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

Spring 2017 Issue 57

 

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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说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif CHINA: Announcing Cybersecurity Strategy

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说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif MEXICO: Reforms Are Starting to Bear Fruit, but Further Action Is Needed to Boost Productivity and Ensure More Inclusive Growth, OECD Says

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说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gifViệt Nam’s Top 10 ICT Milestones of 2016

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说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif INDIA: Internet Penetration - Making Sense of the Numbers

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P说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif PAKISTAN: 3G/4G Can Transform Insurance Sector

 

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说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif AUSTRALIA: ATO Says Long Way to Go Before IT Systems Stable

说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif Magnets Could Be 'Smaller, Cheaper, More Agile' Than Fibre Optics

说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: 说明: http://www.unpan.org/information/RCOCI%20GovernanceWatch/images/new/dot.gif NEW ZEALAND: Digital Divide Is Alive and Well, Survey Finds

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GLOBAL: 10 Tips to Share on Data Privacy Day

 

Online harassment and cyber bullying are real. And, some groups, such as women, are targeted more than others. Sadly, who you are affects how you are treated by others online, as well as offline.A powerful way to counter online abuse, threats and violence is to share our knowledge with each other. So, to mark this year’s International Data Privacy Day, the Internet Society would like to share with you 10 tips to protect yourself and others online:Know the terrain. The Internet is a powerful tool for communication. Learn how to use the Internet, keep your eyes open for good and bad actors, and make the most of what the Internet offers.Keep your private life private. Keep your personal information separate from your professional role. Use different personas for different roles.Protect communications. Use end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication for confidential communications.Obscure your location. Remove location data from images and videos before posting. Turn off application access to location. Don’t disclose your location in public posts.Guard your devices. They’re more precious than any jewels. Protect them from both physical and digital tampering. Use encryption and strong access credentials.Prepare for an attack. Find allies and prepare a plan for dealing with online harassment, doxing and other forms of abuse. Don’t feed the trolls! They don’t deserve your attention.

 

Stand firm. Don’t let cyber bullies undermine what you are doing. Show them you are not afraid. Others will stand with you. Be willing to ask for help.Beware of Trojan horses. Look out for spear-phishers. Check before connecting with someone new. If something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t!Lead. Share your experience with others. Let people know that you are there to help.Protect others. If you host user-generated content, prevent users from posting derogatory or other abusive messages. Help remove personal information that has been exposed to hurt someone. Report offendersShare these tips with someone close to you! And don’t sit by when you see abuse on social media. Offer a helping hand.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 01/28/2017

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More Than 50 Internet Shutdowns in 2016

 

Governments around the world shut down the internet more than 50 times in 2016 – suppressing elections, slowing economies and limiting free speech.In the worst cases internet shutdowns have been associated with human rights violations, DejiOlukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at digital rights organisation Access Now told IPS.“What we have found is that internet shutdowns go hand in hand with atrocities” said Olukotun.“In Ethiopia there’s been consistent blocking this year of social media and internet.” Dozens of people have died in protests in Ethiopia in 2016, “many of them during the kind of blackout where it’s difficult to report on what’s happening,” he said.Several leaders used internet shutdowns to affect democratic processes, including elections.“In Uganda in February 2016 there was a shutdown of social media networks by President Museveni and that again happened in Gambia (in December) surrounding the election,” Olukotun added.In other cases, three governments chose to shut down the internet because they thought that it would stop students from cheating on their exams, he said.“On the whole most governments want to expand internet access,” -- DejiOlukotun, Access Now

 

However governments do not seem to have taken into account the potential repercussions of the shutdowns, beyond the limits of free speech.According to a recent Brookings Institute paper internet shutdowns cost countries 2.4 billion dollars in 2015.The biggest losses were in India, $968 million, Saudi Arabia, $465 million and Morocco which lost $320 million. According to Brookings these are conservative estimates which only take into account reductions in economic activity and not tax losses or drops in investor confidence.However while many governments chose to limit internet access in 2016, many others invested billions in expanding internet access.“On the whole most governments want to expand internet access,” said Olukotun. “Many of them see it as an opportunity to participate in the global economy and be competitive.”Olukotun noted that there were many ways that internet access can be limited, beyond state-sanctioned shutdowns.“It’s important that the internet that people do get online to gives them access to the whole internet and it’s not just a walled garden,” he said.

 

Olukotun added that shutdowns were happening more often and that governments were employing more sophisticated methods to ensure that internet users could not get around the shutdowns. While internet users in Uganda were able to use Virtual Private Networks to get around shutdowns earlier this year, other governments have used more sophisticated and targeted methods to disrupt the internet of certain groups.In other cases governments banned specific social media networks.When it comes to shutdowns, Olukotun said that one way to stop them is for internet providers to resist government demands.“Telecommunications companies can push back on government orders, or at least document them to show what’s been happening, to at least have a paper trail,” he said.He also noted that international organisations such as the International Telecommunications Union – the UN agency for information and communication technologies – could also do more by issuing statements in response to specific incidents.

From http://www.ipsnews.net/ 01/06/2017

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European Commission Outlines Next Steps Towards a European Data Economy

 

The European Commission proposed today policy and legal solutions to unleash EU's data economy, as part of its Digital Single Market strategy presented in May 2015. The Commission is addressing this issue because the EU is currently not making the most of its data potential. To change that, it is necessary to address unjustified restrictions to the free movement of data across borders as well as several legal uncertainties. The Communication presented today outlines policy and legal solutions to unleash Europe's data economy. The Commission also launched two public consultations and a debate with Member States and stakeholders to define the next steps. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "Data should be able to flow freely between locations, across borders and within a single data space. In Europe, data flow and data access are often held up by localisation rules or other technical and legal barriers. If we want our data economy to produce growth and jobs, data needs to be used. But to be used, it also needs to be available and analysed. We need a coordinated and pan-European approach to make the most of data opportunities, building on strong EU rules to protect personal data and privacy."

 

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Data is the fuel of the new economy. To ensure that Europe is successful in the new era of the industrial economy, we need a solid and predictable framework for data flow within the Single Market. Clear data access, security and liability rules are key for European companies, SMEs and start-ups to fully grasp the growth potential of the Internet of Things. Instead of building digital borders we should focus on building a European data economy that is fully integrated to and competitive within the global data economy." In the Communication, the Commission also proposed to interested Member States to get involved in cross-border projects exploring emerging data issues in a real life situation. Some projects on cooperative connected and automated mobility (CAD) that allow vehicles to connect with each other and with roadside infrastructure are already underway in some Member States. The Commission wants to build on these projects and test out the regulatory implications of access to and liability of data.

 

The EU data economy was estimated at 272 billion in 2015 (annual growth of 5.6%) and could employ 7.4 million people by 2020. Data can be used to improve almost every aspect of daily life, from business analysis to weather forecasting, from new era in medicine enabling personalised care, to safer roads and fewer traffic jams. This is why the Commission's Communication emphasises the role of free flow of data in the EU. In addition, studies point to numerous legal or administrative restrictions, mainly in the form requirements of national data localisation that constrain the entire EU data market. Removing these restrictions could generate up to 8 billion in GDP a year (study). All these initiatives are based on strong rules to protect personal data (the General Data Protection regulation adopted last year) and to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications (see today's proposal on ePrivacy), since trust is the foundation on which the data economy must be built.

 

The General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) fully regulates the processing of personal data in the EU, including machine generated or industrial data that identifies or makes identifiable a natural person. By setting uniform high standards of data protection, it ensures the free flow of personal data in the EU. However, the GDPR does not cover non-personal data when they are industrial or machine generated, or obstacles to the movement of personal data based on other reasons than the protection of personal data, e.g. under taxation or accounting laws.

 

In order to make the most of data for the European economy, the Commission will:

Engage in structured dialogues with Member States and stakeholders to discuss the proportionality of data localisation restrictions. The goal is also to collect further evidence on the nature of these restrictions and their impact on businesses, especially SMEs and startups, and public sector organisations.

Launch, where needed and appropriate, enforcement actions and, if necessary, take further initiatives to address unjustified or disproportionate data location restrictions.

The Commission has also looked at legal uncertainties created by emerging issues in the data economy and seeks views on possible policy and legal responses regarding:

Data access and transfer. Wide use of non-personal machine-generated data can lead to great innovations, startups and new business models born in the EU. Liability related to data-based products and services. The current EU liability rules are not adapted to today's digital, data-driven products and services. Data portability. Portability of non-personal data is currently complicated, for example, when a business wants to move large amounts of company data from one cloud service provider to another.

 

Background

Today's initiatives will contribute to removing remaining obstacles within the Single Market, as called by the European Council in December 2016 (conclusions). With the backing of the European Parliament and Member States, the Digital Single Market should be completed as soon as possible. Today's initiatives will help shaping the future policy agenda on the European data economy. The consultation on building the European data economy will run until 26 April 2017 and feed into the Commission's possible future initiative on the European Data Economy later in 2017. The consultation on evaluating Directive on liability for defective products will run until 26 April 2017. They target producers, collectors, and potential and actual users of non-personal data, especially raw machine or sensor-generated data. This includes businesses of all sizes, manufacturers and users of connected devices, operators and users of online platforms, data brokers, public authorities, non-governmental organisations, research organisations and consumers.

From http://europa.eu/ 01/11/2017

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LATIN AMERICA: Caribbean Turns to Apps for E-Government Strategy

 

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbeans will roll out five mobile apps as part of its e-government thrust. The apps will provide information on consumer affairs; crime prevention; information service; government-supported events; and include listings of the government directory. These will be officially launched on February 15. The Consumer Affairs app will provide information on where to get the best food prices. “You go on that app and you can find every bit of information you want in terms of prices and so on. So before you leave home you could determine I’m going there or here because I get the best price here on this particular item”, Ambassador Sydney Osborne – Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Government’s second anniversary celebrations – told Working For You, a weekly government radio talk show.

 

The Crime Prevention app allows residents to report potential and criminal activities, and get crime prevention tips, while the Information Service app will publish “all the information you want in terms of government publications”, he said. Saint Kitts and Nevis ranked 94th place in the 2016 United Nations e-government survey. Other Caribbean nations are also building mobile apps as a key part of their digital strategy. Last year, the Jamaica Constabulary Force rolled out Stay Alert, an app for users to send alerts to the police during emergencies, and receive tips and news updates from the task force. Further afield, the Bandung city government in Indonesia has set a similar approach – mandating 300 apps to be built each year. Officials believe that this is the more effective way to reach out to its citizens as a majority of them use smartphones. But the UK has banned the creation of mobile apps because they are “very expensive to produce, and they’re very very expensive to maintain… you have to keep updating them when there are software changes”, Ben Terrett – former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service – told GovInsider. The UK was ranked in first place in the 2016 UN e-government rankings.

From https://govinsider.asia/ 02/13/2017

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CHINA: Announcing Cybersecurity Strategy

 

China's top Internet regulator released a cyberspace security strategy on Tuesday, advocating peace, security, openness, cooperation and order. The government will guarantee cyberspace sovereignty and national security, protect information infrastructure and act against cyber terror and crimes, according to the 15-page strategy released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Rules and their imposition will be improved and international cooperation expanded.

 

SOVEREIGNTY

Cyberspace is a new frontier as important as any other. "Cyberspace sovereignty is an important part of state sovereignty," the strategy reads. All countries should be respected in their Internet development and management, playing equal parts in a cyberspace governance without hegemony or double standards. China will use whatever means necessary -- scientific, technological, legal, diplomatic or military -- to ensure cyberspace sovereignty. No attempt to use the Internet to undermine or overturn China's national regime or sabotage sovereignty will be tolerated.

 

OPEN MARKET

China is home to the world's largest online population. About 700 million people in China use the Internet to study, make purchases, work and access public services. In this context, protecting critical information infrastructure and important data is crucial. Products, services and companies used by government institutions will be subject to security checks and vetting. Service producers and other organizations will not be allowed to take advantage of privileged information or technology to compete unfairly or harm users' interests. "This does not mean that we will refuse foreign products or services," said Zhao Zeliang, director of the CAC cybersecurity coordination bureau. "Our requirements of security and controllability are not meant to raise barriers to foreign enterprises," he told a press conference at the release of the strategy. "The market will be open and transparent."

 

INT'L COOPERATION

China will participate in dialogues and exchanges in cybersecurity; help establish international norms and anti-terror pacts; and improve judicial collaboration. International cooperation will be enshrined in policy, law, technology, standards, emergency response and security infrastructure. Every assistance will be extended to developing countries as they build information infrastructure. Lu Jianwen, in charge of cybersecurity at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said priority will be given to building Africa's information highway and cooperation in communication technology. China will be pleased to provide training in developing countries, he said.    

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/27/2016

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SOUTH KOREA: Science Ministry to Promote Strategic Industries in 2017

 

South Korea's science ministry said Friday it will nurture key strategic industries through helping aspiring entrepreneurs and scientists cope with the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the "fourth industrial revolution." In a policy plan briefing to Prime Minister and Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on its policy direction for 2017, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will secure various intelligence information technologies that characterize the fourth industrial revolution. The ministry designated 10 sectors, including the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, which are forecast to generate business opportunities and profits in the future. "The ministry will push forward these ambitious policies with an aim to lead the intelligence information society through innovation of science technology," ICT Minister Choi Yang-hee told reporters.

The goal of the projects is to boost the local economy by turning innovative ideas into businesses through science and technology, while generating business opportunities by converging different industries, the ministry said. In an effort to help scientists, the ministry said it will provide research funding of up to 30 million won ($25,000) per person to 1,000 young scientists this year. It will also continue to foster startups in 2017, including providing young jobseekers with an opportunity to work at venture firms for first-hand experience in launching a business. The ministry will continue to nurture 17 centers across the country that provide various kinds of support for aspiring entrepreneurs. There are concerns that the centers, a centerpiece of the "creative economy" policy initiated by President Park Geun-hye, are at risk amid a widening influence-peddling scandal surrounding the president and her confidante.

In an effort to overcome such worries, the ministry said it will invite more private experts and capital to match up with local startups and venture firms. Startups that lack an overseas marketing network can receive assistance from the ministry, which will provide legal and accounting services to tap strategic markets in Southeast Asia and East Europe. Also, the ministry said it will set up special funds with 150 billion won to help startups and venture firms in the science and technology sectors. The funds will be focused on establishing infrastructure for basic science and new-growth sectors, and on assisting venture firms. The ministry said it has newly allocated a budget worth 3.4 billion won for developing new medicines and another 2.4 billion won in developing medical instruments. The budgets are part of the ministry's effort to nurture the bio industry, which is viewed as the nation's next growth engine after IT.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 01/06/2017

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VIệT NAM: Top 10 ICT Milestones of 2016

 

The Viet Nam Information Technology Press Club this week issued a list of the top ten domestic information and communication technology (ICT) events of 2016.

 

1 Hackers attack Vietnamese airports and Vietnam Airlines

An alleged Chinese hacker group carries out several cyberspace attacks on Viet Nam’s two biggest airports, Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International airports, and the official website of the national flag-carrier Vietnam Airlines on July 29. The hackers also took control of the speaker system at Noi Bai airport for a few minutes, during which the speakers broadcast an English-speaking male voice distorting Viet Nam’s claims over the East Sea. The hackers claimed to be the 1937CN from China, which is one of the biggest hacker groups in the country. The official website of Vietnam Airlines, vietnamairlines.com, was hacked by the 1937CN group on the same day. The airline customer database was stolen and made public on the internet.

 

2 4G officially licensed

Minister of Information and Communications Trương Minh Tuấn this year granted licences for VNPT, Viettel, MobiFone and Gtel to provide 4G service on broadband 1,800 MHz. On November 3, VNPT officially launched its 4G service on Phú Quốc Island in the southern coastal province of Kiên Giang. This is the first locality in the country where VNPT is providing the 4G service.

 

3 PM approved scrapping Article 292

Article 292 of the Penal Code, which stipulates penalties, including prison sentences, for providing unlicensed online or telecom services, is inimical to IT start-ups. At the second session of the National Assembly, with the authorisation of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice asks to revoke Article 292. Previously, a petition calling for the scrapping of Article 292 was sent to officials, ministers and agencies and collected nearly 6,000 signatures after only one week.

 

4 VN mobile phone users pickpocketed

The Ha Noi Department of Information uncovered a case involving Sam Media, a Hong Kong-based company, which cooperated with four Vietnamese carriers to steal VND230 billion ($10 million) from 94,000 mobile users. These users received advertising messages from Sam Media, which they thought were free. After the case was uncovered, Sam Media was given a fine of VND55 million ($2,400).

 

5 Cyber attacks on major banks

The Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) is almost cheated out of US$1.13 million by international hackers in May. Fortunately, the bank detected the suspicious transactions in time and promptly contacted relevant agencies to stop the hackers. In August, a Vietcombank customer said she discovered that her account had notifications of transfer of VND500 million. At a meeting between the customer and Vietcombank, the bank found that she had browsed a scam website on her phone and the site had stolen her banking information and password. The cases indicats that hi-tech criminals are targeting banks and Vietnamese users who do not have experiences in information security.

 

6 Clamp down on pre-activated SIMs

Five mobile network providers - including Viettel, VNPT (VinaPhone), MobiFone, Gtel Mobile and Vietnammobile - sign a commitment on October 28 with the Ministry of Information and Communications to intensify the confiscation of pre-activated SIM cards in order to reduce spam text messages. More than 15 million pre-activated SIMs have been locked and retrieved since.

 

7 Dialing code changes

The dialing codes of all cities and provinces will be changed early next year, according to a decision by the Ministry of Information and Communications in November. The process will kick off after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays, on February 11. In the first phase, the calling codes of Sơn La, Lai Châu, Lào Cai, Điện Biên, Yên Bái, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng, Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh will be changed. Another 23 localities will get new codes on April 15. The final phase will be initiated on June 17 for the rest of the country.

 

8 2016 chosen to be National Startup Year

The Government chooses 2016 to be the National Startup Year. Promoting entrepreneurship based on innovation and building Viet Nam to become a startup nation is the fastest way to develop enterpreneurial forces, especially high-tech enterprises, creating breakthrough for the development of a digital economy.

 

9 Cyber-Information Security Law takes effect

The Law on Cyber Information Safety takes effect on July 1. The law comprises eight chapters and 54 articles prescribing the rights and responsibilities of offices, organisations and individuals in ensuring cyber information safety and civilian encryption.

 

10 Three mobile network providers cancel roaming charges

At the 9th Summit of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle Area (CLV 9), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc tasks Viettel with modernising the telecommunication networks of the three countries with 4G technology. He also asks Viettel to support the building of e-Government for the three countries and deploy phone calls  among subscribers in the three countries at domestic rates, which means cancelling roaming fees for subscribers in Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 12/31/2016

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INDIA: Uniquely Positioned to Benefit from Cloud in 2017


NEW DELHI: As enterprise cloud is expected to become the most secure place for IT processing with nearly 60 pct IT organisations to move their systems management to the cloud in 2017, India will be among top beneficiaries from cloud computing, US tech giant Oracle predicted on Tuesday. "India is uniquely positioned to benefit from cloud computing as cloud becomes an essential component of any organisations' IT and business strategies," Shailender Kumar, Managing Director at Oracle India, said in a statement. "Increased government spending on digital technologies, coupled with heightened demand from the private sector, continues to be a great boost for the industry," Kumar added. Not only the large firms, cloud will empower small business innovation in 2017 and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become a reality, Oracle said. The Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers -- equipped to take more responsibility and deliver the control tenants demand -- will be the one to drive cloud migration in 2017. According to Oracle, corporate-owned data centre numbers will fall 80 pct by 2025 and the same pct of IT spending will be devoted to cloud services.


The Redwood City, California-based company emphasised that data sovereignty, data privacy and control issues, that have deterred many organisations from pursuing cloud adoption, will be the things that draw new organisations to the cloud.With AI and robotics having carved out a niche in the manufacturing sector, the AI space is being fueled by the data explosion. This will witness the rise of intelligent applications that are behind many online shopping sites and on demand music services.Technological advancements will provide unprecedented opportunities for businesses to expand, innovate and create new value and empower small business innovation allowing them to innovate freely and carve out new markets.With the speculated launch of a new tool -- "Visual" or "low" coding, the developers will do more with less coding in 2017. This will enable quick, straightforward development and extension of enterprise applications, the compay said.

From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 02/06/2017

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AUSTRALIA: Innovation and Science Australia Calls for a More 'Urgent' Innovation Strategy

 

The independent body has said more work is needed to improve the country's innovation, science, and research system.Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) has said Australia is lagging behind international competitors and that there is a lot of work to be done in order to break into the top tier of innovative nations.As a result, the independent body charged with researching, planning, and advising the government on all science, research, and innovation matters has called for an increase in the sense of urgency around Australian innovation.The comments come following a performance review into Australia's current system, which highlighted that while it has points of strength, it is falling behind other nations.In conducting the review, Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System 2016, ISA determined the country's performance on three areas: How well Australia creates knowledge; how well the country transfers that knowledge to different parts of the system; and how well businesses apply knowledge in developing new goods and services and how it takes them to market."As a nation we're good at creating knowledge but simply not good enough at transferring or applying it," chair of Innovation Australia Bill Ferris said. "In both our number of researchers per capita and the proportion of highly-cited publications we produce, we sit in the top 10 internationally."Despite sitting in the top 10, Ferris said Australia is performing relatively poorly in terms of transferring its knowledge and ultimately applying it.

 

"It is these activities that create the types of new goods and services that not only improve our lives -- think breakthrough medical technologies, environmentally friendly productiontechniques, and new ways of growing and storing our food -- but also provide economic growth and sustainable jobs," he said.ISA's review suggested that Australia's poor performance in knowledge transfer and application may be partially explained by the country's low rates of collaboration and mobility among research institutions and businesses compared to the more innovative nations."The challenge of getting Australia into the top tier of innovation nations by 2030 must be seen as a significant national priority," Ferris said, noting that Australia has a predominantly incremental approach to innovation rather than a more radical approach, and as a result it is holding the country back.Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull established ISA in November 2015, announcing Ferris, the 45-year veteran of private equity, as the chairman to lead the future direction of the country's innovation.Former program director for the University of Melbourne's Carlton Connect initiative Dr Charles Day joined Ferris -- and Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, who was announced in March as deputy chair -- as ISA's CEO the following November.

 

The ISA board also consists of Maile Carnegie, ANZ group executive digital banking and former CEO of Google Australia & New Zealand; Scott Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Australian startup darling Atlassian; Daniel Petre from AirTree capital ventures; Paul Bassat, co-founder of SEEK and Square Peg Capital; Dr Chris Roberts from ResMed; and Dr Michele Allan, chancellor of Charles Sturt University.ISA is funded out of Turnbull's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, which was unveiled in December 2015 to incentivise innovation and entrepreneurship, reward risk taking, and promote science, maths, and computing in schools."Australia is falling behind on measures of commercialisation and collaboration, consistently ranking last or second last among OECD countries for business-research collaboration," Turnbull admitted at the time. "Our appetite for risk is lower than in comparable countries, which means Australian startups and early stage businesses often fail to attract capital to grow."Since the inception of the innovation and science agenda, the minister responsible has changed three times, with newly appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos assuming his new role last month.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/07/2017

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U.S.: IT Transformation Checklist - 10 Steps to Success

 

When launching a IT transformation project, there are some steps you definitely don't want to take, and 10 steps that could lead to success. Here’s how not to set forth on a major IT transformation project:

First, make sure that the new business strategy that’s triggering the transformation remains hazy, and not backed up by a coherent business plan on which all business units agree. Second, don’t clarify IT’s role in the project, or the technologies needed to meet the needs of the business. Third, assign responsibility for different aspects of the project to different groups, and allow them to proceed at their own individual pace. Fourth, assume that funding for the project will take care of itself at some point along the way.

 

Then go ahead and begin the project.

That’s how one company in our experience began a top-to-bottom transformation of its business and technology. The result, of course, was inevitable: After three years of thrashing around, and many stops and starts, the project was killed, with a dead loss of $55 million.As every CIO knows, all too many major projects turn out like this one. Indeed, the statistics on the success rates of major IT transformations are daunting. While outcomes have improved over the years, just 10 percent meet all their project goals on time and within budget. The rest either struggle or fail outright.Why? Companies downplay the complexity of such programs and the extent of the organizational and cultural changes required. So they underestimate the required investment in time, money, and talent, the need for careful planning and a detailed roadmap, and the potential risks involved. Yet they charge ahead anyway, with the inevitable poor results.

 

In reality, IT projects aren’t really all that different from any other endeavor, large or small. Readiness is all. So it’s critical for companies to conduct a reality check on just how prepared they are to embark on their transformation effort. In our experience, readiness is a matter of ensuring that the company has put in place 10 key requirements needed to make sure their project reaches its business and technology goals. These requirements should be set up as an operational checklist to be punched as each one is fully accomplished:

 

1. Develop a clear vision of the future state of IT. A coherent IT vision needs to be designed and mapped to the overall business strategy, including detailed descriptions of the business value to be achieved through the transformation. It is critical that the vision include the input, sponsorship, and support of senior management.

2. Clarify the business-IT relationship, governance policies, and structure. The relationship between IT and the business should be formalized through clearly laid out business and IT demand-management and decision-making mechanisms. The effort should be led by a single, accountable senior IT leader.

 

3. Define foundational needs and scope. The stability of existing foundational IT systems and competencies, and the scope and scale of the transformation must be clear at the outset. This clarity comes from a complete understanding of the work to be done, a detailed map of the expected changes, a clear project timeline, and a consistent approach to each of the elements, including infrastructure, enterprise architecture, applications, and data.

4. Develop a structured transformation approach and detailed plan. Companies should implement a program management office to oversee the transformation and monitor execution and ongoing results. It is the office’s job to develop a complete transformation plan that includes all technologies, their business impacts, dependencies, and known risks.

 

5. Ensure that the right leadership and talent are in place. A single day-to-day leader must be assigned to the transformation, who much ensure that the necessary project management and technology skills are in place.

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6. Define the approach to partnering and vendor management. Every transformation needs a strong vendor management function, skilled at analyzing the performance of all vendors and partners, and the quality of their deliverables. Organizations should make sure key vendors are in place to fill gaps and bring in needed capacity and expertise.

 

7. Guarantee the smooth flow of investment dollars. The funds needed to carry out the transformation must be available at the outset and throughout the project lifecycle. Funding must be available when needed to avoid any break in the momentum.

8. Develop a disciplined implementation methodology. The methods for executing the transformation, including enterprise architecture, application development, and data governance procedures, should be formalized and followed closely and consistently. Methods for conducting rapid test-and-learn cycles on new technologies and processes should be at the ready, including proof-of-concept exercises and pilots.

 

9. Prepare a sophisticated risk management approach. This should include the ability to identify near-, mid-, and long-term risks and their likelihood, through “what-if” scenario planning. Procedures for mitigating risk should also be in place.

10. Manage motivation, morale and change. Managing the motivation and morale of everyone affected by the transformation is essential. A complete vision of the company’s future state must be shared with all employees, while the IT-business team must be committed to working together and communicating freely, and resolving conflicts as they arise.

Following our IT transformation readiness checklist won’t guarantee success, but it will give you the confidence to set forth knowing that you are as well prepared as you can possibly be.

 

When launching a IT transformation project, there are some steps you definitely don't want to take, and 10 steps that could lead to success.

Here’s how not to set forth on a major IT transformation project:

First, make sure that the new business strategy that’s triggering the transformation remains hazy, and not backed up by a coherent business plan on which all business units agree. Second, don’t clarify IT’s role in the project, or the technologies needed to meet the needs of the business. Third, assign responsibility for different aspects of the project to different groups, and allow them to proceed at their own individual pace. Fourth, assume that funding for the project will take care of itself at some point along the way.

 

Then go ahead and begin the project.

That’s how one company in our experience began a top-to-bottom transformation of its business and technology. The result, of course, was inevitable: After three years of thrashing around, and many stops and starts, the project was killed, with a dead loss of $55 million.

 

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As every CIO knows, all too many major projects turn out like this one. Indeed, the statistics on the success rates of major IT transformations are daunting. While outcomes have improved over the years, just 10 percent meet all their project goals on time and within budget. The rest either struggle or fail outright.Why? Companies downplay the complexity of such programs and the extent of the organizational and cultural changes required. So they underestimate the required investment in time, money, and talent, the need for careful planning and a detailed roadmap, and the potential risks involved. Yet they charge ahead anyway, with the inevitable poor results.

 

In reality, IT projects aren’t really all that different from any other endeavor, large or small. Readiness is all. So it’s critical for companies to conduct a reality check on just how prepared they are to embark on their transformation effort. In our experience, readiness is a matter of ensuring that the company has put in place 10 key requirements needed to make sure their project reaches its business and technology goals. These requirements should be set up as an operational checklist to be punched as each one is fully accomplished:

 

1. Develop a clear vision of the future state of IT. A coherent IT vision needs to be designed and mapped to the overall business strategy, including detailed descriptions of the business value to be achieved through the transformation. It is critical that the vision include the input, sponsorship, and support of senior management.

2. Clarify the business-IT relationship, governance policies, and structure. The relationship between IT and the business should be formalized through clearly laid out business and IT demand-management and decision-making mechanisms. The effort should be led by a single, accountable senior IT leader.

 

3. Define foundational needs and scope. The stability of existing foundational IT systems and competencies, and the scope and scale of the transformation must be clear at the outset. This clarity comes from a complete understanding of the work to be done, a detailed map of the expected changes, a clear project timeline, and a consistent approach to each of the elements, including infrastructure, enterprise architecture, applications, and data.

4. Develop a structured transformation approach and detailed plan. Companies should implement a program management office to oversee the transformation and monitor execution and ongoing results. It is the office’s job to develop a complete transformation plan that includes all technologies, their business impacts, dependencies, and known risks.

 

5. Ensure that the right leadership and talent are in place. A single day-to-day leader must be assigned to the transformation, who much ensure that the necessary project management and technology skills are in place.

6. Define the approach to partnering and vendor management. Every transformation needs a strong vendor management function, skilled at analyzing the performance of all vendors and partners, and the quality of their deliverables. Organizations should make sure key vendors are in place to fill gaps and bring in needed capacity and expertise.

 

7. Guarantee the smooth flow of investment dollars. The funds needed to carry out the transformation must be available at the outset and throughout the project lifecycle. Funding must be available when needed to avoid any break in the momentum.

8. Develop a disciplined implementation methodology. The methods for executing the transformation, including enterprise architecture, application development, and data governance procedures, should be formalized and followed closely and consistently. Methods for conducting rapid test-and-learn cycles on new technologies and processes should be at the ready, including proof-of-concept exercises and pilots.

 

9. Prepare a sophisticated risk management approach. This should include the ability to identify near-, mid-, and long-term risks and their likelihood, through “what-if” scenario planning. Procedures for mitigating risk should also be in place.

10. Manage motivation, morale and change. Managing the motivation and morale of everyone affected by the transformation is essential. A complete vision of the company’s future state must be shared with all employees, while the IT-business team must be committed to working together and communicating freely, and resolving conflicts as they arise.

 

Following our IT transformation readiness checklist won’t guarantee success, but it will give you the confidence to set forth knowing that you are as well prepared as you can possibly be.

From http://www.informationweek.com/ 02/07/2017

 

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OECD Launches Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016

 

The OECD, together with the European Commission, will launch the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016 on Thursday 8 December at 9am CET. Journalists are welcome to attend a presentation of the report by OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Director Andrew Wyckoff at the Nowotny Auditorium. (Download the event agenda here.) The flagship biannual report looks at how new trends in government funding of science and technology research, emerging technologies and global megatrends like climate change and ageing populations will affect innovation. It also examines science, technology and innovation policy and performance in 50 countries. The STI Outlook 2016 along with 50 individual country profiles and 40 policy profiles will be available to registered journalists on the OECD's password-protected website at 09:00 CET on 8 December for immediate release. Create your MyOECD account here. Requests to receive the STI Outlook 2016 under embargo ahead of release time should be sent to Elvira.BERRUETA-IMAZ@oecd.org. Journalists requesting an electronic version in advance of the release time agree to respect OECD embargo conditions.

From http://www.oecd.org/ 12/07/2017

 

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World Bank Will Help Improve the National Statistical System for a Better Development Planning

 

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant of $2.5 million to support the national statistical system of Comoros. Parallel funding from the Government of Comoros and its development partners, including the UNFPA, AfDB, AFD, UNICEF and GAVI is $1 million.From 2011, the three-island state of 770,000 population started to undertake major reforms to improve the statistics system and set up an autonomous and independent National Institute of Statistics and Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED). However, the national statistical system of Comoros is still facing many challenges in terms of data collection, processing and dissemination.INSEED sets up the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics for 2015-19 to significantly improve the statistical system. This project will support the Strategy, and specifically the implementation, analysis and dissemination of the fourth Population and Housing Census, the implementation of the 2018-2019 Household Poverty and Living Standards Survey and will focus on building human capacity, particularly in processing National Accounts and price statistics, and upgrading the infrastructure in terms of IT equipment and software.

 

“Without recent and accurate data about the social, economic and demographic situation of the country, we cannot properly plan the development. Improving the national statistical system is crucial to a low-income and fragile state such as Comoros that is also facing limited resources and connection with the rest of the world. This project is thus directly aligned with the Country Partnership Strategy for 2014-2017,” said Nadia BelhajHassineBelghith, Task Team Leader of this project.The current available national accounts are based on the 1968 System of National Accounts (SNA) and the consumer price index only covers the capital city of Moroni. The national accounts do not properly capture the large informal segment of the economy while GDP estimates are based on rough assumptions and extrapolations. The Consumer Price Index measures are inaccurate and the inflation rate does not reflect on-the-ground reality in the different islands. The lack of quality and timely economic data not only affects the accuracy of economic performance assessments, but also compromises policy planning. This is further hampered by the lack of updated and comparable socioeconomic, demographic and poverty statistics, which adversely affects the targeting of social programs.

From http://www.worldbank.org/ 01/10/2017

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AFRICA: Kenya Electricity Expansion Project - World Bank Board Approves Action Plan for Inspection Panel Case

 

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors met today to discuss and approve the Action Plan that Bank management presented in response to the Inspection Panel investigation of the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP). KEEP was approved in May 2010 and aims to increase the capacity and efficiency of electricity supply, and to expand access to electricity in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. The project currently provides 280MW of low-cost green energy into Kenya’s national grid system. In November 2014, the Inspection Panel registered the Request for Inspection, submitted by members of the resettled Maasai community. Following Board authorization, the Panel undertook its investigation and issued its report outlining the findings. The Panel found noncompliance with Bank policies related to indigenous peoples and involuntary resettlement, and that some of the most vulnerable people experienced harms during the resettlement process. On October 20, 2015, the Board discussed the Panel’s Investigation Report and Management’s Report and Recommendation. The Board authorized the Bank’s participation in a mediation between the Requesters and the project implementing agency – Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen). Further, the Board requested Bank Management to return with an action plan for approval. [Oct 2015 press release]. The mediation process was facilitated by the Complaints Mechanism of the European Investment Bank, a co-financier of the project, and the Bank’s Grievance Redress Service. The mediation was successfully completed with a signed agreement between KenGen and the affected community in May 2016. The approved Action Plan was substantially informed by the mediation agreement and addresses issues identified by the Inspection Panel report [link]. The Action Plan also includes measures to verify affected individuals who have been left out from the resettlement process, improvements in the physical infrastructure of the resettlement site, and livelihood restoration. 

From http://www.worldbank.org/ 02/16/2017

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EUROPE: Parliament Marks Progress on Digital Content Proposal

 

November saw the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) finalise its Opinion report on the digital content proposal. The Opinion is non-binding and is meant to serve as an advisory document to the lead Committees, namely the Internal Market (IMCO) and Legal Affairs (JURI) Committees. It consists of a number of amendments to the original proposal tabled by the European Commission in December last year. Some of the more notable changes include removing recital language which specifically exempts data collected through the use of cookies from being used as a form of payment. The rules on 'reimbursing' data used instead of a monetary payment were, however, made even narrower than before. If a consumer finds that the supplier isn't in conformity with a contract concluded against a counter-performance of data, the consumer can request that their data which they have provided access to is returned to them, provided that the supplier still retains such data. Under the LIBE Opinion's amendments, this would only be a requirement if the consumer requests this.

 

The joint lead Committees also published their Draft Report on the digital content proposal on 7 November. Notably absent from the report are amendments to the articles giving rise to the so-called data reimbursement right. However, at this stage the Draft Report only contains amendments tabled by the two co-rapporteurs, Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) and Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, Germany). Other Members of the IMCO and JURI Committees can submit amendments until the 11th of January. The most impactful suggested change by the co-rapporteurs is to increase the scope of the proposal to any contracts for digital content concluded "in exchange for payment of a price and/or personal data or other data provided by the consumer or collected by the supplier or a third party in the interest of a supplier" [emphasis added]. After MEPs from the Committees submit their suggested amendments, the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs will debate on reaching compromise amendments. Once compromise has been reached the Committees will vote on whether to approve the report, which is scheduled for May 2017. If the Committees approve the Report, the European Parliament will vote in Plenary and use the Report as its negotiating position with the Council.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 12/01/2016

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IAB Europe Press Release: Proposed Eprivacy Regulation Fails to Improve Cookie Rules

 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe) is dismayed by the European Commission’s proposal for a new ePrivacy Regulation, the next iteration of the infamous cookie law. “The Commission had the perfect opportunity to prove it’s serious about better and smarter regulation by repealing an outdated and unnecessary cookie law,” said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe. “But instead, DG Connect has rammed through a proposal for yet more regulation before it was possible to determine whether new rules are really needed, given that the new data protection rules adopted only year ago addressing virtually the same subject matter are yet to be applied in practice.” “While the Commission finally acknowledged the important role of advertising for funding free content online, it does so at the same time as presenting a law that as a practical matter would undeniably damage the advertising business model – without achieving any real benefits for users from a privacy and data protection point of view” said Feehan. “People who thought cookie banners were annoying, will be disappointed to hear that things won’t get better,” Feehan warned. “Without significant improvements to the proposed text, users would have to actively change the settings of every single device and app they use, and more actively deal with constant requests for permission for the use of harmless cookies when visiting websites and using other digital services.” “We hope the co-legislators will assess this proposal on the merits and take good account of constructive industry suggestions that would better protect user privacy, while putting less of a burden on their time, attention and patience,” concluded Feehan.

From http://www.i-policy.org/ 01/10/2017

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European Commission Outlines Next Steps Towards a European Data Economy

 

The European Commission proposed today policy and legal solutions to unleash EU's data economy, as part of its Digital Single Market strategy presented in May 2015. The Commission is addressing this issue because the EU is currently not making the most of its data potential. To change that, it is necessary to address unjustified restrictions to the free movement of data across borders as well as several legal uncertainties. The Communication presented today outlines policy and legal solutions to unleash Europe's data economy. The Commission also launched two public consultations and a debate with Member States and stakeholders to define the next steps. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "Data should be able to flow freely between locations, across borders and within a single data space. In Europe, data flow and data access are often held up by localisation rules or other technical and legal barriers. If we want our data economy to produce growth and jobs, data needs to be used. But to be used, it also needs to be available and analysed. We need a coordinated and pan-European approach to make the most of data opportunities, building on strong EU rules to protect personal data and privacy."

 

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Data is the fuel of the new economy. To ensure that Europe is successful in the new era of the industrial economy, we need a solid and predictable framework for data flow within the Single Market. Clear data access, security and liability rules are key for European companies, SMEs and start-ups to fully grasp the growth potential of the Internet of Things. Instead of building digital borders we should focus on building a European data economy that is fully integrated to and competitive within the global data economy." In the Communication, the Commission also proposed to interested Member States to get involved in cross-border projects exploring emerging data issues in a real life situation. Some projects on cooperative connected and automated mobility (CAD) that allow vehicles to connect with each other and with roadside infrastructure are already underway in some Member States. The Commission wants to build on these projects and test out the regulatory implications of access to and liability of data.

 

The EU data economy was estimated at 272 billion in 2015 (annual growth of 5.6%) and could employ 7.4 million people by 2020. Data can be used to improve almost every aspect of daily life, from business analysis to weather forecasting, from new era in medicine enabling personalised care, to safer roads and fewer traffic jams. This is why the Commission's Communication emphasises the role of free flow of data in the EU. In addition, studies point to numerous legal or administrative restrictions, mainly in the form requirements of national data localisation that constrain the entire EU data market. Removing these restrictions could generate up to 8 billion in GDP a year (study). All these initiatives are based on strong rules to protect personal data (the General Data Protection regulation adopted last year) and to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications (see today's proposal on ePrivacy), since trust is the foundation on which the data economy must be built.

 

The General Data Protection regulation (GDPR) fully regulates the processing of personal data in the EU, including machine generated or industrial data that identifies or makes identifiable a natural person. By setting uniform high standards of data protection, it ensures the free flow of personal data in the EU. However, the GDPR does not cover non-personal data when they are industrial or machine generated, or obstacles to the movement of personal data based on other reasons than the protection of personal data, e.g. under taxation or accounting laws.

 

In order to make the most of data for the European economy, the Commission will:

Engage in structured dialogues with Member States and stakeholders to discuss the proportionality of data localisation restrictions. The goal is also to collect further evidence on the nature of these restrictions and their impact on businesses, especially SMEs and startups, and public sector organisations.

Launch, where needed and appropriate, enforcement actions and, if necessary, take further initiatives to address unjustified or disproportionate data location restrictions.

The Commission has also looked at legal uncertainties created by emerging issues in the data economy and seeks views on possible policy and legal responses regarding:

Data access and transfer. Wide use of non-personal machine-generated data can lead to great innovations, startups and new business models born in the EU. Liability related to data-based products and services. The current EU liability rules are not adapted to today's digital, data-driven products and services. Data portability. Portability of non-personal data is currently complicated, for example, when a business wants to move large amounts of company data from one cloud service provider to another.

 

Background

Today's initiatives will contribute to removing remaining obstacles within the Single Market, as called by the European Council in December 2016 (conclusions). With the backing of the European Parliament and Member States, the Digital Single Market should be completed as soon as possible. Today's initiatives will help shaping the future policy agenda on the European data economy. The consultation on building the European data economy will run until 26 April 2017 and feed into the Commission's possible future initiative on the European Data Economy later in 2017. The consultation on evaluating Directive on liability for defective products will run until 26 April 2017. They target producers, collectors, and potential and actual users of non-personal data, especially raw machine or sensor-generated data. This includes businesses of all sizes, manufacturers and users of connected devices, operators and users of online platforms, data brokers, public authorities, non-governmental organisations, research organisations and consumers.

From http://europa.eu/ 01/11/2017

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GERMANY: 'Platform Pconomy' Unknown to Most German CEOs

 

A majority of German CEOs are unfamiliar with digital platforms, including terms such as platform economy and platform markets, a new study by digital association Bitkom has found. The study asked 503 company leaders in different industries with at least 20 employees about their knowledge and use of platforms. Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they had never heard of the terms platform economy, platform markets or digital platforms. Around 32 percent had heard of one or more of the terms. However, this percentage varied by size and industry. In companies with more than 500 employees, 48 percent of CEOs surveyed were unfamiliar with digital platforms, compared with 66 percent at companies with fewer than 500 employees. In the industrial sector, 59 percent of CEOs had never heard of platforms, compared with 66 percent of retailers and 68 percent of service providers. Among CEOs who had heard of the platform economy, one in two believed a relevant platform could exist for their own company.

From https://www.telecompaper.com/ 02/10/2017

 

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UKRAINE: Parliament Adopts Law on Infrastructure Access

 

The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted legislation on improving conditions for the installation of telecommunications equipment, reports BizLigaNet. The new law will enter into force three months after its publication. The law defines legal and economic principles on access to transport, construction and power supply infrastructure for the development of telecommunications networks. Owners of buildings and other infrastructure will no longer be able to set access rates on their own, nor to limit access.

From https://www.telecompaper.com/ 02/10/2017

 

 

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Dutch Govt Plans Legislation to Support Broadband Roll-out

 

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs expects to introduce in Q2 legislation aimed at supporting the use of existing infrastructure for the roll-out of new broadband networks. The so-called Wibon law amends the Telecommunications Law and replaces the existing Wion law. It focuses on the exchange of information about under- and aboveground networks, to prevent damage during excavation work as well as encourage infrastructure sharing. The ministry has already conducted an inventory of underground cables, which include around 400,000 km of copper and coax, 300,000 km of ducts (both empty and with fibre) and around 910,000 km of 'last mile' connections. Around 65 percent of the ducts are empty and in many cases still usable. In local areas there is still a good share of copper and coax cabling that is no longer economically viable. Local residents are already using fibre, but the old cabling is still present. To address this, the government is changing the obligation to remove old cables in the Telecommunications Law. Under the current law, ground owners such as municipalities can start charging for unused telecom cables after ten years. Under the proposed changes, the levies could start as soon as the ground owner requests the cables' removal. This would take effect from the start of 2018. The Wibon law is part of the implementation the EU directive of May 2014, on supporting broadband networks roll-out.

From https://www.telecompaper.com/ 02/10/2017

 

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POLAND: More Strategic Focus Would Improve Impact of Foreign Aid

 

Poland has built up a small but solid presence in international development and should now focus its limited resources on areas where it can make the most impact, allocating more funds to bilateral aid in priority countries and sectors, according to a new OECD Review. The first DAC Peer Review of Poland says Poland has been a valued development partner for Eastern European neighbours like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, sharing knowledge and experience from its own socio-economic transformation, including reforming its public administration and growing its private sector. Elsewhere in the world, Poland could do more to increase the strategic focus and scale of its aid to countries and sectors most in need.

 

Poland provided USD 528 million in net official development assistance (ODA) in 2015 (expressed in constant 2014 prices), a rise of 16.8% in real terms from USD 452 million in 2014. ODA as a share of gross national income (GNI) rose to 0.10% from 0.09% in 2014. Almost 80% of Poland’s aid is channelled through multilateral bodies, mainly in assessed contributions to the European Union. Poland has committed to triple its ODA to GNI ratio to 0.33% by 2030, bringing it closer to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) average of 0.30%. There is no plan for how to do this, however. Changes in Poland’s aid flows are generally determined by new loans or increases in the country’s EU contributions, which are indexed to the size of the economy. “Political and public support will be vital to give the government legitimacy to provide more foreign aid,” said DAC Chair Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, presenting the Review in Warsaw. “Budgets aside, Poland should develop clearer strategic guidance to ensure that it adds value and targets poverty reduction in priority areas and countries, including outside the Eastern Partnership region.”

 

Poland has pledged to increase its aid to least developed countries to 50% of its total ODA from 28.8% at present, a pledge which surveys indicate would have public support. Achieving that would require allocating more bilateral aid to these countries and finding a niche for Polish development in Africa and Asia to ensure the aid is well spent. Another priority should be to bring Polish aid into line with the DAC Recommendation on untying ODA to least-developed countries. Poland’s ODA loans are currently conditional on the purchase of Polish goods and services. Poland joined the DAC in 2013, and the top five recipients of Polish aid in 2013-14 were Angola, Belarus, Ukraine, China and Ethiopia.

 

Each DAC member is reviewed every five years in order to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. Reviews use input from officials in the country concerned and partner countries – Ukraine for this Review – as well as civil society and the private sector. Read more on DAC Peer Reviews. An embeddable version of the report is available, with information about downloadable and print versions and an interactive data visualisation of Polish aid compared with other donors. For further information, or to speak to the report’s author, journalists are invited to contact Catherine Bremer in the OECD Media Office (+33 1 45 24 97 00). Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

From http://www.oecd.org/ 02/14/2017

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LATIN AMERICA: Caribbean Turns to Apps for E-Government Strategy

 

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbeans will roll out five mobile apps as part of its e-government thrust. The apps will provide information on consumer affairs; crime prevention; information service; government-supported events; and include listings of the government directory. These will be officially launched on February 15. The Consumer Affairs app will provide information on where to get the best food prices. “You go on that app and you can find every bit of information you want in terms of prices and so on. So before you leave home you could determine I’m going there or here because I get the best price here on this particular item”, Ambassador Sydney Osborne – Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Government’s second anniversary celebrations – told Working For You, a weekly government radio talk show.

 

The Crime Prevention app allows residents to report potential and criminal activities, and get crime prevention tips, while the Information Service app will publish “all the information you want in terms of government publications”, he said. Saint Kitts and Nevis ranked 94th place in the 2016 United Nations e-government survey. Other Caribbean nations are also building mobile apps as a key part of their digital strategy. Last year, the Jamaica Constabulary Force rolled out Stay Alert, an app for users to send alerts to the police during emergencies, and receive tips and news updates from the task force. Further afield, the Bandung city government in Indonesia has set a similar approach – mandating 300 apps to be built each year. Officials believe that this is the more effective way to reach out to its citizens as a majority of them use smartphones. But the UK has banned the creation of mobile apps because they are “very expensive to produce, and they’re very very expensive to maintain… you have to keep updating them when there are software changes”, Ben Terrett – former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service – told GovInsider. The UK was ranked in first place in the 2016 UN e-government rankings.

From https://govinsider.asia/ 02/13/2017

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MEXICO: Reforms Are Starting to Bear Fruit, but Further Action Is Needed to Boost Productivity and Ensure More Inclusive Growth, OECD Says

 

Ambitious structural reforms and sound macroeconomic policies have strengthened the resilience of the Mexican economy despite a complex national scenario and challenging global conditions, but more can be done to boost productivity and ensure that growth is inclusive enough to achieve better living conditions for all, according to a new report from the OECD.
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The latest OECD Economic Survey of Mexico recognises that the Mexican economy is facing strong external headwinds - including lower oil prices, weak world trade, the depreciation of the peso following expectations of monetary policy tightening in the United States and uncertainty linked to the forthcoming change of US Administration – that will hold back growth over the 2017-18 period. The Survey, presented in Mexico City by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and Mexico’s Minister of Finance José Antonio Meade, suggests that the country can ensure more growth and more inclusion by re-prioritising its public spending towards infrastructure, training, health and poverty reduction while pushing ahead with reforms in a range of areas. It also makes a strong call for gender-based policies to better integrate women in the labour market and take advantage of their skills.


“The reforms undertaken in Mexico are working, with positive effects particularly in the prices and access in the telecommunications area,” Mr Gurría said. “Productivity is increasing in some sectors but there is still much more to be done for the economy to become more resilient. This will require that Mexico continues to implement the reforms that have been approved, particularly on education, tackling the high level of informality, and gender inequality, to ensure that all Mexicans have the skills and opportunity to succeed,” Mr Gurría said. (Read the full speech). The Survey highlights the increasing disparities between the highly-productive modern economy in the northern and central regions of Mexico and the lower-productivity traditional economy in the south. It lays out a series of new recommendations for maintaining economic resilience, raising productivity and fostering inclusiveness. 

Making fiscal policy more supportive of inclusive growth, notably through more and better social spending, should be a priority. Reducing inequalities, via policies to better fight poverty, promote women’s opportunities and foster responsible business practices, is also essential, the Survey said. To ensure more inclusive productivity growth, Mexico should move forward with reforms to key sectors of the economy, seek to maintain and improve its place in global value chains, lower regulatory barriers, tackle informality and insecurity, and reduce corruption through reforms to governance and legal procedures, the Survey said. “Our latest Survey shows that Mexico should make productivity and inclusivity the focus of the government and the different stakeholders,” Mr Gurría said. “Given the wide range of political and economic challenges facing Mexico, this course of action is more important than ever.” 

An Overview of the Economic Survey, with the main conclusions, is accessible at: http://www.oecd.org/economy/surveys/economic-survey-mexico.htm. Other OECD reports on Mexico to be released this week during the visit of Secretary-General Gurría look at skills, governance, tourism and how public procurement at Pemex is adapting to the opening of the oil sector to competition.  The OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report: Mexico will be available from 18h CET/11h Mexico on Tuesday 10 January.  The report provides a strategic assessment of the national skills system in Mexico, assesses how skills are developed, activated and used, and will contribute to the design of effective policies and strategies to meet Mexico’s future skill needs. The Public Procurement Review of Mexioc's PEMEX: Adapting to Change in the Oil Industry will be available from 18h CET/11h Mexico on Wednesday 11 January (in Spanish). The Review finds that more can be done to professionalise procurement procedures at Pemex and introduce more competitive tenders. 

The OECD Integrity Review of Mexico: Taking a stronger stance against corruption will be available from 01h CET Thursday 12 January/18h Mexico on Wednesday 11 January (in Spanish). It examines Mexico’s recent anti-corruption reforms and recommends the strengthening of enforcement and accountability mechanisms and the integration of anti-corruption policies into areas such as open government, education and security to improve competitiveness, productivity and trust in government. The Tourism Policy Review of Mexico, which finds that there is significant untapped potential to create inclusive growth in Mexico through new tourism models focused on local development, will be available  from 19h CET/12h Mexico on Thursday 12 January. For further information, journalists are invited to contact Carolina Ziehl (+52 559 138 6235) in the OECD’s Mexico City Centre or the OECD Media Division (+33 1 4524 9700).

From http://www.oecd.org/ 01/10/2017

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NORTH AMERICA: U.S. - President Trump's Tech Policy Is a Mystery

 

We know President Trump has strong feelings about Twitter (TWTR). But his thoughts on the rest of the tech industry remain a guessing game five days after his inauguration, and more than a year and a half after he announced his candidacy. Tech policy experts spent Monday in Washington discussing what’s in store under the Trump administration at the State of the Net Conference, and struggled to get past guesses and hypotheticals. That’s not just a problem for the tech policy wonks at the annual conference held by the Internet Education Foundation, either. See, the Trump administration’s policies will shape everything from your choices of internet providers, the market for streaming video, your online privacy and security and more. “It’s difficult to predict whether the White House will take a primary leadership, or whether Congress will, or whether these issues will be on the front burner for any part of government,” R Street Institute senior policy analyst Mike Godwin explained during an interview at the conference.

 

Net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet providers from blocking, slowing or surcharging websites, something Sen. John Thune (R.-S.D.) called an “aggressively activist and partisan agenda” during a speech at State of the Net, have looked dead since Election Day. Trump’s recent promotion of FCC commissioner Ajit Pai to chairman of the agency made net neutrality’s death all but official. Pai has denounced net neutrality regulations from the start. And now that Obama Democratic appointees Tom Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel have left the commission, Pai can start undoing those rules. But reversing an FCC rule happens no faster than enacting a new one, and net neutrality remains a popular concept. Thune suggested that the way forward was a bipartisan bill upholding narrower open-internet rules. Another speaker, Sen. Brian Schatz (D.-Hi.), endorsed that goal but said the timing was wrong: “It’s too polarized.” In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see internet providers push the boundaries of the current rules — picture things like exempting their own video services from their wireless data caps, something AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) already do.

 

Broadband

Even Trump opponents have sounded relatively optimistic in talking about the president’s desire to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — especially if they include extending broadband internet access to more Americans. But will they? Great question! A panel discussion about rethinking telecom policy had no answers. According to Larry Downes, a fellow with Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy, the core problem with Trump’s infrastructure plan is “We don’t know anything about it.” Trump’s inaugural address only mentioned roads, tunnels, bridges, railroads and airports, so counting on broadband might be a mistake. But panelists suggested that having an infrastructure bill mandate that those new projects include facilities for future broadband expansion — so-called “dig once” rules — would represent a valuable improvement.

 

Cybersecurity

“The new administration takes cyber very seriously and it’s a top priority,” said Technology CEO Council executive director Bruce Mehlman in a panel titled “Stopping the Hacks.” “I can’t tell you where it will end up.” Still, even with abundant evidence of Russian attempts to hack into U.S. institutions, beyond just the Democratic party, the same panel couldn’t agree if Trump would continue existing sanctions against Russia. Speakers did seem confident that Trump would not seek to compel tech companies to weaken encryption systems to allow access for law enforcement. In the day’s opening panel, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (D.-Va.) and Cybereason CEO Lior Div agreed that such a move would be, as Goodlatte put it, “not a realistic way of looking at this problem.” Then again, the written answers Trump’s attorney-general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) provided to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) include the assertion that it’s “critical” that “national security and criminal investigators be able to overcome encryption.” I sat down with Div after his panel to ask if he had any insight about Trump’s cybersecurity agenda. The cybersecurity executive’s answer? ”We don’t have any information about it.”

From https://www.yahoo.com/ 01/25/2017

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Open-Internet Rules Look Dead. Now What?

 

President Trump’s new head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, hasn’t been in office long, but he’s has been quick to make his policy priorities clear. And diluting the net-neutrality regulations adopted by his predecessor Tom Wheeler — if not outright deleting them — looks high on his list. The rules currently remain in force, and still bar internet providers from stopping or slowing down legal websites and apps — or straight up charging them for faster delivery of their data. But in his first two weeks as chairman, Pai has followed through on his longstanding opposition to those regulations by taking early steps to weaken them, which could mean your favorite sites and apps like Spotify will load a lot slower or cost more.

 

Opening moves

One of Pai’s first moves as chairman was to propose a five-year extension of an expired waiver that had let smaller internet providers out of reporting requirements mandating disclosure of “network management practices, performance and commercial terms,” otherwise known as fees and surcharges you may owe them. Pai said that exemption, limited to providers with 250,000 subscribers or less (the old waiver set that ceiling at 100,000), would free them from “unnecessary, onerous and ill-defined reporting obligations.” But it also liberates them from the pressure to adopt last year’s FCC proposal for nutrition-label-style disclosures. Days later, Pai terminated an investigation into whether AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) were violating net-neutrality principles by exempting their own video services from their wireless data caps. In a statement, Pai defended those “free-data plans” by saying they are popular with customers and boost competition among wireless providers.

 

Neither move should have surprised readers of Pai’s earlier statements. When the FCC adopted net-neutrality rules in early 2015, his 67-page dissent denounced them as “intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have.” In that and older writings — see, for instance, his May 2014 statement on net-neutrality — Pai has suggested that the FCC should defend basic freedoms to connect to and use legal sites and apps while allowing ISPs to charge sites and apps for better-than-basic delivery. In a live-streamed press conference held Tuesday, Democratic senators lined up to defend the existing rules. “There is no problem that needs to be fixed,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D.-Mass.). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) scorned Pai’s vision of the internet as “free and open if you’ve got money.”

 

Varying views from private industry

A venture capitalist who has long backed net-neutrality rules, Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson, wrote in a blog post that “backing startups on a field tilted in the favor of the incumbents is not fun and not particularly profitable either.” Another veteran investor who had expressed fears in 2014 about the viability of media-based startups, however, was more confident Monday. “I am not really worried about this issue,” said John Backus, co-founder and managing partner of the PROOF Fund. He pointed to increasingly fast and cheap bandwidth, much of it from WiFi hotspots instead of cellular networks. Backus also rejected the idea that startups would pay ISPs for premier treatment: “I have never seen a startup want to use high-cost equity capital to prioritize delivery of their bits.”

 

Large content companies, meanwhile, don’t seem afraid. Netflix (NFLX) has told shareholders that it’s now popular enough with ISPs’ customers to discourage any bullying attempts. Young Turks Network founder Cenk Uygur pointed to his two big content hosts as reason for confidence that ISPs won’t bog down his news-and-talk shows. “If they come for us, they’re coming for Google and Facebook,” he said in an interview Saturday. “I at least have some pretty decent heavyweight partners.” Uygur, a net-neutrality advocate, added that smaller video sites had more to fear. What about internet providers themselves? Big ones like Comcast (CMCSA) have made a point of saying they already follow open-internet principles. Net-neutrality opponents suggest that dumping the current rules would let smaller providers raise money by crafting their own deals, but will a Netflix pick up the phone when they call?

From https://www.yahoo.com/ 02/08/2017

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A New Approach to Fighting Fraud in Federal Benefits Programs

 

Legislators may disagree over the amount the country should spend on government benefits, but one fact will always have bipartisan agreement -- the level of fraud, waste and abuse plaguing benefit programs is too high. Although some progress has been made, including a 50 percent decrease in the number of fraudulent tax returns reported by the IRS this past year, the federal government still has a long way to go. To illustrate the severity of the problem, the Government Accountability Office recently reported that the estimated amount of improper payments in fiscal 2015 across 121 government programs was $136.7 billion, up $12 billion from the previous year. This negative trend is likely to continue as criminals steal more and more identities and open new, more sophisticated avenues of attack. Census data indicates 110 million Americans -- more than a third of the population -- are currently receiving means-tested federal assistance of some kind. Historically, more than half of all Americans have received benefits from at least one of the top six federal entitlement programs, according to the Pew Research Center. A lack of resources, the need to ensure citizens receive benefit payments as quickly as possible, and an increased transition to electronic platforms have combined to leave gaping holes in agencies’ abilities to mitigate fraud. Meanwhile, fraudsters have become more sophisticated in their approach, and are constantly evolving their methods to stay ahead of preventive measures. We need a more structured, formalized and governmentwide approach to combat fraudsters.

 

In addition to policy and protocols, such a framework would include analytical models for detecting, preventing and managing fraud, waste and abuse. This includes making full use of all relevant data spread across multiple, disparate government systems. Agencies need a way to enhance data integrity, effectiveness and accessibility, as a recent GAO report concluded. By adopting a formalized fraud framework, agencies will be able to achieve a holistic view of the critical information driving their programs. This will result in an increased ability to quickly and effectively resolve identities and stop fraud before payments are made, as well as:

- Detect more fraudulent activity

- Decrease losses associated with fraud

- Reduce costs associated with detecting and investigating fraud activities

- Provide a consolidated view of fraud risk and losses

- Foster improved transparency and accountability

 

An effective fraud framework focuses on the data, using analytical capabilities to identify abnormalities, networks and patterns that may indicate fraudulent activity and must be applied throughout the entire benefits process -- from application through payment. Many individual components must be considered when developing a fraud framework, all of which work together as a unified whole for preventing, detecting and recovering improper payments. An effective framework should include:

- Data collection, integration, deployment, management and business rule creation capable of extracting relevant data from different systems, external data sources, unstructured text and other sources.

- Advanced analytics and model testing, deployment and management that enhance the value of existing business rules by enabling the discovery of emerging suspicious activity that would otherwise go undetected.

- Detection and alert generation, which enable the systematic detection of suspicious activity using a fraud scoring engine that employs a combination of analytic techniques to determine the likelihood of the presence of fraudulent actors or activity.

- Alert management capabilities to assemble alerts from multiple monitoring systems, associate them with individuals and provide investigators with a more complete perspective on the risk of a particular individual.

- Social network analysis, an invaluable method that helps investigators detect and prevent organized fraud by going beyond individual transaction and account views to analyze all related activities and relationships in a network.

- Case management, which provides a systematic means for facilitating the investigation and capturing and displaying all information pertinent to a case.

 

Fraud continues to cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year. In order for the government to meaningfully combat this trend and ensure benefits are finding their way to individuals with a legitimate need, agencies require a more integrated, formal data collection and analytical approach. While there have been promising advances in capturing the low-hanging fruit, fraudsters are becoming bolder and more sophisticated, with more fraud networks causing increasing losses. With the greater sophistication and coordination that the more advanced networks have displayed, it is possible for one big hit to wipe out an investigative team’s effort for an entire year. To ensure the continued integrity of government benefit programs and reduce the rising level of improper payments, more advanced methods are needed to make a measurable and meaningful impact. Agencies need to adopt a comprehensive fraud framework to have real, sustainable success.  And given the fiscal survivability of our benefit system, we need these successes sooner rather than later.

From http://www.govexec.com/ 02/10/2017

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CHINA: Announcing Cybersecurity Strategy

 

China's top Internet regulator released a cyberspace security strategy on Tuesday, advocating peace, security, openness, cooperation and order. The government will guarantee cyberspace sovereignty and national security, protect information infrastructure and act against cyber terror and crimes, according to the 15-page strategy released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Rules and their imposition will be improved and international cooperation expanded.

 

SOVEREIGNTY

Cyberspace is a new frontier as important as any other. "Cyberspace sovereignty is an important part of state sovereignty," the strategy reads. All countries should be respected in their Internet development and management, playing equal parts in a cyberspace governance without hegemony or double standards. China will use whatever means necessary -- scientific, technological, legal, diplomatic or military -- to ensure cyberspace sovereignty. No attempt to use the Internet to undermine or overturn China's national regime or sabotage sovereignty will be tolerated.

 

OPEN MARKET

China is home to the world's largest online population. About 700 million people in China use the Internet to study, make purchases, work and access public services. In this context, protecting critical information infrastructure and important data is crucial. Products, services and companies used by government institutions will be subject to security checks and vetting. Service producers and other organizations will not be allowed to take advantage of privileged information or technology to compete unfairly or harm users' interests. "This does not mean that we will refuse foreign products or services," said Zhao Zeliang, director of the CAC cybersecurity coordination bureau. "Our requirements of security and controllability are not meant to raise barriers to foreign enterprises," he told a press conference at the release of the strategy. "The market will be open and transparent."

 

INT'L COOPERATION

China will participate in dialogues and exchanges in cybersecurity; help establish international norms and anti-terror pacts; and improve judicial collaboration. International cooperation will be enshrined in policy, law, technology, standards, emergency response and security infrastructure. Every assistance will be extended to developing countries as they build information infrastructure. Lu Jianwen, in charge of cybersecurity at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said priority will be given to building Africa's information highway and cooperation in communication technology. China will be pleased to provide training in developing countries, he said.     

From http://www.news.cn/ 12/27/2016

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White Paper Details Goals for More Efficient Transport Network

 

China aims to build a comprehensive transport system, with a faster, greener and safer network to offer more efficient services to the public by 2020, according to a white paper released on Dec 29. The white paper, titled “Development of China’s Transport,” reviewed the sector’s tremendous changes in past decades and set goals for its further expansion in coming years. The sector should quicken its pace of development, and fully play its basic role as a vanguard for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects in 2020, said the document issued by the State Council Information Office. By 2020, China will increase the length of high-speed railways in operation to 30,000 kilometers, connecting more than 80 percent of its big cities. The country will also renovate 30,000 km of expressways and provide tarmac and cement roads and shuttle bus services for administrative villages with the necessary conditions, while all villages will have access to mail service, it said. Over the past decades, China’s transport network has undergone drastic changes, especially the railway sector. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, total railway length was only 21,800 km, half of which was paralyzed.

 

Thanks to a series of reforms since then, total railway operation length reached 121,000 km by the end of 2015, the world’s second longest, including 19,000-km high-speed railway, ranking top of the world. While the vast network has enhanced connectivity in large swathes of the country, disparity remained as construction has lagged behind in the less developed western regions, and in recent years, the government is seeking to narrow the gap. The white paper pledged to speed up the construction of railways in the central and western areas. China on Dec 28 put into operation one of the world’s longest high-speed railways, linking the country’s prosperous eastern coast to the least-developed southwestern region. The Shanghai-Kunming line - 2,252 km in length - traverses five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan and cuts travel time from Shanghai to Kunming from 35 to 11 hours, according to China Railway Corporation. Also on Dec 28, another high-speed rail line linking Kunming and Nanning, capital of southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was launched.

From http://www.gov.cn/ 12/29/2016

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China Plans Social Credit System Pilot

 

From borrowing books from public libraries to borrowing bank loans, personal and enterprise credit records have been increasingly valued in China. The first demonstration zone of social credit system in China, aimed to promote benefits of good credit, is planned for the Yangtze River Delta region, encompassing Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces. The national pilot plan approved by the National Development and Reform Commission is expected to help nurture a sound business and social environment in the region and regulate individual behavior based on credit records. Under the system, trustworthy entrepreneurs and individuals will be rewarded, while infringers will be discredited. The Yangtze River Delta region has benefitted from growth in enterprise credit and intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. Since 2015, provincial-level governments have launched joint campaigns against cross-region and cross-industry IPR infringement and counterfeits. By using big data, public security departments in the region have been able to work together on Internet business fraud.

 

Cases of infringement and counterfeit in the region are listed via the government website ipraction.gov.cn, with detailed information open for examination. "A collaboration on cracking down on fake and shoddy goods has helped mitigate barriers of local protectionism," said Lin Haihan, who is in charge of the trademark division in Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce. In the tourist sector, an online tourist information center was launched on a test run in November, to give updates of bad records of tourist agencies. Jin Xingming, deputy secretary general of Shanghai municipal government, said the unified credit system of the tourist market in the delta region is a "breakthrough" in the linkage of the overall credit system. "The credit system can deliver market-oriented penalties through blacklisting discredited entrepreneurs. The system can join the efforts of social, government and market supervision," said Jin. Zhao Qiang, an entrepreneur from Anhui Province, had a taste of the benefits in 2016.

 

The entrepreneur needed only three days to borrow 7 million yuan (about 1 million U.S dollars) from the Lai'an Rural Commercial Bank, when his stationery manufacturing company was in urgent need of cash. The bank said the swift loan approval was due to Zhao's credit rating. In Shanghai, citizens with good social credit now can get a "credit card" in Shanghai Library and borrow books for free. However, the phenomenon still lack regulation. Without a transparent social credit system, rewards and penalties can not be given fairly. "The social credit system pilot should break up small-scale credit reward and punishment initiatives in different cities, and provide a systematic and unified measure, which can be extended to a national practice," said Wang Ningjiang, director of the Zhejiang Provincial Credit Center. He said the pilot should prioritize blacklisting firms with bad records for causing environmental damage or food safety problems.

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 01/03/2017

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China Aims for More Efficient, Advanced Logistics Network

 

China aims to build an efficient, safe and technically advanced logistics network that covers the whole nation with high-quality services by 2020, said the State Post Bureau (SPB) Wednesday. The country wants to further expand its courier network and maintain the domestic logistics market as the world's largest, and by 2020, logistics service will reach every village and township in China, said the SPB, citing a plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period. By 2020, all post and deliveries shall be trackable, while customers will have a wider range of choices in the type of services, according to the plan. China also plans to better connect its logistics service to the global network and improve the coverage and efficiency of international express deliveries in the five-year period. The government will promote the logistics sector through the Internet Plus action plan, enhance delivery security, and boost resource efficiency so that the sector will develop in an environment-friendly way, said the plan. Over 8 billion deliveries are expected to be made in the first quarter of 2017 with revenue likely to reach over 100 billion yuan (14.5 billion U.S. dollars), according to SPB data. In the fourth quarter of 2016, 10.2 billion deliveries were made, up 47.2 percent year on year, the SPB said.

From http://www.chinagate.cn/ 02/16/2017

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JAPAN: Top Court’s Ruling Gives Priority to Public Nature of Information

 

The Supreme Court has clarified its position that highly values the public’s “right to know.” This is an appropriate ruling that fits socially accepted views. A plaintiff had filed a petition for a court injunction to demand reports of his arrest be removed from an internet search site. The Supreme Court decided the search results do not need to be deleted. The necessity of providing search results widely is to be weighed against the detriment caused by having the facts of the case made public. Furthermore, search results will be deleted only in cases in which the degree of detriment clearly exceeds the need to provide this information. This was the Supreme Court’s decision. In Europe, courts have started to accept a “right to be forgotten,” which allows a measure to be taken against information about criminal histories and other details that remain online. The Supreme Court did not use that specific language, but it did, in effect, spell out that this right will be accepted in limited cases. It is significant that the top court provided a uniform position on a matter over which judicial rulings have previously been split.

 

The man, who was arrested in 2011 for violating the law banning child prostitution and child pornography, had filed for a court injunction to demand major U.S. online search engine Google Inc. delete reports of his arrest. This was because entering the man’s name and the prefecture where he had lived into the search site continued to bring up articles about his arrest. A district court ordered these articles be removed from search results, in what was the first instance of a court in Japan accepting the right to be forgotten. A high court reversed the order to remove the stories, stating there were “no legal grounds” for the right to be forgotten. The Supreme Court stated that search sites have an aspect that they are “an act of expression by operators” and that search sites “fulfill a major role as the foundation of distributing information on the internet.” The court also listed several factors that should be considered in deciding the appropriateness of having search results scrubbed, including “the nature and content of the fact” and “the degree of concrete damage suffered by the plaintiff and how broadly the information was conveyed.” These will undoubtedly become indicators for future court rulings.

 

At the time, the man received a summary order for a fine of ¥500,000, which he paid. He has not committed any crime since then, lives with his wife and child and works at a company. Although the Supreme Court gave careful consideration to these circumstances, it said that “child prostitution remains a target of strong opprobrium in society” and recognized the public nature of information about the man’s arrest. This also conforms with the strict public sentiment toward sex crimes against minors. Of course, a criminal record is personal information that requires careful consideration. Human rights issues will arise if records of less-serious crimes such as negligence continue to be displayed online in forums that can be searched by anyone. Public interest in some cases also may change with the passage of time. Google and Yahoo Inc. have established their own standards for dealing with requests to delete information. Rules also will need to be drawn up in Japan based on the Supreme Court’s decision.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/02/2017

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Science Ministry to Promote Strategic Industries in 2017

 

South Korea's science ministry said Friday it will nurture key strategic industries through helping aspiring entrepreneurs and scientists cope with the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the "fourth industrial revolution." In a policy plan briefing to Prime Minister and Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn on its policy direction for 2017, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will secure various intelligence information technologies that characterize the fourth industrial revolution. The ministry designated 10 sectors, including the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, which are forecast to generate business opportunities and profits in the future. "The ministry will push forward these ambitious policies with an aim to lead the intelligence information society through innovation of science technology," ICT Minister Choi Yang-hee told reporters.

The goal of the projects is to boost the local economy by turning innovative ideas into businesses through science and technology, while generating business opportunities by converging different industries, the ministry said. In an effort to help scientists, the ministry said it will provide research funding of up to 30 million won ($25,000) per person to 1,000 young scientists this year. It will also continue to foster startups in 2017, including providing young jobseekers with an opportunity to work at venture firms for first-hand experience in launching a business. The ministry will continue to nurture 17 centers across the country that provide various kinds of support for aspiring entrepreneurs. There are concerns that the centers, a centerpiece of the "creative economy" policy initiated by President Park Geun-hye, are at risk amid a widening influence-peddling scandal surrounding the president and her confidante.

In an effort to overcome such worries, the ministry said it will invite more private experts and capital to match up with local startups and venture firms. Startups that lack an overseas marketing network can receive assistance from the ministry, which will provide legal and accounting services to tap strategic markets in Southeast Asia and East Europe. Also, the ministry said it will set up special funds with 150 billion won to help startups and venture firms in the science and technology sectors. The funds will be focused on establishing infrastructure for basic science and new-growth sectors, and on assisting venture firms. The ministry said it has newly allocated a budget worth 3.4 billion won for developing new medicines and another 2.4 billion won in developing medical instruments. The budgets are part of the ministry's effort to nurture the bio industry, which is viewed as the nation's next growth engine after IT.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 01/06/2017

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Korea to Increase Investment Related to 4th Industrial Revolution

 

South Korea will expand investments to secure a new growth strategy to cope with the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, the science minister said Monday. The remarks were made during a meeting between officials of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and executives of major tech firms that participated in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "Science technologies that lead the fourth industrial revolution were confirmed at the 2017 CES," ICT Minister Choi Yang-hee said. "The ministry will expand investments into future engines of growth after reflecting this trend." A record number of South Korean firms, such as Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., showcased a wide range of advanced technologies and products at the annual trade show. The largest Korean pavilion in the event's history, with 64 separate booths run by 55 small and medium-sized firms from the country, many of them startups, was set up. Among the attendees at the meeting were ICT Minister Choi; Yoon Jong-rok, head of the National IT Industry Promotion Agency; and Lee Min, a Samsung Electronics executive. The participants agreed on the importance of cooperation between the government and the local firms to boost the local economy by securing intelligence information technologies that characterize the fourth industrial revolution. The ministry said cutting-edge technologies, such as the Internet of Things  and artificial intelligence, are forecast to generate business opportunities and profits worth 560 trillion won ($470 billion) by 2030.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 01/16/2017

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SOUTH KOREA: To Increase 5G Network Bandwidth

 

South Korea will increase the bandwidth allocated for the fifth-generation network by 2018 to accommodate sharply increasing data traffic, the science ministry said Wednesday. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will newly secure the bandwidth up to 1,300 megahertz and allocate the parts to the country's three mobile carriers. The plan was finalized during a government meeting presided over by Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho, the ministry said. "The ministry will form a team within this month to work on allocating 5G bandwidth and come up with the detailed plan," said Choi Young-hae, a ministry official in charge of the policy. The 5G network is expected to be 1,000 times faster than the existing long-term evolution service, allowing users to download an 800-megabyte movie in one second, compared with 40 seconds on the LTE-Advanced network, currently billed as the world's fastest. The ministry had been in talks with the mobile carriers, as well as tech firms, including Samsung and LG, to draw up the plan aimed at taking the lead in the mobile network technology.

From http://www.koreaherald.com 01/18/2017

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MYANMAR: Legislators to Meet on Telecommunications Law

 

MYANMAR’S PARLIAMENT is expected to discuss Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law on January 30, chairman Zaw Min of the Upper House’s bill committee said. on Monday. “Laws are important. This time it’s interesting as the section was suggested for discussion by the Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues to discuss,” Zaw Min said on Monday. “It’s likely to be discussed at the Parliament this time.” The Telecommunications Law has been criticised for infringing freedom of expression on social media outlets, following defamation lawsuits against bloggers, journalists and politicians under the section. The Upper House has about 15 bills remaining to be discussed; it has already discussed 33 bills. Out these, 16 have been signed and approved by the president. “They include a gems law. It has attracted a lot of attention. The country also needs it. Meetings were already made for the law. Section 66(d) is also important,” he said. The fourth regular session of the second union, lower house and upper house parliaments will resume on January 30. According to MPs, the coming parliamentary session will mainly focus on the National Planning Bill, Union Taxation Bill and Union Budget Bill for fiscal 2018. “Currently, we will mainly discuss the BE budget and other bills. We will have to deal with the 10 remaining bills, which have yet to be finalised from the previous session.  “We cannot discuss many things as there are only a few days left due to the Thingyan (water) festival,” said Kyaw Soe Lin, secretary of the Lower House Bill Committee. Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than said on the final day of the previous session, on December 20, that the National Planning Bill, Union Taxation Bill, Union Budget Bill and other bills would be approved at the next regular session of the union parliament.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 01/18/2017

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SINGAPORE: Court Rejects Govt's Appeal to Invoke Anti-Harassment Law Against the Online Citizen

 

SINGAPORE: The Court of Appeal on Monday (Jan 16) ruled in a rare split decision that the Government cannot invoke an anti-harassment law that allows people to stop the publication of false statements against them. The case hinged on the legal question of whether the Government can be considered a person under Section 15 of the Protection from Harassment Act. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) had sought to invoke the law to get socio-political website The Online Citizen (TOC) to take down statements made by inventor Dr Ting Choon Meng about a patent rights dispute. The court ruled 2-1, with Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Andrew Phang agreeing that the provision applied only to human beings and not entities. The sole dissenting judge was Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who found that Section 15 did not distinguish between natural and non-natural people, and therefore applied to the benefit of both human beings as well corporations and the Government.

 

TEXT AND CONTEXT

In delivering their written judgement, Judges Chao and Phang agreed that the provision applied only to human beings and not entities. They acknowledged that, read on its own, Section 15 would appear to be broad enough to encompass entities such as the Government. However, they pointed to the context in which the law was enacted. Drawing attention to the "original Parliamentary intention" of the Act, the judges cited Law Minister K Shanmugam's speech during the second reading of the Bill. "It is clear that the minister’s focus was solely on human beings (as opposed to other entities)," they said. However, CJ Menon argued that Section 15 refers to falsehoods being made about "any person". He referred to the Interpretation Act, which defines the term "person" to include any company or body of people. "It does not seem to have been contentious that this could notionally include the Government," he noted. CJ Menon also cited Parliamentary debates to confirm his interpretation. When asked specifically by a Member of Parliament whether the term "person" included corporations, the Law Minister replied that the definition of "person" in the Interpretation Act indeed applied to the Act, the Chief Justice said. He added that Section 15 was enacted to deal with the mischief of false statements. "I can see no reason, based on my understanding of the purpose and object of the provision, to hold that … (Section 15) should be confined in its application to natural persons," he said.

 

MINDEF "ANYTHING BUT A HELPLESS VICTIM": COURT

However, Judges Phang and Chao added that even if they were to accept that the provision applied to entities like MINDEF, they would not have found it just or equitable to grant a Section 15 order. "MINDEF was anything but a helpless victim," they wrote. "It is a Government agency possessed of significant resources and access to media channels." MINDEF was able to put across its side of the story through traditional media as well as online, on its Facebook page, the judges said, adding that TOC had, in fact, published MINDEF’s statement in full and provided a link to it from the offending article. "Given all this, it is difficult to see what discernible impact the allegations and The Online Citizen’s publication of the allegations could have had on MINDEF’s reputation or public image." However, CJ Menon said that Dr Ting’s false statement was a serious one, alleging that MINDEF had behaved dishonestly, both in general and to the court. He added that the fact that TOC had published MINDEF's account was insufficient to correct his false statement. In these circumstances, the Chief Justice wrote that he considered it "just and equitable" to order for a remedy under Section 15.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 01/16/2017

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THAILAND: Law Needs to Catch Up with the Cloud

 

Cloud computing services have become a new requirement for the country’s digital economy in light of the “big data” era of information overload. To facilitate e-commerce and e-payment services, Charoen Pokphand Group’s True and Ascend companies have, for example, turned to cloud services to store and manage the huge amount of data resulting from new digital businesses. The Thai commerce ministry is also working closely with China’s Alibaba group to help small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) sell their products and services via Alibaba’s e-commerce and e-payment platforms, which are currently among the world’s largest. This will be the new export channel to tap Chinese and other foreign consumers shopping online. However, critics have cautioned that the use of cloud services to store and manage data outside the country should be regulated under a national data-protection law, which is still pending in the National Legislative Assembly. For Asean countries, including Thailand, cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) use Singapore as a major data centre to serve the Southeast Asian region.

 

Due to the economies of scale, data needs to be stored and managed overseas to benefit from cloud computing technology, which allows businesses to avoid huge investment in IT infrastructure for new e-commerce, e-payment and other digital services. Users can pay as they use the cloud services, just like they pay for electricity. This gives maximum flexibility and speed in launching new digital services on the cloud. CP Group’s True and Ascend have adopted cloud services to roll out new businesses in Thailand and Asean neighbours. For example, e-commerce site Weloveshopping now uses a 100-per-cent cloud platform, so it has no IT infrastructure at its own premises. Ant Financial of Alibaba Group also owns a 20-per-cent stake in Ascend Money, which provides e-payment and financial services in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Ascend Money is starting to tap the overseas business with a money transfer service aimed at millions of Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand who want to send money back home. There will be agents to collect money from these migrant workers in Thailand for remittance via the cross-border e-payment service, which works in conjunction with banks in Myanmar.

 

For e-commerce, a major weakness in Asean markets is the absence of popular e-payment services, since many online buyers use the cash-on-delivery method. To tap the huge potential of e-commerce, as Alibaba has done successfully in China, Thai companies are planning to introduce e-payment and mobile payment services to reduce dependence on cash and progress along the digital economic growth path. Many low-income customers in Thailand and the rest of Asean do not have bank accounts, but they do have mobile phones which can act as payment devices. On the other hand, Alibaba, which has been successful with its Ali Pay services for e-commerce, aims to tap a new generation of Chinese tourists coming to Thailand. This will open up new business opportunities for Thai SMEs and other enterprises on the Alibaba platforms, as China has been Thailand’s biggest source of foreign tourists for the past few years, accounting for about one-third of the total 30 million yearly foreign arrivals. In the end, the NLA needs to quickly enact a national data-protection bill to facilitate adoption of cloud computing and other digital services.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 12/08/2016

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Govt Threatens Action over Protests Against New Cyber Law

 

GOVERNMENT Spokesperson Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned yesterday that protests against the newly amended Computer Crime Act could be deemed illegal and stir unnecessary conflicts in the country. “Authorities have measures, should there be any actions, from video recording to prosecuting following international rules,” Sansern said. “Any tentative participants should think twice or stop such acts.” Meanwhile, operators of the Facebook page “Single Gateway: Thailand Internet Firewall #opsinglegateway”, which has attracted more than 120,000 likes, claimed to have attacked several government websites to express anger at the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA)’s backing for the contentious act last Friday. The amended bill has faced strong criticism for being a tool for the junta to tighten its control of comments expressed over the Internet via appointed officials. After a series of cyber attacks, the group called on Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to use his sweeping powers under the interim charter’s Article 44 to revoke the bill. It also promoted an event calling for protests at Democracy Monument and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in opposition to the new law. Sansern also criticised the alleged hacking of state websites, saying the move went “beyond boundaries”, adding that such actions were among the reasons why computer-related laws needed to be reviewed.

 

He also said some of the websites had not been hacked contrary to reports. The Immigration Bureau database, for instance, was not linked to the Internet, he said, adding that it could not be hacked as a result. Sansern said the government was not planing to initiate any policy in relation to a “single gateway”, which would involve centralising government control of all Internet services in Thailand. The term single gateway first gained attention last year when it was mentioned in Cabinet resolutions as an issue for consideration by the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, which has been renamed the Digital Economy and Society Ministry. Prayut and his government denied having the policy, saying the term was wrongly recorded by the person who took minutes. The issue faded from public view although some Internet users have identified similarities in the recently-passed Computer Crime Act. They said the new law would reinforce authority over Internet |regulation without a balancing power. Sansern said the government would only request to look at “online traffic” in specific cases, which would not centralise power. A nine-member committee and the courts would also take part in consideration for any decisions, he said. He added that the concept of a single gateway would hinder the government’s initiative to drive digital technology in line with its Thailand 4.0 scheme.  “Every country has a universal rule of advising people about what websites are deemed critical to national security,” he said. “It also depends on Internet providers’ discretion on management over access to foreign websites.”

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 12/19/2016

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Computer Crime Law Essential for National Security and Won’t Damage People’s Rights

 

THE HIGHLY controversial Computer Crime bill draft needs to be in place to protect national security due to global cyber threats, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted yesterday. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the new bill does not damage people’s rights as suggested by some organisations. The proposed legislation will protect the public from various threats on cyber security, including terrorism, personal data theft, fraud and online crimes against children. During the weekly briefing, Prayut said: “If we have insufficient measures, there could be conflicts in many aspects. We have seen terrorism and transnational crimes. They also use [online] channels. Please understand us.” Approved by the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly last Friday, the draft bill, an amended version from its 2007 predecessor, faced strong criticism on the grounds that it might infringe on people’s rights and online privacy. Users of social media have expressed concern over Article 20 which requires the set-up of a nine-member committee to screen and remove contents deemed “disrupting peace, order and good morality of people” with court approval.

 

They say the definition of “peace, order and good morality” could be broadly interpreted by powers-that-be and used as tools against people with different opinions than the junta. Previously, the computer crime law has been used by the Prayut government along with the lese majeste and sedition laws, to tackle online movements such as sharing an |infographic accusing the junta of committing graft. Prayut yesterday said the definition of “morality” should already be clear. “We are a Buddhist country. Why don’t some people understand its meaning as in [the law draft]?” he said. “Morality is about peace, order and national security. If this doesn’t make sense, we can’t do anything else.” Regarding the role of the online content screening committee, he said they will prioritise the severity of the content deemed harmful to peace and order and committee members will be appointed based on qualifications. “If we don’t trust the committee members’ integrity, how are we going to enforce the law?” he said.

 

The NLA’s decision to pass the draft law led to threats to disable government websites. Among the targets was the Government House website, which was inaccessible for a few hours on Monday. Prayut said authorities have taken measures to counter hackers and it is normal for a website to go down for a while when it has too many visitors. “I think many people understand reasons behind the bill. They just don’t speak out loud,” he said. “Many who speak happen to be against it. I wonder if they really understand it. Some may only press ‘like’ on [opposing posts] without knowing what law drafters try to explain.” Interior Minister Anupong Pao-chinda said the government could take legal action against those responsible for hacking into government websites.  “We have already put in place defensive measures,” he said, adding that some government websites might be vulnerable to cyber criminals. Pol General Srivara Ransibrah-manakul, the deputy national police chief, said investigators are going after those who have hacked government websites and wrongdoers can face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to Bt100,000 or both.

 

According to Srivara, hacking into the computer systems of government agencies is a threat to national |security. Meanwhile, General Udomdej Sitabut, the deputy defence minister, said the defence ministry’s websites are not affected by hackers as threatened by those opposing the new computer crime law due to precautionary measures taken by computer security experts. On the upcoming cyber-security bill, he said, there should be no problem and the government will have to create a good understanding on this matter. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, a former foreign minister of Pheu Thai party, said the government should listen to public concerns on the new law which critics have said would restrict the people’s freedom of expression and access to information.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 12/21/2016

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VIETNAM: Gov’t Tightens Media Rules

 

A digital copy of every news and feature story published on online newspapers must be stored independently and kept unchanged for at least one year for inspection purpose, the government has said. This is part of the Government’s decision to store an electronic depository for the press, which includes radio, television and online newspapers. The decision aims to help the Government better assess the quality of the media in its reporting on issues and events. It also permits regular and unannounced inspections by authorised agencies. It will come into effect on March 30. As per the decision, the Ministry of Information and Communications will set up a data stockpile to keep electronic depositories of stories and products in radio, television and online newspapers.  The digital copies of stories and products published on radio and television must be stored for at least six months from the date of first broadcast, while that of online newspapers must be maintained for at least a year from the first date of publication. The electronic depository can be used as evidence while investigating violations by the media, and the publishing of incorrect information. At a meeting held late last year, information and communications minister Trương Minh Tuấn said that Việt Nam’s media still published sensational stories to attract more views. In some cases, they publicised such stories in the morning and removed them by the afternoon. Such stories affect society negatively, he said, adding that some newspapers used information provided on websites or social media without verifying the information. In 2016, the ministry took drastic action by punishing newspapers and reporters for violating laws and ethics, Tuấn said. This year, the ministry would continue to take strong steps to better manage the press, particularly websites, he said.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/09/2017

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INDIA: PM to Launch Skill Development Initiatives


KANPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a clutch of skill development initiatives aimed at skilling unemployed youth and also lay the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur. "Apart from launching 31 Kaushal Kendras which will serve as skilling centres and target mainly unemployed youth for training purposes, the Prime Minister will also inaugurate an exhibition named Kaushal Mahotsav," a senior official in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said. "The PM will also lay the foundation stone for the Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur which will focus on providing industrial training," the official added. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is also set to enter into a strategic partnership with the leather and textiles industry in Kanpur to place one lakh youth under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Moreover, the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme will also be launched formally, the official said.

The Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras are state-of-the-art Model Training Centres (MTCs) which the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship intends to establish in every district of the country.
The model training centres envisage to create benchmark institutions that demonstrate aspirational value for competency based skill development training. They would focus on elements of quality, sustainability and connect with stakeholders in skills delivery process. The centres will transform from a mandate-driven footloose model to a sustainable institutional model.

From http://www.siliconindia.com 12/19/2016

 

 

 

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MP Plans to Develop 1,100 'Climate-Smart' Villages


BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 'climate-smart' villages with an aim to prepare farmers to manage the climate change risks timely and ensure good productivity. "The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years," state Farmer Welfare & Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora told PTI.
He said 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state would be taken up under the plan, which would incur a cost about Rs 150 crore every year. "The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture," he said. In these villages, the farmers would be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops, in addition to using drought-resistance seeds. "The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages," Rajora said. Agro-forestry conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion. 

He said integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimisation of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components. "In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change," he said. Zero tillage technique is a way of growing crops time and again without disturbing the soil through ploughing, another agriculture expert said. "The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilisers and energy," he said.

From http://www.siliconindia.com 01/0212017

 

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UP Govt Has Rolled Out a New IT Policy, Lucknow Is Being Developed as an IT Hub

 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has said that it has always been the endeavour of the State Government to ensure that unemployed youth of the State get jobs nearer to their homes so that they do not have to go far away in search of employment. The State Government has rolled out a new IT Policy with this in mind and the State capital Lucknow is being developed into an IT hub. The Chief Minister expressed his gratitude towards the founder of HCL Shiv Nadar as he had chosen Lucknow to be his ‘karma bhoomi’, which has lead to many jobs for the youth. The Chief Minister made these statements at a programme organised by the HCL at the IT City where he was addressing freshers who have lapped up jobs in this institute. He told the gathering of youngsters that the institute stood on a land which was once a farm, but due to the active efforts of the government today HCL IT City proudly stands here. This IT City was developed in very less time, the Chief Minister pointed out while expressing hope that this place would too emerge as a centre of excellence in the IT field in coming days. He also informed the freshers about various schemes and projects of the State Government like the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Lucknow Metro Rail, Dairy development, International Cricket Stadium, Amul Milk Plant, Cancer Hospital, new RoBs, bridges, 1090 women power line, ambulance services and the Samajwadi Pension Scheme etc. He added that the Samajwadi Government has done real work and has also maintained a balance between the urban and rural areas. He also exhorted the youth to walk with him shoulder to shoulder as they have to jointly work in the next three-four decades. The Chief Minister also went around the HCL IT City campus. Also present on the occasion were Political Pension Minister Rajendra Chowdhary, Principal Secretary Navneet Sehgal, Special Secretary to the Chief Minister, GS Naveen Kumar, HCL officials and around 200 freshers.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/02/2017

 

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Haryana’s IT Policy to Encourage IT Based Companies


The Haryana Government has decided to implement its new Information Technology (IT) Policy to encourage IT based industries and generate employment opportunities. Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal said this in a meeting with representatives of Indian Cellular Association in New Delhi. The representatives of the Association assured the Chief Minister of setting up new units in the State. The Chief Minister said that the State Government gives assistance to industries for setting up of their units in the state and generate employment opportunities. He said that Enterprises Promotion Policy 2015 has been implemented to realise the vision of Make in India programme and promote industries in every sector. In terms of ease of doing business, Haryana has become the favourite destination of entrepreneurs. He said that major area of Haryana falls under National Capital Region. Therefore, Haryana is most feasible state for investment in IT industry. Also, an IT cluster could be set up near Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway, he added.


In the meeting, the representatives of the Association put forth their demands before the Chief Minister and sought relaxations related to their sector, which included land for setting up of industrial units and demand related to VAT. The Chief Minister assured the representatives that the State Government would provide better environment to entrepreneurs. He said that a new National Highway would be proposed from International Airport, Delhi to Katra, Jammu via Jind passing through Amritsar under which 200 kilometers land of Haryana would be developed as commercial site. Besides, regional connectivity service would be started to connect cities of Haryana with air services which would provide congenial environment to business and industries, he added.

From http://egov.eletsonline.com 01/03/2017

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AZERBAIJAN: Road Map on ICT to Develop Internet Community

 

Realization of the strategic road map for development of information and communication technologies (ICT), previously approved by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, contributes to even better development of the internet community in the country, Sarkhan Hashimov, head of Microsoft Azerbaijan, told Trend Dec. 7. Microsoft is ready to support Azerbaijan as part of realization of long-term economic development strategy, for the country to have greater achievements in ICT as soon as possible, according to Hashimov. “We believe that preparation of a road map in this direction will allow Azerbaijan to integrate even more to the global innovation area. Digital revolution is already happening, and developing a road map has once again proved that Azerbaijan declares its willingness to move in this direction,” he said.

 From http://en.trend.az/ 12/07/2016

 

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Strategic Road Map to Improve ICT Companies’ Profitability

 

Strategic Road Map for Development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will contribute to improvement of profitability of ICT companies, said Elmir Velizadeh, Azerbaijan’s deputy minister of communications and high technologies.He made the remarks at a Caspian European Club meeting Dec. 14.

 From http://en.trend.az/ 12/14/2016

 

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TURKMENISTAN: To Chair Int’l Energy Charter in 2017

 

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ordered to create an organizing committee to hold international activities in the country and abroad related to the presidency of Turkmenistan in the Energy Charter Conference in 2017, the Turkmen government said in a message Dec. 24. Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry, together with the International Energy Charter, was instructed to develop the concept of Turkmenistan’s presidency in the Energy Charter Conference in 2017, as well as the agenda and program of the upcoming international events. Turkmenistan attaches great importance to the development of targeted mechanisms in the issues of global energy strategy. Turkmenistan and the Energy Charter Secretariat are already holding negotiations at the expert level to develop an international legal document regulating the rights and obligations of producers, transit countries and consumers of energy resources.

From http://en.trend.az/ 12/24/2016

 

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UZBEKISTAN: Proposals for Development of 2017 State Programme Under Preparation

 

On 17 December, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted the Decree "On organizational measures for the development and implementation of the State Programme "Year of dialogue with people and human interests". The most important priorities of the State Programme include issues of improving the system of providing the population with important state services through "one window" principle, a broad introduction of modern information-communication technologies to these processes and the activity of government bodies, the formation of effective "e-government" system. At the moment, the Ministry for development of information technologies and communications is working on the proposals on this Programme. The data and proposals are compiled by working groups organized for this purpose.

 From http://news.uzreport.uz/ 12/21/2016

 

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Tashkent Plans to Build SEZ “Innovation Center ICT”

 

Regulation.gov.uz portal has published for discussion the draft decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On measures for the development and further promotion of information and communication technologies and the domestic market of software products". The purpose of the draft Decree is the creation of favorable conditions for active introduction of ICT in sectors of the economy and enhancing their competitiveness, creating a special organizational, economic and social opportunities for export development of the industry, concentration of personnel, scientific-production investment and the financial potential The draft Decree stipulates the establishment of Special Economic Zone "Innovation center of information and communication technologies" (hereinafter – SEZ ICICT) within the territory of Inha University in Tashkent for the period until 1 January, 2030, with the possibility of expansion of its territory and extension of its terms. During its operation, SEZ ICICT and its participants shall enjoy special customs, currency and tax regimes.

 

The draft establishes a simplified procedure of taxation for SEZ ICICT participants, as well as their employees, in terms of their activities within the SEZ ICICT, comprising:

-  Exemption from paying all types of taxes and obligatory deductions to state funds, as well as the unified social payment for the entire period of functioning of SEZ ICICT;

-  the establishment of the tax rate on incomes of physical persons in the amount of 7.5 percent and the insurance contributions of citizens to non-budgetary Pension Fund at a rate of 4.5 percent.

 

At that, SEZ ICICT participants are entitled to exercise calculations and payments in foreign currency within the limits of their income from the export of goods (works, services) on the territory of the Republic, including the payment of wages to employees in cash or non-cash form and the payment of dividends. The adoption of the draft decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan is aimed at creating necessary environment to stimulate the development of domestic production of software products, information systems and resources in priority areas of socio-economic development of the country.The draft discussion will be held until February 23, 2017.

 From http://news.uzreport.uz/ 02/10/2017

 

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Australian Government Signs Research Treaty with New Zealand

 

Both governments will work together on science, research, and innovation in response to the 'challenges' of industry transition. The Australian government has announced the signing of a treaty-level Science, Research, and Innovation Cooperation Agreement with the New Zealand government. As part of the agreement, Australia and New Zealand will work together to tackle chronic disease, advance general health care, and improve the accuracy and availability of GPS signals, said recently appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos. "This is the first treaty of its kind between our countries. It formalises what has been a naturally close and enduring partnership," Sinodinos said. "More importantly, it recognises the immense economic and social potential that merging our efforts and resources can bring to the region." The minister said the signing of the agreement in Queenstown on Friday with New Zealand Minister for Economic Development, Transport and Communications Simon Bridges concludes a year of intense negotiations and that it recognises the strength of the relationship between both countries, as well as the advantages of sharing resources, assets, and knowledge. Pointing to Australia's Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, Sinodinos said it is a prime example of working together. The SKA has been slated to be the largest and most capable radio telescope ever constructed, and has been called the world's largest science project, covering over 1 million square metres of collecting area.

 

Sinodinos said the government is also trailing the Satellite Base Augmentation System in both countries. The New Zealand government, alongside the New Zealand research sector, allocated a total of AU$4.5 million to support the Australian Synchrotron in February last year.

The AU$1.5 million to be donated every year for three years sees the total investment into the Synchrotron from Australia's trans-Tasman neighbours reach AU$13.5 million since it began operations in 2007. The Australian government also signed a research agreement with China last year, announcing the creation of six new Joint Research Centres. At a cost of AU$5.95 million, the six virtual centres will be funded for three years under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund, which supports strategic science, technology, and innovation collaboration considered of mutual benefit to both countries. It will work to address challenges both countries face in the marine science, food and agribusiness, and mining equipment technology and services sectors. The federal government also chose China to host one of its five startup landing pads, with former Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne saying previously that Shanghai was being positioned by the Chinese government as a global centre for technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The AU$11 million startup landing pad initiative is aimed at helping Australian entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market in overseas locations, with sites also set up in Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Singapore.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/17/2017

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AUSTRALIA: Government to Trial New Tool to Speed Up Netflix Content Classification

 

The federal government is piloting a new classification tool designed to streamline the process of classifying Netflix content and to make it easier for programmes to become available to Australian audiences. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says the government has been working with Netflix over the past year to create the tool, which combines Netflix’s technology with Australia’s classification ratings and consumer advisories. According to Fifield, the “innovative solution represents the first time in the world that a self-regulatory tool will be used to classify films and television series”. The pilot will be undertaken over the next 12 months and will see Netflix applying the classification tool to classify their content for Australian audiences. During the pilot, a broad range of classification decisions will be reviewed by the Classification Board to assess the integrity of the tool and ensure that ratings meet Australian community standards. In a safeguard, if needed, the Board has the power to revoke classifications made by the Netflix tool and replace them with its own decisions. Fifield says the tool speeds up the classification process and removes red tape for Netflix, while ensuring that all Netflix content is classified and the community “continues to receive high quality information to guide entertainment choices for themselves and their children”. This is the second classification tool being tested by the government to address the increasing volume of content readily available online through new digital platforms. In the other trial, the government is evaluating its pilot of the International Age Rating Coalition tool, which Fifield says has produced more than half a million Australian classifications for online and mobile games on Google Play, the Microsoft Windows Store and the Nintendo eShop.

From http://www.itwire.com 12/07/2016

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Govt Drops Plans to Sell Off ASIC Database

 

The Australian government has bowed to public pressure and announced it would drop its plans to sell off the ASIC corporate database. The government was put under pressure by journalists and the activist organisation GetUp. A public petition was also launched to garner support for keeping the database. Daney Faddoul, economic fairness campaigner at GetUp, welcomed the backdown, but warned that the government had to go further and make ASIC’s data free if it was serious about exposing shady corporate behaviour. Accessing just one set of company records costs $38, among the highest access fees in the world. “Journalists, academics, and the public at large opposed this sale. The database is used to hold dodgy corporates to account and ensure that companies are paying their fair share of tax," said Faddoul. “Business filings to ASIC shouldn’t be behind closed doors. We all benefit when corporations are held to the highest level of scrutiny. “A total of 80,306 GetUp members signed a petition calling out the Turnbull government for their harebrained scheme to sell it off, 84 journalists from across print and electronic media wrote an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull, and workers from the ASIC database warned of the devastating impact a sale would have on corporate scrutiny." ASIC workers had also joined the protest in order to defend local jobs.

 

Faddoul said: “The hundreds of people working at the ASIC corporate database in the struggling La Trobe valley now know that their jobs are safe and so is the data that is integral to investigating corporate affairs. “The government must now take the next step in making corporate business behaviour transparent. Australia has some of the highest fees in the world to access corporate data, and journalists regularly run out of money when investigating corporate wrongdoing. “In countries like New Zealand and the US, this data is free. At a whopping $38 a pop, the government is still holding this information ransom to those that can afford it. “Mr Turnbull, if there really is nothing to hide make the corporate data free for us all to see. “With the sale DOA, it won’t be happy holidays for dodgy corporate behaviour. This shows what can be won through people power – even on an issue as wonky as the ASIC corporate database,” said Faddoul.

From http://www.itwire.com 12/19/2016

 

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Network Protection Laws 'May Have Opposite Effect'

 

Laws that have been proposed by the Australian Government to guard communications networks and businesses from cyber attack and sabotage may have the opposite effect from that intended, a coalition of industry groups has warned. The warning came jointly from the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Information Industry Association, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and Communications Alliance in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. These industry groups represent most of Australia's $100 billion ICT industry. In its submission, the groups pointed to issues in the Telecommunication Sector Security Reform (TSSR) legislation, recently introduced to Federal Parliament. Among these were vague drafting, regulatory overreach, the risk that telecommunications service providers could be forced by government to dismantle or retro-fit existing communications networks and the risk to hamper innovation and to competitively disadvantage businesses.The groups praised the government for a number of useful amendments to earlier drafts of the legislation, after receiving advice from industry.They also acknowledged that critical infrastructure, including telecommunications services and networks, was at risk from espionage, sabotage and foreign interference, and companies have a commercial motivation to harden and protect their networks. The groups warned that onerous, one-way notification requirements would affect responsiveness of service providers to cyber threats and asked the government to consider more collaborative, effective approaches, as adopted or contemplated in the US, UK and Canada. The proposed TSSR regime “may in fact divert scarce resources away from investing directly in addressing cyber security threats, to compliance overhead arising from the regime. It may reduce the ability for the ICT industry and its clients to proactively monitor and quickly respond to threats and breaches”, the submission stated.

From http://www.itwire.com 02/06/2017

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Innovation and Science Australia Calls for a More 'Urgent' Innovation Strategy

 

The independent body has said more work is needed to improve the country's innovation, science, and research system. Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) has said Australia is lagging behind international competitors and that there is a lot of work to be done in order to break into the top tier of innovative nations. As a result, the independent body charged with researching, planning, and advising the government on all science, research, and innovation matters has called for an increase in the sense of urgency around Australian innovation. The comments come following a performance review into Australia's current system, which highlighted that while it has points of strength, it is falling behind other nations. In conducting the review, Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System 2016, ISA determined the country's performance on three areas: How well Australia creates knowledge; how well the country transfers that knowledge to different parts of the system; and how well businesses apply knowledge in developing new goods and services and how it takes them to market. "As a nation we're good at creating knowledge but simply not good enough at transferring or applying it," chair of Innovation Australia Bill Ferris said. "In both our number of researchers per capita and the proportion of highly-cited publications we produce, we sit in the top 10 internationally." Despite sitting in the top 10, Ferris said Australia is performing relatively poorly in terms of transferring its knowledge and ultimately applying it.

 

"It is these activities that create the types of new goods and services that not only improve our lives -- think breakthrough medical technologies, environmentally friendly production techniques, and new ways of growing and storing our food -- but also provide economic growth and sustainable jobs," he said. ISA's review suggested that Australia's poor performance in knowledge transfer and application may be partially explained by the country's low rates of collaboration and mobility among research institutions and businesses compared to the more innovative nations. "The challenge of getting Australia into the top tier of innovation nations by 2030 must be seen as a significant national priority," Ferris said, noting that Australia has a predominantly incremental approach to innovation rather than a more radical approach, and as a result it is holding the country back. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull established ISA in November 2015, announcing Ferris, the 45-year veteran of private equity, as the chairman to lead the future direction of the country's innovation. Former program director for the University of Melbourne's Carlton Connect initiative Dr Charles Day joined Ferris -- and Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, who was announced in March as deputy chair -- as ISA's CEO the following November.

 

The ISA board also consists of Maile Carnegie, ANZ group executive digital banking and former CEO of Google Australia & New Zealand; Scott Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Australian startup darling Atlassian; Daniel Petre from AirTree capital ventures; Paul Bassat, co-founder of SEEK and Square Peg Capital; Dr Chris Roberts from ResMed; and Dr Michele Allan, chancellor of Charles Sturt University. ISA is funded out of Turnbull's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda, which was unveiled in December 2015 to incentivise innovation and entrepreneurship, reward risk taking, and promote science, maths, and computing in schools. "Australia is falling behind on measures of commercialisation and collaboration, consistently ranking last or second last among OECD countries for business-research collaboration," Turnbull admitted at the time. "Our appetite for risk is lower than in comparable countries, which means Australian startups and early stage businesses often fail to attract capital to grow." Since the inception of the innovation and science agenda, the minister responsible has changed three times, with newly appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos assuming his new role last month.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/07/2017

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Bill to Criminalise Data Re-Identification May Not Pass Senate

 

An amendment to the Privacy Act, in order to criminalise the re-identification of anonymised released government datasets, may fail to clear the Senate if the report of the committee appointed to look into it is any indication. Attorney-General George Brandis announced the amendment in September last year after researchers at Melbourne University found that doctor details could be identified in a dataset made available to the public by the federal Department of Health. The change in law was to take effect from the date of its announcement.

This data was extracted from the Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medicare Benefits schemes. The panel appointed to examine the amendment had six members: three Liberals, two Labor and one Green. Additionally, Derryn Hinch, who represents his own party, participated in the deliberations. The chair, Senator Ian Macdonald, recommended that the amendment be passed. But the Labor and Greens members dissented, saying it should not become law. When Brandis announced the amendment, he said the government's ability to draft better policy and tackle many future challenges depended on effective sharing and analysis of data. But, he said, in accepting that there were benefits to releasing de-identified datasets, the government recognised that citizens' privacy was important. Macdonald said that while the committee recognised that people who had made submissions about the amendment had valid points about its retrospective nature, reversed burden of proof and the introduction of criminal offences, the amendment was a "necessary and proportionate response" to the gap that had been identified in privacy law.

 

Regarding the fact that the amendment was to come into force from the date of its announcement, Macdonald said while there was a general reluctance to pass bills that took effect retrospectively, the committee had noted that Brandis' announcement "was in the current term of parliament, was very specific, and indicated clearly that the legislation was to apply from the date of the announcement. There is sufficient particularity in the announcement to alert would-be offenders of the nature of the offence". The committee also took the view that government researchers would not fall within the scope of this amendment. Macdonald added that the bill had exemptions for agencies in order to ensure only those with criminal intentions would be affected. He also pointed to the fact that the attorney-general of the day could exempt people if they were caught up under the amendment by mistake. The Labor and Greens members said the amendment should not be passed as it was a disproportionate response to the gap identified in the Privacy Act and failed to achieve its objectives. "The bill fails to provide a holistic response and neglects to consider the de-identification process and consequences for agencies for releasing datasets that have been poorly de-identified," they said. Rather, the amendment would result in a punitive approach towards information security researchers and research conducted in the public interest, they argued, adding that they also did not agree with the retrospective application of the proposed amendment. The government will need either the support of Labor, or else the Greens plus a few others in the Senate, to get the amendment passed. Things have become a little more complicated with Tuesday's resignation of Cory Bernardi from the government side in the Senate. A privacy expert has expressed doubts to iTWire as to whether data can ever be de-identified to the point where it cannot be re-identified and traced to its subjects.

From http://www.itwire.com 02/08/2017

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Australia Finally Gets Data Breach Notification Laws at Third Attempt

 

Twice-stranded laws have finally succeeded in making passage through the Australian Parliament. At the third time of asking, Australia will have data breach notification laws. The passage of the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 through the Senate on Monday means Australians will in the near future begin to be alerted of their data being inappropriately accessed. The legislation is restricted to incidents involving personal information, credit card information, credit eligibility, and tax file number information that would put individuals at "real risk of serious harm". "It is not intended that every data breach be subject to a notification requirement. It would not be appropriate for minor breaches to be notified, because of the administrative burden that may place on entities, the risk of 'notification fatigue' on the part of individuals, and the lack of utility where notification does not facilitate harm mitigation," the explanatory memorandum for the Bill states. Notification laws would only apply to companies covered by the Privacy Act, and would exempt intelligence agencies, small businesses with turnover of less than AU$3 million annually, and political parties from needing to disclose breaches. E-health providers are still subject to the mandatory data breach notification scheme under the My Health Records Act. Upon a qualifying breach or on reasonable grounds to believe that a serious data breach has occurred, the impacted entity would need to notify the Australian Information Commissioner and affected individuals. In cases where it is not certain a breach has occurred, the entity has 30 days to investigate whether notification is needed.

 

The new laws are set to come into force either by a proclaimed date, or a year after they receive Royal Assent. Speaking during the second reading of the Bill, Senator Penny Wong said many Australians would be surprised that companies were not already legally required to inform them when a serious breach occurred, and pointed to the three-year delay that Catch of the Day took to inform its users as an example of why notification is needed. Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was unsuccessful in moving a motion to have the notification requirements apply to political parties and businesses with turnover of less than AU$3 million.

A data breach notification scheme was recommended by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security in February 2015, prior to Australia's mandatory data-retention laws being implemented. Under the data-retention laws, approved law-enforcement agencies are able to warrantlessly access two years' worth of customers' call records, location information, IP addresses, billing information, and other data stored by telecommunication operators. Two Bills that would have had a similar impact were stranded when Parliament rose for the 2013 and 2016 federal elections.

From http://www.zdnet.com 02/13/2017

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Data Breach Laws Finally Clear Senate

 

The Australian Government has finally put in place laws to govern data breaches, with legislation passing the Senate on Monday. The bill applies to organisations that come under the purview of the Privacy Act: government agencies, and businesses and non-profit entities that have a yearly turnover of more than $3 million. The breach legislation also applies to private health service providers, including gyms and weight-loss clinics; child-care centres, private schools and tertiary education institutions; businesses that deal in personal information and credit reporting bodies. People who deal with personal information for a living, including those who handle credit reporting information, tax file numbers and health records are also covered. Failure to notify the Australian Privacy Commissioner of a breach will incur penalties. The bill says: "A civil penalty for serious or repeated interferences with the privacy of an individual will only be issued by the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia following an application by the [Privacy] Commissioner. Serious or repeated interferences with the privacy of an individual attract a maximum penalty of $360,000 for individuals and $1,800,000 for bodies corporate." The time for notification is "as soon as possible" but stretches out to a maximum of 30 days. During the debate in Senate prior to the passage of the bill, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam moved an amendment to get this period down to three days but his amendment failed to obtain support. He later tried to get it down to five days but failed again. Labor did not support his proposed amendments. Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos told the Senate that the 30-day period was not a hard and fast rule; in some cases, organisations that suffered breaches would have to make a declaration in less time. A reasonable effort had to be made to meet the 30-day deadline, he said.

From http://www.itwire.com 02/14/2017

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Prevention Key Benefit of New Data Breach Laws: ACS

 

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) believes the key benefits of new data breach laws to govern data breaches will be preventative and the real impact will be to mobilise business and government. As reported by iTWire, the Australian Government has finally put in place laws to govern data breaches, with the legislation passing the Senate on Monday. While welcoming the passage of the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016, the ACS says the impact on business and government will lead to robust, responsive data protection and cybersecurity frameworks and a “culture of best practice information sharing to combat ever-evolving cyber threats”. ACS President Anthony Wong says this new legislation marks a line in the sand, “after delays which have put Australia behind jurisdictions like the US, EU and New Zealand”. “It is now incumbent upon industry and government to build the cyber-resilience required by Australia’s digital economy. “The ACS endorses the balanced, flexible approach to data breach notification rules taken by this new legislation. Australia can learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions, but it is equally critical that we learn from the professional best practices that will arise in Australia as the legislation begins operation, which in turn will influence all levels of government and business.” Wong says effective data protection and cybersecurity involves collaboration across organisations, government agencies and internationally. “The ACS looks forward to working with government, industry and our international colleagues on best practice approaches to ICT security systems and protocols and the education and training of ICT professionals to meet both the spirit and the letter of the new legislative requirements.”

From http://www.itwire.com 02/14/2017

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NEW ZEALAND: Rocket Lab’s Launch Hopes Rest on Upcoming Legislation

 

New Zealand presently lacks any regulatory regime covering rocket-launching activities.

Rocket Lab, a US based company founded by New Zealander, Peter Beck, is building what it claims will be the world’s first private orbital launch complex on the North Island’s Mahia Peninsula, but is waiting on legislation now under consideration by a parliamentary committee that it hopes will give it the green light to fulfil its plans. New Zealand presently lacks any regulatory regime covering rocket-launching activities and to that end the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill was introduced into Parliament on 19 September 2016. This bill establishes a regulatory regime to govern space launches, including both launch vehicles and payloads (eg, satellites), from New Zealand and by New Zealand nationals operating overseas. It also provides a legal framework for high-altitude activities that originate from New Zealand. The Bill had its first reading speech on 18 October and is now being considered by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, which is due to report on 18 April. Submissions to the committee closed on 1 December. However the bill’s web site does not show any submissions having been made. Beck – who founded Rocket Lab a decade ago – told the Wall Street Journal, in a report published on 9 January, that no launch sites in the US had the capacity to cater for Rocket Lab’s planned launch rate of as many as 3000 microsatellites over the next several years. The paper reported him saying: “A small island nation in the middle of nowhere,” was “pretty much exactly what you want.” The WSJ told its readers that New Zealand was “earthquake-prone, dotted with volcanoes … contain[s] six times as many sheep as people ... [and] doesn’t even have a combat air force, having scrapped its warplanes about 15 years ago to save money.” Rocket Lab backers include US venture capital firms Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and K1W1, a New Zealand investment company owned by Sir Stephen Tindall.

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 01/10/2017

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Government Sets Out Its Preferred Post-2020 Telecoms Regime

 

Communications Minister Simon Bridges has released a consultation paper setting out details of how the government proposes to regulate access to the copper telephone network beyond 2020. Communications Minister Simon Bridges has released a consultation paper setting out details of how the government proposes to regulate access to the copper telephone network beyond 2020. In areas where UFB or other fibre is available, the Government is proposing to deregulate the copper network from 2020 and remove the TSO obligation. In areas where UFB or other fibre is not available, the TSO obligation will be retained and Chorus will be required to continue supplying copper services at prices capped at 2019 levels. The Government says this regime will ensure consumers continue to have access to basic services at competitive prices, even when alternative networks are not available. The proposal was tentatively welcomed by InternetNZ. CEO Jordan Carter said he thought it would deliver the fair broadband prices Kiwis deserve. However, he added: “We will apply a magnifying glass to the details to make sure that fair prices for broadband are a reality after 2020. We’ll give feedback to the Government with that goal in mind Today’s announcement shows that things are on the right track, but there’s still some important points of detail to iron out. Carter said InternetNZ would spend the next few days digesting the details and speaking with the sector, before responding to the options paper.

 

TUANZ also welcomed the new proposals, and claimed some of the credit for their introduction. CEO, Craig Young, said: “It’s encouraging that many of the options outlined in the paper reflect our submissions and align with our objectives of ensuring New Zealanders can access competitively priced, high quality connectivity. He added: “It’s critical in this very technical review of regulation of telecommunication services that the voice of the user is heard because we are the ultimate consumer of the products, which are now critical to our businesses and our everyday lives.” He said there were a number of aspects of the proposed new regime that required further work, including the proposal to deregulate copper pricing within the UFB footprint. “Having worked so hard as an organisation to advocate for regulation to be applied to the copper access network to ensure competition and fairer outcomes for users, it's critical that we take time to ensure that the removal of this regulation will not be a backwards step for New Zealanders.” Young said. The consultation paper follows release of the July 2016 options paper which set out the details of the new ‘utility-style’ regime for fixed line communications services provided on the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network and Chorus’ copper network.

In that paper the Government proposed using a ‘building blocks’ pricing model, saying this would benefit end-users through a competitive retail market; prevent monopoly profits and incentivise ongoing efficient investment in high quality networks.

 

However Bridges said the approach set out the new consultation paper differed from that favoured in the options paper as a result of feedback from industry and consumer groups about how the proposed regime would work in practice. “Following further consideration and analysis we have decided to take a different approach to the regulation of copper services, and focus the new regulations primarily on New Zealand’s fibre network,” Bridges said. “We’re seeking feedback on this proposal and on changes to the Telecommunications Service Obligation (TSO) through the consultation document released today.” Submissions on the consultation paper close on 3 March 2017.

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 02/10/2017

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ADB, Vanuatu Sign Agreement to Help Improve Urban Development

 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional $2.87 million assistance for the Port Vila Urban Development Project to further help Vanuatu achieve sustainable urban development through improved access to sanitation, drainage facilities, and roads.  A grant agreement for the additional financing was signed in a ceremony in Port Vila today, attended by Jean Pierre Nirua, Vanuatu's Education Minister and Acting Minister of Finance and Economic Management, and Nancy Wells, Senior Country Coordination Officer of ADB’s Extended Mission in Vanuatu. The $2.87 million grant will be provided by the Global Environment Facility. “The extra funds will help strengthen climate change resilience and disaster preparedness in Port Vila,” said ADB’s Nancy Wells. “Increasing the design standard for the project’s drainage and preparing catchment management plans following sustainable urban drainage principles are part of this plan.”

 

Port Vila is the commercial and tourist center of the country, generating almost two thirds of national GDP. The poor state of the capital’s drainage, road, and sanitation infrastructure are negatively impacting Vanuatu’s ability to attract and retain commercial and tourist related investment. The infrastructure’s current deteriorating condition is also raising concerns regarding public health, environmental degradation, and poorer quality of life for Port Vila residents and visitors. “The cofinanced project, managed by the Government of Vanuatu through the Vanuatu Project Management Unit (VPMU) and funded by grants from the Government of Australia and the Global Environment Facility — a loan from the ADB and a grant contribution from the government — will help the country achieve sustainable urban development through improved services in Port Vila,” said Mr. Nirua at the ceremony.

 

The project will help address the increasing urbanization that is putting unprecedented pressure on infrastructure in Port Vila. It will be in close coordination with other major projects underway in the national capital including the Port Vila Lapetasi International Multi-Purpose Wharf Development Project, the Vanuatu Interisland Shipping Support Project, and the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project — all of which will support Port Vila as a vibrant and attractive economic hub of the Pacific. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.

From https://www.adb.org/ 02/16/2017

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UN Internet Summit Run by Beijing Pushes “Global Governance”

 

Under the leadership of various Communist Chinese agents within the United Nations, the UN's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) met in Mexico last week and concluded with calls for greater international controls and more “global governance” of the World Wide Web. Another key item on the agenda was exploiting the Internet to promote the UN's deeply controversial “Agenda 2030” Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), essentially a UN road-map toward global totalitarianism that Beijing played a “crucial role” in developing.The controversial UN IGF gathering was the first annual summit of governments, dictators, tax-funded “civil society” outfits, academics, and tech companies since Obama surrendered U.S. oversight over crucial components of the Internet's architecture such as ICANN. It was also the first IGF summit since the mass-murdering dictatorship in China, which censors the Web and savagely persecutes dissidents, boldly announced last month its intent to subordinate the free and open Internet to its draconian vision of “global governance.”Experts have warned for years that blatant censorship and global Internet taxes will not be far behind if Americans do not step up the pressure to protect Internet freedom. With Obama having attempted to hand over U.S. oversight of the Internet's architecture to a “global multi-stakeholder” regime in recent months, the effort to re-take control of the Internet Americans helped create and pay for must accelerate if First Amendment protections for speech and journalism online are to survive.

 

Indeed, among other troubling topics, speakers and panelists at the UN's Internet governance confab explored topics such as “dealing with radicalized expression,” according to an official summary document of the confab. By “radicalized expression,” globalists and the UN are referring to conservative viewpoints, anti-UN sentiment, support for traditional values, nationalist or anti-globalist expression, and more. Another subject discussed at the IGF was “the importance of addressing online abuse,” an increasingly transparent ploy intended to justify online censorship.Officially, the UN summit focused on “Internet and sustainable development; access and diversity; youth and gender challenges pertaining to the Internet; the protection and promotion of human rights online; cybersecurity; the need to enhance multi-stakeholder cooperation; critical Internet resources; Internet governance capacity building; and other emerging issues that may affect the future of the open Internet.” All the PR-friendly rhetoric sounded innocent enough — at first glance. Translating the UN's misleading terminology, though, reveals a deeply controversial agenda to assault online and offline freedom worldwide. Consider, for example, that by “sustainable development,” the UN is referring to massive government controls over the economy, reducing the human population, assaulting private property ownership, redistributing wealth from what remains of the Western middle class to Third World dictators, and more. This has been made clear even by top UN officials.

 

When the UN speaks of protecting “human rights,” meanwhile, consider that the UN has a very different definition than the God-given rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Under the guise “human rights,” for example, the UN has called for criminalizing free speech, destroying gun rights, regulating private schools to promote UN dogma, ignoring due-process protections, and many other totalitarian schemes. The UN's pseudo-“human rights” Council is literally dominated by mass-murdering dictators and unfree regimes that are among the worst abusers of real rights on the planet. And in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN explicitly claims in Article 29 that none of those “rights” may be “used contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” On at least one point, though, the UN used almost honest verbiage. By “capacity-building” for “Internet governance,” the UN means exactly what this sounds like it means: enhancing the ability of governments, dictators, and the array of international outfits they create, such as the UN, to impose rules, regulations, restrictions, censorship, and taxes on the Internet. That has been the direction and the goal for many years now.

 

Among the totalitarian dictatorships that were allowed to organize “open forums” at the IGF summit were the mass-murdering regimes enslaving China and Cuba, both of which operate Orwellian censorship regimes to prevent their victims from accessing information. Other such sessions for governments and globalist bureaucracies were organized by the unelected, technocratic European Union Commission and the African Union. The latter is a dictator-dominated, EU-style transnational regime being imposed on Africans, with virtually all funding coming from the EU, the U.S. government, and the Communist Chinese dictatorship. Various scandal-plagued UN outfits such as UNESCO, WIPO, and more also organized events. Despite attempting to conceal the true agenda in slick phraseology calculated to sound harmless or even desirable, the globalist establishment vowed openly to keep pursuing stronger global “governance” for the Internet in fairly transparent terms. For example, delegates plotted the imposition of new “cybersecurity measures” to be “implemented in cooperation with” so-called “international expert bodies” such as the Beijing-dominated UN organs hoping to oversee Internet regulation. And that is just the start.

 

The plot to exploit the Internet to advance the UN's totalitarian Agenda 2030 was made explicit throughout, too. “Indeed, the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play an important, enabling role in our efforts to fulfill the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” boasted UN Assistant Secretary-General LenniMontiel, who comes from one of the many nations in the world, Venezuela, destroyed by Agenda 2030-style Big Government policies. Montiel received his Master of Science in economics from a communist indoctrination center in Belarus, another nation destroyed and enslaved by a socialist dictatorship dedicated to Agenda 2030-style schemes.Other speakers, such as Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, boasted that the global policies governing the use of the Internet would be used to fight alleged man-made global warming. Seriously. While details were sketchy, one of the many schemes pushed throughout the summit was the notion that governments “bear a crucial responsibility” in terms of creating “content” for the Internet — presumably a reference to pushing propaganda supporting the UN, the man-made global-warming theory, and more. 

 

Another key agenda item was discussion of how globalists can exploit the emerging so-called “Internet of Things,” or IoT, to better oppress humanity. “The challenge is to foster this continuous development and to enable the IoT to further grow into the Internet and Internet governance processes,” the IGF summary document explained, citing issues and challenges such as “standardization, interoperability, and security.” Indeed, according to the document, these issues offer “substantial opportunities” for “multi-stakeholder cooperation,” with the stakeholders being the UN, governments, dictators, Big Business, and “civil society” groups funded by governments and the establishment.As Technocracy Rising author Patrick Wood explained in a recent column, though, the UN's agenda in seeking to bring the Internet under its control goes far beyond just censorship. “The real prize is completely overlooked: The Internet of Things (IoT),” Wood explained, adding that within a decade IoT is expected to generate upwards of $3 trillion. “If the UN can figure out a way to tax this market, and they will, it will provide a windfall of income and perhaps enough to make it self-perpetuating.”    

 

That is just the start of it. “But, what is the IoT and who cares? IoT are the connections between inanimate objects and the humans that depend upon them,” Wood continued, pointing to Smart Meters on homes that communicate remotely with home appliances, which can be controlled by external sources, and with the utility company. “Whoever has control over and access to this data will literally be able to control the entire world, down to the last minutiae – and that is the United Nations’ exact mission: inventory, monitor and control.”The IGF summit was organized through the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, or UN DESA, a powerful UN bureaucracy that is literally dominated by Communist Chinese operatives dedicated to the Communist Party of China and its totalitarian global agenda. UN DESA's chief, Wu Hongbo, was the “Assistant Foreign Minister” for the brutal Chinese regime before taking his UN post. He succeeded another Chinese Communist, ShaZukang, who openly proclaimed his hatred of America and even gave an award to the Communist Chinese butcher responsible for slaughtering peaceful protesters at Tiananmen Square.

 

One of Wu's underlings, also a Chinese Communist agent, boasted after the IGF of the growing role that Third World dictatorships would play in governing the Internet. “Leading up to the twelfth IGF next year, innovations in programming and intersessional activities will continue to be implemented in a bottom-up manner, based on feedback from the multistakeholder community and in line with our new mandate which calls for greater participation from stakeholders from developing countries,” said Juwang Zhu, director of the Division for Sustainable Development in UN DESA, with developing countries being the term used by UN bureaucrats to refer to Third World dictatorships that have impoverished their victims for generations. Of course, the Communist Chinese celebrations of “sustainable development” are not new, or surprising, as Beijing takes a growing role in what it and Western globalists call the “New World Order.” UN DESA's former Communist Chinese boss, Sha, was the chair of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 attended by this reporter. And more recently, the regime in Beijing bragged publicly of its “crucial role” in developing the UN Agenda 2030 for “Sustainable Development,” which a Socialist ex-NATO boss ominously referred to as the next “Great Leap Forward.” 

 

Another key UN bureaucracy seeking to control the Internet, the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is also led by a Communist Chinese agent — Houlin Zhao, who told the press that censorship is really in the eye of the beholder and not everyone agrees on what censorship is. Essentially, then, the Chinese dictatorship and many of its key allies — from Moscow and Brasilia to Tehran and Havana — hope to empower the little-known UN outfit Zhao leads with awesome powers over the Internet. They have made this perfectly clear for years in official declarations. Unsurprisingly, just weeks before the IGF confab in Mexico, brutal Chinese dictator Xi Jinping called for stepped-up “global governance” of the Internet. Speaking by video at the Communist Chinese regime-run “World Internet Conference” in Wuzhen, China, Xi used standard globalist rhetoric to promote UN control of the post-American Internet. “The development of the Internet knows no international boundaries,” declared the tyrant, who leads the government and political party responsible for murdering more people than any other in human history. “The sound use, development and governance of the internet thus calls for closer cooperation.” He also said his regime would  “promote equitable global internet governance.”

 

Like the Communist regime enslaving mainland China, the UN and many of its totalitarian member regimes were pleased with Obama's surrender of oversight to globalist “stakeholders” and foreign governments. “The successful transition of the IANA functions to the multi stakeholder community in October of 2016, only a few months prior to the 11th IGF, marks an important milestone for the multi stakeholder Internet governance community,” reads an official summary of the confab by the IGF chair, boasting that new “community-based accountability mechanisms” would now replace the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantees of free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and more. “At the IGF, various workshops and sessions endeavored to learn from the successes and challenges of this important multi stakeholder exercise.”The UN IGF event took place in Jalisco, Mexico, between December 6 and December 9. Some 3,000 people — many of them representing mass-murdering dictatorships keen to censor the Internet — were reportedly in attendance. At the summit, pictures show the UN's blue flag flying high, alongside Mexico's green, white, and red flag, as armed officials stand at attention. The scene, reproduced in UN press releases, encapsulated well by outgoing UN boss Ban Ki Moon as he now regularly refers to the lawless dictators club he leads as the “Parliament of Humanity.”

 

For Americans concerned about keeping the Internet free and preventing its use by tyrants and globalists to oppress humanity, time is running out. Congress and the Trump administration should be encouraged to take urgent action aimed at stopping the UN and its member regimes from hijacking control of the Internet. As it stands, online freedom is waking people up by the millions around the world. It is also undermining establishment control of humanity and public opinion in an unprecedented way. But without urgent action by Americans to stop it, the UN, Beijing, and other nefarious anti-freedom forces intend to stamp out that freedom forever. Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

From http://www.thenewamerican.com/ 12/15/2016

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The Missing Stakeholder in Internet Governance – The Media

 

As an Internet policy researcher I have closely followed the outcomes of the annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF), but this year was the first time I had the opportunity to participate in person when it was convened two weeks ago in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was there to coordinate CIMA’s new initiative to facilitate the engagement of journalists and media activists from traditionally underrepresented countries in debates on Internet governance. This project emerged because in the past critics, myself included, have noted how participants from developed countries often dominate the IGF. If we want to make multistakeholder governance truly function as intended, we need to have much broader input from people in developing countries. Fortunately, this is an issue on which there is broad consensus and there are a number of efforts, like CIMA’s, that seek to address this issue of global representation. However, after just the first day of the meeting, I noticed another glaring gap in IGF participation that is equally concerning – the general lack of participation by news media outlets.

 

The general absence of the media is problematic because some of the most-discussed issues this year will have direct effects on how journalists and news media outlets operate in the future. So while topics like the so-called “right to be forgotten,” the increasing prevalence of Internet shutdowns, and zero-rating (a controversial form of data sponsorship), were highly debated, there were only a small number of individuals who could address these issues from the viewpoint of a either a journalist or a news organization. This meant that when these topics were talked about, important aspects were overlooked. For example, discussions on the “right to be forgotten” largely neglected its impact on press freedom in terms of how it might effectively censor specific news article. Panels on zero-rating did not address how zero-rating and other sponsored data arrangements might privilege large corporate media over independent and oppositional news outlets. These are important concerns for the media sector, and they are not adequately being addressed at IGF.

 

The goal of the multistakeholder Internet governance is to bring representatives from governments, the private sector, and civil society together to discuss the complex global Internet policies that impact them all in different ways. The IGF gathering is both a space to identify points of conflict as well as an opportunity to begin mapping out potential solutions. Yet, if a wide variety of sectors with different interests and concerns do not show up, the policy solutions crafted at the IGF will not be as effective and sustainable in the long-term. Given that the barrier to participation is so low – registration is free and open to all – it seems like media organizations should be excited about the opportunity to promote mechanisms that foster the circulation of news.

 

So why is the media so underrepresented at the IGF? One reason might be that the so-called Fourth Estate does not neatly fit into the current stakeholder categories (government, private sector, and civil society). While some media organizations are run as for-profit companies, and would fit in the private sector stakeholder group, others operate as non-profits and might consider themselves members of civil society. Furthermore, public service media, while they are not government-run, do rely on taxpayer funding and might not feel comfortable in the other two stakeholders groups. Yet, regardless of their stakeholder designation, the issues that impact these outlets are often quite similar. Indeed, it might make more sense for the media to be considered its own stakeholder group? Given the common problems that cross-cut their business models and their unique dependence on the Internet as a platform for both collecting and transmitting information, a strong case can be made that the media need to be present at all multistakeholder discussions about the future of the Internet.

 

There is a growing concern about the lack of media participation at the IGF, at least from the media development community. Representatives from DW Akademie and International Media Support (IMS) who I met with in Guadalajara expressed an interest in finding ways to help media outlets, particularly those from developing countries, become more engaged. Now the task is to strategize the most effective ways to actually make this happen. The next IGF will be convening in Geneva in December 2017. Hopefully by then the unique perspective of the media will not be overlooked.

From http://www.cima.ned.org/ 01/02/2017

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UAE Shows Global Leadership in E-Government

 

The UAE is among the world’s top countries in using e-government services to drive economic competitiveness and citizen happiness, experts announced today ahead of the World Government Summit.Already the UAE is making strong progress in its information management, ranking in the Top 30 in the world in e-government effectiveness, and the top in the Middle East and Africa in online service delivery, according to a recent report by the United Nations.“At the World Government Summit, the UAE will show global best practices in using e-government services to become more efficient and more responsive to citizen demands. The UAE demonstrates how information management can cut costs, drive sustainable development, and enable happy engagement between citizens and government,” said Andrew Calthorpe, CEO at the future government consultancy Condo Protego.

 

Demonstrating the potential for the cost-saving measures of e-government services, Denmark, which has a similar GDP and population to the UAE, used e-invoicing to save about $215 million, the European Union said in a recent report.“Transitioning from paper-based manual processes to a digital core with automated services requires long-term planning, along with scalable and secure infrastructure. Taking an outside-in approach to connected government is key, prioritizing simple and intuitive interfaces that any citizen can use,” added Calthorpe.In the UAE, Condo Protego is seeing strong public sector demand for a wide range of government-focused information management solutions such as Dell-EMC unified storage, hybrid cloud, and security safeguards from RSA.

From http://tradearabia.com/ 02/13/2017

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AFRICA: SA's E-Govt Strategy Showing Strides

 

Unlike its counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), there is evidence of growing progress in the implementation of SA's e-government strategy. This is the sentiment shared by analysts, who say although there is room for improvement, the South African government's use of ICT to deliver basic services to its citizens shows progress. Realising the key role of ICT in enabling modernised government services and benefits for service delivery, the government developed its own e-government policy framework. SA's e-government policy framework proposes the use of ICT to improve government's efficiency and effectiveness, and make it convenient for citizens to access government services. To date, some notable e-government services the administration has introduced include National Treasury's e-Tender Publication portal, a central supplier database, e-HomeAffairs and the SA Revenue Services' eFiling system.

 

See also

Gauteng e-govt aims to develop ICT entrepreneurs

Gauteng establishes e-govt department

E-government

e-HomeAffairs

Local government departments have also introduced specifically catered initiatives such as Gauteng's e-invoicing service, the City of Ekurhuleni's online system for paying rates, and the City of Cape Town has digitised government information to enable easy access for its citizens. ICT research analyst at Frost & Sullivan Africa, Mauritz Venter, says SA fares relatively well when compared to its counterparts in SSA. "Major e-government goals include reducing costs whilst enhancing service delivery, expanding the national broadband rollout, particularly to rural marginalised communities, and improving national computer literacy and ICT skills. "Metropolitans like Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane have implemented local government e-strategies and in doing so have allowed their constituents unparalleled access and connectivity to the Internet economy and its inherent benefits."

 

Richard Hurst, director of enterprise research at Africa Analysis, says there are some high points as well as low points in the overall progress of the e-government strategy, but overall there has been some good progress. According to Gavin Holme, country manager for Africa at Wipro, the first step on the journey to true e-government services is to replace all legacy infrastructure. "Latest-generation enterprise technologies have the potential to improve financial and operational management within public sector entities, and enhance service delivery to citizens. "By simplifying and standardising on certain technology sets, government is able to create operational efficiencies and more easily fulfil its various mandates."

 

Gauteng shows the way

Gauteng is taking the lead in being one of SA's most modernised provinces and achieving major e-government objectives. In 2015, the Gauteng provincial government established the Department of e-Government, which is part of a restructuring process to ensure departments in the province are able to talk to each other seamlessly. Last year, Gauteng premier David Makhura said his administration will continue to invest in ICT infrastructure as the province positions itself as a driver of SA's digital economy, a hub of research and innovation in SSA. Together with the local municipalities, the Gauteng provincial government plays a key role in the deployment and use of ICT to deliver education, healthcare, as well as other government services, he said. "Our goal remains that of being a smart province and we will continue to invest significantly in the ICT infrastructure and be a leader in e-government services. "High-speed Internet connectivity is a critical foundational infrastructure requirement for success of our government's modernisation agenda."

 

No skills, high costs

While there is growing evidence that SA is making strides in its e-government strategy, pundits note there are factors that are hindering e-government. According to Hurst, the development of e-government in SA is facing the same challenges seen by the private sector, such as lack of an adequate skills pool to develop e-government services and solutions, as well as a dearth of skills within organisations. In addition, there is the challenge of infrastructure and access to services, with one of the main barriers being the cost of access to these services, he says. Laura Caetano, ICT research analyst at Frost & Sullivan Africa, notes some of the primary factors hindering the efficient rollout of e-government plans in SA are in part due to an inconsistent implementation and view of technology development across municipal governments and departments.

 

She explains: "Different government departments, and levels of government, pursue individual strategies which results in an incompatibility of systems on a national scale, potentially limiting growth in the future at a time when convergence and alignment will be necessary. "Cost is another hindrance, as the national budget does not allow for the expensive technologies required to reach e-government objectives. A larger portion of the budget needs to be allocated to ICT spend, as there are significant socio-economic benefits that can be derived." However, it's not all doom and gloom, as there are areas for improvement in ensuring government effectively implements the e-government strategy. Fadzai Deda, an ICT research analyst at Frost & Sullivan Africa, says strategic partnerships are critical in ensuring government can adequately deliver on its e-government strategy. "Essentially, creating an enabling environment through consistent policy development and implementation, education of constituents to promote uptake and ensuring adequate access to capital where necessary." Hurst concludes that government has taken some bold steps but perhaps there is a need to develop e-government champions within the public sector who can take projects and nurture them, while increasing stakeholder participation or buy-in.

From http://www.itweb.co.za/ 01/22/2017

 

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ZIMBABWE: Internet Governance Should Be a Collective Effort