Issue 2, 2001
Volume 4 - May 2, 2001
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The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) on April 6 released a preliminary IT skills “inventory” of existing studies, reports, surveys and initiatives conducted in 21 countries and regions, including the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
The WITSA inventory provides an overview of the critical issues regarding IT skills and IT workforce shortages across the world. The WITSA inventory demonstrates the challenges facing the global IT industry and various solutions being proposed to deal with these challenges.
In the April 6 press release, WITSA Public Policy Chairman and Fujitsu Limited executive David A. Olive emphasized that the Internet and IT have become powerful forces for the digital economy in countries across the world. The demand for IT skills is large and growing, and the current undertaking reflects WITSA’s belief that workforce-related barriers constitute a growing predicament to the future development of IT and the high-tech industry. The findings will provide a useful tool to establish best practices, recommendations and other remedies to the barriers caused by the growing skills gap. The inventory will be a “living document”, and will be regularly updated.
WITSA has a real impact on the global IT environment. It strengthens the industry at large by promoting a level playing field and by voicing the concerns of the international IT community in multilateral organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the G-8 and other international fora where policies affecting industry interests are developed. WITSA recently issued statements on the Digital Divide vs. Digital Opportunities; the Council of Europe Draft Convention on Cyber-Crime; the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); WTO services negotiations; WTO and E-Commerce; transparency in government procurement; and VAT exemptions.
In March 2001, WITSA published its 2001 Public Policy Report, summarizing the positions and statements taken by WITSA on global IT issues. These papers have been used by the industry in our dialogue with governments and multilateral institutions concerning their decision-making process with regard to important issues of concern to the IT industry, including e-commerce, information security and privacy, taxation, e-government, and workforce issues. See also Public Policy Chairman David A. Olive's presentation.
The WCIT 2002 hosted a ‘Countdown to Congress’ evening function on March 21st to rally support from the local business community and to demonstrate how businesses can benefit from the forthcoming Congress. The event was hosted by Hon. Dr. Michael Armitage MP, Minister for Government Enterprises and the Minister for Information Economy and the local business community had the opportunity to hear from him as well as Ross Adler, Chairman WCIT 2002 Executive Committee, John Gygar, CEO of WCIT 2002 and Brenton Wright, Director, Government Global Industries Group, Asia Pacific at EDS Australia.
As presented in the April edition of the official WCIT 2002 EZine, the WCIT 2002 provides an excellent opportunity to raise Adelaide’s profile internationally and to showcase Adelaide and South Australia to the rest of the world. It is expected that the event should bring in approximately AUD$15 million to the South Australian economy. Recent sponsor additions include Fuji Xerox Australia (Gold), Ignition Design (Gold), and Hostworks (Silver).
For further details on the World Congress, South Australian business opportunities, and to see a speaker update -including a review of Don Tapscott (Chairman of Digital4Sight, President of New Paradigm Learning Corporation) and Risto Linturi (senior consultant and principal researcher for the Helsinki Telephone Corporation)- please see the April 2001 EZine. For inquiries regarding sponsorship, speaking opportunities and participation, please contact the WCIT 2002 Secretariat.
On March 8th – 9th 2001, the World Congress 2002 (WCIT 2002) welcomed more than 30 WITSA guests to Adelaide from major IT associations around the world for their biannual Steering Committee and Public Policy meetings, and for the customary review of the World Congress venue and program.
A full two-day agenda involved a number of activities including a ‘Hard Hat’ tour of the spectacular Adelaide Convention Centre - currently under construction, tour and wine tasting at Penfolds Magill Estate and dinner on the lawns of Government House hosted by His Excellency Sir Eric and Lady Neal. The two-day event culminated in the evening at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) IT Industry Ball. Please see the official WCIT 2002 EZine for photos and further details.
As previously reported in the WITSA Newsletter, WITSA is proud to co-host with Information Industry South Africa (IISA) its first ever conference in Africa. The 2001 Global Public Policy Conference will take place in Cape Town on September 10-12, 2001, focusing on the Digital Divide, and how industry may provide Digital Opportunities to the developing world. The GPPC 2001 will recognize the different types of technology gaps, such as:
Nevertheless, the GPPC’01 is uniquely positioned to also address some of the recent positive developments in Africa and elsewhere. For one, Africa’s Internet growth rate is outpacing that of the U.S. Despite the so-called divide, only two countries (Iraq and North Korea) remained without Internet access by the end of 1998 (by choice), while only twenty countries were connected to the World Wide Web a few years earlier, in 1990. The GPPC 2001 will focus on the potential for growth, which is really only limited by the “bounds of human potential”. GPPC 2001will be “your premier opportunity to broaden access to social, business and economic opportunities, and create new markets in developing countries”.
GPPC 2001 will focus on traditionally underserved markets in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Together, these regions account for the world’s 4 billion poor—about two-thirds of the global population. The event is not about philanthropy. Rather, with GPPC 2001, WITSA intends to make what was once solely a citizenship objective into a business objective. In pursuit of this, there are three abiding principles: It is about people; it is about partners; and it is about sustainability:
GPPC2001 aim at delivering solutions in four focus areas: Health: diagnostic and consultative services; telemedicine; Education basic literacy and vocational training; Information based e-commerce; and Policy and Infrastructure to enable the Digital Dividend. The following key topics will be included in the program:
The GPPC 2001 is an extraordinary and bold initiative, the sort of visionary, future-looking conference the world need: A creative and inclusive effort, a hope for changing the world. Born out of vision and global promise, GPPC 2001 represents the best traditions of WITSA’s commitment to an inclusive information society.
Current confirmed speakers include: Carl Bildt, Nelson Mandela, Hylton Appelbaum, CS Holdings, Clem Sunter, Irving Hamer Jr, Taddy Blecher, WITSA Chairman George Newstrom, SAITIS Director, WITSA Public Policy Chairman David Olive, Accenture (Vernon Ellis?), Al Larson/Michael Powell (FCC), Education Development Center, Zeth Malele/Sello Rasethaba, Dan Salcedo, PEOPLink, Craig Mundie (Microsoft Senior Vice President), and WCIT 2002 CEO John Gygar.
Several sponsors have been confirmed in recent weeks, including the Industrial Development Corporation, SAITIS Project/DTI, Hewlett Packard, Information Technology Association of South Africa, Computer Society of South Africa, US Trade Rep/US Embassy, and Arivia.kom. Sponsorship levels are available at the following levels: Diamond (U.S. $100,000), Platinum ($50,000), Gold ($25,000), Silver ($10,000), and Bronze ($5,000). See the official sponsorship web site for further details. Additional programs will also be arranged, including golf, wine, safari, sightseeing and shopping. A presentation of the event by Information Industry South Africa (IISA) President Adrian Schofield is also available (File size: 2948KB).
The WITSA Secretariat expresses appreciation to those WITSA members who participated in the second International Global E-Readiness Project, conducted by McConnell International in collaboration with WITSA as tool to increase the quality of public information about global E-Readiness and to promote actions by governments, improving the climate for e-business and e-government. The new report updates an August 2000 study that predicted the current economic downturn and rates 53 key economies’ E-Readiness—their connectivity, e-leadership, information security, human capital, and e-business climate (see also article in the August 2000 edition of the WITSA Newsletter). The final report, entitled Ready? Net. Go! Partnerships Leading the Global Economy will be released at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C. on May 3. The report will be posted on the WITSA and McConnell International web sites.
WITSA President Harris N. Miller is scheduled to meet with key Mexican industry leaders and government officials in Mexico City on May 11, in order to present the findings of the benchmark Digital Planet 2000 study, and to address the Mexican progress on the transition to a digital economy. The meetings are organized by the Mexican WITSA member organization, Asociación Mexicana de la Industria de Tecnologías de Información (AMITI). The planned activities include: Meetings with AMITI members, press conference, meeting at the Minister of Communications and Transport office (SCT), one-on-one interviews with key Mexican media, and a meeting with the IT Commission of the Mexican Congress.
Last year, the U.S. Congress required the President to issue a report updating the Congress on efforts in critical infrastructure protection. The report, drafted under the Clinton Administration but not approved until early this year by the Bush Administration, was recently made public. The 209-page reports references WITSA at least once. Mentions include:
--Workshops and Conferences
"...For example, the Global InfoSec Summit, which took place in October 2000, was sponsored by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and ITAA, which gather industry and government leaders from around the globe to discuss the critical issues of information security and infrastructure assurance. The organizers believe this event helped launch a global partnership for addressing InfoSec issues on an on-going basis." --page 19. Please see the entire report for further information.
For the first time, WITSA was present at SETI which hosts 12 IT fairs under the same roof, specialized in specific sectors such as manufacturing management, supply chain management, business intelligence, customer care relationship, information system security, business solutions, all of them being empowered today by Internet. Some figures about SETI 2001: 140,000 square meters, 1,600 booths, 142,000 visitors.
SYNTEC INFORMATIQUE, the French WITSA member software association operated the WITSA booth and promoted general WITSA programs and activities, the 2002 World Congress on IT in Adelaide, Australia, and the 2001 Global Public Policy Conference in Cape Town.
WITSA shared a booth with Australia, inside the "International Village", a booth of good standing, 25 square meters with access from 3 sides, a large flat screen, 2 PC's and a minimum of four persons constantly on the booth. There were two posters on display showing :
Moreover, a large amount of material and brochures on WITSA and the next World Congress on IT (WCIT) were provided for passers by. WITSA shared the booth with Australia to promote the next WCIT which will take place in Adelaide on February 27 through March 2, 2002. The Government of South Australia offered a cocktail to promote business with Australian companies and to promote the next WCIT as well. Following the introduction made by the Ambassador of Australia in Paris, WITSA, represented by Jean-Paul Eybert of Syntec Informatique, was invited to deliver a short speech in front of 80 visitors, encouraging participation in Adelaide next year: Key attractions included the strong Congress program itself, networking opportunities, and a host of exciting social programs. General questions about SETI 2001 may be directed to Skander MABROUK at email@example.com.
WITSA MEMBER ACTIVITIES:
Indian National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) President Dewang Mehta passed away in Sydney, Australia on April 12, 2001. Dewang was in Sydney along with Mr. Pramod Mahajan, India's Minister of Information Technology, who was leading a high-powered business delegation to Australia. With Dewang's death India has lost its star performer at the National and International stage. Mr. Mehta's passing away is a tremendous loss to the IT industry in India and worldwide. Mr. Mehta was synonymous with India's world-renowned software industry, and was a distinguished member and spokesman of the high-power IT Task Force on IT and Software Development set up by the Indian Prime Minister to draft a national informatics policy in 1998. Besides being a member of the National Task Force, he was also a member of various bodies including the Indian IT ministry's advisory group, state planning board and Indian Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Mehta was named by Computerworld Magazine as "Software Evangelist of the Year" for three years in a row and "IT Man of the Year" in 2000. Last October the Geneva-based World Economic Forum selected Mehta as one the 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow". Indian IT minister Pramod Mahajan was quoted by India Abroad.com as saying "I have no words for what I am feeling at this juncture. I am the information technology minister in technical terms but it was Dewang who was IT minister in real terms for the last six years".
Not only was Dewang a true leader and visionary in India, his insight, energy and leadership greatly benefited our industry globally, and everyone associated with WITSA owes him a great deal of respect and appreciation. Please see a detailed information and pay a tribute to the long-time WITSA friend and ally at the NASSCOM web site. Separate articles can be found at Rediff.com and India Abroad.com.
The Indian National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and ICT-Norway both took an active part in organizing the April 19-23 visit of H.E. Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister to India, marking the beginning of a new era of co-operation in the IT sector between the two countries. Nasscom in association with Norwegian Trade Council (and ICT Norway), organized the first ever, India-Norway IT Business Meet in Bangalore. The high powered IT delegation accompanying the Prime Minister include Mr. Tore Sandvik, Norwegian Deputy Minister of Information Technology, Mr. Fredrik Syversen, Deputy Secretary General-ICT Norway and representatives from 30 Norwegian ICT companies.
Norway having competitive advantage in Maritime ICT applications, used the seminar as a forum to showcase their expertise to the leading Indian shipping companies. According to the April 23 Nasscom press release, this opened a new vista of alliance and co-operation between the two countries. Currently, Indian IT exports to Norway is of the order of US$ 10 million. This figure was said to be expected to increase to US$ 100 million in 2004-05. Nasscom will further promote the trade between the two countries as part of its strategy to enhance Indian IT trade with European countries which presently accounts for 23.5% of Indian Software Exports. According to Nasscom, in 2000-01 Indian software exports to Europe are likely to fetch revenues of more than US$ 1.4 billion (Rs. 6400 crore). This would be a 63 percent increase over 1999-2000 revenues of US$ 930 million (Rs. 4030 crore). With a proactive campaign by Nasscom in association with ICT Norway, the two associations expect that India’s IT exports to Norway can increase to US$ 250 million by 2008.
Under Nasscom’s Europe initiatives, Nasscom had led an IT delegation to Oslo in October 2000 as part of Nasscom’s strategy to increase India’s software exports in the non-English speaking nations. During the visit, Mr. Dewang Mehta, Late President of Nasscom had successful negotiations with the Norwegian government. These relate to an agreement whereby the latter is to consider initiating a process for issuing competence cards to Indian software professionals. Nasscom will be conducting seminars in various cities of the continent during the year. These initiatives also include negotiations with European governments for relaxation of work permits for Indian software professionals. According to Nasscom, these initiatives in fact are expected to translate into increased Indian software exports to Europe, with figures touching the US$ 4 billion mark in the next three years. Special schemes in India to teach languages like French, German, Italian etc to Indian software professionals is also on the cards.
The Computing Services & Software Association (CSSA) and the European IT Services Association (EISA) is scheduled to present a critique of the Council of Europe’s (COE) long awaited draft Cybercrime Convention, which may be finalized at a meeting in Rome on Monday, May 7. The treaty is the first of its kind, aiming to create a legislative framework for combating computer related crime and enhancing information securities and is currently on draft 25. Many of the 40 plus members of the CoE have concerns over the treaty along with prominent international observers such as the US and Japan. These concerns center around unrealistic data storage requirements for industry and potential liability for ISP’s for third party actions. CSSA will be responding through EISA. For further information, see the CSSA announcement or contact EISA Programme Manager Laurence Harrison. The EISA response will be available shortly on its web site.
As announced on its web site, the Software Industry Federation has been rebranded as Momentum - The Northern Ireland ICT Federation. The rebrand was launched at an April 26 SIF dinner in the Culloden which culminated in the inaugural annual awards for industrial achievement. It was a night of double celebration for the Federation and its members as it also marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a body to represent a growing sector and one which makes a major contribution to the Northern Ireland economy. In the announcement, Momentum chief executive, Billy McClean said that "Northern Ireland has witnessed a surge in the growth of software, IT, and telecoms companies and their associated technologies have become more and more integrated". "As this has happened the industries have naturally converged and today all these varied companies are really represented by a single sector." McClean said Momentum more aptly describes this vast vibrant sector on the move and signifies industry's intent to push forward to even greater achievements. In the announcement, Momentum chairman, Jonathan Currie, said; "We're setting out our stall for the next 10 years and clearly identifying the way forward for an industry which continues to grow at a rapid rate and ... [recognize] the convergence which has taken place in software, IT and telecoms around the world."
OPENWAVE Systems Inc is the inaugural winner of Company of the Year prize at the Momentum Awards. It is the worldwide leader of open IP-based communication infrastructure software applications. Openwave Systems Inc beat off competition from businesses such as First Derivatives, Northbrook Technology and SX3 for the title of Company of the Year sponsored by Goodbody Stockbrokers. Other award categories included New Company of the Year and The Innovation Award. For more information, see the announcement or contact Billy McClean.
In an April 12 press release, the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) announced its participation in the 2001 IT Enterprise Initiative, which was recently introduced at CeBIT "against right-extremist forces"(Initiative "IT-Unternehmen gegen rechte Gewalt und Ausländerfeindlichkeit"). The message is to establish an industry initiative against violence and hate slogans channeled over the Internet: against hostility and for tolerance and democracy in support of victims suffering from right-extremist activities.
According to the press release, almost daily, right-extremist tendencies and hate of foreigners lead to brutal and violent encroachments of victims. In the past year, the number of the criminal offences with right-extremist origin rose by 40 percent. Therefore decisive action must be taken. "Courage against right-extremism" was the main message, which has found numerous supporters and broad support in the society during the past twelve months. After a separate artist initiative, "skirt against right-extremist forces", the German IT industry now has developed its own message: "IT enterprises against right-extremist forces and hatred of foreigners". At the initiative of BITKOM, Nextra Germany and the CMP WEKA publishing house of Germany, IT enterprises acknowledge their responsibilities. This is not simply the case because the industry is dependent on foreign expert workers: clear messages of peace and tolerance must be communicated and observed in all cultures.
The enterprises will take joint measures against extremist activities on the Internet. All funds, which are collected and supplied in the context of this initiative, go directly to the Amadeu Antonio foundation. This foundation offers assistance to victims of right-extremist acts of violence, as well as suburban initiatives and the more. Together with the Amadeu Antonio foundation, programs for young people at the local level are to be started. Gifts in kind and preventive measures against radical and extremist activities on the Internet complete the initiative. The main objective of these measures is awareness and a peaceful coexistence of all cultures, worldviews and religions on the basis of mutual understanding and tolerance. Young persons need to be educated against extremist activities on the Internet, so that they can be actively opposed. For additional information, please see the April 12 press release, see the industry initiative web site, or send an e-mail. .
The German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), in a March 25 press release criticized the European Commission’s draft guideline on electrical scrap iron. A first reading in the European Union parliament is scheduled for the beginning of May. BITKOM welcomes a guideline in this field, but criticized the report to the European Parliament. BITKOM emphasizes three substantial points of relevance: In particular, the suggestions regarding the recycling and utilization ratios as well as regarding the conversion period are not seen by BITKOM experts as realistic. Additionally, the loopholes for Internet providers would need to be closed.
Negotiations for a guideline to dispose scrap electrical equipment has been conducted for the last five years. This guideline, "Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment" (WEEE), is taking form. In the middle of February, the responsible Rapporteur to the European parliament, Karl-Heinz Florenz (MEP, CDU), presented his report on the proposal from the European Commission. On March 19, the deadline for submitting suggestions for improvement ended. The requests were finally discussed on March 22 in the European Union’s environmental committee. The environmental committee was scheduled to vote on the measure by the end of April, and the first reading in the European Parliament is scheduled for May.
BITKOM held a press conference in connection with CeBIT. Rapporteur Florenz presented the most important points of his report. BITKOM presented its criticism of his statement. According to BITKOM, the demands of the European politicians cannot be carried out in their current form and for the prescribed periods. Rather, BITKOM favored the existing industry-led waste disposal initiatives effectively carried out by a great many manufacturers, with high quotas and well organized methods for sorting out high-tech devices from the commercial area as a result. With the European Union guidelines in addition, the waste disposal from the private sector will be regulated. BITKOM warned against hastily ratifying and implementing the guidelines and warned against the complexity of harmonizing the multitude of different local systems and industry initiatives currently in existence. For further information, please see the March 25 press release or contact Iris Köpke at BITKOM.
Fokion Zaimis on January 25 resigned as the General Manager of the Federation of Hellenic Information Technology and Communications Enterprises (SEPE) in order to become the CEO of Acropolis Technological Park SA. and President of i-Force Communications. For more than five years, Mr. Zaimis, a long-time WITSA ally, has been a leading voice in the Greek and European IT community, and has shown great leadership in facilitating global cooperation in the high-tech field. In February 2000, SEPE -under Mr. Zaimis' leadership- was selected host of the 2004 World Congress on IT in Athens, the premier industry sponsored global IT policy event, bringing together business and government leaders from over 90 countries to discuss emerging markets, and to address how legal, political and economic trends affect business opportunities in each market. The next World Congress will take place on February 27 - March 2, 2002 in Adelaide, Australia.
Mr. Andreas Kitrilakis, Deputy General Manager, took over the operation of SEPE. New Board elections are expected in early May 2001.
Mr. Zaimis expects to continue to work with SEPE to ensure the success of the 2004 World Congress event, and will follow closely the developments in WITSA, the European IT Services Association (EISA), and other global IT issues. The Acropolis Science Park - a company with 100 shareholders from the ICT community - aims at becoming the ICT hub of South-Eastern Europe. iForce Communications provides companies and organizations with next-generation Communication Services in Event Organization & Management, Public & Corporate Relations, Communication Strategy, Cultural Events and Brand-Identity. In a May 20 conference, "Cruising Towards the New Economy: The Revolution of Information", high level speakers include Jacques Santer (former President of the European Commission) and Robert Cresanti (Sr. Vice President and General Counsel at the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA).
IT&C Association of Romania (ATIC) President Vasile Baltac, in the article, "South Eastern Europe: Digital Divide or Digital Opportunity?", demonstrates that the Balkan and Mediterranean area represents a high potential for growth in IT. Discrepancies in progress on the road to the Information Society can be turned into advantages through right national policies and international cooperation. The European Union plays an important role in this direction.
Dr. Baltac demonstrates that, despite competition from Asia, the Balkan and Mediterranean areas are potential emerging IT zones. It consists of countries with quite different backgrounds in IT. Its main competitive advantage is its proximity to the European Union. While it is commonly thought that international aid is essential to boost "digital opportunity", Baltac argues that the adoption and implementation of national programs and measures are fare more effective in obtaining this goal. They key factors needed to maximize the digital opportunity in South Eastern Europe include:
For further information, please see the complete article at the ATIC site, or contact ATIC President Vasile Baltac. Please also see the April 4 article, "Romania as an IT-Nation: Today and In the Future", available at the ATIC site.
The Computing Services & Software Association (CSSA), the trade body representing and promoting the interests of over 700 UK based software and IT services companies, on February 13 welcomed the publication of the UK Government's White Paper, Opportunity for All in a World of Change. CSSA was pleased the Government recognized it cannot transform the UK's social and economic landscape without the support of the converging industries. Together with proposals for closing the skills gap and technology institutes, this paper represented an important step towards ensuring that the UK is properly equipped for the challenges of the new economy. In the press release, Director General John Higgins commented that CSSA from the beginning had worked closely with the Government on the development of this paper, and was pleased that the Government recognized the need for an aggressive deployment of broadband throughout the UK. Higgins also would welcome an opportunity to work with the Government on the UK Online Broadband Stakeholder Group. Unless significant progress is made over the next 18 months concerning broadband Britain, CSSA believes the Government will need to consider stronger measures. CSSA urged the government not to let the future economic well-being of the nation be "compromised by OFTEL's regulatory impotence and BT's commercial strategy." For further information, see the press release or contact Alex Quinn at CSSA.
The Association of the Swedish IT and Telecom Industry (IT-Företagen) on April 19 announced the formation of a new industry council that will focus on related to IT skills and competency issues. In the announcement, IT-Företagen described the shortage of Swedish skilled IT workers as acute. both as regards specialists and generalists. At the same time, there is an unexploited resource in women and immigrants. In this regard, IT-Företagen has developed an action plan to reduce the skills shortage short term and long term. Even taking account of the recent layoffs of IT workers, the need for additional skilled labor is still an issue of concern in Sweden, and laid off IT workers rarely find themselves on the job market more than a short time. The skills council will launch initiatives and recommend measures to amend the skills gap. The council is chaired by Eva Gidlöf at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
In a separate March 26 announcement, IT-Företagen requested the Swedish government to allow foreign students to be employed immediately upon completing their education, even while work permit applications are being examined. According to IT-Företagen, there are some 20,000 foreign students at universities and colleges in Sweden, many of which are specializing in IT and telecommunications. In an April 10 announcement, IT-Företagen also declared its intention to participate in the May 21-24 World Education Market (WEM) exhibition and conference in Vancouver, Canada. WEM is the world's largest expo for e-education. Finally, on April 17, IT-Företagen criticized the recent Swedish government's "spring legislation" for insufficient allocation of resources to research & development and IT education and training. For further information, please see the IT-Företagen web site or contact Managing Director Ann-Marie Nilsson or Ewa Thorslund.
ICT-Norway, in cooperation with Specifique AS, had developed a concept for offering members their own broadband magazine on the Internet. ICT-Norway would offer its members a competency forum and news magazine online. "IKT-Norge-tv" would be created as a communication tool for ideas, knowledge and inspiration. ICT-Norway is currently exploring sponsorship opportunities with some of its most prominent member companies. The following content may be applied, if materialized:
Other content on WebTV and archive:
Specifique has delivered similar services to SE banken in Sweden and to the WebTV channel www.visionair.tv. For further inquiries, please contact Per Morten Hoff or Fredrik Syversen at ICT-Norway or Geir Langeland or Øivind Gunnufsen at Specifique AS.
The Association of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Office Equipment Companies (INFOBALT; Lithuania) on October 22-23 will hold its annual INFOBALT conference “INFORMATION SOCIETY 2001”, which has the motto “The BALTICS - global possibilities” (the global possibilities of the Baltic Region). To participate in this conference INFOBALT has invited the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and the prime ministers of Estonia, Denmark, and Germany. INFOBALT is currently awaiting confirmations from the Swedish and Russian governments. INFOBALT plans to declare initiatives on ICT policy during the conference, and to announce new and improved approaches to developing the Information Society and ICT business in the Baltic Region. WITSA members are welcome to participate in this important event. Further information can be found at http://www.infobalt.lt/konferencija/english/ or by contacting INFOBALT Project Manager Edmundas Zvirblis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reality 2001: NASDAQ down 60 percent; 10,000s of layoffs occur every week; 1st quarter reports hurting everyone. Were you and your company prepared for the slowdown? Join us to create a Vision 2001 at the Information Technology Association of America's (ITAA) 40th Anniversary Executive Management Conference on June 24-27 at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando, Florida. ITAA’s program is designed specifically for leading IT executives and offers a valuable forum for advancing the latest information technologies as well as U.S. domestic and global policies. ITAA provides a strategic and interactive program to support IT CxO’s as they cultivate their business. For 40 years, our program has drawn key IT decision-makers and influencers.
The high-level audience includes CEO’s, CFO’s, CIO’s, COO’s, Executive VP, General Managers, Partners, Presidents, Principals, Directors, Vice Presidents and other senior executives of IT Companies. The Conference will bring together executives from 3Com, the 451, AON, AT&T, Broadvision, ChangePoint, CG Cowan, CIO Magazine, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, DSFX, EDS, Ericsson, Geneer, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Informix, Internet Security Systems, MERANT, Mercer, Oracle, Securify, Sybase, USinternetworking VA Linux and Veridian and many more…
Featured Speakers include:
Michael Dertouzos, Director of MIT's Lab for Computer Science
David Pearse Snyder, The Futurist Magazine
Geoffrey Colvin, Editorial Director, Fortune Magazine
David Langstaff, CEO, Veridian
Tom Noonan, CEO of Internet Security Systems
Tom Werner, President Wireless Division, 3Com
Larry Augustin, CEO VA Linux
Doug Grimstead, CEO Geneer
The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) on April 5 released a statement calling on the U.S. federal government to make information security a national priority backed by the requisite resources and accountability. The ITAA action comes as the House Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee holds a hearing on the security of government computer systems. The statement identifies a series of steps which, if taken, would greatly contribute to the enhancement of government computer security. According to ITAA, government has had the goal of information security for too long without the financial resources or management accountability to make it a practical reality. Lawmakers were encouraged to work with industry in moving this process from talk to action. The ITAA statement makes four recommendations:
For More Information, contact Tinabeth Burton at tel. +1 (703) 284-5305 email@example.com.
Following its well-publicized 2000 "Bridging the Gap" study, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) on April 2 released "When Can You Start? Building Information Technology Skills and Careers", a major study finding a U.S. information technology workforce of 10.4 million individuals and a projected demand for new workers in 2001 of approximately 900,000 - down from a demand for 1.6 million new workers in 2000. While demand is off by forty-four percent, the talent gap remains large. Hiring managers still predict a shortfall of 425,000 skilled workers this year - down from almost 850,000 in 2000 - a drop of fifty percent.
The ITAA study finds that, compared with IT companies, non-IT companies remain the larger employer of IT workers with 9.5 million, generate the greater demand at over 640,000 and experience the larger gap at nearly 303,000. In aggregate terms, non-IT companies employ ten times more IT workers than do IT companies. On a per company basis, however, the hiring needs of IT companies are larger than Non-IT companies. The typical IT company will attempt to fill almost 19 slots in the next 12 months compared to just over two for Non-IT companies.
When Can You Start? continues much of the ground-breaking original research in ITAA’s 2000 report, Bridging the Gap, one of the largest IT workforce studies ever conducted. The study examines required skills and skill development for eight broad IT career clusters, and provides new findings on career development pathways and worker retention. In the April 2 press release, ITAA and WITSA President Harris N. Miller said "the downswing in the U.S. economy has undoubtedly affected the demand for IT workers this year. Skilled technology workers - still a highly desirable commodity to IT and non-IT companies - are facing more cautious hiring practices than the “irrational exuberance” that some say described 2000. However, our 2001 numbers suggest that hiring has by no means halted for IT workers, rather, demand still far exceeds supply in this market.”
When assessing employee retention, the ITAA study found that a good overall compensation plan was the most important retention tool mentioned by both non-IT and IT companies. Other top retention tools were workplace flexibility and frequent reviews and raises. Non-IT companies appear to retain their IT employees longer, with 82 percent remaining on board an acceptable length of time versus 74 percent for IT company employees. Average acceptable tenure for the former is 36 months versus 30 months for the latter.
Among other key study findings:
Study results are based on a random sample of 685 IT managers, both inside and outside the IT industry, surveyed by telephone. The sample is projectable to represent all U.S. for profit companies with more than 50 employees. Results have a sampling variability of +/- 3.1 percent at the 90 percent confidence level. Market Decisions Corporation of Portland, Oregon administered the survey, including questionnaire design, data collection, tabulation and analysis. “IT workers” in this context are any individuals engaged in IT-related work--predominantly information technology development and support activities. The study measures IT workers using the definitions of the eight jobs clusters contained in the Information Technology Skills Standards developed by the NorthWest Center for Emerging Technologies. The eight job clusters are:
Programmer/software developer Enterprise information systems integrator Database administrator/developer Interactive digital media specialist Web administrator Technical writer Network systems specialist Computer systems support representative. An executive summary of When Can You Start? is available on the ITAA website. Media review copies of the complete study are also available at no charge. Single copies of the full work are available to the public at $50 for ITAA members and $75 for non-members.
Remarks by Gaylen Duncan, President & CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) on March 30 presented private sector lessons on how best to achieve an efficient e-government. The speech was made to the Crossing Boundaries National Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. In his speech, Duncan stressed that Canada had arrived at a junction: The Government established its target for e-government world leadership two years ago. It wants to be the world leader in electronic government by 2004. But there's hesitation. Duncan believes the rate at which Canada adopts electronic government will determine whether or not it is ultimately an importer or exporter of e-government technology. To do so, Duncan says Canada needs to make four things happen:
According to Duncan, there are four other nations besides Canada that have expressed commitments to have their government services fully on line roughly within the same time frame as Canada has. Australia and Ireland are aiming for 2001, the United States by 2003 and the U.K. by 2005. To read the entire speech, please see the ITAC web site.
As part of Canada's IT Week celebrations (May 4-13), the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), in conjunction with Industry Canada, has created the Community IT Hero Award to recognize individuals who have assisted their communities in a significant way through the use or application of information technology. The deadline for nominations is May 2nd.
This awards program achieves the grassroots objective of getting communities involved in IT Week through identifying and selecting heroes who have made a significant difference in the lives of people in their communities. The selection committee consists of people from communities all across Canada. Many of these people are also involved in planning local IT events at which the awards will be presented. For further information, see the story or the April 2 ITAC NetFlash Newsletter.
In a speech made at the April 22-25 2nd European-American Industry Forum in Uruguay ("Foro de Uruguay"), Federación Colombiana de la Industria del Software (FEDESOFT-CATI) Executive Director Jorge Rangel H. outlined the Colombian government's Internet Connectivity Agenda - as established by the Colombian National Council of Economic and Social Policy (CONPES), the highest governing body entrusted with developing economic and political frameworks (see also separate article on the Foro de Uruguay below). The Connectivity Agenda establishes 6 major strategies and 30 specific programs, involving all sectors of society, public and private. The strategies and programs are outlined in detail at the Colombian Department of National Planning's web site. In his presentation, Mr. Rangel outlined the strategies as follows:
Mr. Rangel encouraged Latin-American industry, through the work of the Latin-American IT Industry Association (ALETI), to develop joint action-plans for the use of their governments in promoting and supporting information and communication technologies (ICT). Industry should also seek to avoid duplication of efforts and investments by encouraging the development of regional programs related to education/certificates, research & development and development of ICT infrastructure. For further information, contact Alejandra Millan J. at FEDESOFT - CATI.
Dr. Carlos Maroto Pérez del Rio, Director General of AMITI (Mexican Association of Information Technology Enterprises) at the March 9 WITSA meeting in Adelaide, Australia, received the global alliance's endorsement of a national joint AMITI-World Bank project focusing on Mexican e-readiness and providing industry recommendations. Recently, AMITI, the World Bank and the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation agreed to produce a joint report which will provide a diagnosis of the state of development and penetration of the digital economy in Mexico. Action lines for the public and private sector should follow, as well as projects to boost the development of both society and the ICT Industry and synergies around these action lines. According to Dr. Maroto, the project was aimed to: resolve the problems detected in the diagnostic phase; to have a measurable impact of the advancement of the digital economy; and to strengthen the national ICT industry and its leadership in the execution of the projects. The project was led by 27 interdisciplinary recognized experts in AMITI’s Think - Tank. ADP Mercer Consulting coordinated the working groups.
The AMITI project include four major chapters. The first was a framework for ICT Development. The framework chapter included a section on ICT contributions to development; including Mexico’s National Development Strategy, a retrospective assessment and current positioning; the economic and social impact potential and international experience; the role of ICT in narrowing the national economic and social gaps; the role of the public sector in strengthening ICT to reduce the digital divide; and a review of the effects of telecom reforms in South America. A second section provided an ICT baseline assessment of Mexico and international benchmarking; including network infrastructure (interoperability and economic and social reach); ICT industry; policy framework; functionality and content; and education and skills. Thirdly, the framework chapter included a chapter on the “Digital Economy: A National Development vision for Mexico”. Issues discussed included how the social and economic development of Mexico should be if it was “boosted” by the digital economy; and the comparative international advantages (e.g. geographic position vis-à-vis the United States).
A second chapter addressed “Key Policy Initiatives for the Development of the Digital Economy”. One section discussed telecommunications public policies, including such issues as how to improve markets for a more democratic access to the infrastructure; structural issues, regulatory and institutional framework reform, telephone market competitiveness & liberalization, foreign investment policy, universal telephone service obligations, access in rural areas (strategy and implementation), and international experiences. A second section discussed IT public policy programs (Internet, PC’s & related devices). The major themes discussed included how to improve markets and the national IT industry development; Internet service market competition and promotion; and assessment and recommendations on the ICT regulatory & institutional framework pertaining to micro and small business, education and health (including attention to: electronic authentication/digital certification, data privacy/confidentiality, security and consumer protection, computer crime, copyright and related rights to e-commerce, and ICT promotion via foreign trade and fiscal policies).
The third chapter dealt with key program and project initiatives for the development of the digital economy. One section discussed telecom themes such as new technologies targeted towards emerging markets (e.g. VOIP), and the Mexican Universal Service Fund. A second section covered information technologies, e.g. software businesses and other IT industries development. Finally, a section discussed programs and projects addressing the “Digital Divide”, such as ICT specific diagnostics in selected low-income urban and rural areas, to be followed by preliminary policy guidelines, outlines of outreach programs, and investment project design concepts for ICT based development in the following three areas: micro and small business, e-learning education, and tele-health.
A fourth and final chapter provided a strategy and development program summary. This chapter will provide a basic ICT strategy and will provide recommendations on several critical issues, including the needs related to IT public policies, an evaluation and adjustments of the regulatory framework, a government - private sector communication (agreement), quantitative goals (teledensity, schools networking, etc.), strategic short-term action items, an assessment of investment requirements, the medium-term (6 years) and long-term (10 years) vision - impact at the local, municipal, state and federal levels. The final chapter will also address key success factors for the growth of the digital economy, such as policies, performance benchmarks and early warning indicators. In cooperation with the World Bank, the chapter will also identify possible specific near-term (2001-03) program and project initiatives and sources of financing.
According to Dr. Maroto, the project’s main contributions will be two-fold. Firstly, it will be a powerful tool to improve public policies and better practices for the national telecommunications network’s coverage and interoperability, and will include a description of the actual network’s architecture, a diagnostic of the network’s interoperability, proposals on how to increase economic and social coverage with the network (network of networks), and a spotlight on necessary regulatory framework modifications, and incentives needed for the private enterprises to invest in a widening the network’s economic and social coverage. Secondly, the project will highlight the ICT industry’s positive social and economic impact. It will offer guidance to the structuring of pilot projects to exemplify how the industry can deliver tangible social and economic benefits in the areas of production, commercialization and exports for the small and medium-size enterprises; learning and training; health-care; services provided by the government; and security.
AMITI member companies (MS, Oracle, EDS, HP etc.) will cover about 80 percent of the cost while the Mexican government will pay for the remaining 20 percent. The total cost of the project was estimated to approximately U.S. $370,000. AMITI’s joint project with the World Bank will result in a powerful statement on the state of play for the digital economy in all sectors of the Mexican society and, as a direct result of the diagnosis exercise to be carried out, sound projects to be funded by the World Bank. The Mexican project, which would be completed later in the year, may be replicated in other WITSA member countries as well, and could provide a boost to their full integration to the Global Digital Economy. For further inquiries, please contact Dr. Maroto or visit the AMITI Web site.
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), in an April 23 press release, welcomed the Australian Government's broad objectives for Australia's ICT industry, outlined in the new industry development framework for IT outsourcing released on April 23. According to Rob Durie, Executive Director AIIA, AIIA and many member companies were actively involved in the consultations for the new framework, and lobbied strongly for a more strategic framework for industry development, rather than a contract-by-contract arrangement. AIIA was pleased that the Government had taken this approach. However, AIIA will be monitoring the implementation of the new framework closely to ensure that the new Request for Tender (RFT) framework for tenders over $10m does not become the old contract-by-contract approach through the back door.
The new framework will provide a more attractive environment for investment in the Australian ICT industry, and create greater opportunities for Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs). AIIA will be lobbying the Government to take greater responsibility regarding SMEs. Under the new framework, all responsibility for facilitating the development of SMEs is with the industry. According to AIIA, the best way for government to develop SMEs is for agencies to buy from them. The new approach to outsourcing should result in a larger number of contracts of varying sizes, providing opportunities for SMEs to bid in their own right. However, whilst smaller contracts will make it easier for SMEs to tender, the major barriers for SMEs have nothing to do with industry development arrangements. Issues such as the cost of bidding, risk sharing, financial guarantees, and contractual terms and conditions, are major impediments which must be addressed. In the April 23 press release, AIIA looked forward to further consultation regarding the implementation of the new framework, and anticipated that the Government would make every effort to ensure that the new arrangements were also adopted by all state governments. For further information contact Rob Durie, AIIA Executive Director
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and India's National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on April 11 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed to further understanding and co-operations between the Information Technology industries of both countries. Signed in Sydney by Rob Durie, Executive Director of AIIA, and Dewang Mehta, President of NASSCOM, the major emphasis of the agreement is on software, IT services, internet, e-commerce, e-government, and IT enabled services.
As stipulated in an April 11 AIIA press release, as part of the MoU, AIIA and NASSCOM have agreed to implement a series of joint activities including:
The signing of the industry MoU follows the signing of an MoU on IT cooperation between the Australian and Indian Governments in October 2000, and a successful Australian delegation to India in December 2000 led by Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. The MoU will underpin the work of the Australia India Information Industry Business Network (AIIIBN) which facilitates business networking between Australia and India. The Convenor of the AIIIBN is Mr Neville Roach, Chairman of Fujitsu Australia. The signing of the MoU was attended by Mr Mahajan, the Indian Minister for Information Technology (IT), and a delegation of visiting IT business delegates from India. For further infromation, please contact AIIA Executive Director Rob Durie.
At an April 10 Canberra iBriefing, journalist George Negus launched 'Setting the Agenda', the Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA) top eight policy issues for the up-coming Australian federal Budget and Election. The key issues for the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry are:
In an April 10 press release, AIIA Executive Director Rob Durie characterized the ICT industry as a vitally important segment of the Australian economy, playing a central role in business investment and in employment creation -especially long-term, high value jobs-, and an enabler of other Australian industries. The Australian ICT industry is competing in a rapidly moving global marketplace which s currently growing at 7% annually, and the attractiveness of a country for ICT investment and development is heavily influenced by its policy and regulatory environment. According to AIIA, the key non-Australian competitors recognize that Government has a key role promoting and developing local ICT industries and have made ICT a high policy priority. AIIA believes the implementation of the initiatives outlined in its 'Setting the Agenda' will greatly increase the strengths, capabilities, and marketability of Australian companies. For further information, please contact AIIA Executive Director Rob Durie.
India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) on March 13 entered into an agreement with the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) for increasing trade and co-operation in IT software and services sector between India and the US.The agreement, which comes amid reports of a slowdown of the US economy and apprehensions regarding the impact of the slowdown on Indian market, is aimed at facilitating flow of investment and promoting alliances between the two countries in areas of software, IT services, internet and e-commerce amongst others.
As stipulated in a March 13 NASSCOM press release, the emphasis of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be on software, IT services, internet, e-commerce, mobile commerce, Application Service Provider (ASP), communications software, e-government, e-security and IT enabled services. In addition to acting as facilitator for building alliances betweeneach association's member companies, it would also promote exchange of IT trade missions and business delegations between the two countries. As reported by the Press Trust of India Ltd. on March 13, NASSCOM President Dewang Mehta said that the pact would focus on acting as a primary channel of co-operation between the information and communication technology companies in India and the US. Highlighting the bilateral IT trade, Mehta said that the U.S. continued to be India's largest software export market with as much as $3.7 billion out of the total projected software exports of $6.24 billion for 2000-01 coming from the U.S.
The two sides would also seek to support exchange of relevant information, and research survey reports under the agreement, while co-operating on public policy efforts for promoting global growth of the IT industry and with the respective governments. The agreement assumes significance in the backdrop of the US slowdown
as it would try to bring new opportunities of business to IT industries of both the countries.In 1999-00, out of total Indian software exports of $4 billion, almost $2.3 billion was exported to the US, according to NASSCOM. In addition to focusing on creating marketing alliances between US and Indian IT companies with a special focus on Small and Medium member companies, the MoU would also promote joint marketing of IT software and
services to other countries like Europe, Japan, and other parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. For further information, please contact ITAA V.P. for Communications, Tinabeth Burton.
Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) President Harris N. Miller on March 13-15 participated in Industry Leadership Talks organized by India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. As reported by The Hindu on March 16, Miller suggested that India will only realize the full potential of its IT industry if it resists protectionist impulses and advocates free trade in the next round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations. Speaking at the annual session of the Tamil Nadu State Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry-Southern Region (CII-SR), Mr. Miller expressed the hope that India would not emulate the example of some European countries, which were keen on constraining the IT industry through taxes and regulation of content. "In the eyes of the world, India is not just a developing country, but a leading democracy and economy, to which other developing countries look for leadership" in global negotiations, he said.
There was no need for pessimism on the future of IT merely because of the ups and downs in the stock market. The present decline in the valuation of several dot.com and IT companies was a good development, inasmuch as the earlier bullish trend did not reflect the poor business potential of several companies. According to The Hindu,Mr. Miller also discounted the possibility of the U.S. economic growth trends affecting the Indian IT industry in the medium and long term. The growth rate that the U.S. economy had recorded in 1999-2000 was too high to be sustainable. But this did not mean there would be a negative growth or recession in the U.S. Miller cited results of surveys that showed that the bulk of the companies covered were planning an increase in spending on IT in the current year. A substantial part this spending would be directed at strengthening security in cyberspace.
The U.S. IT market offered "not guarantees but opportunities" to the Indian IT industry, which would have to compete with others from Eastern Europe or Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam. Opportunities would expand particularly for offshore development, he said. Pointing out that the sharp increase in the aggregate H1B visa ceiling had been approved almost unanimously by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, Mr. Miller said anti-immigration campaigners would be strengthened not by their economic arguments, but by abuses of the H1B visas, even if only by a handful of foreign IT companies. For further information, please contact ITAA V.P. for Communications, Tinabeth Burton.
In an April 27 press release, Japan Information Service Industry Association (JISA), announced the publication of its "information service industry white paper 2001 year edition". The " information service industry white paper", the 16th edition to be published since its inception in 1986, contains useful information that could help you understand the IT services industry in Japan. With many tables and figures, it explains not only the overview of Japan's IT services industry but also its market trends.
The white paper targeted IT vendors and IT companies for its comprehensive questionnaire. It focuses primarily on four “hot” topics: integration, solutions, operation and network. In addition, it makes recommendations regarding information security and privacy protection. An executive summary of the white paper will be posted at the JISA site in the next few days. The report is sold at government periodical centers and major bookstores throughout the country. For further information, contact JISA.
The Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (PIKOM) on March 27 that it will be setting up a special fund for the purpose of purchasing and donating PCs and other peripherals to the underprivileged communities in Malaysia. The fund, known as the PCFair Fund, will receive contributions from the profit derived from PC Fairs organised throughout the year by PIKOM. The main objective of the PCFair Fund is to promote ICT knowledge and usage among communities that do not have easy access to such facilities. According to the PIKOM press release, the idea for the fund which, was mooted by PIKOM chairperson Ms Wendy Liew, is set to be a long term project aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide that currently exists in all parts of the country. Examples of targeted organizations include orphanages, welfare homes, rehabilitation centers, community services-based NGOs and community centers.
Apart from donating PCs and peripherals to the beneficiaries, PIKOM will also set up a volunteer group to help the beneficiaries fully utilize the facilities. Volunteers will provide, on a regular basis, assistance in the form of basic ICT training, education, technical support and progress monitoring. For further information see the full press release or contact the PIKOM Secretariat.
On June 14-16, the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (PIKOM) will co-organize INFOSOC, an annual Malaysian event consisting of a conference and an exposition. The conference will be opened by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, who will also moderate a session on the vision of a value-based knowledge society, and will feature a PIKOM panelist. Key program topics include the Digital Divide, e-government and economic competitiveness. For further information contact the PIKOM Secretariat.
The Hong Kong IT Federation (HKITF) is co-organizing the Tenth International World Wide Web Conference (WWW10) on May 1-5, 2001 in Hong Kong. Leaders from industry, academia, and government will present the latest developments in Web technology, and discuss the issues and challenges facing the web community as it moves into the 21st century. The conference will consist of refereed paper sessions, poster sessions, panel sessions, a W3C track and six specialized tracks: Culture track, E-commerce on the Web, Vendors track, the Web and Education, Web Internationalization, and the Web and Society. It will also feature presentations by keynote and invited speakers. The first day of the conference will be a day of tutorials and workshops, and the last day will be a developers' day.
WWW10 is being organized by an international committee including participants from Hong Kong's academia and industrial sectors. The Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, established in July 1988, will be the venue for WWW10. The International World Wide Web Conferences are events of the International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2). For more information, see the HKITF web site.
Please see the Thai " IT Market Outlook 2001", as published on march 6 by The Association of Thai Computer Industry (ATCI). The report, which was prepared by ATCI, The Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI), The Computer Association of Thailand (CAT-VG), and Information Networking Association (INA), provides data for the years 1998-2001. Categories include: Hardware, software, professional services, and PC peripherals. Data is also available by industry segment (government/state enterprise, financial, manufacturing, health care, hotel, telecommunications, education, home uses, and other).
recently reported by the
IT Association of South Africa (ITA), a
member of Information Industry South Africa (IISA), the IT industry in
South Africa as a whole, has reached a consensus, that the formation of an
official IT Statutory Council is necessary. The aim of this council is to create
a united voice representing the Information Technology companies in South
Africa, and to take advantage of the benefits that such a council will provide
the industry. The ITA as the registered Employers’
Association for the IT industry is currently forging ahead with the application
for the Statutory Council to the South African Department of Labour. The aim of
the Statutory Council will be to deal with the controlling of pension and
provident funds, training and the Skills Development Act and above all, labor
disputes, which will be resolved without going through the CCMA. The
establishment of an IT Statutory Council will significantly speed up the process
of dispute resolution. ITA consultants have estimated 3 months compared to an
average of 12 months for a CCMA hearing to be finalized.
benefit of the Council will be that members of the Council appoint the people
who will attend to the dispute resolution. The appointments will only be people
who completely understand the IT industry and who have a knowledge and
understanding of the law. The costs of establishing the Statutory Council are
very high, and ITA is requesting a financial commitment from its members. ITA believes
that the matter can be finalized by August 2001. Please contact Sian
Hong at the ITA for further inquiries.
Another major benefit of the Council will be that members of the Council appoint the people who will attend to the dispute resolution. The appointments will only be people who completely understand the IT industry and who have a knowledge and understanding of the law. The costs of establishing the Statutory Council are very high, and ITA is requesting a financial commitment from its members. ITA believes that the matter can be finalized by August 2001. Please contact Sian Hong at the ITA for further inquiries.
L'Association des Professionnels de L'Informatique de la Bureautique et de la Telematique (Apebi) on March 20 provided a progress report to the government of Morocco that the IT sector needed a coordinated IT and e-commerce strategy, and that such a plan would not only enhance the well-being and competitiveness of the industry, but would positively impact the society at large due to creation of prosperity and employment. The report draws up the strengths and weaknesses of the IT sector in Morocco and defines the areas where improvement is needed - for all the actors, private and public. The report emphasizes the benefits of a self-regulatory policy regime, considered an enabler for boosting current growth. Between now and 2008, Apebi believes IT may create an additional 100,000 jobs directly, and an additional 360,000 jobs indirectly. The document also takes into account the efforts undertaken in other countries, like Ireland, India and Malaysia. For further information, see the press release or contact the Apebi Secretariat.
World trade has been liberalized considerably as a result of the Uruguay Round but significant trade barriers remain - including in areas of interest to developing countries like textiles and agriculture, according to a new World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat study "Market Access: Unfinished Business" published on April 27. It deals with market access in industrial products and services as well as agricultural products. The new report makes clear that the WTO has plenty of unfinished business and that the best way to tackle the many remaining trade barriers that are preventing people and countries from realizing their full potential is in a wider set of negotiations. The main findings outlined in the press release are as follows:
The World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on trade in services, as reported in an April 2 press release (Press/217), gathered pace with the adoption of the negotiating guidelines and procedures and the completion of the stocktaking exercise by the Special Session of the Services Council at its meeting of March 28-30. According to the WTO, the large number of negotiating proposals submitted — some 70 proposals by more than 40 Members — with the promise of many more to come, was an indication of commitment which had been welcomed by many delegations. The way is now open for governments to move forward from the rule-making phase of the negotiations — though that work will also continue — into the market access ("bargaining") phase, on the basis of Members' negotiating proposals. With regard to the future work program, the Council had agreed to hold negotiating sessions in May, July and October, during which, in addition to its standing agenda, the Council would consider the negotiating proposals in detail. Further meetings would be held in December and in March 2002, at which point the Council would review progress in the negotiations.
Governments endorsed some of the fundamental principles of the GATS: Governments’ right to regulate and to introduce new regulations on the supply of services in pursuit of national policy objectives; their right to specify which services they wish to open to foreign suppliers and under which conditions; and the overarching principle of flexibility for developing and least-developed countries. The text of the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services -as agreed on 28 March 2001- is available at the WTO site. See also the European Commission's DG Trade commentary on the progress toward a new global trade round.
While policy-makers around the world ponders what legislation is necessary to provide adequate privacy protection to Internet users, Microsoft Corp. intends to offer its customers technology to determine their own preferred privacy settings in the next version of the Internet Explorer web browser (IE 6.0). Microsoft intends to integrate the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) -developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)-, an emerging as an industry standard providing a simple, automated way for users to gain more control over the use of personal information on Web sites they visit. At its most basic level, P3P is a standardized set of multiple-choice questions, covering all the major aspects of a Web site's privacy policies. Taken together, they present a clear snapshot of how a site handles personal information about its users. P3P-enabled Web sites make this information available in a standard, machine-readable format. P3P enabled browsers can "read" this snapshot automatically and compare it to the consumer's own set of privacy preferences. P3P enhances user control by putting privacy policies where users can find them, in a form users can understand, and, most importantly, enables users to act on what they see.
In the privacy tab in Internet options, users can change their privacy preferences via a slider. The slider has five levels: high, medium-high, medium (default level), medium-low, and low. In each of the intermediate levels, Internet Explorer 6 is stricter on third parties, which represent affiliate sites, not the host domain. The underlying assumption is that the user has different relationships with first parties as compared to third parties. Indeed, users may not even be aware of third parties or given a chance to determine whether or not they want to have any relationship. In the intermediate settings, compact policies are required of third-party context cookies, while first parties do not need compact policies. Since the P3P intent and syntax are not yet broadly understood, Microsoft sees this as a rudimentary step. If Internet Explorer 6 were to require all first-party Web sites to have a P3P compact policy for the user to be "remembered" by the site using persistent cookie placement, it would break user personalization on the Web. It would also place significant undue hardship on small first-party sites that don’t have the resources and expertise to understand, create and implement a P3P CP by the time Internet Explorer 6 is scheduled to ship in early summer 2001. In all the slider settings except high, session cookies are accepted with or without compact policies. The Microsoft press release provided the following snapshot of some of the privacy setting scenarios:
For further information, see the Microsoft press release or the W3C site. IE 6.0 will also be integrated into the next version of the Microsoft operating system, Windows® XP. IE 6.0 is currently only available in a preview edition.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on April 16 forwarded to the US Department of Commerce (DOC) final copies of proposed revisions to the agreement with VeriSign, Inc. under which VeriSign operates the .com, .net and .org registries. As outlined in the April 16 press release, the Memorandum of Understanding between the DOC and ICANN requires that any revisions to the VeriSign agreement during its initial term must be ratified by the DOC. The revised agreements would significantly restructure the contractual relationship between ICANN and the operator of the world's largest domain name registries. In an April 24 letter from DOC regarding the review schedule, the Department was targeting May 14, 2001 as the date for communicating the results of its review to ICANN. If approved, the revised agreements will:
The new agreements were approved by ICANN's Board of Directors on 2 April 2001, subject to final legal documentation. The agreements submitted to DOC include significant changes from the original agreements as the direct result of comments received from many members of the Internet community, including ICANN's Names Council and its member constituencies.
At the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board meeting on March 13 2001 in Melbourne, Australia, the Board established a working group and directed it "to identify the various internationalization efforts and the issues they raise, to engage in dialogue with technical experts and other participants in these efforts, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Board." ICANN launched three sets of surveys in an April 30 announcement. The so-called multilingual domain names - Internet addresses written in languages that don't use the Latin alphabet - have created controversy because they lack technical standards to ensure compatibility among competing systems. ICANN has previously expressed fears that then unsanctioned systems could mislead consumers, violate intellectual property rights and technically hobble the Internet. Consistent with the March 13 ICANN resolution, the working group will engage in a fact finding effort concerning three clusters of questions:
Although each survey is targeted at a different sector of the Internet community (e.g., the "Current Services" survey is directed at entities which provide IDN services), ICANN welcomes responses from the entire Internet community to any question on any survey. The goal is to gather as much information from as many sources as quickly as possible. Responses must be received by 10 May 2001 and can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will give ICANN's working group an opportunity to digest the information and prepare a status report for the ICANN Stockholm meeting on June 1-4.
At its meeting on 16 November 2000, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board selected seven new top-level domains (TLDs) for negotiation of agreements. The new TLDs are not expected to be operational until the second or third quarter of 2001. In selecting the seven new top-level domains, the ICANN Board authorized the negotiation of TLD sponsorship and registry agreements with the sponsors and operators. As described in ICANN's Status Report on New TLD Agreements, the selected TLD proposals are of two types. Four proposals (.biz, .info, .name, and .pro) are for relatively large, unsponsored TLDs. The other three proposals (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are for smaller "sponsored" TLDs. (Generally speaking, an "unsponsored" TLD operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process, while a "sponsored" TLD is a specialized TLD that has a sponsoring organization representing the narrower community that is most affected by the TLD. The sponsoring organization thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the TLD.)
As described in ICANN's Status Report on New TLD Agreements, the original goal was to complete the negotiations by the end of 2000. The task of agreeing upon the language of agreements under which these TLDs will be operated for several years, however, turned out to be more complex, and thus more time-consuming, than originally anticipated. The unsponsored TLDs will be operated under "Registry Agreements" with ICANN. A single form of agreement has been negotiated with all four new TLD operators. It covers the common aspects of all four and it is hoped that this form of agreement will serve, perhaps with some minor modifications based on experience, as the agreement for unsponsored TLDs that may be introduced in the future. The single form of agreement refers to twenty-four appendices, many of which are customized to reflect special features of the four TLD proposals. The agreement and all the appendices for .info and .biz was completed completed on April 26 and 27. Negotiations for agreements with sponsoring organizations for the three sponsored TLDs (.aero, .coop, and .museum) are still in a formative stage.
As announced by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on April 24, United States and twelve other countries unveiled e-consumer.gov, a web site allowing consumers to report fraudulent activity by foreign merchants to government officials in the merchants' home countries. The new Web site is the latest action taken by the FTC to counter online fraud. Last fall, the agency set up a joint task force with other state, federal and foreign consumer-protection groups to crack down on a top-10 list of online scams. Among the activities targeted: health care fraud and pyramid and travel scams. It was expected that the new initiative would greatly improve international law enforcement agencies' ability to address cross-border Internet fraud and deception.
The project has two components: a multilingual public Web site - http://www.econsumer.gov - and a government, password-protected Web site. The public site will provide general information about consumer protection in all participating and other countries that are parties to the International Marketing Supervision Network (IMSN) - a membership organization consisting of the trade practices law enforcement authorities of more than two dozen countries, most of which are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It will also provide contact information for consumer protection authorities in those countries, and an online complaint form. All information is available in English, Spanish, French and German. Using the existing Consumer Sentinel network, a database of consumer complaint data and other investigatory information and operated by the FTC, the incoming complaints will be shared through the government Web site with participating consumer protection law enforcers that have signed a Confidentiality Agreement. The FTC will maintain control over the public Web site and all data collected, and will host and maintain the site.
Although consumer-protection agencies from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Canada are participating in the Econsumer.gov project, noticeably absent are representatives from countries such Japan, Germany and France. However, other countries are currently going through the process of getting approval to participate. The following authorities are currently participating in the initiative:
Preparatory to its April 4th annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland, the Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC), an independent, non-governmental initiative involving leaders from developing as well as industrialized countries, conducted an opinion survey of its commissioners and other private sector principals from throughout the world on the subject of the digital divide. The GIIC is a co-founder with WITSA of the Alliance for Global Business (AGB) and is the IT industry representative to the Digital Opportunities Taskforce, or DOT Force - set up in July 2000 by the G-8 in Okinawa. The survey is important because of its potential relevance to an overarching aim of the dot force as prescribed by the Okinawa Charter, i.e., to heighten and shape awareness by public opinion leaders of the digital divide dilemma. Among other things, responses to the survey revealed the following:
The Global Internet Project (GIP) and the Cross-Industry Working Team (XIWT) is scheduled to hold an invitation-only, high-level, industry-government dialog "Trust in the Internet: Required Technology and Policy Solutions" in Herndon, Virginia on May 21-22. Participants will discuss challenges to Internet reliability, privacy, and security, focusing on converging solutions that could lead to more robustness and security online. Goals include increasing key industry and government players' understanding of issues' dimensions and complexity as well as opening more global communications channels in the international policy arena.
GIP is an international group of senior executives committed to fostering continued growth of the Internet. GIP members come from leading Internet-centric companies representing the telecommunications, software, financial services, and content sectors. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) serves as the headquarters of the GIP. For more information, see the GIP April 9 press release or contact Executive Director, Shannon L. Kellogg.
The 2nd European-Latin-American Industry Forum was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on April 22-25. The conference provided an unprecedented forum for key IT business and government leaders from European and Latin-American countries to meet and exchange views. The program included D. Luis Iron Lopez (Vice President of Uruguay), Dr Sergio Abreu (Uruguay Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining), Roni Lieberman (President of the Uruguayan Chamber of Software), Jose Maria Vilá (President of the Spanish IT Industry Association - SEDISI), and Pablo Coirolo (Director General of Telefónica Data Uruguay).
Conference topics included " Latin America: Integration of Technology"; "The State and the Digital Revolution"; "The generation and communication of value in technology companies"; and "De-regulation in Telecommunications Markets". For further information, see article at the Argentinean Cámara de Empresas de Software y Servicios Informáticos (CESSI) web site, or contact CESSI Executive Director Silvia Bidart.
A new umbrella organization covering a large part of the Romanian IT industry was recently established. The Federation of the National Association for Information Technology, Communication and Media (VECTOR) was founded by the following associations: Romanian Association of the Audio-Video Communication (ARCA), The Romanian Profesional Association for Cable Communication (APRCC), National Association of Training Experts for Informations (ANEFI) and the Romanian National Association of Software Companies (ANIS). All four associations want, keeping in mind the role and the objectives assumed by them, and acting in the collective interest of producers and users of information technology, communications and media, to develop a domain in Romania. They reaffirm that ICT and media development and the progress of the information society must represent the strategic direction of Romanian economic development.
For this reason, VECTOR members will promote a policy framework which enables faster strides towards the development of the information society in Romania. VECTOR's objectives are: To sustain the interest of association members by spreading its activities in the ICT and media sectors; To promote the development policy of ICT and media, as a strategic direction for the social and economic development of Romania; To promote internationally the interests of the Romanian IT sector and to become the main source of information about ITC&M in Romania; To promote the influence of VECTOR in the regulation of the ICT and media industries; and to be a source of consultation in the ICT and media sectors.
VECTOR also aims to facilitate an exchange of information and to promote a favorable climate for the economic interests of its members through international cooperation, by establishing relationships with other similar associations and by affiliation with other organizations that play a
decisive role in the development of the industry. The ICT Association of Romania (ATIC), the Romanian WITSA member association, is not currently a member of VECTOR. For further inquiries, please contact VECTOR President Vlad-Florian Tepelea at Vlad.Tepelea@algoritma.ro.
The European Union's Council of Ministers on April 9 approved a pan-European directive on Internet copyright rules that aims to protect copyright holders while allowing private copying of some audio and video material. The directive seeks to stem the tide of Internet piracy by giving copyright owners the right to limit the downloading of digital audio and video files. It also provides for the use of encryption to block duplication of digital files (see April 10 Computerworld article). In an attempt to balance the rights of both copyright owners and users of copyrighted material, the directive also allows for private copying of such material for personal use.
The text, as adopted, includes all nine of the compromise amendments voted by the European Parliament at its February 2001 plenary session. The Parliament's amendments had already been fully endorsed by the Commission especially as they reflected the delicate balance of the Council's Common Position. The EU member nations now have 18 months to ratify or reject the directive. Adoption and implementation of the directive will enable the EU to ratify the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty, giving it more than the minimum number of countries needed to come into force around the world. By contrast, the US ratified it in 1998 through its Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The following highlights were provided in an April 9 European Commission press release:
The United States and European Union last year negotiated a "safe harbor" agreement allowing U.S. firms to self-certify that they are in compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive, thus avoiding the full force of the EU privacy standards while being subject to the authority of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A list of the 39 US companies (as of May 1, 2001) subscribing to safe harbor is available at the U.S. Department of Commerce web site. However, the financial services sector was excluded from the agreement, and are subject to established laws in the respective countries.
A March 23 letter signed by U.S. Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, Donald Hammond, and Acting Undersecretary for International Trade, Bernard Carreau, conveyed the Bush Administrations opposition to a set of proposed privacy rules which would force financial services firms to sign contractual agreements guaranteeing privacy protection for personal data exported from Europe. The letter, which was directed to Internal Market Director-General John Mogg of the European Commission, argued that the proposed rules were unworkable and called for the EU to recognize the adequacy of U.S. financial data protections, as included in the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act and other existing U.S. laws. The proposed rules would most immediately affect banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies and large multinationals with lending and investing operations.
The letter objected that the proposed "standard clauses" for contracts between US and EU based firms regarding exchanges of customer data will create uncertainty about their use and "unduly burdensome requirements incompatible with real-world operations". Some US industry representatives have expressed concerns that they will be made liable in court for actions by their European partners and be bound by any legal settlements that European companies enter into; effectively placing US companies under the jurisdiction of EU privacy regulators. Some lawyers are also said to believe that the rules could subject US firms to lawsuits by anyone in the world whose data have passed through Europe. Cornerstones in EU's data protection legislation include consumer access to data collected about them, and the ability to destroy or change the data at will.
The safe harbor agreement is scheduled for its first annual review in July. It is not clear at this time whether the agreement will be subject to further changes or negotiations, or whether EU and US negotiators will decide to keep the agreement unamended. There are currently no plans to start negotiations to include the financial services sector in the safe harbor agreement.
According to an April 27 New York Times article, the European Commission withdrew from public comment the draft Rome II preliminary draft legislation, its proposed law covering cross-border Internet commerce in Europe. While initially a "green paper", the drafters now intend to fast-track it by introducing it as draft regulation for a vote by the Commission after its August recess. Rome II is intended to secure consumer protection on the Internet, but is being criticized by many industry representatives and others, who argue that the existing EU E-Commerce Directive (to be implemented as law in all 15 EU Member States by January 2002), covers the necessary protections and that Rome II will create legal uncertainty for businesses distributing goods or services online. The e-commerce directive and many other European regulations prescribe that the laws of the country where the supplier or Web site is located should apply in consumer protection matters. However, Rome II takes a different approach, providing jurisdiction to the consumer's country instead. The e-commerce directive and Rome II would not clash in theory, but opponents argue uncertainty will nevertheless prevail in the complex world of commerce.
In an April 6 press release (IP/01/519) , the European Commission outlined a new Interactive Policy Making initiative to improve governance by using the Internet for collecting and analyzing reactions in the marketplace for use in the European Union's policy-making process. This initiative will be used to evaluate existing EU policies and for open consultations on new initiatives. Interactive Policy Making forms part of the "e-Commission" initiative and is linked to the Commission's governance and the regulatory policy initiatives. It aims to help the Commission, as a modern public administration, to respond more quickly and accurately to the demands of citizens, consumers and business with a view to making EU policy-making more comprehensive and effective. The Commission intends to start applying this system before the end of 2001.
The Interactive Policy Making initiative involves the development of two Internet-based mechanisms:
The European Commission on March 28 proposed EU-wide anti-monopoly guidelines for the telecommunications sector to be used by national regulators. Drawing from EU competition law, the "Guidelines on market analysis and the calculation of significant market power" (COM(2001)175) are meant to assist national regulatory authorities to define what constitutes "significant market power" (SMP) in the electronic communications services and networks industry. The draft Guidelines in come in advance of the final adoption of the "Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Com(2000)393)" and should help the European Council to approve the new definition of SMP proposed in the Framework Directive.
As stipulated in a March 28 European Commission announcement, the Commission proposed a directive for a new regulatory framework for electronic communications services and networks On 12 July 2000, aiming, amongst others, at ensuring consistency between sector-specific rules and the EC Treaty competition rules. The draft will be discussed with the national regulatory and national competition authorities and with parties concerned. The definitive Guidelines will be adopted by the Commission when the Council and the European Parliament formally adopt the framework Directive.
The European Commission has issued a communication on "Creating a safer information society by improving the security of information infrastructures and combating computer related crime". In this regard, the European IT services Association (EISA) has issued an industry response, which can be seen at its web site or by contacting EISA Program Manager Laurence Harrison. The following is a brief description of the communication, as provided by EISA:
"The Commission Communication sets the orientations for a harmonised policy to combat computer crime and install necessary mechanisms, without hindering the rapid development of e-commerce in the EU and respecting the fundamental right to privacy. The Communication announces both legislative proposals and non-legislative measures. First, the legislative proposals include the approximation of Member States' laws, further to a proposal relating to child pornography offences. The latter is part of a package covering wider issues associated with the sexual exploitation of children and trafficking in human beings, which the Commission adopted recently (see COM (2000)854).
The Commission in the longer term will bring forward proposals for a further approximation of substantive criminal law in the area of high-tech crime, including offences related to hacking, denial of service attacks. The Commission will also examine the scope for action against racism and xenophobia on the Internet with a view to bringing forward a proposal covering both "off-line" and "on-line" racist and xenophobic activity.
Second, the Communication suggests a series of non-legislative proposals to encourage awareness and training among various Information security actors. These proposals include the creation of an EU Forum with the participation of representatives from law enforcement agencies, service providers, network operators, consumer groups and data protection authorities. This Forum will aim to enhance co-operation at EU level, to raise public awareness on the risks posed by criminals on the Internet and to promote best practices for IT security. Among other proposals the Communications also insist on the need to support the training of law enforcement staff on high-tech crime issues via existing Commission programmes."
As reported by the Computing Services & Software Association (CSSA) in its April 23 Bulletin, UK Employment Minister, Tessa Jowell, the Minister for E-Commerce, Patricia Hewitt and the Minister for Learning and Technology, Michael Wills, have announced plans to establish all-girl computer clubs in schools in an effort to encourage more girls to consider the IT industry as a career. The announcement follows research conducted by MORI for the e-skills National Training Organisation (NTO) which indicated that girls still viewed the IT industry as unfashionable and inaccessible. The clubs, which will be developed in conjunction with the e-skills NTO and the IT industry, will be aimed at girls aged between 8 and 14 and will launch in the Autumn.
Whitehall Watch is CSSA’s weekly digest of everything happening in Westminster and Whitehall. For more information, see the CSSA site.
As announced by decided at the March 23-24 European Council in Stockholm, a high level task force will be set up this spring to look primarily at ways of developing the skills and mobility of the European labor market. The task force will include representatives from Industry, Government and other social partners and the IT sector will be a main focus. The objective of the task force will be to examine the main drivers, characteristics and barriers within the emerging new European labor market; and to recommend a set of policy initiatives to remove barriers and to promote the successful development of the new European labor market focusing in particular on skills and mobility. The high level task force will be supported in its work by the Commission and has the following mandate:
The Commission will co-ordinate the implementation of this new initiative to develop the new European labor market through existing processes, (e.g. skills and mobility are part of the employment guidelines and Member States' performance is checked by the Commission when they submit national action plans) and also present to the Spring Council 2002 an action plan of further policy initiatives to open up labor markets by 2005. The following calendar has been established:
Controversial new US telecommunications legislation that favors the Baby Bells was introduced in late April. Reps. W.J. Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) crafted the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001. The highly anticipated bill is aimed at jump-starting wide-scale deployment of broadband by eliminating some of the regulations lawmakers say are holding back the Bells. However, even before the legislation made its debut in Congress, Baby Bell competitors showered the measure with a heap of opposition. Twelve industry groups purporting to represent a multitude of emerging telecommunications companies, IT services companies and Fortune 500 users lashed out at the measure.
The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) in an April 24 press release opposed the legislation, calling it "harmful to competition in the telecommunications sector". The “Broadband Deployment Act of 2001” repeals the essential local telecommunications market opening provisions contained in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The law created incentives for local Bell operating companies to open local markets to competition by allowing them to enter other markets once they meet specified criteria. ITAA said that by eliminating the Bells’ incentives to open their monopoly local telephone markets to competition, the bill would stifle consumer choice for broadband telecommunications services. Allowing the Bells to expand their local telecommunications monopoly to the Internet will harm consumers across the country. ITAA President Harris N. Miller said the bill would allow the local Bell telephone companies to "enjoy their dessert before they have eaten their vegetables”. The Bells would be permitted to offer long distance data services before they have met the market opening requirements of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. As described in the press release, "nothing is keeping the Bells out of data long distance now, except their failure to comply with the 1996 Act and allow true competition to benefit consumers."
As frequently reported in the media, the Third Summit of the Americas took place in Quebec City on April 20-22, where 34 leaders of the Western Hemisphere reinforced their commitment to a vast Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) - potentially benefiting the hemisphere's 800 million people. The Summit followed the 6th Ministerial of the FTAA, which ended April 7 in Buenos Aires (see Declaration). Some of the key results from the Summit included a Plan of Action to uphold democratic principles or risk losing economic and political support (backed by more than $20 billion from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank); and a commitment to release (soon) a draft of the agreement as it stands now after seven years of talks, in order to give industry, environmentalists, labor unions a chance to review it for the first time. Important deadlines included a "guidance" to conclude FTAA negotiations no later than January 2005; preparation of technical guidelines for market access negotiations by April 1, 2002; and the launch of product- and sector-specific negotiations by May 15, 2002. The next FTAA Ministerial will be held no later than October 2002.
In spelling out a "Connectivity Agenda for the Americas", Ministers at the Summit pledged to promote universal access and liberalize the telecommunications sector. Ministers also agreed to establish an Institute for Connectivity in the Americas, as a Canadian contribution to the common goals supported by hemispheric leaders at the 2001 Summit. Ministers:
The Plan of Action included several provisions regarding IT and telecommunications. In particular, Ministers:
Just prior to the Summit, the FTAA-Joint Government-Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce on April 9 derestricted its November 22, 2000 Second Report with Recommendations to Ministers (FTAA.ecom/03/Rev.3). The Report provides several observations, including that the greatest impetus to the growth and development of electronic commerce is taking place in the business-to-business sector (B2B). The Report also found that a great disparity still exists in the Hemisphere in terms of access to the global network, as well as a significant asymmetry in the volume and value of electronic commerce in the Americas: "Thus, different levels of technological development, if not an obstacle, remain a major challenge to the achievement of an equal sharing of the benefits throughout the Hemisphere through the balanced expansion of electronic commerce". The Report emphasize that the countries of the region must persevere in stimulating IT development, and encouraging the participation of a greater number of people in the benefits flowing from such technologies, including through electronic commerce. Additionally, since e-commerce is inherently borderless and global in scope, the Report suggests that measures to enable and promote domestic growth must also be contemplated to allow the effective conduct of e-commerce between countries.
The FTAA Joint Government Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce (“the Joint Committee”) “makes recommendations to ministers on how to increase and broaden the benefits of electronic commerce and, in particular, how electronic commerce should be dealt with in the context of the FTAA negotiations.” Participation in the Joint Committee is open to all FTAA governments. Private sector representatives with expertise in the issues under discussion are invited by government representatives to attend the Joint Committee’s meetings. The current Chair is Ramiro Soto Platero, representative of the Uruguayan private sector, and the Vice-Chair is Mr. Richard Simpson from Canada.
In identifying future Work of the Committee the following three key areas of involvement were identified:
For further information, see also an April 7 FTAA fact sheet provided by the the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). See also the full text of the Declaration of Quebec City signed by the leaders attending the Summit of the Americas (New York Times article). An article summarizing the outcomes of the recent Summit is also available (Associated Press).
Unlike in the Clinton Administration, President George W. Bush has decided not to appoint a "chief counselor for privacy". Instead, it will put responsibility for privacy issues in the hands of White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitchell Daniels and the yet-to-be-appointed deputy director. Those officials will work closely with whoever fills the expected position of federal CIO (see April 16 Computerworld article). Some political analysts have questioned whether OMB's director, who is preoccupied with the budget and other issues, can be a substitute for the three-person staff that addressed privacy issues exclusively during the Clinton administration. The White House decision comes as Republican leaders, are insisting that government agencies fix their own privacy and security problems before passing legislation regulating the private sector.
According to the April 24 announcement of a joint study by Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive joint study, nearly half, or 100.2 million people, of the U.S. adult population have made a purchase online. This is up 37 percent from the previous year. eCommercePulse, collected from a March 2001 online survey of 39,000 Web users, found that eCommerce has hit mainstream, drawing online purchases from 48.2 percent of all Americans over 18 years old, or 100.2 million people (see Table 1). Furthermore, more than 81.2 percent of all the 123 million American adults with Web access have made a purchase online since they started using the Internet.
Despite challenges in the U.S. economy, online spending is holding strong, even gaining four percentage points from February to March 2001. More than $3.5 billion was spent online in March 2001, jumping 35.6 percent from $2.6 billion in April 2000. Two product categories accounted for more than half of this growth. Online travel spiked 58.5 percent to more than one billion dollars in March 2001, while clothing and apparel jumped 122.3 percent to $368 million. According to the survey, Amazon led the eCommerce market in March, garnering 15.1 percent of all online buyers. For further details, please see the press release.
The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) announced on April 11 its intent to enter into a cooperative agreement for the management of the .edu domain name space with EDUCAUSE, the national association for information technology in higher education. EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association of 1,800 colleges, universities, and corporate partners, represents the nation's top technology leaders in higher education and has played a leading role in the development of campus, regional, and national networks for education. The ".edu" suffix has been operated by VeriSign Inc. until present. In an April 11 press release, EDUCAUSE expressed its intention to provide stewardship for the .edu domain in order to protect the reliability and integrity of the .edu designation for institutions of higher education. As the registry for .edu, EDUCAUSE will be responsible for the database of campus Internet names. Having an Internet name is similar to having a post office box and a storefront in traditional commerce and communications. Names in the .edu domain traditionally designate U.S. institutions of higher education. As registrar, EDUCAUSE will process applications for membership in the .edu domain according to established rules and will create a public process through which changes in these rules can be proposed, discussed, and recommended to the Department of Commerce.
EDUCAUSE proposes that as part of its agreement with the Department of Commerce, membership in .edu be expanded to encompass the community of regionally accredited U.S. institutions of higher education, including accredited U.S. community colleges. The next steps in the process call for further discussion between EDUCAUSE and for the Department of Commerce to establish the details of a cooperative agreement for the management of the .edu domain. The agreement will be awarded for a five-year period and will be renewed indefinitely "upon satisfactory performance". EDUCAUSE will be allowed to recover its costs of administering the addresses. The DOC Notice of Intent or in the Federal Register after 4/12/2001. For information regarding EDUCAUSE please see its web site.
As reported in the April 2 edition of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) NetFlash Newsletter, an EDS/Ipsos-Reid poll conducted recently shows these results. A full majority believes cyber criminals are more likely to get away with their crime – 72 per cent believe that online criminals have less of a chance of being caught than a criminal who has been convicted of a more traditional crime. A majority (60 percent) of Canadians feel not enough is being done to protect Internet consumers against cyber crime, and over half (52 percent) feel threatened or concerned by this activity.
As detailed in a March 26 EDS Canada press release, the results are in contrast to a recent poll conducted in the United States by EDS and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). That poll found that 67 percent of Americans felt threatened or concerned about cyber crime.
A new project spearheaded by the government of Vicente Fox, dubbed E-Mexico, is intended to extend the reach of the Internet throughout the country, and provide equal access to information and distance education to all Mexicans - including the 40 percent who live in poverty. The project also intends to diminish red tape, permitting residents to change ownership of cars, or register themselves into the social security system over the Internet. E-Mexico will link 2,500 municipalities over the next few years. President Fox aims to draw private sector investments to help develop the project, including a recent agreement by telecommunications companies to pool their systems in a nation-wide network. One component of the project is e-procurement, the government's purchasing of material and services over the Internet.
The project does not have a fixed budget, but -according to the Fox Administration- could reach between U.S. $3 and $5 billion over the next six years. President Fox hopes to link up 10,000 communities, covering 98 percent of the Mexican population, by the end of his term in office, using traditional wire lines as well as fiber optic, wireless and satellite communications. As an intermediary step, President Fox plans on creating tele-centers in public buildings in small communities, providing public Internet access for about U.S. $1 per hour. Around 40 tele-centers have been established in Mexico to date. IBM, Microsoft, HP, Ericsson, Nortel, Cisco, Nextel, PwC, Telefonos de Mexico and others were consulted in developing the project. Mexico currently only has five computers per 100 inhabitants, and only 1.7 million of its 97 million population have Internet access. For further information, contact Asociación Mexicana de la Industria de Tecnologías de Información (AMITI).
Outlining the trade in services of Latin America and Caribbean, Sitrends.org, a non-profit web site sponsored by the Mark Twain Institute to advance common knowledge of the services economy, on April 3 released a detailed report of those two regions, including the following highlights:
The full report and data can be obtained at the Sitrends.org web site.
ASIA, AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST
The Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO) is scheduled to hold an Officers Meeting and Strategic Planning Session in Yangon, Myanmar on May 3-4. ASOCIO was established by industry in Tokyo in 1984 to promote, encourage and foster trade between the various members and to develop the computing industry in the Asian and Oceanian region. For further inquiries, please contact Junko Kawauchi at Japan Information Service Industry Association (JISA).
Japan's Cabinet on March 30 endorsed a new three-year deregulation package covering 554 deregulation projects in 15 areas including information technology, the environment and education. The decision, which took effect on March 31, was an effort to stimulate the economy, and established a government panel to monitor the progress of deregulation and possibly take additional measures by the end of March 2002. The plan called for easing limits of foreign shareholders' control of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) subsidiaries, providing banks further access to the trust industry and relaxing restrictions on employment agencies. The government also plans to promote high speed wireless Internet and other measures. However, while calling for plans for restructuring NTT to stimulate competition, the measure stopped short of recommending dividing the company. The NTT structure will be reviewed again if "no progress is made in terms of competition".
Separately, Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, on April 25 reported that the number of Internet users in Japan grew by 74 percent to 47.08 million in 2000. The wildly popular i-mode services provided by NTT DoCoMo Inc. was accredited with a large portion of this growth. Although the ratio of Internet users to the population increased by 70 percent to 37.1 percent last year, the figure still trailed that of the US by one-third. PC Internet access accounted for about 37.23 million users while 23.64 million Japanese went online with their cell pones (a 310 percent increase in one year!).
India's software development industry is staking a claim on the world telecoms market. The industry's leading body says that telecoms network applications are now one of the most important sources of revenue for Indian software companies. But some observers say the country needs to innovate more in telecoms, instead of manufacturing software to western design. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the apex body of software, dot.com and IT services industry in India, claims telecoms software soon will be the single biggest earner in the sector. In a February 6 press release, the late NASSCOM President Dewang Mehta said "telecom software revenues will reach U.S. $3 billion in the next couple of years and $15 billion by 2008." Telecom software has always been one of the most profitable segments for Indian software developers and offers much more than routine software development.
185 of the Fortune 500 companies now outsource their software requirements to India. Major telecom equipment manufacturers such as Nokia and digital device manufacturers such as Phillips and Sony, are using India as development centers for their global requirements. The thrust into telecom software began in the early 1980s, when the government set up the Center for the Development of Telematics (C-DoT), which indigenously developed low-cost switches for domestic use. The knowledge-base in C-DoT switching software was later used by big companies such as Siemens and Nortel to set up captive development centers here.
There are signs that by next year the proportion of third-party contract work will have fallen to a little more than 50%. Projects are giving way to products and instead of imitating, Indian companies have begun innovating. And India's Silicon Valley - Bangalore - has more than 72 companies working in the software arena now, most concentrating on convergence and wireless technologies. These companies insist that they are enabling a shift from communications software services to product development.
South Africa plans to introduce a much anticipated new e-commerce law by late 2001. Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri launched an April 21-22 industry meeting in Johannesburg aiming to produce a final recommendation to the minister as a basis for a new law. A first discussion paper on the topic was released as early as 1999, and a green paper on November 19, 2000. The objectives of the new law may include Internet access incentives, and will be far-reaching, covering such important issues as consumer protection and privacy, taxation of purchases made online, intellectual property protection, and cyber-crime.
As reported by Reuters on April 21, South Africa faces many challenges in the e-commerce environment: Out of its population of 43 million, only 2 million use the Internet. Additionally, Telkom's monopoly, high broadband access fees, and low telephone access (at only 14 percent of the population) pose significant challenges to South African e-commerce.
In addition, the South African government is finalizing a new telecom law, introducing a first full-service rival to the state controlled monopoly, Telekom (and a second competitor in the next five years). The draft regulation is currently published for public comment by May 2.
On April 25, the South African Cabinet passed an e-government policy approving the use of technology to deliver services faster and more cheaply to all its citizens. As reported by Business Day on April 25, the policy aims to co-ordinate and consolidate all government's IT initiatives to eliminate duplication and improve the accessibility and quality of services and information. The policy is that any investment in technology or services must be justified by accelerating government's services, making the service more convenient for citizens, or by increased cost efficiency. The aim is to let all citizens obtain information, apply for services and submit forms online, no matter which department's services they need. As part of the initiative, government is setting up internet terminals in post offices to give access to everybody. Eventually people will be able to conduct transactions such as renewing their vehicle licenses or applying for welfare benefits online.
The policy was adopted at the same time as business consultancy Accenture warned that governments still had a long way to go to close the gap between rhetoric and reality in their e-governing ambitions. Accenture, as part of a study, tried to conduct business with 22 governments via the internet. It found that even the innovative leaders had completed less than half the work required to provide mature online services. The study examined the sophistication of government information online, electronic interaction between citizens and the government, and whether a transaction initiated online could actually be completed over the internet. According to Business Day, Vivienne Jupp, Accenture's managing partner for Global eGovernment Services, said Canada, Singapore and the US were the leaders in the field thanks to the political will of their leaders. Canada, Singapore and the US have introduced national portals to give citizens a single point of access to government. In other countries, few good portals exist and they have a long way to go to be truly customer-focused.
For further information, see:
GREEN PAPER ON ELECTRONIC COMMERCE FOR SOUTH AFRICA. INVITATION TO COMMENT. Coordinated and compiled by the Department of Communications Republic of South Africa November 2000. The Green Paper is available in HTML. or in PDF format as:. One large file. 370kb) or 7 separate PDF files. Forward and Executive Summary. size 3445 bytes - 11/23/2000 11:02:36 AM GMT
GREEN PAPER ON E-COMMERCE FOR SOUTH AFRICA RELEASED. Issued by: Department of Communications Pretoria, November 19 2000 Government will take an important step towards the final formulation of a national e-commerce policy when Minister of Communications, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, releases the Green Paper size 5135 bytes - 11/20/2000 8:53:26 AM GMT
ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, IVY MATSEPE-CASABURRI, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE ELECTRONIC COMMERCE DISCUSSION PAPER. F COMMUNICATIONS, IVY MATSEPE-CASABURRI, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE ELECTRONIC COMMERCE DISCUSSION PAPER29 July 1999 Gallagher Estate, Midrand. size 12641 bytes - 7/29/1999 8:34:25 PM GMT
Anders Halvorsen, program manager
World Information Technology and Services Alliance, 8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 450
Vienna, VA 22182-2633; (tel) +1 703-288-1425 / (fax) +1 617 697-6590
The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) consists of 41 national information industry representative bodies from around the world. Its role is to develop public policy positions on issues of concern to the information industry and present these positions to governments and international organizations. For more information on WITSA and its members, please go to http://www.witsa.org