.

 

Mr. Ban observed that there are several challenges in implementing the Sustainable Development Agenda, including large digital divides. “People living in poverty, women and girls, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, indigenous peoples and marginalized, vulnerable groups lack adequate access to and training in using ICTs and the Internet,” said the Secretary-General, adding that cyberattacks, cybercrime and issues related to privacy and surveillance are also issues that need to be addressed. Mr. Ban urged all stakeholders to “intensify efforts to promote accessibility, affordability, education and multilingualism by investing in critical infrastructure and capacity building and by building an open, reliable, safe, secure, stable and inclusive Internet through multilateral and multi-stakeholder global partnerships.” He also called for collective reaffirmation of the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, both online and offline.

 

Each year, the United Nations convenes the IGF meeting, through the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to bring together various stakeholders to discuss current and emerging Internet governance issues, as well as related opportunities and challenges. The IGF is an open, inclusive and transparent forum for dialogue on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance. It is intended to foster a common understanding of how to maximize Internet opportunities and address the challenges that arise. According to a news release issued by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the three-day meetings is expecting some 5,000 attendees, including high-level government officials, civil society leaders and Internet policy experts, both in-person and online. The news release also added that “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development” is the overarching theme of this year’s Forum, focussing on the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the Internet in developmental activities.

 

“Information and Communications Technologies, as a powerful enabler of sustainable development, can make great contributions to the implementation of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda,” noted Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. Other sub-themes that will be addressed in the Forum are Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy, Inclusiveness and Diversity, Openness; Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Cooperation, Internet and Human Rights, Critical Internet Resources and Emerging Issues. “The IGF Platform has contributed towards efforts at national, regional and international levels to build a cyberspace that promotes peace and security, enables development and ensure human rights,” said Mr. Montiel.

 

Further, the Department observed that Agenda 2030 aims to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.” According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), there are more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, compared to only 738 million in 2000. However, ITU estimates that four billion people in the developing world still remain unconnected despite making progresses in bridging the digital divide.

From http://www.un.org/ 11/11/2015

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Anti-Corruption Case Sharing Accelerates Under APEC Network

 

Anti-corruption authorities and law enforcement agencies from the 21 APEC member economies have stepped up case information exchanges and begun laying a path toward greater extradition and asset recovery cooperation under a landmark APEC network. Focal points of the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies, or ACT-NET, met in the Philippine port city of Cebu this week—convening for the first time since the network was established in Beijing last August, led by China, Indonesia and the United States, and endorsed by President Xi Jinping and fellow APEC Leaders last November. Together, ACT-NET focal points shared information on their criminal investigation methods, specific cases and operations currently underway, and examples of mutual legal assistance. They also detailed prosecution and asset recovery cases and best practices, as well as explored areas of possible future cooperation.

 

An ACT-NET Course of Action on Fighting Corruption, Ensuring Transparency and Promoting Cooperation was proposed by the Philippines which chaired the ACT-NET meeting, one of a cluster of meetings here this week to strengthen the technical bandwidth of APEC members to crackdown on corruption and illicit trade. “It is not possible to win the war against corruption without deeper collaboration,” underscored Melchor Arthur H. Carandang, the Philippines’ Overall Deputy Ombudsman and current ACT-NET Chair, in remarks opening the proceedings. “We need to be united and steadfast in the fight against corruption as responsible members of the international community.” “ACT-NET is facilitating increased knowledge sharing and exchanges between governments, encouraging cooperation on areas of mutual understanding, and fostering lasting partnerships,” explained Carandang. “We are now pushing for a multi-sectoral approach that will further engage the private sector, civil society and our respective governments in anti-corruption initiatives.”

 

Focal points discussed fugitive repatriation and informal international cooperation, including multilateral task forces, combating international corruption cases and cross-border law enforcement operations. Building regional capacity for asset recovery and anti-money laundering was an additional focus, detailing cases and special operations, as well as information seeking and step-by-step guides on cross-border cooperation in bribery cases. Corruption costs economies globally more than USD2.6 trillion annually, or five per cent of total gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. It is also estimated to raise the cost of doing business by more than ten per cent.

 

“A balanced, vibrant and stable socio-economic environment is a prerequisite for domestic and international investments to thrive, the foundation of which is anchored on a graft-free economy and a corruption-intolerant society,” concluded Carandang. “We are confident that the spirit of good governance and integrity will triumph over the forces that sow social inequities and economic disparities.” The ACT-NET secretariat tasked with centrally administering case information shared under the network will remain in Beijing until further intersessional review by focal points. The next ACT-NET meeting will take place in and be led by Peru in 2016 during its year as APEC Chair.

From http://www.apec.org/ 08/26/2015

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CHINA: Tech, Media, Telecom IPOs to Stall

 

China's technology, media and telecommunication IPOs reached a new high in the first half of 2015, but the momentum is expected to slow in the next six months due to capital market fluctuations, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday. There were 42 Chinese technology, media and telecommunication IPOs in the first half, an increase of 75 percent year-on-year, and their financing totaled 22.1 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), it said. "As we can see, a more streamlined and transparent listing procedure for IPOs has made the domestic exchanges more attractive. However, the positive momentum is expected to slow down in the second half of 2015 given the temporary freeze to IPOs by the regulatory body to cope with the recent significant capital market fluctuations," said Amanda Zhang, northern China technology industry leader with PwC China. The State Council ordered the suspension of new share offerings on July 4 after a three-week stock market collapse. Vincent Cheuk, market leader of Beijing entrepreneur group and northern China head of the private equity group at PwC China, said: "The IPO slowdown creates opportunities for private equity companies, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds because the financing demand of enterprises has always been strong."

 

Regarding Chinese technology, media and telecommunication IPOs in the first half, the report said 30 were made on Shenzhen's ChiNext board and small and medium-sized enterprise board, nine were made on Shanghai's main board, and only three were undertaken overseas. The report said the average price-earnings ratio of Chinese A-share technology, media and telecommunication companies had been as high as 74 by the end of August 31, while that by the end of June 30 it had been 115. "In the long run, we still anticipate significant growth in technology, media and telecommunication listings on domestic exchanges as a result of the introduction of the new registration-based system, as well as the continuation of multi-level capital market reform," said Zhang. She added that some Chinese technology, media and telecommunication companies will still choose overseas markets for listing because of their corporate structure and capabilities, as well as more mature investors in those markets.

 

Strategic emerging industries, such as technology, media and telecommunication, have been highlighted as important forces guiding socioeconomic development since the State Council issued a statement on accelerating the cultivation and development of strategic emerging industries on Oct 10, 2010. Today, the emergence and development of a group of high-growth, tech-innovation companies is ushering in strong demand for capital market financing, a trend with relevance to the reforms in the domestic stock market. "Support from the financial system and capital markets is crucial for the development of startups. The future reform of the capital market is significant because it will provide a richer financing channel for innovative companies and in addition, the market's value discovery function will also ensure there is a strong impetus for innovation-driven industries," Cheuk said.      

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

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Government Transparency Aided by the Internet, Report Says

 

The Internet has contributed significantly to making the work of governmental departments more transparent over the past five years, a report released today by the China Internet Network Information Center said. The government turned to the Web to disclose information in a big way from 2011 to 2014, with many departments creating official accounts on social media, including the popular WeChat messaging app and Weibo micro blogs, the report said.

The report, which reviewed Internet developments and the industry's influence over the past five years, said the number of government WeChat accounts now exceeds 100,000 and the number of government micro-bloggers has reached about 280,000. Additionally, 96 percent of governmental departments have provided residents with online services, improving work efficiency and offering more public convenience, the report said. Departments also started publicizing policies, laws and rules on the Internet and soliciting public opinion. By the end of 2014, they had reported receiving more than 120,000 responses, it said.       

From http://www.news.cn/ 10/29/2015

 

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JAPAN: Defense Ministry to Toughen IT Checks

 

The Defense Ministry has decided to introduce a new inspection regime on information systems and computer software that it procures to confirm that the products are safe from cyber-attacks or cyber-espionage. The ministry will conduct hearings on not only companies that directly deliver the products but also on the details of subcontractors and companies from which the suppliers buy parts. The details to be checked include equity relations, countries of manufacture and nationalities of workers taking part in the jobs. With the theft of highly confidential information and other crimes perpetrated by cyber-attacks on the increase, the ministry judged that controlling supply chain risks (see below) is necessary to prevent the insertion of programs used for malicious purposes or to alter the original program in any way. The Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, which was established Thursday, will explain the new inspection regime to major companies that are likely to bid on ministry contracts by the end of this month at the earliest, and will make guidelines for the inspections by the end of this fiscal year.

 

The ministry procures about ¥100 billion worth of information technology products annually. The products are used in command network systems that relay orders to units of the Self-Defense Forces, systems to control radar information, and Defense Ministry personnel management systems. The ministry in principle procured such products through open bidding.

There have been only a limited number of cases in which the ministry arranged special contracts with supplier companies that contained clauses for protecting secrets and asked the companies to take especially strict actions against divulging information. In recent years, however, attention has been paid to the risks of cyber-espionage and subversive actions targeting IT systems. The United States and some other countries have toughened controls on procurement of IT system products. It is difficult to find malicious software in IT system products at the time of delivery. In addition, supply networks of software products and electronic chips installed in the products have become increasingly complicated. It is tough for the ministry to know which countries participate in a given company’s supply networks. Therefore, the ministry decided on a policy that requires the whole of a product’s supply network to be checked as a condition for companies to participate in tenders of defense equipment, after which procurement contracts are made.

 

The checks will cover the companies’ subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and companies that supply parts to the contractors. Because such companies’ costs may surge depending on the range of inspections and points to be checked, the ministry plans to explain the inspection regime to six major telecommunication companies and electronics manufacturers this month. By the end of the fiscal year, the ministry will conduct a test procurement of IT products under the new regime. “Steps against cyber-espionage are urgent tasks. Though checks on IT products are essential from a perspective of national security, Japan’s efforts don’t seem to have progressed enough,” said Prof. Motohiro Tsuchiya of Keio University, an expert in security affairs. “Not only the Defense Ministry but also the whole of the government should reexamine procurement methods.” This phrase refers to risks that can occur in supply chains from the stage of production of material goods and services to the stage that the products reach consumers. Especially in cases of IT products, there is a risk that companies with insufficient business expertise may enter the supply chain.

From http://the-japan-news.com 10/03/2015

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Govt Unveils Members of Dynamic Society Panel

 

The government announced Friday the list of members of a new panel to discuss ways to create a society enabling dynamic engagement by all citizens, including television personality Momoko Kikuchi. Kikuchi is among 15 private-sector members of the panel that also include former Internal Affairs Minister Hiroya Masuda. The list was announced at a news conference by Katsunobu Kato, minister in charge of the dynamic society project, a new policy pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Referring to Kikuchi, Kato said, “In addition to her career as a successful actress and a mother, she is currently studying at university for her new career.” He expressed hopes that Kikuchi will make use of her experience during discussions at the panel. The government plans to hold the first meeting of the panel on Thursday. The Liberal Democratic Party set up at a General Council meeting Friday a headquarters to realize a “society with all 100 million-plus people” envisioned by Abe and named Ichiro Aisawa to head the task force. Aisawa currently serves as chairman of the Committee on Fundamental National Policies in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet. Meanwhile, the ruling party replaced Hajime Funada with former Justice Minister Eisuke Mori as chief of the party’s headquarters for the promotion of constitutional amendments.

From http://the-japan-news.com 10/23/2015

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South Korea Cooperates on Online Gov't Services with Indonesia, Uganda

 

Korea is cooperating with Indonesia and Uganda to develop online government services in those countries. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs and Indonesia's Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform formed their second e-government and administrative reform joint committee and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish and manage the Korea-Indonesia e-Government Cooperation Center in Jakarta on Aug. 24. Under the agreement, the two nations plan to open the online government services center in February and jointly manage it over the next three years, until December 2018. The main purpose of the center is to establish master plans to develop online government services in Indonesia and to develop other joint projects, to exchange technology and human resources to build online government services capacity, and to consult with Indonesian government agencies on related laws and the overall system. The two nations also intend to hold a vice minister-level meeting of the e-government cooperation committee once every year and to discuss how to manage the center. 

"The two nations will not only cooperate on online government services but also share their major administrative experiences, including the development of the Government Innovation Index (GII)," said Vice Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs Chung Chae-gun. Separately, Korea's Public Procurement Service has been expanding its cooperation on online government services with major procurement agencies in Uganda, sharing its knowledge and experience. Since Aug. 25, the Public Procurement Service has been holding educational sessions on e-government for 15 director generals and directors from Uganda at the Public Procurement Training Institute in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province (North Gyeongsang Province). The two-week course will focus on the technological foundation of Narajangteo, the state-run online procurement system. They will also discuss how the system was established and managed, and how to link the system with procurement information and make related tasks more efficient. 

 

Uganda intends to introduce an online procurement system in 2016 and 2017 and to use Narajangteo as a benchmark in order to establish its own strategy on how to build such a system. Every procurement procedure is processed online through the Narajangteo website, and procurement notices of all public institutions are published on the site. Companies can register once and then bid for government procurement proposals. The system was designed to reduce the time and expense at both public institutions and companies, and to make the procurement process more transparent. "Tunisia, Cameroon and Rwanda recently adopted Narajangteo and interest in the system is spreading all around Africa," said an official from the Public Procurement Office. "We intend to further reinforce cooperation on online procurement with African nations."

From http://www.korea.net/ 08/28/2015

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SINGAPORE: Technology Development Centre Established

 

THE Invention Development Fund (IDF) has announced the establishment of a new Technology Development Centre (TDC) in Singapore, which will be focused on translating prototype inventions into new products, business models, and spinoff or venture companies. IDF is part of the US-based Intellectual Ventures family of investment funds, and the latter describes itself as an “invention capital company,” with more than 40,000 intellectual property assets in various monetisation programmes. There are currently three other TDCs around the world – in Germany, Turkey and Australia – with a memorandum of understanding to set up a fifth in Shenzhen, China. Singapore is a key city in the innovation space, according to Intellectual Ventures founder and chief technology officer Edward Jung. “For the last 150 years, the United States has dominated the innovation and invention landscape – but in the next 50 years, this will no longer be the case … it will be all over the world,” Jung told a media briefing in the Lion City.

 

Singapore is one of the countries seeing that early, and wants to get involved and figure out how to develop an innovation and invention culture,” he added. The timing is right for the IDF to open a TDC here, argued Jung, citing factors such as the country being a gateway to China, and other opportunities that Singapore provides. In an official statement, IDF said it is making a “multimillion-dollar” investment in the centre here, but did not provide details. The new TDC will be staffed by a team of engineers, specialists with multidisciplinary backgrounds, and managers with business and technical expertise. They will identify promising inventions and work with local partners to develop new prototypes and carry out additional scientific and technical testing, it added.

 

Focus for Singapore

The TDC in Singapore has the capabilities to prototype ideas, collect data and demonstrate technologies, according to its general manager Scott Needham. “The intellectual properties generated can inform the next great companies, products and services,” he said. “It addresses the key problem that new transformational products suffer, and we believe that by using this network of innovators, we can reduce time-to-market and manage risks,” he added. Intellectual Ventures has patents in over 50 different technology areas, according to Needham, with a focus on areas that can provide “global benefits” such as the eradication of malaria as well as the transport of vaccines to remote regions. “The centre … will start off looking at green chemistry, building and construction, as well as food and agriculture,” he said. “The reason for that is because we have a number of partners already that are waiting on technologies that we have invented but have yet to translate into an operational form. “We will expand from there,” he added. Jung claimed that there is already global demand for these technologies which Intellectual Ventures has the rights to, but said there was a need for “something in the middle” to commercialise and sell them. He noted that many companies are started not necessarily knowing who their customers are yet. “Here, it is less risky when you know who your customer is already,” he added.

 

Looking to partner startups

The TDC in Singapore is about people, products and partnerships, declared Needham, saying that as part of a deal it has with the Singapore Economic Development Board, it will be starting companies in the island-republic. “The technologies we develop here will result in startup companies, and we will be employing more Singaporeans in these companies. “We will require talent, we will employ people not just with technical skills but commercialisation skills for and within the centre. “Every product made in the centre will be stamped ‘Made in Singapore,’ adding to government policies and Singapore’s standing as a world leader in innovation,” he added. Needham noted that Singapore is home to the regional headquarters of a number of the world’s largest companies, and said the TDC will build on that. The next six to 12 months will also see the Singapore TDC acting as the hub for the other TDCs around the world. “It will act as our hub, a place for coordination – we will be allocating projects and building partnerships from within Singapore,” Needham said. Partnerships will also be formed with the Singapore startup community, various institutes, and ventures that fit into its network, according to Needham.

From https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/ 11/18/2015

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THAILAND: Net Gateway for Digital Hub

 

CAT TELECOM has announced that it will proceed with the plan to build a national Internet gateway, which it claims would help make Thailand a digital hub in Asean. The aim of the project is not to control the flow of information into the country over the Internet as some fear, said CAT acting chief executive officer Colonel Sanpachai Huvanandana. He said a working committee for the project would be set up. Whether that committee is under the Information and Communications Technology Ministry or under the Digital Economy Committee is up to the ICT minister. The national Internet gateway is one of two priorities for making Thailand a digital hub for the region by expanding capacity and reducing costs. The other is to have large content providers such as Facebook, Google and YouTube establish servers in Thailand.  Sanpachai said getting those big players to establish servers here would entail adjustments of regulations and laws, including those on immigration. Other incentives such as tax exemptions and Board of Investment privileges would also be needed.

 

Meanwhile, to expand capacity and reduce costs, all international Internet gateway (IIG) providers would have to collaborate in forecasting future demand and crafting Internet network investment plans. Such collaboration would not only reduce investment duplication, it would also reduce the cost of IIG traffic, he said. The combined current capacity of TOT's and CAT Telecom's IIG networks will be able to support demand for only the next five years. Thailand needs to plan now to ensure it has sufficient network capacity to support future demand. "We have talked with some IIG service providers. We agree that the whole existing IIG network is insufficient for the future. We propose to co-invest and cooperate as a consortium, in order to increase the capability of IIG network investment and management as well as to reduce the cost of investment. It eventually will reduce consumers' Internet costs," Sanpachai said.

 

He said Thailand now had around 2 terabytes of outbound international Internet traffic, which is growing by 80 per cent annually. Within five years, it is forecast that Thailand will have 50TB of outbound international Internet traffic. Given their current maximum capacity, CAT and TOT can handle that amount of traffic for only the next five years. "The national Internet gateway is a part of the country's digital-hub strategy. It is not aimed at consolidating all international Internet traffic through a single gateway to control Internet content, as people understand," Sanpachai said. The strategy to make the country a digital hub is divided into three phases. The first phase is to support digital start-ups and attract digital-content providers to invest in Thailand. The second phase is to increase IIG capability, especially via submarine cable, possible through investing in a new one or expanding the existing network. The third phase is to establish a digital innovation park in order to build a digital business and service ecosystem in Thailand.

 

Joint efforts

ICT Minister Uttama Savayana said TOT and CAT would need to discuss implementing some of the projects together, including those involving international undersea cables and nationwide underground cables. Suphachai Chearavanont, president of the Telecommunications Association of Thailand, said that to transform the country into a regional digital hub it would be necessary to create land-based cable links connecting Thailand with Myanmar, Laos, China and India. In the Southern region, the country should establish a similar link with Indonesia. Internet Thailand (INET) managing director Morragot Kulatumyotin said having a national Internet gateway along with having large content providers establish their servers in Thailand would benefit the country a lot. As an Internet service provider, she said, INET now buys IIG traffic from four service providers: CAT Telecom, TOT, JasTel and True. CAT and TOT each have a 16 per cent share in INET. "It would be good to have better prices for IIG services, which would reduce the cost of the Internet for end-users as well. But the concern is to maintain quality," Morragot said.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/21/2015

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VIETNAM: Gov't Officially Launches Facebook Pages

 

Vietnamese government has officially launched its Facebook pages as part of an e-government plan which aims at introducing all government's public services on the internet by the end of 2016. The pages, Thong tin Chinh phu (Government Information) and Dien dan Canh tranh Quoc gia (National Competitiveness Forum) will publish information on government activities and instructions. With the first status posted on Oct. 3, the page "Thong tin Chinh phu," which is on trial run, received nearly 24,500 likes as of Wednesday night. Vietnamese Minister of Health was the first cabinet member of Vietnam joining Facebook in March.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 10/21/2015

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Ministry's IT Skill Standards Expected to Improve

 

The information and technology (IT) skill standards introduced by the Ministry of Information and Communications will help training centres, employers and employees evaluate the competency of IT staff, experts have said.In May, the ministry issued a decree outlining skill standards for professional staff in the IT sector, which took effect in June. According to the ministry, the country needs about 1 million IT staff by 2020.The standards relate to the database, network system, system management, information security, software design and development.According to the ministry, the standards are knowledge and skills that IT staff must master in order to perform tasks.This is expected to narrow the disparity in quality among training centres and schools, which has caused difficulties for employers during the recruitment process.The ministry also expects the move to allow certifications granted by domestic and international training centres to be mutually recognised.Participants at a workshop aimed at speeding along the application process agreed that the standards would help improve IT staff performance, and would in turn allow staff to catch up with their counterparts around the world, Viet Nam Economics Times reported on Tuesday.

 

Dr. Nguyen Phuong Thai from the University of Technology within Ha Noi National University said the university was applying standards through a Japanese IT association.He said the university also co-operated with IT companies to help students take tests to earn international IT certificates, which tend to be useful during job applications.A representative from Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology said at the workshop that current training programmes at universities and colleges across the country helped develop IT skills to a degree.However, lessons to develop the skills were primarily based on specific projects or job requirements, instead of being systematic.Last month, at Tech Insider Expo 2015 – the biggest IT event of the year in Viet Nam - employers said it was hard to find enough qualified candidates. They said the biggest weakness of Vietnamese IT staff was English-language competency.

 

Pham ThiXuanNguyet, head of CSC Group's Human Resource Department, said many graduates failed to meet employers' requirements because they lacked experience, English language skills and knowledge about their expertise.Ho Dinh Minh Tam, Nguyet's counterpart in Lazada Vietnam, said there is a gap between what students learned at schools and what employers required.She said students in many universities still practised with outdated software programmes while the IT world underwent drastic changes.Truong GiaBinh, president of the Viet Nam Software and IT Service Association, said the IT human resource shortage is not a new problem in Viet Nam, but it has worsened."The problem lies not only in the number, but also the quality of IT human resource," he said.There are about 32,000 IT graduates in Viet Nam each year, but only 9,000 graduates are able to meet employers' requirements, and about 3,000 graduates have acceptable English competency.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 10/30/2015

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Vietnamese PM's Viewpoint on Internet

 

The Internet is a great invention of mankind. Thanks to its inception, the world has made a gigantic stride, gaining exceptional achievements in almost all fields, sailing the world through agriculture civilization to a new era of globalization and knowledge economy development. It was November 19, 1997 when Vietnam officially accessed the global Internet. Over the past nearly two decades, Vietnam has consistently pursued the policy of creating all favorable conditions for the development of the Internet. By the end of 2014, Vietnam had nearly 45 million Internet users, accounting for over 49% of the population, which was higher than the average global usage rate (40,4%) and the Pacific-Asia region (32.4%) Our future goal is to raise the Internet usage rate to over 80-90% of the population, equal to the current rate of developed countries. The Internet will be expanded to all citizens. All organizations and individuals have the right to Internet usage. The Government will provide special support for pupils, students, and dwellers in rural, mountainous, border and island areas to access to the Internet through deployment of a series of programs and projects.

 

Vietnam opens its door and creates favorable conditions for both domestic and foreign information technology and Internet companies to do business in the country. Such brand names like VietNamNet, Vnexpress, Dantri, Zingme, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Tweeter, Viber, etc have become popular among Internet users in Vietnam. As a huge knowledge treasure and globally connected environment, the Internet has increased opportunities for all citizens to education, business operation and people-to-people exchanges across the globe. However, Internet-related risks and adverse impacts remain visible and diverse. The violations of intellectual property rights as well as the stealing of technologies, intellectual assets, and copyrights on the Internet keep on rising. The risk of cyber-espionage has become complicated and dangerous. Attacks aimed at seizing website administration are excessively serious. We are also aware of risks of using the Internet environment to disseminate fabricated, unverified, unreliable, malicious and tactless information in order to slander and smear individuals, organizations, trade names; to sow ideologies and organize terrorist and sabotage activities.

 

It is regretful that the information is sometimes read, shared and dispersed, causing negative social effects and consequences. I believe that the Internet is not only a technological environment, a business environment or a connectivity environment but also an important environment for culture and education, which affects personality development and contributes to shaping the future culture of humankind. This is also an important condition to enhance openness and transparency, contribute to ensuring the rights to democracy-freedom, human rights, and civil rights in a progressive, law-governed State in which all power belongs to people. Thus, building a cultural and humane Internet environment is what we are working on together. I called on all people to act as the citizens with high sense of responsibility when using social network in particular and the Internet in general. Information, images and data should be uploaded responsibly and shared with high sense of responsibility. “Internet citizens” should join hands in fighting for the reason, fairness and elevated values so as to establish, maintain and develop a civilized Internet environment in Vietnam. The Government of Vietnam welcomes the Global Cyber-security Day themed For A Clean and Pure Internet and highly appreciates the building of the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security initiated by professors of the Boston Global Forum.

 

Pending the global-level technical solutions and law on Internet security, the aforesaid Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security is necessary. Every Vietnamese citizen should work together with people around the world to build a Clean and Pure Internet environment. Harmful, unverified and unreliable information should not be uploaded and dispersed; vulgar words should not be used in articles, pictures, comments or conversations on the Internet to dehumanize people. Information technology experts need to uphold their responsibility, not to lend a hand to technology crime, not to disperse virus, not to take part in cyber-attacks and cyber-terrorism, etc. We should not only uphold our responsibility to perform well domestically but also mobilize foreign friends through Internet connections to join this event. The Government of Vietnam affirms that it protects citizens, organizations, businesses, trade names of Vietnam and other countries that conduct investment activities on the Internet in Vietnam. We will continue building and improving the legal system and rules for activities on the Internet; while standing ready to participate in shaping the international law system on Internet security, to use resources to join the international efforts in computer emergency response if necessary. Based on its experience, Vietnam will make active contributions to the improvement and enforcement of the Ethics Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security.

The Internet is growing as a driving force for development but it still needs and must be a Clean and Pure environment.

From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/20/2015

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MYANMAR: To Launch Information Centers for Election Results

 

Two information centers for the results of Myanmar's upcoming Nov. 8 general election will be launched in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw respectively for two weeks starting from the election day, an official of the Union Election Commission (UEC) told a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday.The two information centers to be opened at Yangon's Myanmar Peace Center and Nay Pyi Taw's Office of the UEC will release the election results obtained from polling stations nationwide daily until it is officially announced by the UEC, based on the results submitted by the sub-commissions region or state-wise, Director General of the UEC U Tin Tun said.The nationwide eligible voters' list will be publicized on Nov.2 , he added.The press conference also dealt with the status of advance voting of overseas Myanmar citizens.The election campaigning by political parties and candidates have been in full swing since it started on Sept. 8 and is set to end on Nov. 6, two days before the election day.A total of 6,065 candidates involving 91 political parties and 310 independent runners will compete for seats in parliament in the upcoming general election. The commission designated 1,163 constituencies for the vote at three levels of the parliament across the country, namely the House of Representatives (Lower House), the House of Nationalities (Upper House), the Region or State Parliament which also involves ethnic representatives.There are 32 million eligible voters in the country, according to the commission's revised figures.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 10/27/2015

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INDIA: Govt to Set Up National Fingerprint Database of Criminals

 

The government will reportedly set up a national fingerprints database of convicts and arrested criminals soon. The database will be set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs by collating records from all the states and union territories. It will facilitate speedy identification of offenders, According to report, the government has decided to integrate the records of the state agencies and make them part of the national database. The National Informatics Centre is reportedly creating a ‘cloud’ for this integration. The integration of all data available with the Central Finger Print Bureau (CPFB) would help police and investigators anywhere in the country get finger print data of any criminal on real time basis. The Ministry of Home Affairs is also planning to integrate the fingerprint database with other biometric techniques like digital images, palm prints and auxiliary biometric like Iris records in future, according to report.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/27/2015

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PM Modi Reviews Projects via ICT-Based ‘PRAGATI’ Platform

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired his fifth interaction through PRAGATI, the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for pro-active governance and timely implementation. In course of his review, the Prime Minister expressed concern at the grievances relating to post offices. Noting that postal services are vital for the poorest sections of society, he directed the Department of Posts to work towards improvement in service delivery, especially in areas such as payment of policy benefits, money orders, postal savings accounts, and delay in delivery of post. The Prime Minister reviewed the progress of key infrastructure projects in the Railway, Road, Power, Telecommunication and Agri-Infrastructure sectors, spread over several states including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. He also reviewed the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and Chennai Metro Rail.

 

The Prime Minister urged speeding up of work for early completion of the projects. Modi also reviewed the scheme for provision of mobile services in Left Wing Extremism affected areas. Emphasising that mobile connectivity was extremely essential for the common man, particularly in backward areas, he urged all concerned states to accelerate implementation of the scheme. The Prime Minister was given a demonstration of the progress of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) scheme, through live video conferencing with three police stations in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. He called for enhancing both the level of sophistication, and the speed of implementation of this scheme across the country.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/27/2015

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Digital India to Hinge on eGovernance, Agree Experts

 

With a view to accelerate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative, IT Secretaries from across the India recently showcased a number of innovative and transformative initiatives on IT and eGovernance undertaken in their respective States to serve the citizens. The officials had gathered at a workshop on ‘UN e-Government Development Index’, organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), along with UNDP, held in New Delhi. DARPG stressed on strengthening eGovernance, as it is an important pillar of Digital India campaign and it will play a vital role to digitally empower the administrative and governance processes for providing citizen-centric services. Inaugurating the workshop, DARPG Secretary Devendra Chaudhury highlighted the importance of process change, which can be effectively enabled by IT tools and consequential changes in approach to eGovernance as a business model similar to eCommerce.

 

A key focus of the workshop was to understand the United Nations eGovernment Survey, which assesses eGovernment development across all 193 member states. The Survey, launched in 2003, has three components – Telecom Infrastructure Index, Human Capital Index and Online Services Index. The workshop featured presentations by four States—Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh—on innovative eGovernance initiatives launched by them to improve service delivery to citizens. Karnataka eGovernance Secretary Srivatsa Krishna made a presentation focusing on citizen services being provided through their MobileOne platform, while representative from Andhra Pradesh presented his views on a public grievance redressal system known as ‘Meekosam’. Uttar Pradesh shared its experience on IT and eGovernance initiatives aimed at creating a conducive environment for eGovernance including fiscal incentives and ‘Citizen First’ programme, and Himachal Pradesh came up with an online application system to register complaints. Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator & Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, speaking on the occasion commended the Indian government on its ambitious plan to transform governance and provide citizen-centric services. “eGovernance is like building a house. Build a strong foundation and everything works.”

 

The UN official, pointed out, “The key challenge for the country is to deliver services to the last mile population, removing the digital divide, towards improving the quality of their lives.” Acknowledging India’s progress in digital governance, Richard Kerby, Inter-Regional Adviser on eGovernment with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that eGovernment has to be a part of the national development strategy and sustainable development. “While open data is key to empowering people, it should support a bottom-up approach, with citizens contributing to the data collection process equally with governments,” Kerby added. Meanwhie, Additional Secretary of the Department of Electronics and IT, Tapan Ray, stressed on the need to integrate efforts across governments to achieve the vision of a digitally empowered India.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/28/2015

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DIPP Becomes First Govt Department to Have Cashless Transactions

 

With the implementation of an electronic payment system, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has become the first government department to have 100 percent cashless transcations. “DIPP emerges as the first Department of GOI (Government of India) to implement the system of 100 per cent receipt and payments in an electronic/cashless manner,” the department informed via twitter. The move, which is part of the government’s efforts to encourage use of plastic money, would help in improving ease of doing business in the country. Currently, India is ranked 142nd among 189 nations in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2015 study.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 08/28/2015

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‘Delhi Police One Touch Away’ Mobile App Launched

 

Delhi Police has launched trial version of a new mobile application, “Delhi Police One Touch Away”. The app has brought together all its earlier launched apps and links to the websites of its specialised units under one common platform. The app was launched by Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi. “It is being launched on trial basis. With the help of this app, we aim to reduce public inconvenience and dissatisfaction with police functioning,” Bassi said. Currently, it is available for only Android users. An official statement said the user-friendly mobile app “not only provides contact details of police officers (dealing with the public) but also has provision to disseminate information (documents, photographs, audio or video) to various predefined groups in police”.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/01/2015

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India Favours Multi-stakeholder Model of Internet Governance

 

India favours multi-stakeholder model of internet governance mechanisms, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology said in an official statement. The Ministry held  consultations last week with a view to preserve the character of the Internet as a unified, dynamic engine for innovation and to encourage equity and inclusion. The multi-stakeholder consultation attended by academia, business, civil society, technical community and government discussed issues for enhancing the accountability of the Internet Corporation Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Many stakeholders appreciated the transition of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the Global Multi-stakeholder Community as a positive development. The meeting concluded with a call to all stakeholders to participate actively in all global processes keeping in mind the perspectives of the Indian communities.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/09/2015

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PM Pitches for Utmost Use of Space Technology in Governance

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Department of Space to pro-actively engage with all stakeholders to maximise the use of space science in governance and development.  “Subsequently, Cabinet Secretary has asked all Secretaries of all Central Ministries/ Departments to assess the current utilisation of Space technology-based tools in their Ministry/Department and explore new potential application areas,” an official statement said. Further, in order to hold proactive interactions with the Central Ministries, 18 expert teams were constituted within ISRO. These teams conducted one-to-one interactions with the Ministries/ Departments and joint action plan on “Effective Use of Space Technology” was prepared with 60 Central Ministries/Departments. “About 170 projects across various Ministries/Departments have emerged in the areas of Natural Resources Management, Energy & Infrastructure, Disaster & Early Warning, Communication & Navigation, e-Governance & Geo-spatial Governance, Societal Services and Support to Flagship programmes.,” the statement added.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/07/2015

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PM Modi Asks Departments to Form ‘Technology Cell’

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all departments to form a ‘technology cell’ where the youth with scientific temper can work for the promotion of technology. Emphasising upon the need of using space technology for the benefit of common man, the Prime Minister said, “No space should be left between the common man and the space technology. Technology is a driving force with huge impact.” He was addressing the National Meet on “Promoting Space Technology based Tools and Applications in Governance & Development” at a function organised in New Delhi. The one-day National Meet provided an opportunity for interaction amongst ministries/departments and state governments towards enhanced utilisation of the space technology in governance and development. Various areas were identified for the use of space technology including environment impact assessment, forest fire alert system, GIS-based infrastructure planning, mapping of protected areas & coastal zones, asset management, satellite communication for remote regions, countryside DTH coverage through expansion of private channel network served by additional satellite transponders, tele-education, etc. Modi also called for “Start-up India, Stand-up India” initiative to be implemented with regard to science. He appealed to the youth with scientific temper for “start-up” in the field of technology. S. Kiran Kumar, Secretary, Department of Space said that the space technology can be useful for the flagship programmes of the Government including Digital India and Clean Ganga Mission.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/08/2015

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EPFO Moves to M-governance

 

Three new mobile-based services for EPF members namely Mobile Application, SMS-based UAN Activation and Missed Call service have been launched in Hyderabad.Bandaru Dattatraya, Minister of State for Labour & Employment (Independent Charge) launched the services. “By downloading the new mobile application from the EPFO website, www.epfindia.gov.in the members would be able to activate their UAN accounts from the comfort of their mobile phones and can also access their accounts for viewing their monthly credits through the passbook as well view their details available with EPFO,” Ministry of Labour & Employment said in an official release.Similarly, the EPF pensioners have been given the facility to access their pension disbursement details through this mobile app. likewise the employer can also view their remittance details.The SMS-based UAN activation service which enables members to activate their accounts by sending an SMS to 7738299899 thus further making the activation process easy. Once activated, the member becomes eligible to all services envisaged in UAN programme such as credit alerts, passbook etc. This new service is especially helpful to such members who may not have easy access to computers or smart phones.EPFO has already in place a Short Code SMS service which has enabled the members in knowing their details along with contribution and PF Balance through an SMS at 7738299899. As an extension to this service, the Missed Call service is intended to further ease the process since only a missed call at 01122901406, at no cost to the member, would provide all the envisaged details.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/17/2015

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Ministry of Law & Justice Develops Web App for Monitoring Court Cases

 

As part of the e-Governance initiative, the Ministry of Law & Justice has developed web-based application – Legal Information Management & Briefing System (LIMBS) for managing and monitoring all court cases in which Government of India is a party. The application facilitates information related to all court/tribunal cases being handled by the various Ministries/Departments and other government organisations. Also, this application caters to a wide range of requirements for various departments and administrative authorities for effective monitoring of court matters.  “LIMBS is very user-friendly and capable of producing various sets of customised MIS reports which are required for effective monitoring. It also provides timely reminder alerts though SMS,” Ministry of Law & Justice said.

 

Union Law & Justice Minister Shri D.V.Sadananda Gowda said that several Ministries/Departments have already begun the process of uploading data. In a letter, the minister has requested his Cabinet colleagues to instruct their respective ministry officials to use the application. He has also offered requisite training and guidance and any other related assistance to the officials for uploading information. Ministry of Law & Justice has developed the single web-based application in consultation with the Ministry of Railways and National Informatics Centre (NIC).

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/22/2015

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IAS Recruits to Suggest Ways to Ease Governance

 

IAS officers have been given the deadline of 30th November to come up with ideas on simplifying at least two processes of the government. The step has been taken as Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to conduct a feedback session on completion of their three-month stint at the Centre. This lot of 170 officers, who are on deputation at the Centre before they head for the first state postings, are being kept on their toes during the training as part of an idea mooted by the PM. Over the past one month, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued as many as 99 orders on how they should go about their work. However, they can fall back on three senior secretaries, who have been appointed as chief mentors. The chief mentors include Rajiv Mehrishi, Home Secretary; Mohan Kumar, Defence Secretary and Sindhushree Khullar, Chief Executive, NITI Aayog. The 52 ministries and departments, where the young IAS officers have been posted as assistant secretaries, have been divided into four clusters – social, economic, infrastructure and regulatory. These have been assigned to Jugal Mohapatra, Secretary, Rural Development; A C Duggal, Secretary, Finance Services; Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Dept of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Sanjay Kothari, Secretary, DoPT, respectively. All four of them have been tasked with meeting every 15 days to keep an eye on the performance of the assistant secretaries. As per a concept paper on the exercise being undertaken for the first time, “The time spent with the Central Government will help the officers acquire a national perspective and a deeper appreciation of harmonisation of diversities in national policies.” Before the session with the PM, each of the officers will be required to prepare a ‘Paper on Innovation’ or ‘Process re-engineering to improve functioning of the Government of India’, along with identifying at least two processes for simplification and compiling the guidelines or norms pertaining to their desk.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 09/24/2015

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Govt Shifts to E-Publishing of Gazette Notifications

 

The government has stopped physical printing of Government of India’s Gazette Notifications and introduced e-publishing of the same, putting an end to the long wait for the important documents. The government’s printing press is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development. Gazette Notification is an important legal requirement to validate, authenticate and to make effective various kinds of Laws, Acts, Rules, Orders and Government decisions. All user groups had to wait for a few months for copies of such notifications as physical printing of the same was a time taking exercise. The Ministries and Departments of government used to submit their Gazette publication requirements to the Government Printing Presses where the work of typesetting, printing and publishing was undertaken. “Seeking to end such delays, Ministry of Urban Development has directed the Department of Publication to stop physical printing and switch over to e-publishing of all Gazette Notifications on its official website http://www.egazette.nic.in within five days of receipt of the same from respective ministries and departments,” an official release said. The records for the gazette will be maintained by the department for all future references. User groups and citizens can download and print all Gazette Notifications free of charge.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 10/09/2015

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Governance on Cloud 9

 

Cloud computing has emerged as a powerful tool to empower Government to improve citizen-centric services by adopting ultra-modern technology. It’s easy to access, it’s cost-effective, it’s flexible to one’s requirements. Besides, Cloud technology is also generating lakhs of jobs for the skilled youth. Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN) writes about the status of Cloud Computing in India as also elsewhere. With technological advancements happening day in and day out, governments across the globe have been trying to harness latest technologies to improve and strengthen citizen-centric services and their delivery. In this context, Cloud Computing has emerged as one of the landmark innovations in the digital landscape that has changed the way corporate firms and governments deliver services. Cloud Computing, which facilitates IT services to Cloud users with greater reliability, flexibility and scalability, has a huge potential for usage in the field of eGovernance and rural development in developing countries like India.

 

The importance of this technology can be understood by the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s many technology-driven projects like ‘Digital India’ and ‘100 Smart Cities’ heavily rely on Cloud Computing, which has also helped education, health, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sectors immensely in improving their services. According to reports, India Inc has pledged `4.5 lakh crore for Digital India, which can create over 18 lakh jobs in the country.

Revolution in sky. The Cloud has literally brought revolution by offering solutions to store and share data. It is Cloud Computing which has empowered governments to roll out e-services like payment of property tax, drinking water, electricity, registration of land records and building plan approval, among others, to help people deposit taxes at the click of a mouse. eGovernance services to customers, businesses and even to the agencies themselves have made a huge impact on India’s 1.2 billion citizens. A recent Gartner report shows the Cloud Computing will constitute the bulk of IT spending by 2016. It is expected that the Cloud market in India alone would reach over USD3 billion by 2017 — a five-fold increase from 2012, which is good enough to prove how rapidly the sector is growing.

 

The Cloud is all set to transform the way we do business and grow on the digital platform. Cloud Computing in all likelihood is going to be a boon for the small to medium size businesses (SMBs), which employ 40 per cent of the overall workforce and are growing at a rate of eight per cent per year. According to another report, if all SMBs in India were to adopt Cloud Computing, the market could reach USD56 billion, creating additional 1.1 million jobs in the near future. Adoption of IT technology is often considered an expensive affair and the myth is that it requires purchase of hardware, software, modern networks and manpower to operate. On the contrary, it is simple and cost-effective for SMBs to run IT solutions by having an account with a Cloud Computing service provider. Cloud solutions help SMEs implement technology quicker to gain competitive advantage. Cloud is also giving a thrust to India’s economy by creating more jobs in India. Many believe that if the Cloud market continues to expand in India, job prospects would also go up conspicuously. It is believed that this year alone, Cloud Computing will create over two million jobs. Consulting firm Zinnov has come out with a study that projects that Cloud Computing market in India will reach USD4.5 billion by the year-end.

 

The situation can be gauged by the fact that many multinational companies in India have shelved their plans of developing their own Cloud-based solutions and instead of this bidding for Cloud Computing service providers because of requirement of the whopping funds. Real-time governance When asked, Prashant Choudhary, Senior Director, Sales – State Government and PSU, CA Technologies, said that the Government departments can immensely benefit by Cloud Computing. “This technology can change the way IT services are delivered and realise benefits ranging from reduced costs, improved organisational agility and transformation in overall service delivery. It can be used to facilitate eGovernance in real-time.

Choudhary asserted that Cloud technology should be used extensively by the Governments to transform key citizen-centric services. “A number of large scale enterprises have committed to set up Cloud-based data centers in India in the near future. If reports are to be believed, the surge in Internet penetration backed by the Digital India initiative is likely to attract USD17 billion investment in the next three to four years in India. Ninety per cent of the SMBs are expected to be tech-influenced by 2020,” he added. Juniper Networks, which provides enterprise grade Cloud-based networking solutions to numerous telecom service providers, enterprises and educational institutions, believes that providing citizen-centric services at affordable cost is extremely important.

 

“Cloud effects everyone today, ranging from an average user to large-scale enterprises. Cloud-based technologies remain at the heart of most discussions pertaining the technological transformation enterprises are undergoing,” Sajan Paul, Director Systems Engineering – India and SAARC, Juniper Networks, told ENN. However, rural sector is one area which needs immediate attention when it comes to implementing Cloud technology for the betterment of people living in rural and remote parts of the country. A plethora of very smallscale industries are mushrooming in the rural parts of India, but all of them are struggling to match global standards of business and these industries do not have a chance of withstanding the incoming globalisation in India, until they start making efforts to meet international standards. Problems faced by rural education in India are known to all. It is plagued by dearth of qualified teachers, IT institutions and poor infrastructure. But the web-based education system can share knowledge by communicating between schools following the same curriculum. If the application is run on the Cloud, rural schools can use PCs at lower costs, with smaller hard disks and lesser memory. Besides, Cloud Computing can also be used for improving healthcare and eGovernance. Citizens’ health record on the Cloud can be of immense help in this regard. It doesn’t look too far away from human imagination to see India becoming a global hub for Cloud Computing, provided the Government takes adequate steps to cut red-tapism, often hampering smooth establishment and running of IT firms, and promote use of Cloud technology pro-actively.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/10/2015

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ePragati: Andhra Hits New High in eGovernance

 

Ever since the launch of Central Government’s ‘Digital India’ programme, states are vying to showcase their digital initiatives, but with the launch of largest eGovernance programme ‘ePragati’, the Andhra Pradesh Government has become the first State in the country to have Enterprise Architecture for providing integrated services to the citizens, writes Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN). The Government of Andhra Pradesh, under the leadership of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, has set another benchmark by launching ePragati, an enterprise digital platform that aims to bring together 745 services offered by 33 departments and more than 315 government agencies in the State. The objective of ePragati is using technology to transform governance. Chief Minister Naidu launched the novel initiative ePragati recently in Visakhapatnam to provide an integrated ‘One Governance’ system, which is citizen-centric, transparent and effective. ePragati – the AP State Enterprise Architecture – is a comprehensive framework for implementing eGovernance holistically and provide integrated services to the citizens covering all departments of the government. Based on the Open Group Architecture Framework, it has been developed by IT giant Wipro Technologies at an estimated cost of Rs 2,398 crore.

 

Speaking at the launch of ePragati, Naidu said, “ePragati is an action plan for IT revolution. The project is aimed to bring together 745 Government-to-Businesses, Government-to-Citizens, Government-to-Employees and Government-to-Government services offered by 33 departments and 315 government agencies. We will come up with an iconic IT building in Visakhapatnam like that of HITEC City in Hyderabad.” The project is envisaged to be implemented in three phases and set for completion by December 2017. The first phase will comprise three packages, namely core governance, agriculture and education, and the services will be available by early November. The Chief Minister also released a detailed vision document of ePragati project during the launching ceremony. “ePragati will place Andhra Pradesh globally among the top governments implementing eGovernance. AP will set a role model for other states in the country’s IT sector. The aim of the Government is to make at least one person e-literate (tech savvy) in each family,” said IT Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy.

 

“ePragati is a huge digital dream and digital roadmap for public sector transformation. It is a mega project the eGovernance sector as the vision and size is so huge, including the budget. It is also like a lifecycle approach that accommodates life and each event of citizen, including birth, health, career, development, death, etc.,” said Advisor to Government J Satyanarayana.

IT Minister Raghunatha Reddy, HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Panchayat Raj Minister Ch Ayyanna Patrudu, Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao, IT Advisor J Satyanarayana and NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar were present on the occasion. ePragati is a comprehensive framework for implementing eGovernance holistically and provide integrated services to the citizens covering all departments of the government. Besides, heads of multi-national companies from IT industry, such as Cisco President Dinesh Malkani, Oracle Managing Director Sailender Kumar, Wipro Chief Executive Officer Soumitro Ghosh, Cyinet Founder Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Vice-President V Rajanna, also attended the event.

 

It aims for a transformational change in the way government services are conceived, designed, delivered and consumed. The public private partnership (PPP) has been designed as a tool to provide integrated services to its citizens by adopting a Whole-of-Government approach.

It seeks to enhance the Quality of Life by deploying the cutting-edge technologies, including SMAC, in various sectors like Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Construction, Skill Development, and Urban and Rural Development. It forms the basic IT Fabric that supports the 7 Developmental Missions comprising the Sunrise AP. It realises the goal of establishing One Government, by adopting the best principles of Enterprise. Architecture, like establishing shared infrastructure and applications, enforcing technology standards, ensuring interoperability through the use of a SOA-based middleware called eHighway. It includes 72 projects, made into 14 packages for ease of implementation over the next 3 years, at a cost of Rs 2,398 crore.

 

With the launch of ePragati project, several IT firms, including HP and Cisco, along with NASSCOM, have unveiled their plans for the State. Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, HP India. We are looking at developing an innovation hub in Andhra Pradesh in order to encourage entrepreneurship. We are all set to partner with the State Government and sign an MoU with the latter soon to offer services in health and education. HP India is planning to establish as many as four e-health centres and 10 mobile health centres to bring specialist doctors from urban areas to patients in rural areas. Cloud technology and Internet will be used by the computer manufacturer to connect patients with doctors. We are planning to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) over a stretch of 5 km to nurture and boost local talent. Tentatively, the Centre of Excellence is likely to be established in Vijayawada. It will help people innovate for IoT (Internet of Things). We are committed to help Andhra Pradesh become a knowledge and technological hub of India and realise the vision of ‘Sunrise Andhra Pradesh’. Cisco India would also connect about 5,000 students in the government schools with some of the best teachers worldwide.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 10/12/2015

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AP Shows the Way in eGovernance

 

While Andhra Pradesh has already earned a reputation of being the leader in eGovernance, it is growing leaps and bounds through its latest e-initiatives setting milestones, writes Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN). Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, presides over an eCabinet meeting. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, is widely acclaimed for his vision in creating the fastest growing IT hub of the country — ‘HITEC City’ in Hyderabad. The CM, with greater zeal and experience, is now going in a big way to develop cities like Vizag, Vijaywada and Tirupati, on similar lines, with more emphasis on Vishakhapatnam as an IT hub. In the process of achieving the vision of transforming Andhra Pradesh into the most advanced technology hub of the country, the State Government has recorded many firsts in eGovernance within a short span of a year.

 

Some of the notable ICT initiatives of the State are as follows: eCabinet. While Andhra Pradesh has already topped in recording highest number of e-transactions across the country, it has also created a niche in the country as the most advanced and technology-driven State by conducting the first ever eCabinet meeting. Now, such eCabinets are being conducted regularly. eCabinetThe Chief Minister and his colleagues held the first eCabinet meeting in September 2014, which involved no papers related to the agenda as in the conventional Cabinet proceedings. Only tablets and electronic devices were used in the proceedings, where the Cabinet members electronically noted minutes of the meeting, suggestions and remarks were keyed in and power-point presentations were made and they eventually emerged as paperless politicians. “Agenda of the meeting was accessed in their devices through an app called eCabinet. The data is password protected and cannot be shared or viewed by others. The electronic files that need sharing are hosted on a file-sharing system using File Cloud tool,” said Dr Ratnakar Jauhari, CEO, eGovernance Authority, AP Government.

 

Before the first eCabinet meeting was conducted, the ministers were acquainted with eCabinet app on its login and file-sharing features. Andhra Pradesh became the first State in India to conceive and execute state-wide enterprise architecture – Andhra Pradesh State Enterprise Architecture (APSEA) or ePragati. Designed at an estimated cost of 2,358 croreRs., APSEA is a comprehensive architecture to leverage the latest advances in eGovernance tools. “This will become a model in Government Enterprise Architecture in India,” said N Chandrababu Naidu during a media interaction. ePragatiThe project is aimed at bringing together 745 G2B (Government to Business), G2C (Government to Citizens), G2E (Government to Employees) and G2G (Government to Government) services offered by 33 departments and more than 300 government agencies. “The main objective of ePragati is to move away from the piecemeal approach and provide an integrated ’One Governance’ that will be citizen- centric, transparent and effective,” said GS Phani Kishore, Special Secretary, IT Department, AP Government.

 

Entrusted the ground work to IT giant Wipro, the ambitious project is going on since January this year. As many as 72 projects of various departments of similar nature such as welfare departments, land management, tourism, industries, etc., are grouped under 14 packages. The project is envisaged to be implemented in three phases and set for completion by December 2017. eOffice product, pioneered by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), aims at supporting governance by using more effective and transparent inter and intra-government processes. “eOffice is the unique initiative in India, where starting from the Chief Minister to senior officials, anyone can know the status and track a particular file in any department,” said Dr Ratnakar Jauhari, CEO, eGovernance Authority, AP Government. eFile, an integral part of the eOffice suite, is a system designed for the Government departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies, etc., to enable a paperless office by scanning, registering and routing the inward correspondences along with creation of files, noting, referencing, correspondence attachments, drafts for approvals and finally movement of files. APSpeaks is yet another e-initiative that formed a citizen-engagement platform with the Chief Minister and senior officials directly. It allows citizens to directly interact with the Chief Minister and top bureaucrats from any corner of the world and give their feedback.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 10/12/2015

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Punjab Vows to Make mGovernance Effective

 

Government-of-PunjabChief Secretary of Punjab, Sarvesh Kaushal recently laid emphasis on making ‘Mobile Governance’ more effective and citizen-friendly, besides ensuring the data and financial security. While inaugurating a day-long conference on ‘Mobile Governance and e-Governance Competency Framework (eGCF)’ for government officials, the Chief Secretary said that for the last seven years, Punjab has been at the forefront of e-Governance initiatives and has pioneered itself in the mGovernance. “Punjab Government is making concerted efforts to ensure acceptability of new tools of mGovernance amongst the masses by focusing on data and financial security,” said Kaushal. The Chief Secretary sought officials’ participation to popularise eGovernance tools among the people and said the task can be fulfilled by ensuring transparency and quick delivery. Kaushal in his address also stressed on importance eGovernance Competency Framework to build adequate and relevant capacities at all levels.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 10/17/2015

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Govt Discusses Multi-stakeholder Approach to Internet Governance

 

In pursuance of its commitment towards multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance and as part of the series of ongoing multi-stakeholder discussions, the government held consultations over the approach. “The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in collaboration with the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) conducted a multi-stakeholder consultation to discuss the Zero Draft,” the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said in an official release. The consultation was held in relation to the ongoing overall review by the General Assembly of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10 Review). The review process will be concluded by a High-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on December 15-16 in New York.

 

Currently, the United Nations is facilitating a preparatory process for the WSIS+10 Review in consultation with Member States and relevant stakeholders. The main aim of the meeting is to conduct a ten year review of the WSIS outcomes documents, as envisaged in Paragraph 111 of the Tunis Agenda, 2005. The meeting was attended by stakeholders from business, civil society, government, academia and technical community, and also some remote participation. The discussion touched upon issues related to the priorities for India at the global level inter alia digital divide, ICT for development, human rights, Internet Governance, Enhanced Cooperation and follow up, review and implementation of WSIS action lines. “The inputs from the stakeholder will be taken into account to develop India’s position on overall WSIS +10 review process,” the ministry said. The discussion was concluded with a call for Indian stakeholders to actively participate in the WSIS+10 Review process.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/19/2015

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Govt Reduces Spend on Print Ads, Pushes for Digital Ads

 

Online advertisingThere has been a drop in advertisements released to print publication by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) in order to boost digital medium. This was further confirmed by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, at the fourth edition of CII’s Big Picture Summit. Rathore said, “The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that government advertisements to print publications should be reduced while increasing digital ads.” According to reports, every department within the central government has been asked to increase spends on digital media.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 10/19/2015

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Environment Ministry Launches New Website on National Clean Development Mechanism Authority

 

A new website - http://www.ncdmaindia.gov.in has been launched by the National Clean Development Mechanism Authority (NCDMA) in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The new website, launched last Friday, will capture the entire life cycle of CDM Projects. With step, the Ministry has taken another step in applying the principles of e-governance. The on-line uploading of project related information in a module wise pattern will help to capture the entire life cycle of CDM projects. It will also enable monitoring of the projects at different stages. This web-based application will promote transparency in operation and monitor sustainable development activities relating to the CDM projects in the country. It will be the first such web-based application developed globally in this direction. Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ashok Lavasa, appreciated the initiative to further streamline the working of India’s National CDM Authority. The NCDMA is reckoned as one of the most efficient and pro-active Designated National Authority (DNA). Shri Lavasa recalled that the National Clean Development Mechanism Authority (NCDMA) was established in December 2003 for according Host Country Approval (HCA) to the CDM projects. Till April 30, 2015, it has accorded HCA to 2, 941 projects facilitating possible investment of about Rs. 579,306 crores in the country. These projects are in sectors of energy efficiency, fuel switching, industrial processes, municipal solid waste, renewable energy and forestry which spread across the country (covering all states in India). As on 24th April 2015, 1, 564 out of a total of 7,629 projects registered by the CDM Executive Board are from India, which is the second highest in the world. Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued to Indian projects is 191 million (13.27%).

 

Since the inception of NCDMA, it used to approve projects based on the submission of hard copies of all documents. In July 2010, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with the help of GIZ, developed the existing website (http://cdmindia.gov.in/admin/) to reduce the processing time and large-scale usage of papers to automate the project data submission process and started paperless operation partly, in July 2010. Later, the Government mandated large-scale CDM projects to commit and earmark 2% of revenue generated from the sale of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) to support sustainable development activities for the local communities. However, the existing framework does not have the requisite information and also lacks information on the status of the registered/ unregistered projects accorded Host Country Approval. Thus, to improve the functionality of the Designated National Authority (DNA), it was decided by the Members of the NCDMA to capture the entire lifecycle of the CDM projects and also have provision to monitor the commitment of the project proponents for sharing of 2% of the CERs revenue. The new website has been designed and developed with the help of GIZ. This MIS is a web-based collation and monitoring tool functioning in a module-wise manner. It will capture all information provided by the project proponents in various modules starting from user registration, prior intimation, submission of projects, host country approval, validation, registration, issuance and Transaction of CERs. Based on the submission, it will undergo approval workflow, documenting all events relating to host country approval; NCDMA meetings, Issuance of Letter of Authority. The reporting module will generate various reports displaying the status of projects.

 

Shri Lavasa also said that in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020), the number of CDM projects has come down drastically. In comparison, it may be seen that in 2012, there were 3, 227 projects registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in 2013, it was reduced to 307 projects. In 2014 it was further reduced to 158 projects and in 2015 it is only 47 projects registered so far. Interestingly, in 2013, India has registered 115 projects, which are the highest by any country. Last year, the NCDMA has accorded Host Country Approval to 76 projects and India registered 56 projects with UNFCCC in 2014. Thus, keeping a futuristic view, this website may help DNA to prepare for the future market mechanisms evolving under the UNFCCC.

From http://pib.nic.in 11/02/2015

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Army Launches Its Own Cloud, Data Centre, Digi-Locker

 

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has inaugurated the Central Data Centre, Army Cloud and Digi-Locker for the Indian Army. He complimented the army for initiating such steps as a part of the Digital Army programme. Parrikar also emphasised on the need to educate every person on the advantages of such services and technology updation. The facility under the Army Cloud includes Central Data Centre, both in Delhi a Disaster Recovery site for replication of its critical data along with virtualised servers and storage in an environmentally controlled complex. Digi-Locker will provide a secure and exclusive data storage space to all the units and formation headquarters of the Army over its dedicated data network. The Digi-Locker of Indian Army is similar to e-Locker of Digital India program and has all the advanced features like digital signatures and watermarking. In keeping with the national vision of Digital India, the Indian Army has launched a programme for Digital Army with nine pillars for digitisation. Three of the nine pillars of this umbrella program, namely Broadband highways, Universal access to telephones and Army Data Network stress upon Information Technology Infrastructure development. Another three namely e-Governance, Electronic delivery of services and Online information for all, focus on delivery of services to all units and formation headquarters.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 11/10/2015

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AZERBAIJAN: E-gov Portal Makes Online Payments Available

 

The Electronic government portal in Azerbaijan now features a function for convenient online payment. The Automated Payment Utility Service of the state payment portal is integrated into the e-government portal, says the Computer Information Center under the Communications and High Technologies Ministry. The objectives of the project are to increase the use of non-cash payments, simplifying the process of budget payments, and the integration of e-government projects with the infrastructure of the national payment system. Through integration the Azerbaijan Central Bank clearing system, payments are carried out in real time through the e-government portal. Currently, the number of the state institutions connected to the portal includes the ministries of economy and industry, emergency situation, taxes, and internal affairs. Moreover, the system enjoys the services of the State Social Protection Fund, State Customs Committee, State Migration Service, and Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund.

 

In addition, the portal connects utilities and communications companies, operators of fixed and mobile communication. The e-government portal is a key tool for supporting work with citizens and enterprises in the public and private sectors. It aims to reduce the number of documents requested from citizens, as different bodies will interact with each other electronically. The e-government portal was launched in Azerbaijan in 2013. Currently, the portal offers about 400 e-services through 45 government agencies. Over one million citizens are active users of e-services of the state agencies. Moreover, the e-government portal allows for the provision of e-services to citizens of foreign countries. All services provided by Azerbaijani government agencies are expected to be online by 2020. Moreover, the local municipalities will be connected to the Automated Payment Utility Service of the state payment portal in the next six months, said Vahid Gurbanli, the Deputy Director of the Department for the Payment Systems and Calculation of the Central Bank.

 

Now the municipalities have a greater need for access to a system of online payments, namely receiving payments for rendered services. Technical readiness is required to connect municipalities to the state payment portal. After formation of the information systems, they will be ready to accept payments online, he added. Earlier, the Taxes Ministry successfully implemented pilot projects on the use of electronic registration for the payment of municipal taxes in eight municipalities in the country. The municipal taxes include the land tax on individuals, taxes on personal property, trade tax on construction materials of local importance, as well as tax on profits on enterprises and organizations in municipal property. Moreover, Gurbanli said that students of paid faculties at state universities in Azerbaijan will soon be able to pay student tuition online via the state payment portal. In addition, Azerbaijani citizens will be able to electronically obtain their personal data on utilities and other payments, said head of the Data Computing Center Nail Mardanov. He said, at present, work is underway to create a database for such payments. The service is primarily aimed at the elimination of disputes between service operators and citizens on the issue of payments.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 09/14/2015

 

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Azerbaijan, Serbia to Establish Working Group on ICT

 

Azerbaijan and Serbia will establish a joint working group on cooperation in the information and communication technologies, the Communications and High Technologies Ministry said. The issue was discussed as part of the meeting between the Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov and Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic, who is on visit to Baku as part of the IV meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. The sides agred to hold the first meeting of the working group in Belgrade, and the second meeting in Baku as part of the 21st international exhibition and conference Bakutel-2015 on December 2-5. The ministers expressed their interest in developing cooperation in the field of telecommunications and information technologies. This was discussed during the fourth meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation in Baku on September 28.

 

Multilateral business-forums Serbia has also offered Azerbaijan to conduct business forums between Azerbaijan on the one hand, and a number of Balkan countries, on the other hand, Shahin Mustafayev, the co-chairman of the commission, the Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister said as part of the Azerbaijani-Serbian intergovernmental commission meeting in Baku on September 28. “We have already carried out a similar business forum in Belgrade,” he said. “We were offered to conduct business forums between Azerbaijan on the one hand, and Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the other hand. We support this proposal. We hope that this format will be further intensified and these meetings will be held at a higher level in the future.” On his part, Rasim Ljajic said that Azerbaijan and Serbia must develop the economic relations, in particular, trade turnover. “The trade turnover between Serbia and Azerbaijan amounted to 16 million euros in 2014,” Ljajic said. “This is a token amount of money. We must continue our work to significantly increase it. We are also very interested in Azerbaijani investments. We invite all companies from Azerbaijan to join the process of privatization of our companies.

 

Currently, more than 500 companies pass through a tender in Serbia. We hope that Azerbaijani companies are interested in investing in Serbia.” The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Serbia amounted to 3.22 million manat in January-August 2015, which is 7.3 percent more than in the same period of last year. Virtually the entire turnover accounted for the import of Serbian products to Azerbaijan. During the meeting, the sides also discussed cooperation in trade, industry, investment, finance, transport, energy, agriculture, information and communication technologies, health, youth, sports, etc. The two countries plan to cooperate closely as Azerbaijan and Serbia have agreed on an air service agreement between them. Moreover, Serbia is considering the introduction of a visa-free regime with Azerbaijan.

From http://www.azernews.az/ 09/29/2015

 

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E-government Switches to Cloud Technology

 

Azerbaijani electronic government portal will now be available on the cloud, according to Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies Elmir Velizade. Velizade says Azerbaijan's main efforts are now focused on the use of modern technology so that the ICT sector could contribute to the development of the country in a short period. “This sector is known to be a priority in Azerbaijan, and serious attention is given to it. For us, it is encouraging that in the framework of the first European Games, we were also able to demonstrate the potential of Azerbaijan in the field of ICT. It is equally important that a large role in this issue played Azerbaijani experts. However, of course, we need to look to the future, and today there is a need in the application of new solutions in many areas. In particular, today the country has successfully implemented the project of e-Government. For us it is very important to transfer the implementation of the solution into the cloud platform,” said Velizade.

 

The deputy minister said that the demand for professionals in this regard is that they are mastering the latest technology, trying to apply them to Azerbaijan. The main objective of the application of cloud technology is to reduce costs, improve the quality of services to citizens and information security. The e-gov portal is a key tool for supporting citizens, businesses and private sectors of the country. It aims to reduce the number of documents requested from citizens because different government bodies interact with each other electronically. Access to the portal is carried out using a digital signature, the identity data of the private entrepreneurs and citizens, verification data, as well as a mobile authentication system, which can be obtained after registration on the portal. The portal, launched in Azerbaijan in 2013, now offers about 400 e-services through 45 government agencies. Over one million citizens are active users of e-services in state agencies. Moreover, the e-government portal allows for the provision of e-services to citizens of foreign countries. All services provided by Azerbaijani government agencies are expected to be online by 2020.

 

Soon, the e-gov portal will also be available in a mobile version, which is essential for a country whereby mobile phone penetration stands at 112 percent. The portal will also receive a function for convenient online payments via the Automated Payment Utility Service. The objectives of the project are to increase the use of non-cash payments, simplifying the process of budget payments, and the integration of e-government projects with the infrastructure of the national payment system. Moreover, subscribers of fixed and mobile communications in the near future will be able to receive statements of their expenses for telecommunications services through the portal. In addition, a service for issuing certificates for central credit register will be available soon.

From http://www.azernews.az/  10/13/2015

 

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UZBEKISTAN: Rating Assessment of ICT of State Agencies Summed Up

 

Experts of the Center for developing system "Electronic government", the Center for information security and SUE "UZINFOCOM" has evaluated the effectiveness of the development and implementation of ICT in the activities of organizations for the third quarter of this year.  The monitoring that was conducted from 20th to 30th September 2015 covered the activity of 115 organizations that are subject to rating assessment.  The evaluation was conducted based on the monitoring of official websites of companies on the Internet, the information presented at Single Portal, as well as information provided by the organizations in the interagency system NIS.UZ.  As shown by the results of the assessment, the average rating of 115 state agencies in the III quarter compared with the previous reporting period has grown from 68.29 to 73.69 points (by 7.9%).  The highest score among all state agencies received the company "Uzvinprom-holding" (96.61 out of 100), thereby leading the ranking and shifting the State Tax Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan from the first position.  The top five ranking also includes such organizations as the company "Uzavtosanoat", the State Tax Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan and JSC "Dori-Darmon".

From http://technologies.uzreport.uz/ 10/23/2015

 

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AUSTRALIA: Spectrum Review to ‘Bring $177 Billion in Benefits’

 

The Government has announced its response to the Spectrum Review undertaken by the Department of Communications, in conjunction with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The review is now complete and is available here. The Government has announced it will implement its recommendations in full. The three main recommendations are:

# Replace the current legislative arrangements with new legislation that removes prescriptive process and streamlines licensing, for a simpler and more flexible framework.

# Better integrate the management of public sector and broadcasting spectrum to improve the consistency and integrity of the framework.

# Review spectrum pricing to ensure consistent and transparent arrangements to support the efficient use of spectrum and secondary markets.

 

“Spectrum is a critical enabler of Australia's current and future communications infrastructure,” said Turnbull announcing the release of the review’s recommendations. “But the legislative framework for managing spectrum in Australia has become outdated. Change is required to enable industry and consumers to make the most of the spectrum.” He said implementing the review's recommendations will reduce the regulatory burden on spectrum users by making interactions with the framework, including allocation processes, simpler and faster. “The reforms will put in place arrangements that can meet the future demands of spectrum users. The framework will be simpler, more efficient, flexible and sustainable to support new and innovative technologies and services while providing certainty of spectrum access rights for users.” The Department of Communications says the economic benefits of spectrum reform will be substantial. It quotes a finding from a report by the Centre for International Economics that national benefits from spectrum reform could be as high as $177 billion over a 15 year period, “depending on the factors included.”

 

Wireless services support more efficient processes and delivery of existing services, enabling improvements in productivity, says the report. “The ACMA has estimated that mobile broadband increased Australia’s economic growth rate by 0.28% each year from 2007-13. This equates to an economic contribution of $33.8 billion by mobile broadband alone over this period, primarily through productivity improvements. “In 2014, an Australian Radio Communications Industry Association study showed that the spectrum used for two-way radio generates economic benefits of between $1.99 billion and $3.72 billion per annum.”

 

The review’s terms of reference were to consider ways to:

# simplify the framework to reduce its complexity and impact on spectrum users and administrators, and eliminate unnecessary and excessive regulatory provisions.

# improve the flexibility of the framework and its ability to facilitate new and emerging services including advancements that offer greater potential for efficient spectrum use, while continuing to manage interference and providing certainty for incumbents.

# ensure efficient allocation, ongoing use and management of spectrum, and incentivise its efficient use by all commercial, public and community spectrum users.

# consider institutional arrangements and ensure an appropriate level of Ministerial oversight of spectrum policy and management, by identifying appropriate roles for the # # Minister, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the Department of Communications and others involved in spectrum management.

# promote consistency across legislation in relation to compliance mechanisms, technical regulation and the planning and licensing of spectrum.

# develop an appropriate framework to consider public interest spectrum issues.

# develop a whole-of-government approach to spectrum policy.

# develop a whole-of-economy approach to valuation of spectrum that includes consideration of the broader economic and social benefits.

 

The report says the recommended legislation will streamline regulatory processes and clarify the role of the Government and the ACMA. “It will also provide for greater use of market mechanisms and rationalise the number of licence categories, reform current highly prescriptive and lengthy allocation processes and device supply regulations.” Tyeh Government's decisioon to implement the review's recommendation has been welcoems by industry bidies Communications Alliance (CA) and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), both of whome released statements to that effect. The ACMA says it now expects to move to a single, streamlined and more flexible approach to radiocommunications licencing. “This is a win for industry and consumers,” said deputy chairman Richard Bean. “It provides a more responsive regulatory regime—rather than black letter law—that will take away unnecessary barriers, reducing delays and costs of getting new technologies to the market. “As well as enabling the ACMA to quickly respond to technological advances, the changes will also widen the ACMA’s compliance options. It will provide us with a full range of compliance tools to respond to modern market structures.”

From http://www.itwire.com 08/26/2015

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NEW ZEALAND: Govt’s Telco Framework an “Important First Step” Towards Greater Certainty Telco Investors

 

Ensuring industry players have certainty to continue investing in New Zealand’s digital future should be the main thrust of a review into the Telecommunications Act announced this week. That’s according to Spark New Zealand, addressing the media following the release of the Government’s discussion document, Regulating Communications for the Future, which looks at how the industry should be regulated post 2020. Key issues include how to set the wholesale charges that all service providers pay the monopoly fibre lines companies to connect their customers to fibre broadband, and the process for eventually switching off the old copper network for broadband and voice services in favour of the new UFB fibre network. “The most important thing the review needs to do is provide certainty to industry providers and their customers of the regulatory settings that will apply in the period from 2020 onwards,” sats John Wesley-Smith, General Manager Regulation, Spark.

 

“We welcome this comprehensive discussion document and the Government’s commitment to engaging with industry and New Zealanders on these matters well ahead of time. Giving service providers and network operators a clear picture of the costs we will face from 2020 on will allow us to focus on ensuring we bring the best of new products, services and innovation to New Zealanders.” The Government’s review will also look at how the mobile industry is regulated. “New Zealand is very well served by three mobile service providers who compete aggressively with one another on price, speed and coverage,” Wesley-Smith adds. “As the Government’s discussion document notes, the next challenge for our sector is to ensure our regulatory framework creates the right incentives for mobile operators to extend the next generations of mobile broadband technologies deep into rural New Zealand, and it is timely to review the best way to achieve this.” The review will also look at issues of “convergence”, where previously distinct technologies and industries (like telecommunications and broadcasting) are coming together, and “net neutrality”, which has been an issue in some overseas jurisdictions.

 

“Convergence is great for consumers and means new products and services are springing up all the time,” Wesley-Smith adds. “This is creating huge changes in how New Zealanders live, work and play. It’s positive that the Government is looking to ensure our regulatory settings are keeping up with the rapid pace of change.” Wesley-Smith says net neutrality is a high profile issue in the United States but is not such a problem here in New Zealand because the country’s copper and fibre networks are wholesale-only open access networks alongside a strong product disclosure regime. “Net neutrality concerns are grounded in the potential for vertically-integrated monopoly network owners to dictate the terms of internet access to content providers and customers,” Wesley-Smith adds. “Customers in New Zealand have a genuine choice of service provider, which is the ultimate protection against that outcome.”

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 09/09/2015

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EUROPE: Paving Way for Multi-Billion Euro Potential of Open Data

 

The new European Data Portal plays an important role in seizing the potential of Open Data, whose market size is expected at 325bn for the period 2016-2020, according to two new studies. Capgemini Consulting carried out the studies on behalf of the European Commission within the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility programme to support the deployment of European Open Data infrastructure. The market for open data is anticipated to increase by 36.9% to 75.7bn by 2020. A report has revealed that the EU28 plus countries had completed only 44% of the journey towards achieving full open data maturity, but there are large discrepancies. About 32% of European countries, recognised globally, are having solid policies, licensing norms, better portal traffic and various local initiatives and events for promoting Open Data and its re-use. The UK leads the way in solid open data practices with the largest national traffic to its own open data portal in Europe with 175,400 visitors per month.

 

The second report claims that the effective use of Open Data may save 629 million hours of unnecessary waiting time on the roads in the EU. The accumulated cost savings for public administrations making use of Open Data are estimated to be 1.7bn across the EU28 plus countries in 2020. Capgemini made some recommendations in order to help speed up adoption of Open Data. They include increasing awareness among citizens and businesses around Open Data; adopting a free cost model as much as possible to encourage re-use. Other recommendations include adding basic functionalities to portals, maximising the use of site analytics, developing national guidelines and measuring the success of an Open Data initiative. Capgemini VP and EU lead Dinand Tinholt said: "In our world of connected people and connected things, citizens, businesses and organizations need a better, faster and more comprehensive view of data to help decision-making. This portal does precisely that. "We are delighted to collaborate with the European Commission on this journey towards reaping the full benefits of Open Data. This is the first European assessment of Open Data in a series of three annual studies, planned for 2016 and 2017.

From http://www.cbronline.com/ 11/19/2015

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Estonia Creating Conditions for Transnational Data Exchange

 

The Information System Authority is launching a next generation central server of X-Road today. The server allows to manage secure data exchange between the databases of Estonia and other countries using a system similar to X-Road. According to Tuuli Pärenson, the Project Manager of X-Road, previous versions of X-Road were intended for domestic use, while the new version introduced today (bearing the number 6) makes cross-border communication possible as well. This will facilitate the daily data exchange of national tax authorities, population registers and other institutions and enterprises. “The new software version of X-Road will also be launched in Finland this year. This means that by the end of the year, we will have the technical cooperation capabilities between Estonian and Finnish X-Road,” says Pärenson. Pärenson notes that according to current plans, data transmission between Estonian and Finnish X-Roads will be possible as soon as in 2016.

 

The new version considers the changes in IT management of the Estonian public sector as well as the growing interest of private sector in using the possibilities of X-Road. The X-Road version launched today will ensure the integrity of messages with a qualified digital signature. A tool for providing secure signatures along with qualified certificates are used to create an electronic seal complying with the requirements of the European Union. The development of version 6 of X-Road was funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The data exchange layer X-Road of the Information System Authority is a technical and organisational environment, which enables to manage secure internet-based data exchange between national information systems. X-Road enables to manage persons’ access to the data stored and processed in national databases.

From https://www.ria.ee/ 11/04/2015

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SWEDEN: Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

 

The ISP under legal pressure to block The Pirate Bay in Sweden has criticized efforts to make the provider an accomplice in other people's crimes. In a joint statement two key executives of Telenor / Bredbandsbolaget warn that folding to the wishes of private copyright holder interests could mark the beginning of the end for the open Internet. Almost exactly one year ago, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry teamed up against Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget (Broadband Company). In a lawsuit filed at the Stockholm District Court, the entertainment industry plaintiffs argued that Bredbandsbolaget should be held liable for Internet piracy carried out by its own subscribers. The companies argued that if the ISP wants avoid liability it should block its customers from accessing The Pirate Bay and streaming portal Swefilmer.

 

Telenor subsidiary Bredbandsbolaget (Broadband Company) has fought the action every step of the way and will find out at the end of November whether those efforts have paid off. Should it prevail the decision will be a historic one – no other ISP in Europe (complex Netherlands’ case aside) has managed to avoid blocking The Pirate Bay following a legal battle. If the ISP loses (and the odds suggest that it will) the provider will be required to censor the site, something it is desperate to avoid. In a joint statement this week Patrik Hofbauer, CEO of Telenor and Bredbandsbolaget, and Anna Bystrom, company legal counsel, warned that an adverse ruling could put the model of a free and open Internet at risk. “When a judgment becomes precedent a trial is about so much more than an Internet service provider and two controversial websites,” the executives begin.

 

“If the media companies are given the right it will lead to absurd consequences and Internet subscribers will ultimately end up using a severely censored Internet.” Hofbauer and Bystrom highlight the fact that should the case go the plaintiffs’ way, Bredbandsbolaget and other Internet providers will be regarded as accomplices to infringement committed on sites such as Swefilmer and The Pirate Bay. However, the implications stretch far beyond those two domains. “A conviction that makes us criminals because we do not block these sites is very dangerous and opens a door must remain closed,” they explain. “Moving forward, will ISPs then be forced to block social media if we are deemed to contribute to copyright infringement, threats and defamation that may occur there?” Indeed, copyright is the tip of the iceberg. Could ISPs’ liability stretch further still, to controversial sites such as Wikileaks for example?

 

“Will sites where whistle-blowers can reach out with secret classified material also need to be blocked? If so, Sweden would then be subjected to a harsh level of censorship unique in the EU,” Hofbauer and Bystrom warn. While the copyright holders in the legal action are clear on their goals, it’s clear that Bredbandsbolaget is concerned that this case represents the thin end of a wedge, one that starts with copyright but has the potential to expand into unforeseen areas. Once the genie is out of the bottle, the company argues, the threat to the open Internet could be great. Bredbandsbolaget says the legal and ethical choices it is confronted with are not always easy ones and it sometimes finds itself in the middle of contradictory demands from legislators on one side and stakeholders on the other. But on this issue, initially involving The Pirate Bay but with the potential to spread much further, the ISP’s position has been easy.

 

“Our role in society should be about making information available and we can not risk engaging in censorship,” the ISP explains. “When we faced pressure from individual players in this case, we put our values ​​to the test. We are against piracy, but the idea that under threat of punishment ISPs must make assessments of the sites that Swedish people visit is absurd.” In conclusion and while welcoming a positive outcome to the case, the executives say that if they’re forced to bend to the whims of outside influences, people may have to kiss goodbye to a free and open Internet. “The day when we and other operators must be guided by private interests, that may represent the beginning of the end for what we in Sweden know as the open Internet. With that said, we welcome a decision that will hopefully strengthen our conviction,” Hofbauer and Bystrom conclude. Whichever way it goes, there’s only two weeks left to find out.

From https://torrentfreak.com/ 11/16/2015

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LATIN AMERICA: Software Market Grows 12.8% in 2014

 

The software market in Latin America ended 2014 with a turnover of USD 13.305 million, representing a 12.8 percent growth on 2013, according to the IDC consultancy. The segment that grew the most was application development and integration at 17.5 percent, followed by business applications (14.4%) and infrastructure (12%). For 2015, IDC estimates that the software market will continue the positive trend, mainly driven by manufacturing, retail and services. Mexico, which accounts for 21 percent of the software market, saw a growth of 8.09 percent in 2014. Brazil, with a 53 percent share, leads the region and grew by 14.2 percent. Next are Chile and Colombia with a 5 percent share, and with 22 percent and 13.8 percent growth respectively; Argentina accounts for 4 percent of the market and grew 24.6 percent. Peru has a 3 percent market share, followed by Venezuela with 2 percent and the rest of Latin America with 6 percent.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 09/18/2015

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Digital Economy in LatAm Generates USD 195 bln

 

The digital economy in Latin America generated USD 195 billion between 2005 and 2013, according to the study "The Ecosystem and Digital Economy in Latin America", presented at the Futurecom exhibition underway in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This figure is equivalent to 4.3 percent of the accumulated growth of the GDP in the region. In addition, the digital economy was responsible for the creation of 900,000 jobs per year in the same period.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 10/31/2015

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BRAZIL: PC Market to Shrink by a Third in 2015 - IDC

 

The Brazilian PC market is expected to shrink by nearly a third this year, affected by the economic recession and appreciation of the dollar against the real, according to market research firm IDC, reports Reuters. Sales of PCs in Brazil should total 7.4 million units in 2015, down 29 percent over the 10.3 million PCs sold in 2014. Sales in Q2 dropped by 38 percent over the same period in 2014, to 1.637 million units. With the result, Brazil dropped from seventh to eighth place in the worldwide PC market, behind the US, China, Japan, India, UK, Germany and France, according to IDC.

From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 09/16/2015

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Global Enterprise Network Equipment Industry

 

This report analyzes the worldwide markets for Enterprise Network Equipment in US$ Million. The Global market is further analyzed by the following Product Types: Routers, Ethernet Switches, WLAN Equipment, and Application Acceleration Equipment. The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2014 through 2020. Also, a seven-year historic analysis is provided for these markets. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. Company profiles are primarily based on public domain information including company URLs. The report profiles 53 companies including many key and niche players such as -

A10 Networks, Inc.

ADTRAN, Inc.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Aruba Networks, Inc.

Avaya Inc.

From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 08/30/2015

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Global Broadband Growth Slows Sharply: 4 Billion Still Offline

 

Geneva, 21 September, 2015 – Broadband Internet is failing to reach those who could benefit most, with Internet access reaching near-saturation in the world’s rich nations but not advancing fast enough to benefit the billions of people living in the developing world, according to the 2015 edition of the State of Broadband report. Released today just ahead of the forthcoming SDG Summit in New York and the parallel meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on September 26, the report reveals that 57% of the world’s people remain offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits the Internet can offer. Access to information and communication technologies, particularly broadband Internet, has the potential to serve as a major accelerator of development, with the importance of ICT connectivity specifically recognized in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the 17 goals now firmly on the global agenda, governments and private industry both have a strong interest in finding ways to get people online, the report argues.

 

The Broadband Commission comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors who are committed to actively assisting countries, UN experts and NGO teams to fully leverage the huge potential of ICTs to drive new national SDG strategies in key areas like education, healthcare and environmental management. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals remind us that we need to measure global development by the number of those being left behind,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “The market has done its work connecting the world’s wealthier nations, where a strong business case for network roll-out can easily be made. Our important challenge now is to find ways of getting online the four billion people who still lack the benefits of Internet connectivity, and this will be a primary focus of the Broadband Commission going forward.”

 

Produced annually by the Broadband Commission, The State of Broadband is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011. New figures in the report confirm that 3.2 billion people are now connected, up from 2.9 billion last year and equating to 43% of the global population. But while access to the Internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, the Net is only accessible to 35% of people in developing countries. The situation in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries is particularly critical, with over 90% of people without any kind of Internet connectivity. This year’s figures show that the top ten countries for household Internet penetration are all located in Asia or the Middle East. The Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration, with 98.5% of homes connected; Qatar (98%) and Saudi Arabia (94%) are ranked second and third respectively.

 

Iceland has the highest percentage of individuals using the Internet (98.2%), just ahead of near-neighbours Norway (96.3%) and Denmark (96%). Monaco remains very slightly ahead of Switzerland as the world leader in fixed broadband penetration, at over 46.8% of the population compared with the Swiss figure of 46%. There are now six economies (Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Liechtenstein and France) where fixed broadband penetration exceeds 40%, up from just one (Switzerland) in 2013. The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for half of all active mobile broadband subscriptions, with Macao, China easily taking top place with 322 active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people – or just over 3 subscriptions per inhabitant – followed by second-ranked Singapore (156 subscriptions per 100 people) and Kuwait (140 subscriptions per 100 people). In total, there are now 79 countries where over 50% of the population is online, up from 77 in 2014. The top ten countries for Internet use are all located in Europe. The lowest levels of Internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with Internet available to less than 2% of the population in Guinea (1.7%), Somalia (1.6%), Burundi (1.4%), Timor Leste (1.1%) and Eritrea (1.0).

 

“The 2030 Agenda recognizes the power of new technologies to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide, to develop knowledge societies – we must do everything to support States in reaching these goals, especially developing States,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova. “This calls for stronger efforts by governments and all actors, in ensuring access, use and affordability – it requires also greater work to build the capacities of all women and men to make the most of all new opportunities.” The Commission’s advocacy around the importance of broadband has seen the number of countries with a National Broadband Plan in place grow from 102 in 2010, when the Commission began its work, to 148 today, according to the report. The State of Broadband 2015 is the fourth edition of the Commission’s broadband connectivity report. Released annually, it is the only report that features country-by-country rankings based on access and affordability for over 160 economies worldwide.

From http://www.itu.int/ 09/21/2015

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SMEs Urged to Use ICT in Businesses

 

SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to use information and communications technology (ICT) in their businesses as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is starting to roll out its nationwide free Wi-Fi pilot project. DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said that he hopes more SMEs will tap into the many opportunities presented by technology especially with the start of the free Wi-Fi project, which will ensure easier access to the Internet. The free Wi-Fi project will cover 967 municipalities, 3,269 schools, 202 rural health units, 59 major rails, 21 seaports, 10 airports, 736 local government units, 141 national government agencies, 125 state universities and 43 major cities, said Montejo during last Tuesday’s Digital Strategies for Development Summit in Cebu City. “The budget this year is P1.4 billion to start rolling out in the areas we have identified which includes Cebu. Hopefully, we can help bring technology closer to the SMEs,” he said.

 

The Free WiFi services will be set up in public offices or establishments where people can easily connect to the Internet. Based on DOST data, Internet penetration in the country was only 50 percent and the agency’s target is to reach a 99 percent penetration rate. However, Seok Vong Yoon of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that it will take more than putting in place the infrastructure for the ICT. “There should be a comprehensive policy and strategy. These include not only investments in infrastructure but also regulatory reforms. (It’s) more of establishing an enabling environment for the investors,” he said. “The market should be more open to encourage more competition which in the end will benefit everyone and countries can start seeing more people using the Internet as a tool for business, to improve services for the public and private sector and more. Eventually we can achieve inclusive growth,” Seok said. Meanwhile, The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will conduct a case study on the use of ICT and how it can support SMEs in the Philippines. The Philippines is a large market with a growing ICT industry, and the 130-member states of the ITU would like to learn how this can benefit the Philippines’ SME industry, said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

From http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/ 09/24/2015

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CHINA: Internet of Things Reaches $90b in 2014

 

The value of China’s Internet of Things (IoT) industry reached 580 billion yuan ($90 billion) in 2014, a yearly increase of 18.46 percent, said a report issued on Sept 24. The IoT, which connects traditional devices, including home appliances, to the Internet, has become a powerful driving force of innovation and economic growth in China, said the report issued by Xinhua News Agency on an IoT expo in Wuxi city, East China’s Jiangsu province. The report said China’s IoT technologies have continued to integrate with both traditional industries like agriculture and manufacturing and rising industries such as new energy and new materials. China has formed four IoT industry centers in Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Bohai Rim, and central and western China, with Yangtze River Delta taking the lead in terms of industrial scale, it said. The report also listed major challenges facing China’s IoT, including its reliance on importation of sensor and chip technology, problems in application, information and data security.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 09/25/2015

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EU, China Sign Key Partnership on 5G

 

The European Union (EU) on Monday announced that it has signed a key agreement with China on the "fifth generation" of telecommunications systems, or 5G, a move aimed to seek an edge in the global digital competitiveness. "Both parties are committed to reciprocity and openness in terms of access to 5G networks research funding, market access as well as in membership of Chinese and EU 5G associations," the EU said in a press release. Signed at Monday's EU-China high level economic and trade dialogue in Beijing, the agreement was described by the EU as a "milestone" in the global race to develop 5G networks. "It's a crucial step in making 5G a success," said Gunther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for the digital economy and society. "With today's signature with China, the EU has now teamed up with the most important Asian partners in a global race to make 5G a reality by 2020." 5G is expected to be commercially available from 2020 and China is viewed to be a likely major player of 5G development and also potentially the world's largest market for the new technologies, products and services. Under the agreement, the EU and China will seek to reach a global understanding, by the end of 2015, on the concept, basic functionalities, key technologies and time plan for 5G. They also decided to cooperate on joint research actions and to promote bilateral participation of enterprises in 5G research projects. Meanwhile, they will work to facilitate the identification of the most promising radio frequency bands to meet the new spectrum requirements for 5G.

 

Besides, the possibilities will be jointly explored on services and applications for 5G, especially in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) which connects traditional devices, including home appliances, to the Internet. Commenting that China will have a substantial role in establishing a 5G global standard, the EU said both sides will jointly promote global standardization for 5G. "Under this agreement, EU companies, particularly the EU telecoms and ICT (Information and communications technology) industry are likely to have easier access to the Chinese market," the press release said. "In particular, European companies will be able to access and participate in China's publicly funded 5G research, development and innovation initiatives on the same terms as Chinese companies currently participate in the EU's 5G activities." The EU stressed that the agreement is "very timely" as the 5G standardization race will start already in 2016 together with discussions on spectrum requirements for 5G that should culminate during the World Radio Conference 2019. The EU's executive body, the European Commission, is investing 700 million euros (782 million U.S. dollars) through the Horizon 2020 Programme to support research and innovation in 5G and has signed similar agreements with the Republic of Korea and Japan in recent months.         

From http://www.news.cn/ 09/28/2015

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Robotic Capabilities to Get Big Boost

 

The Beijing municipal people’s government is looking to harness its strengths in intelligent robotic technologies to make the region a powerhouse in technology innovation. According to a plan issued by the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission in June, Beijing will utilize its technology and innovation strengths in robotics to promote industrial transformation and upgrading. The main goal is to master a batch of international cutting-edge and core technologies and manufacturing techniques, develop key components and form a perfect technology innovation system of intelligent robots by 2020, to support the synergetic and innovative development of Beijing’s intelligent robotics industry. The State Council has unveiled the “Made in China 2025” plan, which seeks to transform China from a manufacturing giant into a global manufacturing power. The plan focuses on setting up a manufacturing innovation center and boosting intelligent manufacturing. It states that the robotics industry is a key area in the development of China’s manufacturing industry. Robotics is the core of intelligent manufacturing, and China has already embraced the technology in a big way. At present, China has more than 500 robotics companies. Beijing has already achieved the world’s most advanced level in humanoid robots, formal verification of operating system and other key robotic technologies. It is already a leader in specialized robots and medical health service robots in China and has a complete and intelligent robot innovation chain in place, ranging from research to production. Based on the Beijing plan, structural design, operating system, artificial intelligence, key components, safety and reliability and other key technologies in robotics are expected to see renewed impetus.

 

Packaging techniques for intelligent robots and equipment and integration levels in automatic production line system will also be improved. Wang Tianmiao, director of the robotics institute at Beihang University, said: “Beijing has an advantage in developing service robots and we should focus on basic research including human-machine co-fusion, intelligence and safety ... strengthen international cooperation of intelligent robots and the establishment of an industrial design and manufacturing center.” At the same time, the capital will also promote the application of service robots, including dedicated service robots and home-service robots. Robots will also “take up positions” in logistics, rescue, custody, medical treatment, elderly care and rehabilitation industries by forming three to five robot industry demonstration bases gradually. Furthermore, universities, research institutes and enterprises will be encouraged to use their own resources to build three to five technology innovation service platforms for intelligent robots and promote international technological breakthroughs in medical and health services. What is more, up to five industrial clusters for robots with distinctive features will be set up in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei region. Officials from the Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission said technology innovation and transformation of intelligent robots will boost the automation, networking and intelligence capabilities of manufacturing equipment and enhance overall manufacturing strength.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 09/28/2015

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‘Internet Plus’ Tops China’s Economy Driver Survey

 

In a survey conducted by People’s Tribune magazine, “Internet Plus” was listed as the new top economic driver ahead of “new type of urbanization” and “mass entrepreneurship and innovation”. The recent survey covered 5,466 people, including Party and government cadres, specialists and academics, business leaders and the general public.  About 60 percent of the interviewees believed that the driving force behind development “has improved”.  The survey came after Premier Li Keqiang’s remarks about the economy at the Summer Davos in Dalian in September. “The Chinese economy is going through a transition with traditional drivers being replaced by new ones. ... This is a painful and challenging process. Ups and downs in growth are hardly avoidable,” the Premier said in the speech. He also noted that the economy will not experience a “hard landing”.

 

Opportunity for transformation

Respondents were asked to consider nine options as new drivers propping up the economy, and list them according to the level of their effect.  Every single option offered in the survey was chosen, but “Internet Plus”, “new type of urbanization” and “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” emerged as the top three. In fact, “Internet Plus” has become the hot phrase of the year ever since the Premier mentioned it in the government work report for the first time. The Premier also noted the huge market and appeal of the Internet in China as the country has nearly 700 million Internet users. Tapping into the knowledge and experience of the general public can result in major achievements and efforts should be made to use this resource of hundreds of millions of people via the Internet, according to Premier Li.

 

The new driver of development 

The release of the survey coincided with the Premier’s inspection tour to Henan province, where he was once governor, and his schedule highlighted the importance he placed on the top three drivers. The development of the Zhengdong New District in Zhengzhou, Henan, is a successful example of promoting urbanization, as it has provided the experience for developing a new type of urbanization that conforms to China’s conditions. Three examples in the province stand out. A large equipment manufacturer achieved remarkable progress in mass entrepreneurship and innovation; a cold-chain logistics company has created many new development patterns through crowd-funding and “Internet Plus”; and a newly-established cross-border e-commerce platform has realized sales revenue of more than 700 million yuan with about 100 employees. All these examples left a lasting impression on the Premier. It has been less than a year since the Premier first put forward “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” at the Summer Davos in Tianjin, but since then it has gained momentum across the country. The word “maker” has also joined the language of commerce after appearing on the government work report.

 

The Premier sees “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” as a “new driver” of the economy, praising its potential on many occasions. Despite the growing downward pressure faced by the economy, more than 60 percent of the respondents believe that China’s development driver “has become stronger”. As the People’s Tribune magazine said, a stable driving foundation is important for a country’s development, however, whether its people are optimistic about the country’s future development or not will also exert an influence on future economic and social development. In recent years, some sections of the foreign media have been making pessimistic comments about China as the economy transformed from high-speed growth to mid-to-high growth. However, it is encouraging that the survey showed that such voices had not affected the public’s rational expectations for the economy, the magazine said.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 10/08/2015

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Pay System, E-commerce a Good Measure of Spending

 

Transaction data from China UnionPay and Alibaba could be used as a gauge for the strength of China’s expanding service and consumption sector, economists said, as traditional indicators become increasingly irrelevant. UnionPay handles transactions for almost all of the nation’s bank cards, while Alibaba runs the country’s largest online sales platform. An index developed by Alibaba showed consumer prices in August quickening more than the government’s official reading, while the Tsinghua-UnionPay Advisors Indices of spending at luxury hotels in China rose to a record in August. Both contrast with the Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, which slid to 47.2 in Septembersignaling a contraction in the sectorthe lowest since March 2009. While China’s traditional growth engines of manufacturing and investment sputtered, the resilient service sector held up the overall economy that otherwise would have fallen precipitously. However, while there are various, frequently updated indicators for traditional growth engines, economists are largely left in dark about how healthy the service sector is due to the insufficiency of reliable data. This is a major reason why China’s second quarter GDP data encountered huge skepticism, given the vast incongruence between it and the sagging industrial production data. Chinese officials are quick to rebuke the outdated fixation on these “old-engine” data as the economy is undergoing a profound structural changeshifting away from investment and manufacturing to consumption and service. For services, the most relevant official monthly data are retail sales, but economists fret over the flatness of the indicator, which doesn’t reflect the volatility of prices. Another widely-recognized indicator is the nonmanufacturing Purchasing Managers Index released by official and private agencies.

 

However, analysts said the PMI is based on surveys of purchasing managers, and the sampling of different enterprises can affect the reading. For example, official and private PMI results often suggest different directions in the economy, as the former is based more on large State firms while the latter focuses more on small private firms. “There is always a conflict between the official PMI and private PMI,” said Gan Jie, a finance professor with the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, adding that the question remains whether the economy is getting better or worse. Gan said compared to industrial firms, the service sector is much more diverse and heterogeneous, and so gauging it in the same way is difficult. “Input of industrial firms is homogeneous, such as electricity. Other metrics such as new orders, inventory levels, supplier deliveries, can be applied to firms in various industries. In the service sector it is difficult to find indicators that simultaneously apply to education, healthcare and tourism,” she said. To grasp the monthly fluctuation of China’s GDP, Morgan Stanley analysts developed a “headline indicator” that factored in six indicators: electricity production, steel production, fiscal revenue, imports and exports, and car sales. These alternative indicators, they believe, tell more about the real state of the economy than GDP. Another widely-used indicator is the “Li Keqiang index”, a method inspired by the Premier’s way of gauging the real economy that factors in bank loans, electricity production and railway freight volume. The attempt to develop a similar headline indicator in the service sector is still under way. “We are desperately looking for ways to gauge the service sector. The problem is they lack reliable, high-frequency subindexes in this area,” said Qiao Hong, chief China economist for Morgan Stanley.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 10/15/2015

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E-commerce Giants Speed Up Rural Expansion

 

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it is moving faster in its rural market expansion by opening Guizhou province's first county operation and service center in Yinjiang county, which is seen as a breakthrough in its rural e-commerce strategy for western China, and a new era in online business for the relatively poor province. This is also a part of the State's deployment and development of rural electronic commerce to increase consumption, because China's unbalanced urban-rural development has come with enormous barriers but also bright opportunities for online shopping for enterprises such as Alibaba and JD who are in now a furious race to dominate the rural market. The State Council and ministries also have their action plans and guidelines that emphasize the importance of agricultural products and agricultural production, with the central government budget for 2015 earmarking 2-billion yuan ($31.5 million) for the development of rural e-commerce in the mid-western parts of China. The Alibaba Group's research division, AliResearch, shows a rural online market in 2014 worth more than 180-billion yuan, which is expected to reach 460 billion yuan in the coming year, while experts from the Bank of China's investment banking division, BOC International, put the value of agricultural produce and production in rural areas in the trillions of yuan. Some experts say that the use of computers and smart phones and the mobile Internet in rural areas make them a "blue ocean" and a gold mine, while the China Internet Network Information Center reports that, as of December 2014, there were 649 million rural people with Internet access, or nearly 31 percent of the total rural areas.

 

In considering all of this, Alibaba, Asia's largest online retailer, has announced plans to put 10-billion yuan into 1,000 county service centers and 10,000 village centers nationwide in 3 - 5 years and, in a letter to shareholders, Jack Ma, the group's executive chairman, explained that globalization, rural markets and big data are the three pillars of growth for the future. Meanwhile, JD, China's second largest online retailer, is showing a firm hand in settling its own service centers in counties across the country, with the number of centers expected to go above 500 this year. Wang Bingnan, an assistant commerce minister, comments, "Rural e-commerce will bring peasants convenience, employment, and entrepreneurships," then adds that JD's rural e-commerce this year involved thousands of people and that Guizhou is making itself the State's e-commerce center by following its plan of accelerated rural development.         

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 10/28/2015

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New Online Services Have Tougher Time Fundraising

 

Ding Jinlin has earned more than 200 five-star ratings from her customers since June after registering as a part-time ayi, or housekeeper, through an online tool that helps connect people with service providers. The tool for booking housekeepers, located at 58.com, works something like Uber, the taxi-hailing app. The customer pays a fee up front when scheduling a housekeeper, and the worker keeps all the money earned on a job. Ding said she earned more than 8,000 yuan ($1,258) in September. The average salary of business employees in Beijing was 6,463 yuan in 2014. The website this month adjusted the service fees for all ayi with a "gold rating", such as Ding, from 35 yuan per hour to 25 yuan to attract more orders. That means she can only earn 5,710 yuan if she worked the same number of hours as last month. Rapidly growing online-to-offline services enjoyed skyrocketing growth in the first few months of this year thanks to abundant capital in the industry, which allows online service providers to ignore commissions from its users and provide subsidies. However, analysts have warned that startups now need to tighten their purses because fundraising is likely to become more difficult as investors have become more cautious after the big fluctuations of the stock market earlier this year and a slower-growing economy.

 

Shen Lingkun, an analyst with market research company Zero2IPO Group, said venture capitalists have tightened their investments in the third quarter. The total number of venture capital investment transactions during the quarter in China was 716, a decline of 20.4 percent compared to the previous quarter. The Internet industry attracted 257 transactions, followed by IT and the telecommunication industry. The three accounted for about 66 percent of the total capital investment in the third quarter. China's largest online ride-booking company, Didi Kuaidi, raised $3 billion of fresh investment through its latest fundraising round, which is by far the world's largest transaction for a non-listed company. Didi recently cut its subsidies to registered drivers and passengers despite its abundant cash flow. New emerging business models also face regulatory uncertainties that could greatly increase costs. One example is recent draft rules released by the Ministry of Transport that require car-hailing service providers to sign labor contracts with the drivers. Wang Yumei, a senior analyst with Huatai Securities Co, said at a recent forum that most O2O service providers are the cash burning type that require a round of fundraising every three months. Cash-burning startups should spend more efforts on improving the customer experience and optimize their business models, she said.         

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 10/28/2015

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China Ranks No. 1 in Global Online Retail Trade

 

China’s online retail trade now ranks first in the world and the number of Internet shoppers has surpassed 360 million, the China Internet Network Information Center reported on Oct 29. The Internet has been a boon to China’s economy, contributing 7 percent to the country’s GDP last year, said the center’s report, which reviewed the Web industry’s influence on the economy over the past five years. Retail trade online more than doubled to 2.79 trillion yuan ($438 billion) in 2014, the report said, pushing China past the United States as the biggest online market in the world. Sales in the electronics industry, which includes smartphones and cloud storage services, also were driven by the Internet from 2011 to 2014, the report said. Mobile networks have taken the place of computers as the entry point for users surfing the Web over the past five years. By 2014, China had 594 million netizens using mobile networks, up nearly 90 percent year-on-year, it said. The report also noted there are currently more than 4 million application stores, helping users to shop, search and book tickets through their mobile terminals.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 10/29/2015

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China Builds Asia's 1st Big Data Base for Int'l Shipping

 

The first big data base for international shipping will be established in east China's port city of Qingdao. The 5 billion yuan (787 million U.S. dollars) project includes a big data exchange, a research academy, an industrial park and a big data center, according to an official with the Qingdao International Shipping Service Center. The center signed a strategic agreement to jointly develop the base with AsiaInfo, a leading provider of high-quality software and solutions in China, at an international ocean forum held here on Friday. "The construction of the base will push the modernization of Qingdao's shipping industry and its integration with information technologies," said the official. The container throughput of Qingdao Port ranks fourth in the country. Qingdao is also one of China's seven international cruise home ports.       

From http://www.news.cn/ 10/31/2015

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Online Shoppers Finding a Lot to Complain About

 

Most complaints made by Chinese consumers last year were about online shopping, a report from China's top legislative body said on Monday. The number of complaints and disputes related to shopping on the Internet rose sharply and the network has become a breeding ground for counterfeits, the report by a law enforcement team under the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress said. In 2014, Chinese industrial and commercial authorities dealt with 78,000 complaints concerning online shopping, up 356.6 percent year-on-year. Of the total of 20,135 cases taken on by consumer associations, 92.3 percent concerned online purchases, the report said. Yan Junqi, vice-chairwoman of the NPC Standing Committee, said: "Ignoring consumers' rights and selling counterfeits are very prominent in the online shopping industry." She revealed that just 58.7 percent of products sold online were found to be authentic during a random inspection in 2014 by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. With the boom in complaints, the number of disputes caused by online purchases also went up, she said. Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court has handled 107 such disputes since the revised Chinese Consumer Protection Law took effect on March 15 last year, she said. A typical example, from Anhui province's financial website, described how a woman surnamed Xu paid a 2,000 yuan ($316) deposit before she bought sanitary ware priced 1,000 yuan cheaper online than she could find elsewhere. But when it was delivered, Xu found it was poor quality and she was told the deposit could not be repaid because it was a sale product. Yan suggested that the Supreme People's Court should clarify the revised law by the end of this year and appealed to consumer associations to play their role. Qiu Baochang, head of the lawyers' group for the China Consumers' Association, said: "We are always overloaded with work since the revised law came into effect. "We have asked officers to update their knowledge of the law and how the online industry works, including means of payment, to catch up with the pace at which e-commerce is developing."          

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 11/03/2015

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JD.com Asks for Promo Probe into Alibaba

 

China's second-largest e-commerce company JD.com Inc said it has sent a letter of complaint to a Chinese anti-trust regulator and formally requested an investigation into rival Alibaba Group. The complaint concerns a State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) regulation that forbids e-commerce platforms from limiting or barring their merchants from participating in promotions on other platforms. The regulation came into effect on October 1. JD.com said in its letter that it has received information from merchants indicating that Alibaba, which dominates Chinese e-commerce, is "forcing merchants" to choose to exclusively deal with one e-commerce site during promotional activities. If merchants choose to participate in certain promotional activities on Alibaba's Tmall website during the upcoming Singles Day online shopping event on November 11, they "are not permitted" to participate in other platforms' activities, otherwise "Alibaba will carry out punishment or sanctions," JD.com said after it had been informed by sellers on its website. Alibaba spokesman Rico Ngai said: "We strongly deny the accusations. Alibaba welcomes competition as it benefits consumers, merchants and service providers." No one with the authority to speak on behalf of SAIC was available for comment. If the SAIC does launch an investigation and finds the company has violated regulations, it could be punished according to the country's laws governing antitrust and unfair competition. JD.com said Alibaba's behavior has "harmed merchants' interests" and "not only obstructed normal market competition, but also seriously harmed consumers' interests."

 

The two companies are bitter rivals in Chinese e-commerce, with little love lost between their founders. If the SAIC does investigate, it would not be Alibaba's first tussle with the regulator. In January, the SAIC published a so-called "white paper" report on its website, criticizing Alibaba for not doing enough to suppress widespread counterfeiting on its websites. The company's shares fell more than 8 percent on the day after the report. Two days after the report went up on the website the regulator retracted it, saying that it was not an official "white paper" and that it did not carry any legal force. An Alibaba spokesman said at the time that the company felt vindicated. Tensions have come to a head in the run-up to China’s annual Singles Day event, the world's biggest online shopping bonanza. Alibaba said sales of over US$9 billion were done at last year's event. The event is closely scrutinized, and in April Alibaba was fined 800,000 yuan (US$126,192) by the price bureau in Zhejiang Province for violations by third-party sellers during the promotions.          

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 11/04/2015

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China Targets Telecom Reform, Merger Plans Remain Unconfirmed

 

China’s industry regulator will continue studying reforms in the telecom sector to figure out the next step, but has not taken any action toward the reported consolidation of telecom companies, a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology spokesman said. “The development of a company is decided by the market,” spokesman Zheng Feng said during a press conference, refusing to elaborate on the topic. His remarks came after media reports that the government is considering pushing forward mergers for the country’s three state-owned telecom service providers to improve efficiency and accelerate modernization of the information sector. Although the reports still lack official confirmation, related companies listed in the A-share market have started to react. China Unicom, one of the telecom giants, hit the 10-percent daily growth cap during morning trade. The three operators, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, exchanged executives in August, the first such adjustment in a decade. The companies posted combined profits of 110 billion yuan (around $17 billion) in the first three quarters of the year. China will promote reforms in the telecom sector and further open it to private investors in the next five years, according to proposals released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on formulating the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) for national economic and social development.         

From http://www.gov.cn/ 11/05/2015

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National Agricultural E-commerce Platform Set Up

 

China launched a national e-commerce platform on Thursday to serve rural areas through supply and sales of agricultural products. Set up by All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, www.gxyj.com, aims to match supply and demand of daily consumer products, agricultural production materials and produce via online to offline cooperation. Users can trade online and use services