WITSA ACTIVITIES:
1.
Global High Tech Industry Alliance Releases IT Skills “Inventory”

2. WITSA Public Policy Report 2001

3. World Congress 2002 Countdown Launched in Adelaide

4. WITSA Visits World Congress 2002 Venue

5. ALERT! Digital Divide to Be Addressed at Major Industry Conference in Cape Town (September 09-11)

6. New Global E-Readiness Conducted in Collaboration with WITSA

7. WITSA President to Present Digital Planet 2000 Findings in Mexico

8. WITSA Referenced in U.S. Presidential Report on Critical Infrastructure Protection

9. WITSA At SETI 2001 (The European Week for IT) 6-8 March 2001


WITSA MEMBER ACTIVITIES:
10. India's Software Icon - Dewang Mehta - Passes Away in Sydney

11. Norwegian Premiere Visit to India to Strengthen India-Norway IT Trade

12. European Industry Offers Critique of Cyber-crime Convention

13. SIF Rebrand Generates Momentum For a Growing Industry in Northern Ireland

14. German Industry Initiative Against Right-Extremist Forces on the Internet

15. German Industry Association Says Electrical scrap iron guideline has unrealistic transition periods and recycling ratios

16. Greek Industry Leader Resigns from High-Tech Association

17. South Eastern Europe: Digital Divide or Digital Opportunity?

18. UK Association Calls for Industry Participation to Realize Government's Broadband Vision

19. Swedish Industry Association Provides Leadership on IT Skills Gap

20. ICT-Norway May Launch WebTV Channel

21.Lithuanian “Information Society 2001” Conference

22. ITAA’s 40th Exec Management Conference & CEO Summit

23. ITAA Offers View on Government Infosec Role; Calls for Resources and Accountability

24. Major New Study Documents Demand for U.S. IT Workers Continues

25. Canadian Industry Association Provide Private Sector Recommendations for E-Government

26. Canadian Community IT Hero Awards

27. Colombian Industry Association Outlines Internet Connectivity Agenda

28. Mexican IT Industry-World Bank Project to Recommend National Strategy

29. New Australian Industry Development Framework for IT Outsourcing

30. Peak Australia - India IT Associations Sign MoU

31. Australian ICT Industry Body Outlines Key Election Issues

32. Peak U.S. - India IT Associations Sign MoU

33. Indian IT Industry To Benefit from Services Liberalizations, Says ITAA President

34. JISA "Information Services Industry White Paper 2001 Edition" Published

35. PIKOM To Set Up PCFAIR For Underprivileged

36. PIKOM To Co-Organize INFOSOC Conference

37. HKITF Co-Organizer of the 10th International WWW Conference

38. Thai IT Market Outlook 2001

39. South African Industry Proposes Establishment of IT Statutory Council

40. Moroccan Industry Association Calls for National IT Strategy

 

PUBLIC POLICY NEWS:

INTERNATIONAL

41. World Trade Body Reports Trade Barriers Remain

42. Global Services Talks Enter Next Phase

43. Hi-Tech Solution to Internet Privacy Available in New Web Browser

44. Revised .Com/.Net/.Org Agreements Under Final Review

45. ICANN Launches Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) Surveys

46. Progress Report on New Top-Level Domain Names

47. Multinational Government Initiative Targets Cross-Border Online Fraud

48. Private Sector Survey Focuses on Digital Divide

49. Global Internet Project, Cross-Industry Working Team To Host Dialog: Trust in the Internet -- Required Technology and Policy Solutions

50. 2nd European-Latin-American Industry Forum Held in Uruguay

 

EUROPE

51. New Romanian IT Industry Organization to Lobby Government

52. Digital Copyright Directive Approved in the EU

53. US Opposes Proposed EU Privacy Rules Affecting Financial Services Industry

54. Rome II on Fast-Track

55. Commission seeks to use Internet for Interactive Policy Making

56. New Telecoms Competition Guidelines Proposed in EU

57. European Communication on Information Security and Cyber-crime

58. UK Establishing all-girl computer clubs

59. EU Establishes High Level Task-Force on Skills and Mobility

 

AMERICAS

60. US Broadband Legislation Receives Cold Reception

61. FTAA Ministerial Accomplishments & E-Commerce Recommendations

62. President Bush Won't Appoint Privacy Czar

63. U.S. Consumer Net Spending Increase Despite Economic Slump

64. US Government to Transfer Control of ".edu" Internet Domain

65. Majority Of Canadians Don't Believe Enough Is Being Done To Protect Internet Consumers From Cyber Crime

66. Ambitious "E-Mexico" Project to Bring Population Online

67. Report Outlines Latin America and Caribbean Trade in Services

 

ASIA, AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

68. ASOCIO Officers Meeting; May 3-4

69. Japan Approves De-Regulation Plan; Sees Surge in Wireless Internet Use

70. Telecoms software top of India's earnings

71. South Africa Passes E-Government Policy, Prepare New E-Commerce & Telecom Laws


Issue 2, 2001

Volume 4  - May 2, 2001

For free subscription, email to ahalvorsen@itaa.org

Article suggestions are encouraged

 

 

WITSA ACTIVITIES:

 

1. Global High Tech Industry Alliance Releases IT Skills “Inventory”

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.

 

 

2. WITSA Public Policy Report 2001

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.

 

 

3. World Congress 2002 Countdown Launched in Adelaide

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

 

 

4. WITSA Visits World Congress 2002 Venue

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. 

 

 

5. ALERT! Digital Divide to Be Addressed at Major Industry Conference in Cape Town (September 09-11)

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:

  • Access Divide: there are more Internet hosts in New York city than on the continent of Africa;

  • Computing Divide: The number of PCs per 1,000 inhabitants in industrialized countries is 156.3, but the same number for developing countries is merely 6.5;

  • Network Divide: 4/5 of the worldwide population lacks access to a reliable telecommunications system … like that used by 1/5 of the privileged;

  • Telephony Divide: Three quarters of the world’s telephones are in just eight industrialized countries;

  • Income Divide: The share in the global income of the richest fifth of the world’s people 74 times that of the poorest fifth. Moreover the poorest fifth controlled 86 percent of the world’s GDP, 82 percent of global export markets, 68 percent of foreign direct investment, 74 percent of the world’s phone lines, while the bottom fifth only controls 1 percent of the world’s GDP, 1 percent of global export markets, 1 percent of foreign direct investment, and 1.5 percent of the world’s telephone lines;

  • Internet Divide: The number of Internet hosts (in thousands) for developing countries is 15,818, while the number for developing countries is only 435.

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:

  •  PEOPLE: More than simply technology, GPPC 2001 is about people having access to information so that they can make important choices in their lives. It is about people having access - where they live, in their language, and consistent to their culture - to health care, to education and to income opportunities.

  • PARTNERS: GPPC 2001 will recognize the need for extensive partnerships and participation in an ecosystem, not just unilateral action. All united by a commitment to the goals of the Digital Divide(nd), GPPC’s aim is to help create a global dialogue, including companies, governments, development agencies, non-profit organizations, and communities.

  • SUSTAINABILITY: GPPC 2001 will focus on sustainability in all its dimensions. Sustainable solutions respect culture. They preserve and enhance the environment. If a solutions is not sustainable, it is not a solution. Economically self-sustaining solutions offer fair value to all participants: Solutions that won't die out when the donations dry up.

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 Challenge of Skills Development in Developing Countries

  • The Internet and Education

  • The Swedish Experience

  • AIDS and the Developing Economies

  • Bringing education to underprivileged areas

  • Providing technical education in urban centres

  • The South African experience of developing an ICT industry strategy

  • Telecomms policy and the enabling effect of the Internet

  • Rethinking Information Technology Learning in Schools

  • World Congress on IT 2002 (WCIT2002)

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).

 

 

6. New Global E-Readiness Conducted in Collaboration with WITSA 

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.

 

 

7. WITSA President to Present Digital Planet 2000 Findings in Mexico

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. 

 

 

8. WITSA Referenced in U.S. Presidential Report on Critical Infrastructure Protection

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.

 

 

9. WITSA At SETI 2001 (The European Week for IT) 6-8 March 2001

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 :

  • WITSA profile

  • WITSA events

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 skander@infopromotions.fr

 

 

WITSA MEMBER ACTIVITIES:

 

10. India's Software Icon - Dewang Mehta - Passes Away in Sydney

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.

 

 

11. Norwegian Premiere Visit to India to Strengthen India-Norway IT Trade

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.

 

 

12. European Industry Offers Critique of  Cybercrime Convention

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. 

 

 

13. SIF Rebrand Generates Momentum For a Growing Industry in Northern Ireland

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.

 

 

14. German Industry Initiative Against Right-Extremist Forces on the Internet

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. .

 

 

15. German Industry Association Says Electrical scrap iron guideline has unrealistic transition periods and recycling ratios

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.

 

 

16. Greek Industry Leader Resigns from High-Tech Association

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). 

 

 

17. South Eastern Europe: Digital Divide or Digital Opportunity?

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:

  • Improvement of access and use of the Internet for business and education;

  • Development of the business environment through better legislation and help to SMEs, mainly to Internet start-ups;

  • Acceleration of the development of digital infrastructure, Internet, telecom, including eCommerce infrastructure for B2B applications and ePayment infrastructure;

  • Large-scale investment in training and education, a recognition of regional strengths, and promotion of Digital Literacy and eEducation;

  • Improvement of security of information and databases through enforcement of specific legislation and anti-piracy measures and prevention of hacking frameworks;

  • Increasing the IT "absorption" capability;

  • Enhancement of inter-regional cooperation.

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.

 

 

18. UK Association Calls for Industry Participation to Realize Government's Broadband Vision

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. 

 

 

19. Swedish Industry Association Provides Leadership on IT Skills Gap

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

 

 

20. ICT-Norway May Launch WebTV Channel

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:

 

Concept/Format

  • News broadcasting  2- 4 magazines per month

  • The  2-3 most important events during the week

  • General Secretary Per Morten Hoff live each week

  • Sponsored reports

  • Theme of the month

Other content on WebTV and archive:

  • Seminars and lectures

  • Educational programs

  • Content archive for members

  • Commercials/advertisement before and after broadcasts

  • Introduction of new products for members

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.

 

 

21. Lithuanian “Information Society 2001” Conference

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 zvirblis@infobalt.lt.

 

 

22. ITAA’s 40th Exec Management Conference & CEO Summit

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 

 

Check out the Agenda at the ITAA web site. Find out how your company can participate and register today. ITAA Contact - Barbara Dunlavey.

 

 

23. ITAA Offers View on Government Infosec Role; Calls for Resources and Accountability

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:

  • · The U.S. Government, with increased financial support from Congress, should lead by example, matching the private sector’s efforts to secure its information systems swiftly, robustly and continuously;

  • · Government should organize itself efficiently to develop sound information security policies and baseline practices and to communicate about information security both with the private sector and among its various agencies;

  • · Government should adopt some means of ensuring internal accountability for information security, making it part of every manager’s responsibilities;

  • · Government should fund advanced information security research, thereby filling the gap between industry-led, market-driven R&D and long-term, national security/defense-based R&D.

For More Information, contact Tinabeth Burton at tel. +1 (703) 284-5305 tburton@itaa.org

 

 

24. Major New Study Documents Demand for U.S. IT Workers Continues

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:

  • Technical support people remain most in demand by IT and non-IT companies alike - one-fourth of all new positions over the next 12 months. Even so, this report finds substantial softening of demand for these professionals, down 65 percent. Last year, hiring managers cited a need for three times as many technical support personnel as the next closest category, programming/software engineering. This year paints a demand picture much more evenly spread over eight job categories developed by the Northwest Center for Emerging Technologies.

  • While 2001 demand is lower in most job categories, it increased in the area of enterprise systems by 62 percent and increased 13 percent in the network design/administration category.

  • Demand decreased in several other categories, including technical writing (down 73 percent), digital media (down 62 percent) and database development /administration (down 59 percent). Companies are even pulling back on web development, with demand expected to drop 25 percent in the next 12 months.

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.

 

 

25. Canadian Industry Association Provide Private Sector Recommendations for E-Government

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:

  • Canada needs a "whip" - a high level champion reporting directly to the Prime Minister who will ensure that the established targets are met.

  • Canada needs to set clear targets and goals. It is well known that the aim is 2004, but what are the milestones between now and then. Without them the government will get lost on its way to 2004.

  • Once Canada has got goals then it needs effective mechanisms in place, beyond the auditor general, for measuring and reporting on progress, and

  • Canada needs a clearly expressed strategic investment. So far the only amount allocated by government is $160 million over two years. It is well known that this is not sufficient to complete the project. The psychological impact that result from not being clear about the size of the investment is profound. It sends a signal that Canada is not really committed to the outcome. The government needs to find the courage to fully scope out what leadership in e-government will cost - and say it out loud.

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. 

 

 

26. Canadian Community IT Hero Awards

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. 

 

 

27. Colombian Industry Association Outlines Internet Connectivity Agenda

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:

  1. Access to the Infrastructure: Extending the reach of the Internet in Colombia ; Offering access at reasonable costs; Improving the national telecommunications infrastructure.

  2. Education and Skills: Adapting educational schemes and educational requirements for the use of information technology; Increasing the generation of IT-related research, especially as regards the development and production of software.

  3. Electronic Commerce: Encouraging the use of electronic commerce; Implementing tariff, financial and other incentives to encourage technology innovation and use of IT; Increasing competitiveness of the Colombian IT industry while ensuring high levels of quality.

  4. Promoting the IT Industry: Creation of high-tech industrial parks; measures to strengthen the software industry; creation of high-risk venture capital funds.

  5. Encouraging the Development of National Internet Content: Online publication of national heritage and cultural material; Establishing a National Observatory of Science and Technology; Connecting national libraries online and establishing virtual libraries.

  6. E-Government: Utilizing IT and the Internet to produce a more efficient and transparent government; Establishment of a government intranet.

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.

 

 

28. Mexican IT Industry-World Bank Project to Recommend National Strategy

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.

 

 

29. New Australian Industry Development Framework for IT Outsourcing

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

 

 

30. Peak Australia - India IT Associations Sign MoU

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:

  • Facilitating contacts and cooperation between member companies of AIIA and NASSCOM;

  • Promoting IT trade missions between Australia and India; and

  • Cooperating in public policy efforts to promote the growth of the global IT industry.

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.

 

 

31. Australian ICT Industry Body Outlines Key Election Issues

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:

  • a national approach to ICT policy;

  • promoting Australia as location for investment;

  • innovation;

  • addressing the skills shortage;

  • developing the local industry, particularly SMEs;

  • taxation reform;

  • the regulatory environment; and

  • eGovernment.

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.

 

 

32. Peak U.S. - India IT Associations Sign MoU

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 between each 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.

 

 

33. Indian IT Industry To Benefit from Services Liberalizations, Says ITAA President

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.

 

 

34. JISA "Information Services Industry White Paper 2001 Edition" Published

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

 

 

35. PIKOM To Set Up PCFAIR For Underprivileged

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

 

 

36. PIKOM To Co-Organize INFOSOC Conference

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

 

 

37. HKITF Co-Organizer of the 10th International WWW Conference

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. 

 

 

38. Thai IT Market Outlook 2001 

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).

 

 

39. South African Industry Proposes Establishment of IT Statutory Council

As 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.

 

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.

 

 

40. Moroccan Industry Association Calls for National IT Strategy

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.

 

 

PUBLIC POLICY NEWS:

 
INTERNATIONAL

 

41. World Trade Body Reports Trade Barriers Remain

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 Uruguay Round has significantly contributed to the liberalization of international trade but the post-Uruguay Round situation still has many distortions;

  • While there is scope for mutually beneficial agreements in the mandated negotiations on agriculture and services, this scope can be broadened significantly if industrial tariffs are drawn into the picture;

  • Access to other developing countries' markets is becoming increasingly important to developing-country exporters;

  • The products of greatest interest to the least-developed countries — many agricultural products together with clothing and other labor-intensive manufactures — are among the most heavily protected in the markets of their current and potential trading partners, both developed and developing.

Please see the press release or entire report (available in pdf-format, 139 pages, 702Kb) for further details. 

 

 

42. Global Services Talks Enter Next Phase

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. 

 

 

43. Hi-Tech Solution to Internet Privacy Available in New Web Browser

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.

 

As announced by Microsoft on March 1, the new default settings in Internet Explorer 6 enable a consumer’s browser software to interact with a site’s compact policy (CP) to see if it matches the user’s privacy preferences. Technically speaking, the CP is a one-line description of the site’s privacy policy, found in the HTTP header that includes XML tags for data, recipient and purpose, all of which are subsets of P3P categories. Every CP must agree with the broader XML (machine-readable) P3P statement that more fully describes all aspects of the site’s privacy practices. Internet Explorer 6 will also allow a consumer to retrieve and read the full P3P policy on demand. Internet Explorer 6 will decide which action to take on a cookie based on the context in which the cookie was sent and on the content of the cookie CP policy. Depending on the situation, Internet Explorer 6 will accept, deny or downgrade the cookie. A downgraded cookie is one that will be deleted after the browsing session ends or the cookie expires; whichever comes first. Understanding "unsatisfactory" cookies is another key element to understanding the browser’s behavior. An unsatisfactory cookie is one with a compact policy which states that the cookie relates to personally identifiable information used for secondary purposes or used outside of stated purposes without user choice involved. A cookie fitting this description would be one that has a category and either a purpose or recipient from the lists below with no opt-in or opt-out specified.

 

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:

  • High setting. All cookies are rejected.

  • Medium-high setting. If a third party has no compact policy, third-party cookies will be rejected. If unsatisfactory third-party cookies provide opt-in for their data collection and use, they will be accepted. If unsatisfactory first-party cookies provide opt-in or opt-out, they will be accepted. Otherwise, unsatisfactory cookies are rejected. Cookies with satisfactory compact policies are accepted.

  • Medium (default) setting. If a third party has no compact policy, third-party cookies will be rejected. First-party cookies with no compact policy will be accepted. If unsatisfactory cookies provide choice, first- and third-party cookies are allowed. Without that choice, unsatisfactory first-party cookies are downgraded and third-party cookies are blocked.

  • Medium-low setting. If a third party has no compact policy, third-party cookies will be downgraded. If unsatisfactory third-party cookies do not provide choice, they will be downgraded. All other cookies are accepted.

  • Low setting. All cookies are allowed. (This is the setting most common on the Web today.)

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.

 

44. Revised .Com/.Net/.Org Agreements Under Final Review

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:

  • largely normalize the relationship between ICANN and VeriSign, operator of the most important name registries in the Domain Name System;

  • eliminate most of the vestiges of special treatment of VeriSign resulting from its legacy activities;

  • commit VeriSign to participate equitably and without special limitations in the financial support of ICANN's activities;

  • separate the single legacy registry agreement covering the three registries now operated by VeriSign into three separate registry agreements, thus allowing the Internet community, through the ICANN process, to decide on the operator for each registry individually and not as a group, as required under the 1999 agreement;

  • require VeriSign to give up control over the .org registry by the end of 2002; and

  • provide for a competitive process in 2005 to determine the future operator of .net.

  • The "expiration date" for VeriSign's operation of .com is November 10, 2007: VeriSign may submit a written proposal to ICANN for the extension of this Agreement for an additional term of four years - which will be awarded unless ICANN demonstrates that: (a) VeriSign  is in material breach of the Registry Agreement, (b) VeriSign has not provided and will not provide a substantial service to the Internet community in its performance under this Registry Agreement, (c) VeriSign is not qualified to operate the Registry TLD during the renewal term, or (d) the maximum price for initial and renewal registrations proposed in the Renewal Proposal exceeds the price permitted under Section 22 of the Registry Agreement.

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.

 

 

45. ICANN Launches Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) Surveys

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:

 

1) Survey A: Technical Questions: What are the perceived technical problems raised by internationalized domain names (IDN), what are the possible solutions, and what are the pros and cons relating these possible solutions?

2) Survey B: Policy Questions: What are the perceived legal and other policy questions raised by IDN, and what are possible solutions?

3) Survey C: Current Services: What IDN activities are actually underway, how extensive are they, and what bearing do they have on the technical and legal issues referenced above?

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 idn-survey@icann.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.

 

 

46. Progress Report on New Top-Level Domain Names

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.

 

 

47. Multinational Government Initiative Targets Cross-Border Online Fraud

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:

  1. Australia -- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

  2. Canada -- Competition Bureau, Industry Canada

  3. Denmark -- The Danish Consumer Ombudsman

  4. Finland -- The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman

  5. Hungary -- The Hungarian General Inspectorate for Consumer Protection

  6. Mexico -- Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor

  7. New Zealand -- The New Zealand Ministry for Consumer Affairs

  8. Norway -- The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman

  9. South Korea -- The Korean Consumer Protection Board

  10. Sweden -- The Swedish Consumer Ombudsman

  11. Switzerland -- The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland

  12. United Kingdom -- UK Office of Fair Trading

  13. United States -- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

  14. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

 

48. Private Sector Survey Focuses on Digital Divide

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:

  • Business leaders in all regions of the world possess high levels of digital divide awareness. (The survey’s 70+ percent response rate alone testifies to this.)

  • Higher levels of importance are attached to the digital divide in developing regions than in developed ones.

  • Access to ICT infrastructure is the main way business leaders would measure and define the digital divide.

  • Likewise, lack of infrastructure is regarded as the primary barrier to bridging the digital divide.

  • Overwhelmingly, business leaders see “market opportunity” as the primary motivating force behind their efforts to bridge the digital divide.

  • Electronic commerce nudges aside e-government as the ICT application most likely to spur the kind of infrastructure deployment needed to bridge the digital divide.

  • National governments and business should assume most responsibility for bridging the divide.

For further information see the GIIC web site or contact WITSA Public Policy Chairman David A. Olive

 

 

49. Global Internet Project, Cross-Industry Working Team To Host Dialog: Trust in the Internet -- Required Technology and Policy Solutions

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.

 

 

50. 2nd European-Latin-American Industry Forum Held in Uruguay

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

 

 

EUROPE

 

51. New Romanian IT Industry Organization to Lobby Government 

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

 

 

52. Digital Copyright Directive Approved in the EU

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:

  • Technical copies on the net: The Directive provides an obligatory exception for service providers, telecommunications operators and certain others in limited circumstances for particular acts of reproduction which are considered technical copies. A satisfactory balance has been found for what has been an extremely controversial issue. There are many conditions to be fulfilled before the exemption applies. In particular, those acts of reproduction have to form an essential part of a technological process and take place in the context of a transmission in a network. The Directive ensures therefore that there will be effective operation of the World Wide Web for those who place copyrighted material on the net and those who transmit or carry such material.

  • Exhaustive list of optional exceptions: There is now a detailed exhaustive list of exceptions to the reproduction right and right of communication to the public. All are optional and therefore Member States may choose to apply any or all of these exceptions. However, the list is exhaustive which means that no other exception may be applied. This proved controversial. Therefore, a "grandfather clause" has been included which allows Member States to continue to apply existing exceptions in minor cases for analogue (not digital use) only.

  • Fair compensation: This was originally suggested by the European Parliament in relation to certain exceptions and taken on board by the Commission in its amended proposal. It applies to three of the exceptions, namely reprography (photocopying), private copying and broadcasts reproduced for viewing or listening in certain social institutions. However, Member States are given flexibility in how to interpret this. In particular, in certain minor cases, there may be no obligation for payment or further payment. The precise form of such compensation (which may, but does not have to, take the form of levies on copy shops, sales of blank tapes and equipment, as exists in most Member States) would be up to the Member States to decide in accordance with their own legal traditions and practices. Member States would also have a degree of flexibility in their treatment of fair compensation for time shifting i.e. private copies made off the air from radio or television for the purpose of viewing or listening to the broadcast at a later more convenient time.

  • Legal protection of anti-copying devices and exceptions: This has been amongst the most political and controversial topics of the whole debate. The problem has been how to ensure that an exception e.g. an act of reproduction or copying for illustration for teaching can be made use of where a copyright-holder also has in place an anti-copying device e.g. a digital tracker designed to prevent piracy. Failure to address this would have meant that the exceptions could have been meaningless in some cases. Here too there has been a balanced compromise. Firstly, right-holders have complete control over the manufacture, distribution etc. of devices designed to circumvent anti-copying devices. A more flexible solution in this regard would have carried a greater risk of abuse and piracy. Secondly, the Directive provides that right-holders either voluntarily or by way of agreements with other parties have to provide those who would benefit from a particular exception e.g. schools, libraries in the case of teaching, with the means to do so. It will be up to Member States to ensure that such means exist. However, as far as private copying is concerned, the quality and quantity of private copying and the growth of electronic commerce all mean that there should be greater protection for right-holders in digital recording media (whereby unlimited numbers of perfect copies may be made rapidly). In certain limited cases, where right-holders have made the means available, private copying may be carried out.

  • Community exhaustion: The Directive applies Community exhaustion and not international exhaustion for the distribution right. This is in line with previous Directives in the field of copyright. Therefore, once a copyright protected product such as a CD or CD-ROM is marketed in the Community by or with the consent of the right holder, the distribution right is said to be "exhausted" i.e. there is no right to restrict further distribution in the Community. Parallel imports throughout the Community will therefore be permitted but the right holder will retain protection against parallel imports from third countries.

  • Relationship with the E-Commerce Directive: Both the E-Commerce Directive and this Directive are important elements in meeting the EU objective to create a harmonized legal framework to encourage the development of the Information Society. They complement each other, as this Directive deals with aspects of copyright law whilst the E-Commerce Directive harmonizes various legal issues relating to the functioning of the Internal Market. This Directive supplements the liability provisions of the E-Commerce Directive by confirming that injunctive relief i.e. the ability to stop infringing activity by court or other action must also be available to right holders against intermediaries when their services are used by third parties to infringe copyright or related rights.

 

53. US Opposes Proposed EU Privacy Rules Affecting Financial Services Industry

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.

 

 

54. Rome II on Fast-Track

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.

 

 

55. Commission seeks to use Internet for Interactive Policy Making

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:

  • A feedback mechanism which helps to collect spontaneous reactions in the marketplace, using existing networks and contact points as intermediaries, in order to obtain continuous access to the opinions and experiences of economic operators and EU citizens;

  • A consultation mechanism which will allow the more rapid and structured collection of stakeholders' reactions to new initiatives.

Further information on the initiative can be found on the Commission's DG Internal Market  web site.

 

 

56. New Telecoms Competition Guidelines Proposed in EU

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.

 

 

57. European Communication on Information Security and Cyber-crime

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."

 

 

58. UK Establishing all-girl computer clubs

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

 

 

59. EU Establishes High Level Task-Force on Skills and Mobility

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:

  • To identify the main drivers and characteristics of the new European labor market, with a particular focus on skills (supply, demand, skill gaps at various levels - national, regional, sectoral, occupational - , lifelong learning) and mobility. Particular importance will be attached to the ICT skills needed for the knowledge economy.

  • To identify the main barriers to the further development of these markets, in particular in the areas of skills and mobility.

  • To report with a set of policy initiatives required to ensure open access for all to these markets by 2005 and recommendations for implementation at European and national levels.

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:

 

April 2001
Establishment of the task force
May to November 2001
Meetings of the task force
January 2002
Report of the task force
February 2002
Commission Action Plan, based on the report of the task force.
March 2002
Presentation of report and action plan to the European Council

 

 

AMERICAS

 

60. US Broadband Legislation Receives Cold Reception

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."

 

 

61. FTAA Ministerial Accomplishments & E-Commerce Recommendations

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:

  • "Committed to promoting the development of the telecommunications infrastructure needed to support and enhance all sectors of society and the economy and will seek to provide affordable universal access". 

  • "Agree to promote the modernization of the telecommunications sector, noting the leading role of the private sector in deploying infrastructure and services, and bearing in mind the legal framework of each country and the social, political, economic and cultural needs of our populations, particularly those of developing countries and remote regions."

  • "Recognize that our action and initiative are necessary to provide an appropriate enabling policy and regulatory environment to foster greater public and private investment in Connectivity. "

  • "Agree to establish conditions, taking into account national legal frameworks, that promote and strengthen free and fair competition in all telecommunications services."

The Plan of Action  included several provisions regarding IT and telecommunications. In particular, Ministers:

  • "Recognize ... that affordable and universal access to new information and communications technologies is an important means to raise the living standards of our citizens and reduce the divide between rural and urban populations, and between countries; noting the importance of increasing cooperation with the private sector to further modernize and expand our telecommunications sectors; acknowledging and reaffirming our efforts in and dedication to market opening and increasing free, fair and equitable competition in all telecommunications services."

  • "Propose ... measures  based on principles such as: permanence of strong and independent regulatory bodies; a pro-competitive approach, including the adoption of rules on dominant operators; [and] a flexible regulatory framework consistent with technological convergence".

  • "Create a focal point for information on human resource development programs to foster exchanges of information on relevant training programs among governments, universities, industry associations and the private sector".

  • "Take measures striving to implement the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for Conformity Assessment ..., and encourage discussion of adequate standards to ensure interoperability for existing and future telecommunications networks and the timely introduction of technology in new and existing markets".

  • "Instruct ... our telecommunications authorities and our relevant regulatory bodies ... to develop and implement before the next Summit of the Americas a cooperative and collaborative program to support a connectivity agenda for the Hemisphere."

  • "Encourage increased competitiveness and productivity of all sectors ... [and] promote the modernization and expansion of telecommunications infrastructure in rural and urban areas through timely introduction of new technologies and services".

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:

  • As e-commerce technologies, market conditions and practices continue to evolve rapidly, new issues and solutions emerge.  Sharing experiences and information on e-commerce problems and solutions will enhance e-commerce growth, trade flows and economic integration in the region.

  • the following topics could be the subject of future work: i) effective consumer protection, with a particular focus on: protection from fraudulent, misleading or unfair commercial practices/conduct, respect for the privacy of the consumer, private sector initiatives, effective means of dispute resolution, and international cooperation in these areas; ii) “e-government”; iii) the digital divide between and within countries of the Western Hemisphere; iv) the impact of electronic commerce on social development, training and formation/ education of human resources through the use of information technologies;  v) the production of digital content and its on-line distribution; vi) implications for customs and taxes of cross-border electronic transactions.; and vii) the security of electronic transactions.

  • In order to ensure that the final FTAA agreement is relevant and current, the Joint  Committee should explore through national experiences and the hands-on knowledge of its private sector participants how e-commerce is changing the conduct of international business and inform negotiating groups regarding the nature of these changes. Among the negotiating groups that might benefit from the Joint Committee’s technical input are the Negotiating Groups on Market Access, Services, and Government Procurement.

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). 

 

 

62. President Bush Won't Appoint Privacy Czar

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.

 

 

63. U.S. Consumer Net Spending Increase Despite Economic Slump

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

 

 

64. US Government to Transfer Control of ".edu" Internet Domain

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.

 

 

65. Majority Of Canadians Don't Believe Enough Is Being Done To Protect Internet Consumers From Cyber Crime

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.  

 

 

66. Ambitious "E-Mexico" Project to Bring Population Online

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). 

 

 

67. Report Outlines Latin America and Caribbean Trade in Services 

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:

  • Latin America and the Caribbean exported services worth $53.4 billion and imported services $62.4 billion in 1999, according to the WTO 2000 Trade Report.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for roughly 4% of the world’s services exports and about 5% of imports, while emerging markets in Asia account for more than 11% of the world’s trade in commercial services.

  • Close to 50%, or over $34 billion of the region’s services exports are in travel and tourism business, while exports of financial services, which account for 5.4% of the regions’ services exports add up to less than $5 billion.

  • Services exports, which grew 1.4% in 1999, recovered slightly after growth in 1998 was less than 1% following the financial crisis that affected a large part of the region.

  • Latin America’s poor performance in services markets is a result of the region’s poor performance in some of the fastest growing services markets such as professional and technological services.

  • Most of the region’s services trade takes place with the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, while services trade within the region is rather low.

  • While goods trade within the region has increased substantially during the last decade, services trade within Latin America is less than 15% of the region’s trade in services.

  • During the last decade, close to 55% of the regions foreign direct investment was in the services sector and Latin America.

  • In mergers and acquisitions in the services sector Latin America and the Caribbean received over $1.4 trillion. A large number of these deals were related to the privatization of state assets and deregulation of investment in services industries, particularly in telecommunications, financial services, utilities, and distribution.

  • Worker remittances, which is another form of services export, amount to $12.8 billion in 1998. Receipts generated this way almost 24% of commercial services.

The full report and data can be obtained at the Sitrends.org web site. 

 

 

ASIA, AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

 

68. ASOCIO Officers Meeting; May 3-4

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). 

 

 

69. Japan Approves De-Regulation Plan; Sees Surge in Wireless Internet Use

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!).

 

 

70. Telecoms software top of India's earnings

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. 

 

 

71. South Africa Passes E-Government Policy, Prepare New E-Commerce & Telecom Laws

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

ahalvorsen@itaa.org; http://www.witsa.org

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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


 



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