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The State of the Internet

March 1st, 2010 1 comment

Jesse Thomas animated this short databurst about today’s Internet:

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from Jesse Thomas on Vimeo.

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Fighting over the Future of the Internet

January 12th, 2010 No comments

Interesting short article from Dave Clark in IEEE Computer: Fighting over the Future of the Internet.

For much of the Internet’s life, it has coevolved with the PC. The relative maturity of the PC could thus lead to the erroneous assumption that the Internet itself is mature. But as computing enters the post-PC era over the next decade, with mobile devices, sensors, actuators, and embedded processing everywhere, the Internet will undergo a period of rapid change to support these new classes of computing.

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Trends in connectivity technologies and their socioeconomic impacts

January 8th, 2010 No comments

Lots of goodies from RAND Europe today. Here is another just-published report, summarising their study on Policy Options for the Ubiquitous Internet Society:

This report has discussed and linked together technologies, connectivity technology trends, socio-economic impacts, and policy challenges, ending with recommendations for possible policies and approaches. It launched the concept of the ‘Internet of X’ as a generic description of the multiple of concepts that express the trends of converging information infrastructures, increasing computing power and its embedding in everyday objects, the convergence of humans and machines and the growing intelligence of the web. The report should provide policymakers with a rich account of what the Internet of X may entail and what can be done to support its socially and economically beneficial development.

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The Future of the Internet Economy

January 8th, 2010 No comments

RAND Europe have just published a discussion paper on the Future of the Internet Economy, prepared for the Dutch government. Worth a look:

Openness and transparency are essential character traits of the Internet economy and should be embraced by governments as necessary components to deal with issues of privacy, security and active inclusive participation. The creative and entrepreneurial individual – organised or not – is at the heart of this development and the open Internet is his habitat. In this world government does not only ‘govern’ but facilitates, enables, shares, empowers, creates awareness and stimulates trust. Government will also retain an important role in ensuring effective competition and supporting innovation, through the use of open standards and the application of intelligent but not overly restrictive IPR policies, which support the innovators and not the concentration of market power.

National and international government cannot effectively control or regulate this space and needs to embrace industry, service providers and other stakeholders in self-governing and co-regulatory arrangements. Governments may back these up and strengthen them through political, financial and sometimes regulatory means.

The virtual and the real world abide to many of the same rules, with human rights and respect for personal space as guiding principles. Also there are risks and benefits like in the real world, which need to be understood and managed. Yet at the same time it seems important to only take measures in areas where it is seen to be necessary, because of facts, rather then because of assumptions, in order to avoid that unnecessary barriers are created that would stop innovation in technology and its application in ways that may well be of benefit to society at large. The Internet economy is truly global and diverse, which creates many interesting opportunities for all, and connectivity and access for all should be supported wholeheartedly, notwithstanding some of the risks.

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Past and future communications revolutions

December 1st, 2009 No comments

Thanks to CM for the pointer to Andrew Odylzko’s predictions for the next Internet decade. They include:

Many of the old battles over issues such as QoS or flat rate vs. usage-based pricing, as well as the on-going one over net-neutrality, are likely to be fought again in the wireless arena. It is possible that some outcomes might be different this time. The reason is that the balance between supply and demand is different. In the wireline arena, the growth in demand is still high, but it has been declining, to a level that is currently just about counterbalanced by improvements in technology. This produces incentives for service providers to increase usage, and such incentives suggest simple pricing and simple networks. In wireless, on the other hand, growth in data transmission appears to be significantly ahead of what technology can support, at least without major increases in levels of capital expenditure. And the incentives to raise investments are lacking, since most of the large potential sources of new wireless data transmissions are not anywhere near as lucrative as voice and texting. Users would like seamless mobility, but the huge gap between capacities of fiber and radio links is unlikely to allow this. So service providers will have strong incentives to closely manage their network traffic, and are likely to try to ration capacity and discriminate among applications and among service providers.

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New PARADISO reference document open for comments

April 29th, 2009 1 comment

The PARADISO project has now published an updated version of their reference document to reflect their conference discussions in January on ICT for a global sustainable future. You can comment at their website:

This document further develops the PARADISO vision and explores a new concept of progress that developed, emerging, and developing countries might share, aiming at a true sustainable development, a more sustainable economic growth, more equally shared resources, and eventually the well-being of peoples around the world, measured through a new index related to the progress of societies. The document also investigates the role that ICT can play in the hypothesis of such global societal developments, and derives the strategic research areas that can usefully be explored in the short term in order that suited solutions can be made available in the future.

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Privacy must be a priority in digital age

April 14th, 2009 No comments

Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding has followed up the forthright comments on privacy last week from Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva. In a video message she makes the following comments:

“European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent. We cannot give up this basic principle, and have all our exchanges monitored, surveyed and stored in exchange for a promise of ‘more relevant’ advertising! I will not shy away from taking action where an EU country falls short of this duty.”

Reding added that RFID chips would work only “if they are used by the consumer and not on the consumer. No European should carry a chip in one of their possessions without being informed precisely what they are used for, with the choice to remove or switch it off at any time.”

Mrs Reding also is concerned by social network sites:

“Privacy must in my view be a high priority for social networking providers and their users. I firmly believe that at least the profiles of minors must be private by default and unavailable to internet search engines. The European Commission has already called on social networking sites to deal with minors’ profiles carefully, by means of self-regulation. I am ready to follow this up with new rules if I have to.”

To round off this flurry of activity, the Commission launched the first phase of proceedings against the UK for “several problems with the UK’s implementation of EU ePrivacy and personal data protection rules, under which EU countries must ensure, among other things, the confidentiality of communications by prohibiting interception and surveillance without the user’s consent.” The UK now has two months to respond, before potentially being taken to the European Court of Justice.

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Consumer Affairs Commissioner joins the privacy debate

March 31st, 2009 No comments

DG Information Society is taking the lead on Europe’s Future Internet plans, but other Commissioners are also taking an interest. Later this week Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva is to make a speech on privacy and profiling where according to the Financial Times she will say:

“Consumers are in fact paying for services with their personal data and their exposure to ads. This amounts to a new kind of commercial exchange… If we fail to see an adequate response to consumers’ concerns on the issue of data collection and profiling, we will not shy away from our duties.”

The BBC adds a further quote from the forthcoming speech:

Basic consumer rights in terms of transparency, control and risk are being violated… We must establish the principles of transparency, clear language, opt-in or opt-out options that are meaningful and easy to use.

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Commissioner Reding on openness, interoperability and neutrality

February 14th, 2009 1 comment

EU Commissioner Viviane Reding (Information Society) gave an interesting speech at the European Parliament on 3 February. In it she set out her own vision of a future Internet:

Indeed, the architectural principles that underlie the Internet we have today, namely the principles of openness, inter-operability and neutrality do not only create an environment that enables innovation in services and applications, more importantly they allow for an environment where users can express themselves freely without discrimination by their service provider. Therefore, those basic design principles need to be preserved.

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Interoperable e-ID

January 30th, 2009 No comments

ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has just launched a report on the interoperability of electronic ID management systems. The EU’s vision is that all European governments, citizens and businesses should be able to interact electronically. By the end of 2009 the Services Directive requires member states to have put in place single points of electronic contact allowing service providers to offer their services and complete formalities online.

In the medium term, eID will be one of the key drivers of the future Internet — contributing towards, as Microsoft Chief Identity Architect Kim Cameron puts it, a new identity and authorisation layer for the network.

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