The Register - Members of the European Parliament jockeying for re-election voted
for a wave of telecom regulatory measures proposed by Brussels'
unelected digital czar today – including the proposal that mobile
roaming charges should be axed by the end of next year.
politicos backed "Steelie" Neelie Kroes' reform package ahead of tense
negotiations with member states in the 28-nation bloc.
But the concept of "net neutrality", which, in principle, won
overwhelming support from MEPs today - in effect - remains exactly that.
As it stands, only two countries within the EU have adopted law that
states that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, even
if the content – such as video-streaming – clogs up a telco's aged
Now, fierce lobbying between Euro parliament and
the European Council, which fights on behalf of EU member states, will
take place in the backdrop of election season.
Europa - Today the European Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas
2015, as part of a wider vote in support to the Commission’s proposed
regulation for a “Connected Continent” (telecoms single market)*.
"This vote is
the EU delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about –
getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive.”
of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily
lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off,
and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should
have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier
for them to do that. It’s win-win.”
"In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result."
highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many
other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications
wherever they are".
EU Member States will now
continue to review the regulation and the Commission expects final
agreement of the Regulation by end of 2014.
Europa - Neelie Kroes -If adopted, the European Commission's ConnectedContinent regulation will lead to ending roaming charges by end 2015 on voice, text and data, ensure more coherent rules on spectrum allocation, set out the principles of net neutrality in the open internet (no blocking and no throttling), strengthen consumer protection measures and develop innovative communications/telecoms tools for business users.
Net Neutrality, more specifically, I would like to make sure that
decisions are taken based on facts. If we all agree on the need to end
blocking and throttling, and we agree on the need to manage specialised
services carefully, then the debate that we are having is about how we
achieve this, not about being for or against the open Internet.
WSJ - So you thought European Parliament proceedings were boring, did you?
On Tuesday, four large trade associations representing competing sectors of the telecommunications and internet industry banded together
to urge members of the European Parliament to back their views on net
neutrality. That joint statement was unique, coming as it did from
But less than 24 hours later, a sharp rebuke came in from the other
side of the debate on how the internet in Europe should be governed.
On Wednesday morning, no fewer than eight public interest groups –
EDRi, BEUC, Startups for Net Neutrality, Access, Greenhost, La
Quadrature du Net, Openforum Europe and VONEurope — joined to rebuke the
claims of the trade association.
Brussels 1.04.2014 -‐The online communications industry, consumer protection and civil rights NGOs want to preserve the open internet.
We are gravely concerned about loopholes in the Commission and Industry Committee texts that would allow parts of the telecommunications industry to become gatekeepers that decide what succeeds and what fails online. Even national regulators (through BEREC, the Body of European Regulators) have expressed a fear that the Commission's proposals seek to re-‐shape the market in favour of large ex-‐ monopoly telecoms operators.
Europa - Young Europeans have said in massive numbers that they want an end to
"unbelievable" roaming prices and "unfair" restrictions on what they can
and can't access online from their mobile devices, according to a
survey of over a thousand 18-34 year olds.
Digital Agenda for Europe - What
can be done to establish Europe as a trusted region for cloud
computing? Does "Trusted Cloud Europe" propose the right approach to
accelerate the adoption of cloud computing throughout Europe? Are there
any important actions missing? These are some of the questions the
European Cloud Partnership (ECP) is asking in a survey today.
ComputerWorldUK - The proposal ends roaming charges and permits 'specialized services' by ISPs.
Telecommunication operators are closer to losing lucrative roaming
revenue after the European Parliament's industry committee approved a
contentious package of legislation Tuesday that also establishes net
The committee voted 30-12 with 14 abstentions to
approve the Telecoms Single Market package, which includes an end to
roaming charges from December 2015 and new rules for ISPs. While it
explicitly bans blocking and throttling of Internet traffic, it leaves
the door open for "specialized services."
The action moves the legislation along to the European Parliament, which is set to take up the measure on April 3.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Last week I asked people to write to their MEPs
about two important votes in the European Parliament on Wednesday: one
regarding data protection, the other surveillance. Lots of people
obviously did that, and not just here in the UK: both votes went through
with huge majorities. That's not to say that the results are perfect,
but they are probably as good as we could have hoped for in the
circumstances, and represent a real win for democracy in Europe given
the bitter lobbying that was deployed against them.
Here are the main points of the data protection proposals as summarized in the European Parliament's press release on the vote:
Europa - Brussels, 15 March 2014 – Vice President Neelie
Kroes today warmly welcomed the announcement of the United States
Government to "transition out of the IANA function", which will allow a
more global multi-stakeholder basis for an important element of
governance of the Internet.
"This is an historical step in making
Internet governance truly global, and marks major progress towards the
development of a multi-stakeholder model as advocated in the
Commission's recent Communication" Vice-President Kroes said.
Until now the United States has had the final say in changes to globally used data on top-level Internet domain names, such
as .com or .de. The Commission has been pushing for such a move since
2009 and, most recently in its Communication on Internet Policy and
Governance of 12 February 2014, called for the globalisation of the IANA
The Commission's Communication – like the
US announcement – stresses the need to safeguard in the globalisation
process the security and stability of the Internet, and commits to the
multi-stakeholder model of governance.
The Huffington Post - The World Wide Web must remain accessible to everyone, according to
Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the Internet 25 years ago this
"The web's billions of users are what have made it great. I hope that
many of them will join me in celebrating this important milestone,"
said the computer scientist. "I also hope this anniversary will spark a
global conversation about our need to defend principles that have made
the web successful, and to unlock the web's untapped potential."
"I believe we can build a web that truly is for everyone: one that is
accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to
achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans," he added.
Speaking to the Guardian on Tuesday evening,
Berners-Lee went a step further, calling for the online Magna Carta, a
Bill of Rights that would protect the independence of his invention and
ensure that corporations and governments would be unable to curb its
neutrality in the future.
He told the newspaper,
"We need a global constitution – a bill of rights. Unless we have an
open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what's
happening at the back door, we can't have open government, good
democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of
culture. It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to
think we can just sit back and get it."
ZDNet - A bill of rights should be created to govern the internet in the wake
of revelations about the depth of government surveillance, the inventor
of the world wide web says.
Tim Berners-Lee made the proposal on Wednesday as part of the "web we
want" campaign for an open internet, exactly 25 years after he first
presented a paper with plans for the World Wide Web.
"We need a global constitution — a bill of rights," he told The Guardian.
"Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without
worrying about what's happening at the back door, we can't have open
government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities, and
diversity of culture.
"It's not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it."
The campaign calls on web users around the world to draft an
"Internet Users Bill of Rights for your country, for your region or for
ZDNet - Dutch cable company Ziggo — recently acquired by competitor UPC for €10bn
— is planning to charge video-on-demand providers additional fees to
guarantee that its customers get high-quality access to their online TV
services, Ziggo's CEO confirmed to ZDNet.
The measure is intended to provide a solution to the rising amount of
bandwidth used by Dutch television audiences, which are increasingly
opting for online streaming services like Netflix instead of traditional
NetworkWorld - A European Commission survey of 28,000 Internet users found that a quarter reported content blocking, the Commission revealed
The survey found that 41 percent experience problems watching video on a mobile device and 37 percent on a fixed Internet connection.
Other services with which users experienced problems include music streaming, playing online games and voice over IP.
The news comes as the debate over a new E.U. "net neutrality" law continues.
"When you buy an internet subscription you should get access to all
content. That is what the open Internet should be, and
all Europeans should have access to it," said Digital Agenda
Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, in a statement on Thursday. She believes
that her proposals for the Telecoms Regulation will guarantee an open
Bloomberg - A package of telecommunications
rules being considered by Europe’s parliament this week is
crucial to keeping the region’s phone companies competitive,
according to European Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
“It’s ridiculous we still are facing a situation in Europe
with 28 fragmented markets for telcos,” Kroes said today in an
Bloomberg Television interview at the Mobile World Congress in
Barcelona. “We need a healthy up-to-date telco sector. We need
a single market.”
Kroes’s regulatory framework calls for an end to roaming
charges for phone calls and Internet use, as well as policies to
make allocation of spectrum, the airwaves that carry mobile
voice and data traffic, more uniform and predictable across the
more than two dozen countries in the EU.
She’s met resistance from carriers that say eliminating
roaming revenue is unnecessary since the industry would have
eventually cut the charges anyway, and that it’s a burden for
the companies that have been battered by price wars and the
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Once again, we need to save net neutrality. This time, there is a
crucial vote in the European Parliament's industry committee (ITRE) next
Monday. La Quadrature du Net, which has been following this area more
closely than anyone, has a good summary of what is happening:
On 24 February, the “Industry” (ITRE) committee of the European
Parliament will take a crucial decision for the future of Net Neutrality
in Europe, by adopting its report, on the basis of which the whole
Parliament will vote. As things currently stand, Members of the European
Parliament in ITRE still have the possibility
to ensure a genuine and unconditional Net Neutrality principle, as
proposed by others committees, so as to protect freedom of expression
and online innovation. But instead, all might be lost because the
liberal (ALDE) and socio-democrat (S&D) political groups seem ready
to adopt the disastrous proposals made by Pilar Del Castillo Vera, the
lead rapporteur in charge of this dossier. Unless citizens act and key MEPs show political leadership, we may be about to lose the Internet as we know it.
Here's the problem:
The Register - The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has
pledged to come up with new rules to enforce network neutrality – after a
court derailed his agency's previously issued orders.
hopes his freshly proposed regulations will prevent internet providers
from unfairly throttling traffic based on applications and websites
He said the new rules should conform to a US appeals court ruling – which halted the FCC's enforcement of its earlier net neutrality orders
on the grounds that the commission was not authorized to impose the
regulations, as they stand, on broadband carriers. Now the chairman will
go back to the drawing board to draft new rules rather than appeal.
its Verizon v. FCC decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit invited the commission to act to preserve a
free and open Internet," Wheeler said today.
intend to accept that invitation by proposing rules that will meet the
court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination
among Internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how Internet
Service Providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition."
CloudTech - In September 2012, the European Union released its “Unleashing the
Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe” document, aiming for a yearly
160bn Euro (£127.6bn) boost to the European GDP by 2020 and a gain of
2.5m by the rollout of cloud.
A full 15 months later, the response by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) was published. The ‘Cloud Standards Coordination’ report,
requested by the European Commission, aimed to analyse Commission VP
Neelie Kroes’ opinion there was a “jungle of technical standards.”
ETSI asserted that cloud standardisation was “much more focused
tha[n] anticipated” and added the landscape was “complex but not
The executive summary outlined the state of play in the key areas.
Important gaps in standards had been identified, with new standards
encouraged, whilst the legal environment for cloud computing remains
ETSI believes cloud standardisation will mature in the next 18 months.
V3 - The "economic madness" of mobile roaming charges is harmful not only
to consumers but businesses too, said Neelie Kroes, European Commission
(EC) vice president responsible for the Digital Agenda.
Kroes' comments came as the EC released results of a study into how
mobile users change their behaviour while roaming. Forty-seven percent
of the 28,000 citizens questioned said they would never use mobile
internet in another country. Nine out of 10 said they would not use
email in the same way they do at home.
More than a quarter turn off their phones entirely while abroad,
according to the study, with millions of others abandoning calls and
switching to communicating by text messages only.
While the results of the survey are not immediately surprising, Kroes
used them to push the EC's stance on roaming, as European mobile
networks resist moving towards a more competitive model, which they say
will dent their revenues.
"I am honestly shocked by these figures," she said. "It shows we have
to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. Consumers are limiting
their phone use in extreme ways and this makes no sense for the
ZDNet - Direct from the "common sense dept." at the European Court of Justice,
it turns out linking to an online page or article does not require the
permission of a copyright holder.
The highest court in Europe ruled on Thursday that it will not mess
up a vital part of the Internet's functionality — a decision that could
have left much of the Internet in the 28 member state bloc to its knees.
The Luxembourg-based court decided that it would not be necessary to seek out the copyright holder's permission before someone links to their news article, blog post, or website.
In the case of Nils Svensson et al vs. Retriever Sverige, the court ruled this was a silly idea and to leave the Internet alone.
As you might expect, it was yet another copyright-related case, summed up:
HMGovernment - G-Cloud - Last December, Stephen Allott, the Crown Service Representative for SMEs blogged
about G-Cloud and the opportunities opening up in government IT for
small, innovative suppliers. He laid out a five-point plan to help
G-Cloud grow as fast as possible. On 29 January at the Sprint 14 event, Francis Maude set out the ambition to spend a further £100 million with SMEs offering digital services by the next General Election.
It’s important for us to keep talking about how we are taking G-Cloud
forward and about how it will transform the experience of public sector
buyers and their suppliers for the better, ensuring that all
departments deliver great digital services for users.
ZDNet - The European Commission has pledged to produce a timeline for the
globalisation of ICANN, the US-headquartered body that manages top level
domains on the net.
The European Commission has published proposals aimed at weakening US control of key parts of the internet.
According to the EC, revelations about "large-scale surveillance" by the US National Security Agency have "called into question the stewardship of the US when it comes to internet governance".
In a document, published yesterday,
the EC proposes to "establish a timeline for the globalisation of
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers" (ICANN), the
US-headquartered body that manages the top level domains, such as .com
and .net, and the coordination of internet address spaces, IPv4 and
ICANN is headquartered in California and under contract with the US
Department of Commerce to manage the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
(IANA), whose responsibilities include overseeing allocation of IP
The EC proposals also pledge that the commission will "identify how
to globalise the IANA functions, while safeguarding the continued
stability and security of the domain-name system".
Wired - "It's important to have the geek community as a whole
think about its responsibility and what it can do" Sir Tim
Twenty-five years on from the web's inception, its creator has
urged the public to re-engage with its original design: a
decentralised internet that at its very core, remains open to
Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the
issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about
keeping an eye on for-profit internet monopolies such as search
engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence
of a balkanised web.
"I want a web that's open, works internationally, works as well
as possible and is not nation-based," Berners-Lee told the
audience, which included Martha Lane Fox, Jake Davis (AKA Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: "What I
don't want is a web where the Brazilian government has every social network's data stored on
servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to
set one up."
It's the role of governments, startups and journalists to keep
that conversation at the fore, he added, because the pace of change
is not slowing -- it's going faster than ever before. For his part
Berners-Lee drives the issue through his work at the Open Data
Institute, World Wide Web Consortium and World Wide Web Foundation,
but also as an MIT professor whose students are "building new
architectures for the web where it's decentralised". On the issue
of monopolies, Berners-Lee did say it's concerning to be "reliant
on big companies, and one big server", something that stalls
innovation, but that competition has historically resolved these
issues and will continue to do so.
NextGov - House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation Monday aimed at
restoring federal net-neutrality regulations, which require Internet
providers to treat all websites equally.
But the bill has
little hope of becoming law. Republicans are almost entirely united in
opposition to the Internet rules, meaning the bill is unlikely to ever
receive a vote in the GOP-controlled House.
Last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal
Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules, saying the agency
overstepped its authority.
WHIR - The European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market
and Consumer Rights (IMCO) voted Thursday for a proposal for a “Telecoms
Single Market” that would eliminate many of the cross-border barriers
to internet and mobile communication – and enforce net neutrality.
Originally proposed by Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for
the Digital Agenda, the Telecoms Single Market essentially removes an
ISP’s ability to discriminate on connection speeds, quality of service,
or block applications and services.
The definitions of “reasonable traffic management” and “specialized services” have been updated
to mean that some traffic will of lower priority such as
machine-to-machine communications that might not be time-sensitive, but
also that services like IPTV could get priority. This is meant to help
network providers better balance traffic and prevent network congestion.
However, some groups, such as savetheinternet.eu,
have said Kroes’ proposal for net neutrality law in the EU has “several
problematic loopholes” that stand in the way of true net neutrality.
Kroes also includes in her proposal fairer prices on phone
services, including doing away with “international call” rates and
roaming charges within the EU.
ArsTechnica - Ruling lets ISPs "block and discriminate against customers’ communications."
The Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules were
partially struck down today by the US Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit, which said the Commission did not properly justify
its anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules.
Those rules in the Open Internet Order, adopted in 2010, forbid ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to the network. Verizon challenged the entire order and
got a big victory in today's ruling. While it could still be appealed
to the Supreme Court, the order today would allow pay-for-prioritization
deals that could let Verizon or other ISPs charge companies like
Netflix for a faster path to consumers.
The court left part of the Open Internet Order intact, however,
saying that the FCC still has "general authority" to regulate how
broadband providers treat traffic.
The FCC got itself into trouble with some wishy-washy rulemaking.
The commission did not declare that ISPs are "common carriers," yet it
imposed restrictions that sound strikingly similar to regulations that
can only apply to common carriers.
The 81-page ruling (PDF) today states the following:
OpenSource.com - In mid-November, the open source/open standards advocacy group, Open Forum Europe (OFE), released an "Open Cloud Declaration," which
identifies ten principles to help policy makers, industry, and other
stakeholders find "a global and open approach to Cloud technologies and
is not a coincidence, of course, that the Open Cloud Declaration was
released during the same week that officials from the European
Commission were meeting at a summit in Berlin
to discuss data protection and cloud computing policy. These leaders
(as well as policy makers in other countries, such as Brazil) are
weighing their reactions in response to the ongoing revelations
regarding data collection by the U.S. National Security Administration
OFE Declaration acknowledges the obvious—that uptake of cloud computing
is dependent upon trust—but in equal measure cautions against a
The Declaration begins:
BBC - A US federal appeals
court has rejected rules intended to prevent internet service providers
(ISPs) from prioritising certain types of content.
Net neutrality is the principle that ISPs should not block
web traffic for customers who pay less to give faster speeds to those
who pay more.
The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted the rules in 2010.
They were challenged by ISP Verizon, which claimed the FCC was overstepping its legal authority. The court agreed.
Supporters of net neutrality said the ruling was a major threat to how people use the internet.
InfoWorld - Simon Phipps - With the shift to cloud well under way, can we expect to see the same
innovation-crushing surge of patent abuse in the field of cloud
computing? Given the increasing deal sizes in the cloud space, the move
by market leaders to focus on cloud for future growth, and the shortfall
of current reform activity to restrict only the most egregious patent
trolls (and not those using trolling as a line-of-business within a
larger enterprise), it seems foreordained.
Much of cloud computing relies deeply on open source software. So the cloud news from the OIN (Open Invention Network) that broke in December -- that Google would join and OIN would cover OpenStack -- should come as no surprise.
The Register - Emulating the middle-of-the-road manner of the president who appointed him, new US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
chairman Tom Wheeler says that under his direction the Commission will
take a hands-off approach to regulation, but will be poised to intervene
when it sees telecom corporations acting against the best interests of
"We're strong supporters, as I've said before, of the open internet," he said in a one-to-one conversation with CEA headman Gary Shapiro at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
"The open internet order
was drafted in a way that encouraged innovation," he said. "It
recognized the difference between wireless and wireline, and also said,
'But! You won't screw up the operation of the internet. You won't act in
uncompetitive, anti-competitive ways. And you won't act in preferential
Computer Weekly - In September 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for unleashing the potential of
cloud computing in Europe.
Cloud Computing Strategy outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European
jobs and an annual boost of €160bn, around 1% of GDP, by 2020. It is also designed to speed up and
increase the use of cloud computing across the economy.
The strategy, which was the result of consultations
with stakeholders and an analysis of regulation and technology, forms a key part of the EU’s
It has three key actions:
24/7 Wall St - Monday’s announcement by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) that it would allow
rich companies that push a lot of bits through AT&T’s pipes to
subsidize costs to end users is an end-run around the long-standing
debate about net neutrality. Under the company’s plan, potential
sponsors like Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)
that send out bandwidth-intensive videos would be allowed to pay the
cost of those transmissions so that the transmitted data would not count
against an end-user’s subscription plan.
Computer Weekly - Open technologies in the cloud arena will align in 2014 and create
what will become known in the de facto lingua franca of IT-speak as the
Business-Driven Cloud (BDC).
The business-driven cloud (let's drop the CAPS) will come about due
to the integration of "business rules" and cloud management know-how as
both join with cloud infrastructure platforms to form a new way of
talking about cloud.
This viewpoint was put forward by Bryan Che who is general manager for the CloudForms product line at Red Hat.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - A year ago, I wrote a piece about cloud computing's dark secret:
that using it in Europe was probably equivalent to making all your
files readily available to the US government. And that was before the
Snowden revelations confirmed that this was no mere theoretical
possibility. I'm not claiming any amazing prescience here: I certainly
had no idea of the scale of what was going on, as I've explained in a series of posts on the NSA spying
programme. But I can claim a deep and abiding unease about cloud
computing, which is why I never jumped on that particular bandwagon, and
have written relatively little about it on this blog.
I must now declare a similar concern about the Internet of things. Last week, I discussed
the Linux Foundation's latest mega-project, the AllSeen Alliance, that
aims to put open source at the heart of the increasingly fashionable
Internet of things idea. There I wanted to emphasise the good fit
between free software and networking billions of devices. I think this
will become a vast, new sector, with potentially huge ramifications for
modern life. But here, by contrast, I want to sound a note of caution.
Public Technology - The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead says it will save a million
pounds a year on data storage through moving all of its ICT services to
The council’s head of Technology
and Change Delivery, Rocco Labellarte, outlined details of the plans at
the 2013 Public Sector ICT Conference held yesterday at Millbank Tower
He said the council is on track to become the first council in the UK to move completely to the Cloud.
Business Cloud - Cloud for Europe (C4E), a European
Commission-funded project aiming to give European public authorities a
standard procurement framework for buying cloud services launched in
Berlin Friday. Head of the European digital agenda Neelie Kroes said the
project marks a significant step towards achieving a single European
market for cloud computing.
C4E’s goal is to provide a “clear view on the public sector
requirements and usage scenarios for cloud computing,” and the project
stakeholders say the group will help give public sector procurers
insight into technical standards relevant to cloud, key security
standards, performance requirements, and data protection aspects
relevant for all kinds of public sector projects.
The group will also work to identify cultural and technical obstacles
preventing the use of cloud computing in the public sector, and help
define services and approaches to overcome these obstacles.
Out-Law - The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said that internet
users' privacy rights would be at risk if proposals drawn up by the
European Commission were introduced.
It warned that the Commission's telecoms market reform
plans would give ISPs the opportunity to engage in "wide-scale,
preventive monitoring of communications content" and said that such
surveillance would "not only go contrary to the right to confidentiality
of communications, as well as privacy and personal data protection" but
could also "seriously undermine consumer confidence in electronic
communications services across the Union".
ZDNet - A new project seeks to lay down some ground rules for what could become a cloud for the continent..
At last week's Berlin launch of a new EU-funded research project which aims to lay the groundwork for a European-wide cloud, spying by foreign governments hung darkly over the proceedings.
"Recent spy allegations have shocked some of us," according to Neelie
Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, but "they should not
derail the cloud opportunity".
...'Cloud for Europe' seeks to establish a common regulatory framework
for a continent-wide cloud, intended to be more secure from the eyes of
foreign intelligence services than the currently available equivalents.
The main idea behind the project seems to be that if regulators could
create a more secure space for data storage, European governments and
consumers would be more likely to trust it. Plus, regulatory oversight
could make data privacy rules more consistent across borders, and be
more reflective of European legal values.
"95 percent of cloud services that are used in Europe come from a
different legal space, without any European participation," Ilves said,
"in which there is the kind of security that some other countries have
demanded but not the kind of security that satisfies European need."
FutureGov - Governments are among the biggest ICT users
with huge scalability and reliability demands. They are under constant
cost reduction pressure in austerity times. Can cloud computing address
these challenges and provide opportunities to improve
Cloud guidelines for Austrian government
the coordination and strategy committee of the Austrian Federal
Government for eGovernment developed a position paper on cloud computing
for public sector. It was a joint effort of stakeholders from various
government levels, application owners, and solution providers. The paper
addressed the diverse facets of cloud computing, such as:
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As you may recall, back in September
the European Commission finally came out with its proposals for net
neutrality, part of its larger "Connected Continent" package designed
to complete the telecoms single market. I learned yesterday that the
European committee responsible for this area, ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy), has launched something of a stealth consultation
on these proposals. Stealth, because neither I nor anyone else that I
know covering this area, was aware of them, which is pretty bizarre.
Unfortunately, that consultation closes at the end of business today.
That means we have very little time to comment, although speaking to
the people running the consultation, I get the impression that they
won't apply the deadline too strictly if you let them know that
something will be coming through a little late. There is no formal
document outlining the terms of the consultation - just bring up the
points you think important. Submissions should be sent to
email@example.com. Here's what I've written:
TechWeek Europe - The cloud-based security services market will be worth $2.1 billion (£1.32bn) in 2013, rising to $3.1 billion in 2015, and the top three most sought-after cloud services moving forward will remain email security, web security services
and identity and access management (IAM), according to a report from IT
research firm Gartner. In 2013 and 2014, the most growth is forecast to
occur in cloud-based tokenisation and encryption, security information
and event management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment and web
Business Cloud - Following announcements made this Summer
the European Commission this week begun work on setting out standard
terms for cloud contracts. The Commission says an expert working group
will help ensure the inclusion of fair contract terms in cloud service
contracts becomes best practice and improve confidence in cloud
The working group will work towards developing safe and fair terms
for cloud computing contracts that can be used as a model for the
industry. The broadly based group counts Skyscape, The European CIO
Association and Telecom Italia among its 30 members – which includes
representatives from cloud service providers, SMEs, consumers, academics
and legal professionals.
“At the European Council last week, EU leaders called for action to
help create a single market for cloud computing. The Commission is
delivering its bit. Making full use of the opportunities presented by
cloud computing could create 2.5 million extra jobs in Europe and add
around one per cent a year to EU’s Gross Domestic Product by 2020,” said
Vice President Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner.
Europa - Europe should aim to be the world's leading 'trusted cloud region'.
Widespread adoption of cloud
computing is essential for improving productivity levels in the European
economy; but the spread of cloud could slow in light of recent
revelations about PRISM and other surveillance programmes. These
surveillance revelations have also led to calls for national or regional
cloud computing initiatives.
This challenge must be addressed
and also turned into a Europe-wide opportunity: for companies operating
in Europe to offer the trusted cloud services that more and more users
are demanding globally.
The Commission is strongly against
a “Fortress Europe” approach to cloud computing. We need instead a
single market for cloud computing. For example the proposal for the data protection regulation
will provide a uniform legal base for the protection of personal data
in Europe. The fundamental principle at stake is the need to look beyond
borders when it comes to cloud computing. Separate initiatives or a
Fortress Europe approach is not going to work.
Achieving this ambition is not a
task for the European Commission alone, it begins the cloud providers
themselves and includes all stakeholders: Member States, industry and
Open Source.com - A recent study funded by the European Commission and undertaken by
analysts at Science-Metrix, a Montreal-based company that assesses
science and technology organizations, has concluded that half of all
published academic papers become freely available in no more than two
According to the study, the year 2011 is a milestone for open access.
By this analysis, 50% of all scientific articles published in 2011 are
currently available in some open access form or another, and the trend
is toward more and more articles becoming open access.
The study says that the "free availability of a majority of articles
has been reached in general science and technology, in biomedical
research, biology, and mathematics, and statistics."
According to the study’s lead author and Science-Metrix president
Éric Archambault, these results indicate a "tipping point" in open
access availability. No doubt this is major news for a publishing
industry traditionally accustomed to regular subscription fees in
exchange for scholarly research.
"The open access movement has reached a kind of critical mass," says
Archambault. "It’s only going to accelerate. There are a lot of people
behind it: governments, academia, even publishers to an extent. It’s
here, and it’s here to stay."
CNet - The government is resisting European attempts to get rid of roaming
charges. Westminster has spoken out against EU plans to bring the
telecoms industry into line across the continent.
Eurowonks want to try and harmonise things across Europe,
reducing the different charges when you go to different countries and
bringing unity to the different standards and frequencies used by
networks around the continent.
EU commissioner for digital matters Neelie Kroes wants to see telecoms
companies form partnerships in other countries to reduce roaming
charges. And Kroes wants to see the EU oversee radio frequency auctions
like this year's 4G spectrum auction here in Britain, when countries
sell off specific sets of airwaves to phone companies.
Sounds perfectly reasonable. So why does Britain oppose the EU's plans?
PCWorld - European Union member states have adopted a range of stances on net
neutrality, and the E.U. should look to the countries’ examples as it
attempts to move forward with new regulations, said one advocacy group.
Twenty-three of 28 E.U. member states have adopted positions on net
neutrality, said the Openforum Academy, an open technology think tank, in a new report. Seven E.U. countries are considering further action on net neutrality, the report said.
“Debates at the national level should be considered by the EU if only
for compatibility and inspiration purposes,” Maël Brunet, head of the
Brussels Office for Openforum Europe, said by email. “There certainly
are interesting elements to consider there.”
The Openforum Academy and sister organization Openforum Europe have supported efforts by the EU to draft net neutrality regulations.
E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has said a new law would
guarantee net neutrality and stop ISPs from blocking or throttling of
competing services, but digital rights activists have published leaked drafts of the law that they say shows the opposite.
E.U. country positions are not uniform, the Openforum Academy report
showed. In France, Austria and Denmark, officials have provided
guidelines to the Internet industry, while the U.K. has launched a
voluntary code of conduct. France has speed limits on peer-to-peer,
video streaming and other services, the report said.
CloudPro - Anyone wanting to go down the cloud route is spoiled for choice.
Most of the discussion focuses on the usual (big) suspects is Amazon
Web Services, Google, Microsoft and the dedicated cloud hosting
fraternity. There are also the major IT vendors, the like of IBM and
HP, who have made belated entries to the cloud arena and a host of
smaller firms with a focus upon what could be called more “granular
But is there another recipe for cloud? Is there somewhere in between
the cloud giant and the smaller scale competitor? Could an open source
model be the clue?
The Guardian - The European Union's
executive arm is seeking to abolish mobile phone roaming charges across
the 28-nation bloc as part of a wider package to streamline its telecoms sector.
legislation, proposed by the EU Commission, foresees that customers
will no longer have to pay for incoming calls when travelling in other
EU countries starting in July 2014. Two years later, all roaming charges
will be scrapped under the proposals. It also seeks to cap prices of
EU-wide calls at the level of long-distance calls within a country.
The EU commissioner for digital affairs, Neelie Kroes, said the aim is for people to enjoy the same phone costs regardless of where they are in Europe.
The changes are part of a package to fix the bloc's fragmented
telecoms market and encourage investment in new high-speed networks.
Kroes has been steadfast in her opposition to roaming fees, which saddle
many holidaymakers with large bills when they return home. However,
large network owners such as Vodafone, Orange and O2 owner Telefonica
have warned that the proposals could cost them €7bn (£5.9bn), with
operators forced to offer a flat rate at home or abroad for calls, texts
and internet connections across the continent. Kroes has described
roaming charges as a "cash cow" for operators and "a disproportionate
irritant for travellers".
PC Advisor - The proposal will hamper rather than guarantee net neutrality, activists contend.
The European Union's proposed net neutrality law allows different price
plans for different Internet speeds to the detriment of net neutrality,
digital activists said Wednesday.
Without the proposed law, 96 percent of Europeans would be without
any legal framework at all for net neutrality, said Digital Agenda
Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who drew up the draft law presented
Wednesday. Only the Netherlands and Slovenia have net neutrality laws.
text explicitly bans ISPs from blocking and throttling content and
gives consumers the freedom to terminate contracts with ISPs that don't
deliver the speeds subscribers pay for, Kroes said. Article 23 of the
proposed law bans ISPs from "blocking, slowing down, degrading or
discriminating against specific content, applications or services."
Except in cases where it is necessary to apply reasonable traffic
management measures in order to "implement a court order, prevent
serious crimes, preserve the integrity and security of the network or
minimize the effects of temporary or exceptional network congestion."
net neutrality advocates said that Article 23 leaves the door open for a
two-tiered Internet by allowing ISPs to offer speeds at different rates
through "specialized services with a defined quality of service or
The proposal stipulates that such services
"shall not impair in a recurring or continuous manner the general
quality of Internet access services," which Kroes said will guarantee an
open Internet for everyone.
But not everyone is convinced.
The Register - Proprietary tech will be 'out-innovated by the world'.
After adopting OpenStack and embracing the Cloud Foundry
platform-as-a-service, IBM has become convinced that clouds are destined
to be made of open source software.
In a speech at the PlatformCF
conference in Santa Clara, California, on Monday, IBM's veep of
software standards and cloud labs Angel Diaz said vendors that "take a
propriety approach to any technology" will not be able to develop their
technology quickly enough to keep pace with the goings-on in the various
open source cloud projects.
IBM is "100 percent behind the open cloud," he said. "If you're not on board you'll be out-innovated by the world.
ITWorld - Denies telco pressure saw plans scrapped.
The European Commission won't back down on plans to axe mobile roaming charges by as much as 70 percent.
News agency Reuters reported earlier this week that EC vice-president and digital commissioner Neelie Kroes had scrapped a draft proposal to cut roaming rates, following criticism of the planned measure from European telcos.
However, Ryan Heath, a spokesperson for Kroes, said in a press
briefing that roaming charges will still be slashed as part of a larger
"We're still planning to get rid of roaming. It's always been our intention," Heath said.
Kroes also stated on Twitter that the EC will indeed remove mobile roaming charges in the union.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As I've pointed out many times in previous posts, one of the key
benefits of mandating network neutrality is that it promotes innovation
by creating a level playing field. Such statements are all very well,
but where's the evidence? An important new study entitled "The
innovation-enhancing effects of network neutrality" [.pdf], commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs from the independent SEO Economic Research unit provides perhaps the best survey and analysis of why indeed network neutrality is so beneficial:
The Ministry of Economic Affairs asked SEO
Economic Research to describe what the essential economic mechanisms
are through which network neutrality fosters innovations by new and
small innovators. The results presented in this study are based on desk
research, primarily on findings in the blooming economic literature on
Here's the central result:
Traffic management in best-effort routing, such as payments for
priority lanes and blocking competing services and applications, reduces
competition between ISPs and increases the entry barriers for CAPs [content and application providers], in particular for small CAPs.
Here's one reason why:
Euractiv - The European Commission will redouble efforts to promote EU-based cloud
services this autumn amid mounting evidence that the US Prism spying
scandal may damage the global market share of US-based tech companies
involved in the cloud computing sector.
Europa - The Steering Board of the new European Cloud Partnership
(ECP) met for the first time in Brussels today, kicking-off a process
where public authorities and industry work together to help building the
EU Digital Single Market for cloud computing pursuant to the European Cloud Computing Strategy.
Specifically, the ECP aims at leveraging the public sector's buying
power to shape the growing and maturing market for cloud computing
services. Chaired by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, the
board brings together tech Chief Executive Officers and government
representatives with responsibility for IT procurement. The board will
deliver strategic advice to Vice President Kroes (see annex for full
list of members).
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said:
"I need this top-level input so that all of Europe can see the full
benefits of cloud computing, and quickly. President Ilves and all Board
members are going to give no-nonsense, action-oriented advice to get the
European Cloud Partnership moving."
guidance of its Steering Board, the ECP will bring together public
authorities and industry consortia to implement pre-commercial
procurement actions for public sector cloud computing. The ECP will
develop common cloud computing procurement requirements for use by
Member States and public authorities throughout the EU.
- For anyone in this day and age, one could hardly miss the memo that
cloud is one of the main trends driving computing this decade.
According to the Forrester research firm, the global cloud market
is expected to grow from USD 40.7 billion in 2011 to more than USD
241 billion in 2020, nearly a 600 percent increase.
Cloud has already moved into the mainstream lexicon - we have moved
beyond talking hypothetically about what cloud is and its benefits,
to a more practical nuts-and-bolts view of how to achieve this
cloud vision. One concept that has gained significant traction in
the past year is that of a hybrid cloud.
A crossbreed mix between public and private clouds, hybrid clouds
are the next step in thinking about the cloud space. A
well-designed hybrid cloud enables organizations to take advantage
of the scalability and cost efficiency of a public cloud, and
retain the data governance, security and control of a private
When properly built, hybrid clouds offers a strategic advantage to
businesses by redirecting resources from siloed IT provisioning to
service innovation. When you splice together a hybrid environment
where services talk to each other – rather than sitting as
stand-alone applications – you can build a tapestry of rich,
engaging services for your target audience, whether they are
customers, internal, or public-facing.
The future is open
How to achieve this vision best, we believe, is through an open
TechDirt - Glyn Moody - from the confused?-you-will-be dept
There are few areas in tech policy where the waters are so muddied as
those swirling around net neutrality. That's as true for the EU as it
is for the US. The latest statement by the person responsible for this
area in the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, does little to clarify things.
First, she addresses the issue of blocking and throttling:
Huge innovation can be found online: we must
safeguard it for everyone. Currently too many Europeans find that
services are blocked and throttled by their internet provider. I believe
every European should have access to the full and open internet,
absolutely guaranteed, without such discrimination. And so I am coming
forward with new rules to bring such practices to an end once and for all.
That's clear enough. But Kroes goes on:
ComputerWorld - Removing mobile phone roaming charges in the
European Union may prove more expensive for customers in the long run, a
telecoms expert has warned.
E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner
Neelie Kroes proposes doing away with roaming charges, with legislation
due to be presented in September. Although consumer groups have
cautiously welcomed the idea, she has faced huge opposition from the
Paul Reynolds, director of the
Competition Economists Group, on Tuesday said that removing roaming
charges may not even be great news for customers. CEG economists provide
economic and financial advice on competition and regulation.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - I've been trying to fathom what exactly Neelie Kroes, Vice-President
of the European Commission with responsibility for the Digital Agenda,
intends to do about net neutrality in Europe for a while. Back in
January of this year, I asked: "Will Neelie Kroes Defend or Destroy EU Net Neutrality?", and in June I was still wondering: "What's the Net Net on Neelie Kroes's EU Net Neutrality?"
Well, it looks like we finally know, thanks to blog post she wrote last week, entitled "Safeguarding the open internet for all." It begins well:
Huge innovation can be found online: we must safeguard it for
everyone. Currently too many Europeans find that services are blocked
and throttled by their internet provider. I believe every European
should have access to the full and open internet, absolutely guaranteed,
without such discrimination. And so I am coming forward with new rules to bring such practices to an end once and for all.
And I know consumers are fed up with being treated badly. Fed
up with their operator retrospectively and untransparently changing
their terms and conditions. And fed up with contracts that don’t tell
you what speed and quality you’ll actually get. In a competitive,
transparent market, consumers should know what they’re getting and
should be able to vote with their feet.
This rightly identifies that net neutrality is all about allowing innovation. But thereafter, things go quickly off the rails:
The Inquirer - EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) VP for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes has spoken up about the importance of a free and open internet and net neutrality.
Kroes, who is the EC's digital champion, addresses this subject often.
"The internet is a wonderful tool for openness, freedom and
innovation. No wonder it is so important to so many citizens. And no
wonder the debate over 'net neutrality' can seem so charged," she said.
"For me this debate is not about dogma and slogans - it's about
understanding what's important online, and preserving it. It's a complex
debate about a complex network. A debate where we must understand, not
just the struggles of the past, but the opportunities of the future."
According to Kroes,
Europeans are being presented with a brick wall when it comes to some
online services and are being "treated badly" by local ISPs.
"Currently too many Europeans find that services are blocked and
throttled by their internet provider. I believe every European should
have access to the full and open internet, absolutely guaranteed,
without such discrimination," she added.
The Register - US government spending on cloud technology is set to spike in the
next two years, though security concerns have scared agencies away from
Spending by US federal agencies on private cloud services will grow
from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2014, then rocket up to
$7.69 billion by 2017, according to figures released
by IDC in a report on Monday. This compares with a mere $110 million
spending on public clouds in 2012, rising to only $373 million by 2017.
For all the federal government's push to adopt new technologies as
part of a major IT refreshment strategy, agencies are still apparently
concerned about the security and viability of public cloud technologies.
ZDNet - The Open Group consortium releases guidelines on what enterprises should
be aware of, and what actions the industry should be taking to achieve
greater standardization in the cloud.
Along with security, one of the most difficult issues with cloud
platforms is the risk of vendor lock-in. By assigning business processes
and data to cloud service providers, it may get really messy and
expensive to attempt to dislodge from the arrangement if it's time to
make a change.
There are ways enterprises, as well as the industry in general, can
address these lock-in issues. Solutions to potential vendor lock-in were
recently surfaced in a new guide from The Open Group.
The guide, compiled by a team led by Kapil Bakshi and Mark Skilton,
provides key pointers for enterprises seeking to develop independently
functioning clouds, as well as recommendations to the industry on
standards that need to be adopted or extended.
Here are 10 key problems and recommendations identified by The Open
Group team for achieving cloud formations based on standards, rather
than on vendor technology:
PCPro - EU anger is growing after revelations of mass UK and US snooping
programs, with digital chief Neelie Kroes warning European customers off
US web services.
Kroes has used the Prism revelations to push forward proposals for a
"European cloud", which would entail EU-wide specifications for the
procurement of cloud services and unifying data protection rules.
"If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States
government or their assurances, then maybe they won't trust US cloud
providers either. That is my guess," she said. "And if I am right then
there are multi-billion euro consequences for American companies."
Kroes is calling for a unified European push towards cloud services,
warning that localised national projects could prove costly if "denied
CloudPro - Vendor
neutral IT consortium The Open Group has launched a guide to cloud
computing to help businesses navigate vendor lock-in issues.
The guide will, the organisation claims, provide businesses with
recommendations on how best to achieve portability and interoperability
when working with cloud products and services that are on the market.
The document, named Cloud Computing Portability and Interoperability,
is aimed not just at IT professionals, but also at executives, business
managers, marketing departments, and enterprise and business
TotalTelecom - U.S. telco hits out at European fragmentation; Ofcom backs harmonised approach to net neutrality rules.
has criticised what it sees as a lack of consistency between different
European Union member states' telco regulations, particularly in the
area of net neutrality.
Speaking at Total Telecom's
Network Management Show in London late Tuesday, the U.S. telco's
European affairs director Claudia Selli took aim at the Netherlands and
Slovenia for enshrining net neutrality in law, claiming these stringent
rules mean AT&T is "not allowed" to run its business in these
countries the way it would like.
However, it is worth noting that
in AT&T's domestic market, the U.S. Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) forbids network operators to block Web services, and
obliges them to treat all Internet traffic equally and be transparent
about traffic management practices.
ZDNet - Cloud service contracts are still too complex for many businesses to
grasp the potential risks and liabilities, according to Europe's digital
agenda commissioner, Neelie Kroes.
Businesses are buying into cloud services without fully understanding
what they're paying for and what they can expect from the service, Kroes wrote in a blogpost on Friday.
"One of the big barriers to using cloud computing is a lack of trust.
I think you should be able to know what you're getting and what it
means — and it should be easy to ensure that the terms in your contract
are reasonable: open, transparent, safe and fair. Even if you don’t have
a law degree," she said.
To address this confusion, the European Commission wants to make
available boilerplate contracts which businesses could use when buying
The commission has put out a call for experts — academics, lawyers and end-users — who can advise it on how to draw up these contracts, which will be made available in 2014.
Sydney Morning Herald - Facing
increasing competition from other cloud-computing companies, Oracle has
announced a partnership that will let business customers access some of
its key products on cloud services provided by its longtime software
the deal, Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering — which companies use to run
web-based programs — and its cloud-based server will feature Oracle’s
widely used database and Java software.
excited about this announcement,’’ Oracle President Mark Hurd said
during a conference call with industry analysts. ‘‘Customers need and
want more flexibility and choice,’’ he added, noting that increasing
numbers of businesses are accessing software through cloud-based
Oracle’s software has been installed on individual business computers
and those customers paid a fee to use the product and have Oracle
The Channel - The European Commission is seeking leading lights in the arena of
cloud services to help sketch out a contract framework so that customers
don't get tied into murky deals.
At least, this is the principle that Steelie Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC outlined in a blog today, ahead of the European Cloud Partnership Steering board in Estonia next month.
"One of the big barriers to using cloud computing is a lack of
trust," she said. "People don't always understand what they're paying
for, and what they can expect."
"I think you should be able to
know what you're getting and what it means - and it should be easy to
ensure that the terms in your contract are reasonable: open,
transparent, safe and fair."
A "formal expert group" is to be set up to undertake this task, which the EC said is particularly sought after by SMEs.
ZDNet - Within 10 years, most organisations will have switched to cloud-based
office packages such as Microsoft's Office 365 or Google Apps — even
though right now most early adopters are small businesses.
Analyst house Gartner estimates there are around 50 million
enterprise users of cloud office systems, but this accounts for less
than eight percent of overall office package users.
But a major shift towards cloud office systems will begin by the
first half of 2015 and reach 33 percent of users by 2017, and within 10
years, two thirds of workers will be using cloud-based productivity
Google has made much of the running with Google Apps, but Microsoft
is also keen to move customers to a subscription model which it sees as the future of software and recently announced it has reached the one million subscriber mark with its Office 365 Home Premium product.
Public Service Europe - Paul Meller - If you compromise the principal of net neutrality, you undermine
the very openness and entrepreneurialism that has made the internet
what it is today.
European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has renewed
her vows to promote network neutrality in Europe, hinting that she might
propose a law to that effect next year. While her intentions are good,
some observers fear they will not amount to anything concrete in terms
of legislation while she tries to balance the interests of information
technology and telecoms providers.
We are urging her to take action to safeguard network neutrality but the
telecoms companies are fighting back. The two constituencies are
diametrically opposed to each other on the issue. Under such pressure,
inaction is more likely than action. But a failure to act will lead to
differential pricing and selective carriage of certain web-based
services such as voice over internet protocol, or VoIP, on telecoms
networks – something we wholeheartedly oppose.
Telecoms groups warn of network congestion and claim that differently
priced internet packages are the answer. However, it is essential that
the internet should remain fully accessible. If you compromise the
principal of net neutrality, you undermine the very openness that has
made the internet what it is.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - It's been a while since I wrote about net neutrality, but of course
it's never gone away as an important theme. Indeed, it was inevitable
that it would start to rear its ugly head again, since so many powerful
companies have vested interests in destroying it. For example, in
Germany the telecom giant Deutsch Telekom (DT) has already made a move
to kill net neutrality by giving preference to its own IPTV platform. This has led to a heated debate about net neutrality in that country (for those who read German, the site hilf-telekom.de offers some hilarious satire of DT on the subject.)
In the UK, the net neutrality debate is not quite so visible, but that may well change in the wake of an interesting speech
given this week by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European
Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. It was entitled "The EU, safeguarding the open internet for all", and contains the following proposals:
EUobserver - The European Commission will table 'net neutrality' rules to prevent
internet providers blocking access to rival sites within weeks, the
bloc's digital agenda chief has said.
Speaking at an event on the digital economy on Tuesday (4 June),
commissioner Neelie Kroes said the new rules would offer "a safeguard
for every European, on every device, on every network: a guarantee of
access to the full and open internet, without any blocking or throttling
of competing services."
"We all deserve a clear promise before signing up - not a nasty
surprise after," said Kroes, adding "when you buy a carton of milk, you
don't expect it to be half-empty: the same goes for 50 Megabit
ZDNet - The enterprise world is sitting on a disaster waiting to explode, based on a new survey from the U.K. cloud company.
As more employees continue to access consumer cloud accounts at work
(regardless of IT rules), the enterprise world is about to reach a
breaking point, based on a new report.
Quite simply, U.K. cloud collaboration company Huddle described the trend as a "security time-bomb."
At least 38 percent of U.S. office workers are said to have admitted
to storing work documents on personal cloud tools and services, while a
whopping 91 percent of workers added they use personal devices (i.e. USB
drives) to store and share sensitive company documents.
Huddle argued that this means enterprise and government organizations
are at severe risk of losing both data intellectual property forever as
this fragmentation continues.
The London-headquartered company published its first State of the Enterprise
assessment report amid the official opening of its San Francisco
offices on Thursday morning as Huddle branches out to attract a U.S.
PCWorld - With an eye on next
year’s European elections, on Thursday called on the European Parliament
to support her longstanding plans to end roaming charges and guarantee
Though contrary to media reports no concrete legislation was
presented, Kroes has been pushing for an end to roaming charges for some
time and has managed to reduce them substantially in recent years. Her
aim to see net neutrality enshrined across all 27 E.U. member states is
also well documented, and her speech reiterated her position.
Kroes has been laying
the groundwork for net neutrality for years. When she first appeared in a
hearing before the European Parliament as a candidate for digital
agenda commissioner in January 2010, she said that ISPs “shouldn’t be
allowed to limit the access to service or content out of commercial
motivation.” In April 2012 she instructed BEREC (the Body of Regulators
on Electronic Communications) to carry out a study on the implications
of net neutrality and in July 2012 she launched a public consultation on
Kroes’ work followed moves made by the European Commission. As far back as 2009, the Commission’s digital agenda department set its commitment to net neutrality.
However, when her home country of the Netherlands made net neutrality
a legal requirement in June 2011, Kroes expressed concern that it had
done so unilaterally, rather than waiting for E.U. legislation.
But that legislation was
still not forthcoming on Thursday and no firm policy package was
presented, although the Commissioner appeared to reiterate her
commitment with one eye on the calendar.
Computing - Computer giant Oracle is setting up a data centre "in the Thames Valley" in order to retain and capture government cloud computing business.
The data centre is Oracle's second in the UK after Linlithgow in
Scotland, which it picked up when it acquired Sun Microsystems.
The move is partly to defend existing business in the UK public
sector, but also to win new business as the government moves towards a
"cloud first" policy in a bid to squeeze IT costs.
The new data centre will be opening in June or July, will be filled
with Oracle Sparc-based hardware running both Solaris and Linux, and
will offer both applications "in the cloud", as well as
infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Users will be able to use both
Oracle's enterprise database, in addition to Oracle's MySQL open source database.
The new facility will be dedicated to support of G-Cloud services to
the UK public sector and compliant with IL3 (Business Impact Level 3)
standards, as required to offer services under G-Cloud.
RapidTV News - Germany's national telco Deutsche Telekom wants to offer operators of
over-the-top (OTT) services the chance to be excluded from the
integrated high speed data volumes of its ADSL customers if they pay for
The move would mark the end of net neutrality – the equal treatment
of all offerings from the open Internet – on Deutsche Telekom's
DW - Deutsche Telekom’s planned data volume limits on flat rate Internet
plans has encountered criticism from the German government. Critics fear
the new plan threatens net neutrality.
The German telecommunications giant announced this week that starting in
May it will reduce the speed of Internet services for its "flat rate"
customers when a certain amount of data has been consumed. Such
bandwidth caps, comparatively common in the US but not in Europe, are
more commonly found on mobile Internet deals.
ComputerWorldUK - More than 80 European digital rights organisations on Wednesday
called on the European Commission to do more to protect net neutrality.
The groups, represented by The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)
and European Digital Rights (EDRi), are demanding an end to "dangerous
experimentation with the functioning of the Internet in Europe."
The group said in an open letter to the Commission that operators
across Europe are violating Internet neutrality particularly in the
mobile sector, where they say there is evidence that companies including
ISPs are "using technical measures for their own commercial interests
and tampering with citizens' ability to access the Internet."
The Register - The head of Australia's telecommunications regulator, the Consumer
and Competition Commission (ACCC), has signalled he's open to new debate
about network access regimes that back away from complete net
Speaking at a Brisbane event hosted by Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims noted
that “Content delivery methods are increasingly creating opportunities
for new market participants and prompting content providers, both
traditional broadcasters and the established online players, to develop
and diversify their existing services.”
“This additional content, however, requires capacity, which can cause network congestion.”
So far, so bland. Next came the following observation:
ArsTechnica - The French government has put forward a new plan that could enshrine net neutrality in national law. If it passes, France would become the third country in Europe (after the Netherlands and Slovenia joined the club this year—Norway, too, has a similar, but, voluntary system), to enact such a policy and the fourth in the world, after Chile.
On Tuesday, France’s Minister of the Digital Economy, Fleur Pellerin, formally accepted the 67-page report (PDF) published earlier in the month by the National Digital Council (Google Translate), a government advisory body known by its French acronym, CNN.
Net neutrality is a particularly salient issue in the country, given the recent dust-up between Free (the country’s second-largest ISP) and Google.
However, digital rights advocates worry that what’s been proposed in
France is “toothless,” as it doesn't include possible sanctions for
companies that would violate the proposed net neutrality provisions.
Others point out that the report seems to have carved out a massive
loophole for so-called “illegal” content or material online.
The Guardian - As financial pressures build and cloud offerings mature we could see an acceleration in adoption amongst public sector agencies.
The public sector has not been immune to the appeal of cloud computing, with governments keen to accelerate adoption of cloud
services. However, while the private and commercial sector has taken to
cloud computing more readily, there still exists a somewhat sporadic
adoption across the public sector.
Introducing a cloud first
policy can be an effective way to endorse and encourage the sector to
embrace the benefits that cloud computing can bring. Factors that need
to be addressed to promote acceptance and bring about simplified
adoption include cultural barriers, based around fear, uncertainty, and a
lack of information.
CloudPro - The UK Government is set to introduce a ‘cloud first’ policy across
all departments, forcing them to take on public cloud services wherever
Speaking at a Q&A session co-hosted by Salesforce and attended by Cloud Pro,
Denise McDonagh, Home Office IT director and head of the government’s
G-Cloud initiative, said: “One of the things we are looking at is how to
quicken the pace [of cloud uptake] and so ... there is a paper on
public cloud first policy, which is with (Minister for the Cabinet
Office) Francis Maude and will go to one of the next Cabinet committees
The paper, when implemented, will mandate central government
departments to attempt to find a public cloud solution to their IT need.
Failing that, they will have to seek a private cloud resolution or, as a
last resort, a traditional IT implementation.
The policy will not be enforced through sanctions, McDonagh said, but
during the capital expenditure control and scrutiny process.
Cloud Industry Forum - Applications for the proposed internet gTLD of .CLOUD are
illogical and fundamentally flawed, warns those representing the Cloud
The Cloud Industry Forum is calling for greater education and
promotion by ICANN about the proposed gTLD registry consultation
process, and to ensure it has taken appropriate actions to ensure the
consequences are understood and feedback is sought rather than passively
awaiting a deadline.
OFE quote - Graham Taylor, CEO of Open Forum Europe stated: “We support CIF in their
concern based on a number of issues not least the fact that the broader
market appears to be completely oblivious of the proposed changes to
gTLD registry. We are convinced that if they are aware of the fact that
some commercial organisations are applying for generic categories in the
industries in which they compete, and could operate them at their
discretion without having to abide by a clear set of rules, this is
anti-competitive in the extreme and in particular regard to .CLOUD will
only serve to confuse the market about a nascent method of delivering IT
as a service. In the same way as the Internet itself was successfully
built on the principle of Openness - open standards, open access, and
free of restriction allowing innovation for all – so must the Cloud. It
will be only too easy to slip into the bad old days of lock-in to closed
systems, controlled by single suppliers”
ComputerWorldUK - The government’s G-Cloud project is celebrating its one year
anniversary this week, having undergone many changes and attracted a lot
of attention from both the public and private sector.
Launched in Febrary last year,
the G-Cloud is the government’s first attempt at making it easier for
the public sector to buy commoditised IT products from a pre-approved
list of vendors via a constantly changing framework.
“In just 12 months, G-Cloud has shown itself to be a model for
efficient public sector IT procurement, establishing a dynamic
marketplace for cloud-based IT services. We have simplified the
procurement process through G-Cloud to make it more accessible to a
wider range of companies, leading to more choice, better value for the
taxpayer and growth for the economy. Suppliers are asked what they can
offer government, rather than being issued with complicated
specifications that stifle innovation.
ChannelWeb - As the cloud hype fades, will the market be all that resellers hope
for? Analysts are suggesting that smaller companies and IaaS, as well as
competition from telcos, will increasingly move centre-stage.
Steve Hilton, principal analyst at global market watcher Analysys Mason,
says enterprise cloud services revenue will go on expanding, reaching
$31.9bn (£20.4bn) by 2017. Some $28.7bn of this will come from the
so-called developed nations, representing a compound annual growth rate
of 11 per cent.
That is slower than initially predicted due to the global economic
downturn, but IaaS is slowly changing places with SaaS, and sales to
SMBs with one to 249 seats will become increasingly important, rising to
49 per cent of the market by 2017, he adds.
infoDOCKET - The National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
voting members have approved a new project to develop standardized
bibliographic metadata and visual indicators to describe the
accessibility of journal articles as well as potentially describe how
“open” the item is. Many offerings are available from publishers under
the banner of Open Access (OA), Increased Access, Public Access, or
other descriptions; the terms offered vary between publishers and, in
some cases, based on the funding organization of the author. Adding to
the potential confusion, a number of publishers also offer hybrid
options in which some articles are “open” while the rest of the
journal’s content are available only by subscription or license. No
standardized bibliographic metadata currently provides information on
whether a specific article is freely readable and what re-use rights
might be available to readers. Visual indicators or icons indicating the
openness of an article are inconsistent in both design and use across
publishers or even across journals from the same publisher.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - I have a lot of time for Neelie Kroes,
Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for the
Digital Agenda. She's easily the most tech-savvy of the European
Commissioners - although cynics would point out that's setting a low
bar. Sometimes, she's downright radical, as in this speech about copyright, delivered back in 2011:
let's ask ourselves, is the current copyright system the right and
only tool to achieve our objectives? Not really, I'm afraid. We need to
keep on fighting against piracy, but legal enforceability is becoming
increasingly difficult; the millions of dollars invested trying to
enforce copyright have not stemmed piracy. Meanwhile citizens
increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it. Sadly,
many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool
to recognise and reward.
Similarly, as early as May last year she openly admitted that ACTA was probably dead, even while the European Commission was still stubbornly insisting the contrary:
We have recently seen how many thousands of people are willing to
protest against rules which they see as constraining the openness and
innovation of the Internet. This is a strong new political voice. And as
a force for openness, I welcome it, even if I do not always agree with
everything it says on every subject. We are now likely to be in a world
without SOPA and without ACTA.
Now we need to find solutions to make the Internet a place of freedom,
openness, and innovation fit for all citizens, not just for the techno
Against that heartening background, I do nonetheless wonder whether
Mrs Kroes really appreciates what true net neutrality for the Internet
entails, and is prepared to defend it in Europe through legislation.
Last week, the French newspaper Liberation published a major opinion
piece by her, prompted by the decision by one of the largest ISPs in France, Free, to block Web ads
by default on its FreeBox router. That's obviously problematic for
many sites that depend upon advertising in order to generate revenue.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - There are so many parts to the institutions running the European
Union that it's easy to lose sight of them all and their varied
activities. For example, one of the lesser-known European Parliament
bodies is the Directorate-General for Internal Policies. You might
expect the studies that it commissions to be deadly dull, but some turn
out to be not just highly interesting but hugely important.
One such is the new report "Fighting cyber crime and protecting privacy in the cloud" [.pdf]. Here's the basic background:
ZDNet - ISPs should not be barred from selling tiered web, according to Europe's digital commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Telecoms providers should be able to sell access to the internet at
varying speeds and with differing download limits, Kroes wrote in an
article for the French newspaper Libération.
Common ISP practices like throttling the speed of internet access for
heavy downloaders or at peak times violate the principle of net
neutrality - the idea that no bit of information sent over the internet
should be prioritised over another. With The Netherlands passing legislation last year guaranteeing net neutrality, there have been calls for the concept to be enshrined in European law - an idea that Kroes appears to reject.
"On net neutrality, consumers need effective choice on the type of
internet subscription they sign up to. Choice should also drive
innovation and investment by internet providers, with benefits for all,"
Kroes wrote in the Libération article published on Wednesday.
Speaking on Thursday, Kroes' official spokesman clarified what she meant by 'choice':
CloudPro - The UK needs to speak up now if it wants to influence the rollout of the European Union's cloud strategy, the vice president of Eurocloud, Phil Wainewright, has warned.
The European Commission, under the direction of vice president Neelie
Kroes, has been working towards a Europe-wide cloud strategy since 2011.
So far the introduction of unifying cloud standards across the 27
European Union member states has been mooted, with Kroes stating in
September 2012 that “you shouldn’t have to have a law degree to use the
However, the Government’s deputy CIO Liam Maxwell has been hostile to the EU's plans.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As you may have noticed, this weekend the online world has been
filled with news of and responses to the suicide of the young American
activist Aaron Swartz. Many excellent personal tributes have been written
about the man and his achievements, but here I want to concentrate on
the just one aspect: the incident that led to his arrest and probably to
his suicide too. Here's how Techdirt explained the situation:
Swartz, the executive director of Demand Progress, was charged
with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a catch-all designation
for "computer activity the US government doesn't like."
Swartz had accessed MIT's computer network to download a large number of files from JSTOR, a non-profit that hosts academic journal articles. US prosecutors claimed he "stole" several thousand files, but considering MIT offered
this access for free on campus (and the files being digital), it's
pretty tough to square his massive downloading with any idea of "theft."
Not only that, but JSTOR was not the
entity pressing charges. It had stopped the downloading and secured the
"stolen" content, along with receiving assurances from Swartz that the
files would not be distributed. Despite this, the feds felt compelled to
arrest Swartz and charge him with four felony counts (one each for Wire
Fraud, Computer Fraud, Theft of Information from a Computer and
Recklessly Damaging a Computer). At this point, Swartz was looking at a
possible 35-year sentence and over $1,000,000 in fines
The Guardian - Against the backdrop of the ITU World Conference of International Telecommunications, David Rogers explains why the existing approach to web governance would benefit from broader participation
The Register - The clock is ticking on G-Cloud, the UK government's IT shopping
catalogue for the public sector. A year in, those running the programme
are already dreaming of life after the project and admit significant
cultural hurdles stand in the way of their success.
G-Cloud is the Cabinet Office’s plan to make government IT more
modular and cheaper; the publication of the Government’s cloud computing
strategy in October 2011 signified the birth of the project.
ZDNet - A new report has revealed that decisions around cloud are increasingly being made by people outside IT departments.
The cloud has well and truly slipped the bonds of the IT department, a new report has found.
The report, commissioned by IT consultants Capgemini and released on Thursday, surveyed 460 organisations globally and 50 in the UK, and shows that the responsibility for cloud adoption lies primarily with employees without an IT background.
"The real cloud evangelists these days seem to be on the business side and not the IT side," Ron Tolido, senior vice president for Continental Europe at Capgemini, told ZDNet. "Until now cloud was often considered a more technology-driven topic."
Europa - The Steering Board of the new European Cloud Partnership
(ECP) met for the first time in Brussels today, kicking-off a process
where public authorities and industry work together to help building the
EU Digital Single Market for cloud computing pursuant to the European Cloud Computing Strategy.
Specifically, the ECP aims at leveraging the public sector's buying
power to shape the growing and maturing market for cloud computing
services. Chaired by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, the
board brings together tech Chief Executive Officers and government
representatives with responsibility for IT procurement. The board will
deliver strategic advice to Vice President Kroes (see annex for full
list of members).
European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said:
"I need this top-level input so that all of Europe can see the full
benefits of cloud computing, and quickly. President Ilves and all Board
members are going to give no-nonsense, action-oriented advice to get the
European Cloud Partnership moving."
guidance of its Steering Board, the ECP will bring together public
authorities and industry consortia to implement pre-commercial
procurement actions for public sector cloud computing. The ECP will
develop common cloud computing procurement requirements for use by
Member States and public authorities throughout the EU.
ZDNet - As the cloud market matures, effects of scale lock the industry into dependence on a few large companies. In this latest industrial revolution, new entrants will face a tough fight.
Cloud computing is turning into a true utility, as essential to any business as water or electricity. This evolution is driven by massive investments by cloud companies, itself funded from businesses' increased reliance and spending on cloud services over their traditional, internal IT.
How this shift plays out will determine the fates of many of the world's leading technology companies - some stand to benefit and some stand to lose - and will fundamentally change how businesses are structured. It will also create a new and important commercial landscape. Economists have a term for this: the cloud is industrialising.
ZDNet - One of the biggest questions of the moment for the IT industry is
what the shift to the cloud will mean for how IT budgets are spent.
The early indications are that when it comes to spending on IT
services, while some areas will see budgets dwindle, cloud will lead to
an increased expenditure on new types of IT services, research from
analyst house Gartner has found.
According to Bryan Britz, research director at Gartner, the reality
of how the cloud is affecting IT spending is complex, and while spending
on cloud is cannibalising some revenues it is also creating new
requirements for IT services.
For example, while an organisation may move some workloads to the
public cloud – thereby spending less on datacentre outsourcing — this
can often lead to a bigger rethink of their hosting strategies, which
will often mean more IT services spending: "In a lot of cases it
actually kicks off new growth," Britz told ZDNet.
ZDNet - The UK Ministry of Defence says it has deployed its first cloud-based
application: an online suggestion box that has been rolled out through
the government's G-Cloud framework.
The service, GEMS Online, comes from Skyscape Cloud Services, the same company that is hosting the government's centralised Gov.uk
portal. According to an MoD spokeswoman, it is the first time the
department has opted for a cloud-based service, due to security
"Obviously [the cloud] is not something that we're going to be ahead of the curve on," she said.
The Inquirer - EUROPEAN DISCUSSIONS on the openness of the internet closed yesterday with pressure groups asking that net neutrality be enshrined in law.
The consultation was opened in July and asked groups and individuals to respond. When it launched, the European Commission asked respondents to consider issues like transparency and traffic management.
"Today there is a lack of effective consumer choice when it comes to internet offers. I will use this consultation to help prepare recommendations that will generate more real choices and end the net neutrality waiting game in Europe," said European Commission VP Neelie Kroes.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Back in July, I wrote about a consultation on net neutrality from the EU,entitled On-line public consultation on "specific aspects of transparency, traffic management and switching in an Open Internet". Just to remind you, here's the background:
This public consultation seeks responses to specific questions on transparency, switching and certain aspects of traffic management which emerged as key issues in the net neutrality debate that has taken place in Europe over the past years.
In order to allow consumers to have access to Internet service offers that truly meet their needs and to enable them to effectively exercise their choices, the Commission is envisaging policy measures addressing the issues of transparency, switching and certain aspects of traffic management, including deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI technologies examine different layers (header and content) of data packets to decide whether a packet may pass or needs to be routed to a different destination.DPI can be used to protect the network and users against malware (viruses etc.) but also to block or slow down other data packets. Union-wide guidance on these issues would avoid diverging approaches in the Member States and a fragmentation of the Digital Single Market.
The bad news is that this consultation closes on Monday (well, I did mention it three months ago, so you can't really complain....). The good news is that it can be done online in five minutes: here for organisations, and here for individuals. As you can see from the questions [.pdf], this is essentially asking us what we think about the loss of net neutrality. This means all we need to do is to tell them that we don't like it, don't want it and expect the European Commission to stop it.
The Register - Mat Asay Gartner analyst Frank Ridder recently opined that "the number of cloud offering[s] is not at all at a satisfactory level today."
He made this assertion after canvassing a number of IT users at two Gartner summits. Unfortunately, he may have missed the message these users were sending him. It's not that we need more cloud offerings. Arguably, we already have more than any buyer can reasonably evaluate. Instead of more cloud vendors, we need better cloud vendors.
Not that every cloud vendor is selling shoddy solutions. In fact, I'd argue that very few are given the state of cloud computing today. In other words, given the somewhat nebulous market today, it's not surprising that many cloud offerings are similarly nebulous in their feature sets and quality. If we don't know exactly what we want the technology to do, how do we reasonably evaluate whether it's doing a good job or not?
Indeed, in a recent survey of Zenoss users, the company found that 38.4 per cent of respondents are held back from using an open-source cloud because of a lack of maturity in existing offerings.
ITPRO - Speaking at the Strata conference in London earlier today, Liam Maxwell, the Government's deputy CIO, took issue with EU plans to certify cloud providers.
The Government’s deputy CIO Liam Maxwell has hit out at EU plans to certify “trustworthy” cloud providers, claiming it will limit the range of IT suppliers the public sector can do business with.
The initiative was one of a number the European Commission put forward last week in its “Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe” strategy document.
Speaking at the Strata: Making Data Work conference in London earlier today, Maxwell described the cloud provider plans as a “tremendously retrograde step,” in light of the work the UK Government has been doing to widen the range of IT suppliers it uses.
“It will enable the oligopoly that has driven IT for many years to police the cloud...and Governments will sleepwalk into buying into them. Not just here, but across Europe,” said Maxwell during the event’s opening keynote.
To prevent this, Maxwell called on the EU to ensure the certifications are based on “sensible, open standard and open source” approaches.
ZDNet - European businesses are set to benefit from better harmonised cloud standards and contracts, under a hefty new strategy released by the European Commission on Thursday.
The strategy, Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe (PDF), aims to sort out three main problems with cloud adoption in the EU, namely the "jungle of standards", contractual issues and differing national legal frameworks.
"Cloud computing is a game-changer for our economy," digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. "Without EU action, we will stay stuck in national fortresses and miss out on billions in economic gains. We must achieve critical mass and a single set of rules across Europe. We must tackle the perceived risks of cloud computing head on."
Key changes for industry include the need to agree fairer and clearer terms for service-level agreements, as well as a data-protection code of conduct. The Commission is also pushing for standards around security, interoperability, data portability and the environmental impact of cloud computing.
The long-awaited cloud strategy is intended to boost the EU's annual GDP by €160bn (£127bn) by 2020, an increase of one percent. The Commission said in its statement that it will lead to a net gain of 2.5 million jobs. However, it said in its main strategy document that 3.8 million jobs will be created, so 1.3 million jobs associated with in-house IT would presumably be destroyed by the massive shift to the cloud.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - One of the depressing things about net neutrality is that it is a battle that must be won again and again. It's becoming increasingly clear that another effort will be made by telecoms companies to destroy net neutrality at the big World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). Here's how it describes itself:
ZDNet - EU digital commissioner Neelie Kroes opposes handing control of the
internet over to the UN's telecommunications agency, she said on Friday.
The past months have seen widespread controversy
over the idea of giving the International Telecommunications Agency
(ITU) more control over the internet — a proposal that has been made by
countries such as Russia and China.
Speaking to ZDNet in Berlin, Kroes said there may be a case for
governments having more say in the way the internet is run, but — even
if this were to happen — it would not necessitate giving the ITU more
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - As I noted recently, net neutrality is back in the spotlight, so I
thought it would be useful - and maybe entertaining - to look at an
anti-net neutrality article for the insights it gives us about how the
other side views things. It's called "Pick Up On One and Let The Other
One Ride", and appears in the Huffington Post. Here's how it frames the discussion:
One direction follows the lead of activists who worry that without
"net neutrality," a non-competitive broadband world will lead the major
broadband infrastructure companies to stifle the flow of Internet
content and extract a pound of digital flesh from the content they do
allow. It sounds romantic and epic -- the people standing up against the
great forces that would stifle their voices, Liberty on the Barricades.
Except there's no evidence that's going on.
Note how, once more, this frames net neutrality in terms of content,
when it actually about more general Internet-based services that may
have nothing to do with media of any kind. This shows the conceptual
bias of those against net neutrality: what they are fighting for is the
ability to prioritise certain content over the rest. As I've pointed
out before, what this really means is turning the Internet into a kind
of super-TV system.
The Inquirer - The recent spate of cloud service outages has highlighted the need for open clouds
and that simply relying on numbers does not necessarily provide
Microsoft's Azure cloud service had a three hour outage earlier this week, while the G-Cloud, the UK government's stuttering cloud initiative, had its own hiccup, and micro-blogging web site Twitter also went dark.
Yet cloud providers still promote their services as a reliable and
cost-effective way to outsource services, while in truth migrating
services to the cloud requires a complete redesign of a firm's
infrastructure if it is to be reliable.
Firms looking to move to the cloud are usually bombarded with
buzzwords like elastic on-demand capacity, economies of scale and all
sorts of other things that make the pinstriped decision makers see pound
signs instead of warning signs. To rely on a single cloud service
provider is a fool's paradise and to port an existing infrastructure
built on the assumption that servers are highly available and well
provisioned to the cloud is simply foolish.
The fact is that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace and just about
every other cloud service provider out there is trying to maximise the
use of its resources. This simple business practice should ring alarm
bells and users should not treat cloud instances as like-for-like
equivalents to physical server deployments.
So the simple answer would be to have a backup strategy, multiple
deployments and partitioning of services. The theory is of course
absolutely right but there are two significant problems - ensuring
portability and managing for seamless failover.
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Yesterday I wrote that I hoped to post here my submission to the
important EU consultation on net neutrality that is currently open.
However, there have been some important developments in this area that
need to be covered first.
First, La Quadrature du Net, which I mentioned yesterday, has written a stinging response to the separate consultation that BEREC, the
Body of European Regulators of European Communications, is running
until the end of this month on the report it produced, discussed
La Quadrature du Net publishes its non-answer to the EU body of
telecoms regulators' (BEREC) consultation on Net Neutrality. It is not
time for yet-another consultation on the EU Commission's failed
"wait-and-see" policy aimed at letting telecom operators take control of
the Internet by discriminating communications. The only way to protect a
free Internet as well as freedoms and innovation online is to clearly
enact and protect Net Neutrality in EU law.
Well, I think that makes its position pretty clear: net neutrality enshrined in EU law, now.
Interestingly, the same page includes links to three countries that have already done that: Chile, the Netherlands and Peru.
That's crucially important, because it gives the lie to the argument
that it simply isn't possible to enact net neutrality through
legislation. As I mentioned yesterday, the EU and UK government prefer
to push for "voluntary" agreements - like the one announced here:
ZDNet - Most of the UK's big ISPs have agreed not to discriminate against the
traffic of any particular content provider, and to be open with their
customers about the types of content that they downgrade or block.
BT, BSkyB, TalkTalk, Three, O2 and others committed themselves to these net-neutrality-related measures in a voluntary code of practice
that was published on Wednesday. Virgin Media, Vodafone and Everything
Everywhere have refused to sign the Open Internet Code of Practice,
despite having supported a predecessor to the code last year.
"Signatories to this code support the concept of the open internet
and the general principle that legal content, applications and services,
or categories thereof should not be blocked," the new code begins.
"Whilst products that offer full internet access will be the norm, in
order to support product differentiation and consumer choice, ISPs
retain the ability to offer alternative types of products," it
continues. "In instances where certain classes of legal content,
applications and/or services are unavailable on a product signatories to
this code will not use the term 'internet access' to describe or market
such products; and ensure that any restrictions are effectively
communicated to consumers."
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - Net neutrality is one of those areas that most people are vaguely in
favour of, without giving it much thought. Governments take advantage
of this to make sympathetic noises while doing precisely nothing to
preserve it. For example, following a UK consultation on net neutrality two years ago, Ofcom came out with a very wishy-washy statement that basically said we think net neutrality is a jolly good idea but we won't actually do anything to protect it.
That was particularly regrettable because already there were clear cases of UK operators undermining net neutrality. Since then, things have only got worse, as an important report [.pdf] from BEREC (Board of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) released earlier this year makes only too plain.
Although it's relatively short, and has plenty of easy-to-absorb graphs, there's a great summary
of the findings from La Quadrature du Net, which has been following net
neutrality closely (as well as playing a key role in helping to defeat ACTA in Europe):
The Register - It's official: Google's collection of cloud services is now known as the Google Cloud Platform,
and to get everyone used to the idea, the search giant has kicked off a
partner program for companies that can help customers use the cloudy
Google began rolling out the new branding in June, but the Google
Cloud Platform is really just a new umbrella for the Chocolate Factory's
established cloud services, including App Engine, BigQuery, and Cloud
Storage, plus its new Compute Engine infrastructure service, which debuted at the Google I/O developer conference in June.
The Google Cloud Platform Partner Program, which the search giant
announced on Tuesday, aims to connect customers with partners who can
help them build their own applications using the services.
EU - The European Commission is today
launching a public consultation seeking answers to questions on
transparency, switching and certain aspects of internet traffic
management, with a view to its commitment to preserve the open and
neutral character of the Internet.
have emerged as key issues in the "net neutrality" debate that has
taken place in Europe over the past years, including the recent findings of the Body of European Regulators of European Communications (BEREC).
Input is sought
from all interested public and private parties, including fixed and
mobile internet service providers, Internet content and application
providers (including comparison websites), equipment manufacturers,
transit providers, investors, public authorities, consumers and their
associations. The responses to this consultation will be crucial input
for the Commission's planned recommendations announced by European
Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes on 29 May 2012 (see MEMO 12/389)
Neelie Kroes said: "Today there is a lack of effective consumer choice when it comes to internet offers. I will use this consultation to help prepare
recommendations that will generate more real choices and end the net
neutrality waiting game in Europe. Input from this consultation will
help turn BEREC's findings into practical recommendations."
In particular the Commission seeks views on:
ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - I've written elsewhere
about how open access - the idea that academic research paid for by the
public should be freely available online - was directly inspired by open
source. So it's great to see open access making huge strides recently,
including the following:
The government is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly
funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for
free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since
the invention of the internet.
Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for
by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies
and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world.
That sounds like really good news - open access has won, it would seem. But not so fast:
Silicon Republic - European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has called
for the creation of an EU-wide strategy for cloud computing that makes
full use of the single market. She said it was important to avoid the
creation of a tapestry of small clouds in smaller markets.
Speaking yesterday at the Economic Council Symposium
'Cloud-Computing – Between Growth Opportunities and Privacy' in
Brussels, Belgium, Kroes said cloud computing could revolutionise public services while ensuring opportunities and recognition for innovators.
science depends on a huge amount of data: the cloud offers a fast and
flexible way to store, process and share it,” Kroes explained.
for scientists working in different disciplines or different countries,
hundreds of kilometres apart. That's why a number of prominent research
centres, for example CERN and the European Space Agency, have teamed up
to launch a massive cloud computing effort, Helix Nebula.”
The Register - FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has issued a public statement of
support after a senior Congressional committee unanimously approved a
resolution condemning moves to bring the internet under new management.
Government representatives should "continue working to implement the
position of the United States on Internet governance that clearly
articulates the consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States
to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve
and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the
Internet today," the resolution reads.
The Guardian - Making all the UK's publicly funded scientific research
free for anyone to read could cost up to £60m per year, according to an
independent study commissioned by the government. Professor Dame Janet
Finch, who led the work, said "open access" was the future for academic
publishing and that the short-term transition costs she had identified
should reduce over time as more articles became freely available and the
journal subscription costs currently paid by university libraries fell.
Finch, a sociologist at the University of Manchester, was asked by the
government to consult academics and publishers on how the UK could make
the scientific research funded by taxpayers available free of charge
while maintaining high standards of peer review and without undermining
the UK's successful publishing industry.
"In the longer term, the
future lies with open access publishing," said Finch at the launch of
her report on Monday. "The UK should recognise this change, should
embrace it and should find ways of managing it in a measured way."
ITWeb - Companies of all sizes view cloud computing as a strategic business opportunity. With the increase in the number of cloud infrastructure
providers, businesses are now able to choose from a variety of options
to align their cloud strategies with their specific business needs, Market Watch reports.
a cloud management company, has announced results of a new market study
of more than 600 companies to uncover how businesses are approaching
cloud computing and what priorities they set for implementing their
According to Forbes,
among the 64% of respondents who plan to include a private cloud option
as part of their cloud portfolio, open source private cloud solutions are taking the lead.
The Guardian - Cloud services can play an important role in reviving the UK's flagging
economy, but to what extent will the technology reshape business
practices – and what will it cost?
Two of the most pressing issues facing the UK today are public sector
efficiency and reinvigorating the small and medium enterprise sector.
"Both of these things can benefit from cloud-based infrastructure and software models," said analyst Jeremiah Caron.
was speaking last month at a seminar, hosted by the Guardian in
association with Huawei, on the role of the cloud in the information
economy. "Adoption of cloudbased computing is still relatively low, but
growing rapidly," he added. According to his company's 2011 survey of
1,000 businesses worldwide, 63% of companies say that the cloud meets
less than 5% of its IT needs, but the survey also shows that cloud usage
is expected to double within two years and to continue growing.
"The cloud is one of the most overhyped things I've seen," said Caron, "but sometimes hype is there for a reason.
There are very good reasons why people are paying so much attention."
TechWeek Europe UK - European ISPs have asked the ITU to guarantee service providers’
right to charge more for guaranteed service levels, against the wishes
of those lobbying for Net Neutrality.
Governments including that of the Netherlands have passed laws banning the creation of a so-called “two-tier Internet”,
in order to prevent service providers choking rival services. However,
the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) has
argued that the ability to charge for differentiated service is
essential and urged the UN’s telecoms body to enshrine the principle in
new international regulations.
Europa - When
it comes to the issue of "net neutrality" I want to ensure that
Internet users can always choose full Internet access – that is, access
to a robust, best-efforts Internet with all the applications you wish.
I don’t like to intervene in competitive markets unless I am sure this
is the only way to help either consumers or companies. Preferably both.
In particular because a badly designed remedy may be worse than the
disease - producing unforeseen harmful effects long into the future. So I
wanted better data before acting on net neutrality.
One year ago,
I asked BEREC, the body of European network regulators, to give me the
evidence: are users provided with the right quality of service? How much
blocking and throttling is taking place? In practice, how easy is it
for users to "switch" operators or services? In short, how easy is it
for consumers to transparently choose the service that works for them,
including full Internet access if they want it?
I also asked European national legislators and regulators to wait for better evidence before regulating on an uncoordinated, country-by-country basis that slows down the creation of a Digital Single Market.
BEREC has today
provided the data I was waiting for. For most Europeans, their Internet
access works well most of the time. But these findings show the need
for more regulatory certainty and that there are enough problems to
warrant strong and targeted action to safeguard consumers.
ComputerWorld - Other countries also can obtain personal data stored in the cloud, an international law firm found.
An often-repeated concern that the U.S. Patriot
Act gives the U.S. government unequaled access to personal data stored
on cloud services is incorrect, with several other nations enjoying
similar access to cloud data, according to a study released Wednesday.
governments of several other countries, including the U.K., Germany,
France, Japan and Canada, have laws in place allowing them to obtain
personal data stored on cloud computing services, said the study, by
Hogan Lovells, an international law firm that focuses on government
regulations and other topics.
The Patriot Act, passed as an
anti-terrorism measure in 2001, is "invoked as a kind shorthand to
express the belief that the United States government has greater powers
of access to personal data in the cloud than governments elsewhere,"
wrote study co-authors Christopher Wolf, based in Washington, D.C., and
Winston Maxwell, based in Paris. "However, our survey finds that even
European countries with strict privacy laws also have anti-terrorism
laws that allow expedited government access to cloud data."
OFE - Today 23rd May 2012 the
OpenForum Academy think tank programme hosted a Round Table on
Government Access to Data with European policy makers, as part of an
ongoing series of discussions on Cloud related topics. This has
proved to be an issue of high debate and controversy, but low on
facts. We were pleased to host the event today which looked at the
topic from current practice, impact of other legislation including
competition law, and the economic impact on the market.
Hogan Lovells were one of the
presenters and released a definitive research study undertaken by
them which examined the laws of ten countries, including the US and
six from Europe. The Patriot Act is often used as shorthand for
belief that the US has specific and stronger rules in this area than
other Governments, and that 'safe jurisdictions' are necessary.
The facts presented indicate that
reality is somewhat different. A summary conclusion from the Hogan
Lovells report is “...that businesses are misleading themselves
and their customers if they contend that restricting Cloud service
providers to one jurisdiction better insulates data from government
The output from the
Round Table will be published shortly on the OpenForum Academy
website, but since the
Hogan Lovells report, which can be downloaded here,
has already created much press interest. We believe it
provides a useful contribution to making Europe 'cloud friendly and
cloud active' without jeopardising the essential global nature of
BBC - The government may miss
its cloud computing targets because of a lack of enthusiasm from public
sector IT staff, a report has found.
The G-Cloud plan calls for 50% of new government IT spending to move to cloud computing services by 2015.
A government "app store" called CloudStore was launched in February to offer such services to the public sector.
G-Cloud aims to reduce government IT costs by £200m per year.
PCWorld - The Netherlands is the first country in Europe to
adopt a net neutrality law, and the second country in the world, after
Chile. The Dutch Senate adopted the net neutrality provisions in a new
Telecom Law approved on Tuesday evening.
The changes to the law were approved unanimously, according to the Senate website. The net neutrality law will ensure that access to the Internet is neutral and it is forbidden to filter the Internet.
law aims to prevent telecom providers from blocking or throttling
services such as Skype or WhatsApp, an Internet SMS service. Internet
providers will also be prohibited from making prices for their Internet
services dependent on the services used by the subscriber. ISPs may
throttle traffic to prevent congestion or protect the network -- but
only if they treat all traffic of the same type equally -- and they may
not block traffic unless it is necessary in order to protect the
integrity and security of the network or users' terminals.
is one notable exception which allows Internet users to request an ISP
to filter their Internet traffic by blocking certain services and
applications based on ideological grounds, according to the approved changes in the law.
Nature - Soon, we’ll all be reading publicly funded UK research free of charge.
That momentous change has been in the works since last March, and in December
the British government explained why and how it would happen (yes,
although you might not guess it from recent media reports, the UK
open-access shift was underway well before what the Guardian has called this year’s ‘Academic Spring’).
NetworkWorld - It's turning into a mud-slinging affair in the cloud computing industry.
The familiar debate of open source
vs. proprietary IT offerings now seems in full swing in the cloud, and
the rhetoric shooting back and forth between some of the major vendors
is intensifying. The most recent round really picked up a few weeks ago
when Citrix announced
it would bring its CloudStack cloud building platform to the Apache
Software Foundation, creating a competing model to OpenStack. Before
that, OpenStack had been gaining momentum in the open source cloud
worlds. While Citrix's move was initially seen as a competition to OpenStack, both companies have more recently taken aim at a common foe: VMware.
PCW - In the 25 years since Richard Stallman wrote the GNU General Public
License, free and open source software (FOSS) have become pervasive in
computing: Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL and more can be found in
large numbers of enterprises across the globe. And open source is now
increasingly undergirding cloud computing as well.
"Open source is certainly at the foundation in terms of building out
cloud technologies," says Byran Che, senior director of product
management at Red Hat and responsible for its cloud operations
offerings, management software and Red Hat Enterprise MRG, (Red Hat's
Messaging, Real-time and Grid platform). "If you take a look at market
share in the server space, as you look at traditional data centers,
about 70 percent are running on the Windows platform and about 30
percent are running Linux. As you take a look at what operating systems
people are choosing to build applications on in the cloud, the ratio
The reasoning is simple, Che says: With a fresh start, you get to
build a whole new architecture from the ground up, and open source gives
you the best value.
"You can't get to the Amazon scale or the Google scale and pay the license fees," he says.
The Register - Outgoing government G-Cloud programme director Chris Chant has
harangued civil servants and tech vendors telling them times are
a-changing and so must they.
Chant, a career Whitehall civil servant, has warned his fellow CIOs
they are “hiding behind the comfort blanket” and must change how they
“That blanket is on fire,” Chant said.
According to Chant, CIOs like himself have been guilty for years of
taking the easy path by signing expensive contracts with big IT
suppliers, of failing to innovate and thereby causing end users to
“We have done the #unacceptable and thought we were doing a great job,” he said.
CBR - Cloud computing revolution has to happen with Europe, not to it, says Neelie Kroes
Cloud computing could help propel Europe out of the economic strife
it finds itself in, according to a speech by Neelie Kroes,
Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital
Speaking at the European Internet Foundation event on
Cloud Computing she stressed that the cloud revolution has to happen
with Europe, rather than to it. This means Europe has to take an active
role in ensuring everyone gets the full potential the cloud offers,
rather than just sitting back and waiting for it to develop around them.
that today information and communications technology represent half of
Europe's productivity growth. By 2016, she said, the EU Internet economy
could be over €800bn; over 5% of GDP.
The Register - EU telecoms companies are commonly using 'traffic management'
practices to block Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic and peer-to-peer (P2P)
file-sharing activity online, an EU regulator has said.
The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC)
said it had established the "common" use of the practices as part of its
"preliminary findings" in analysing data on traffic management
collected from approximately 400 telecoms operators across the EU. BEREC
is made up of representatives from each of the national telecoms
regulators in the 27 EU countries, including Ofcom in the UK.
NYT - Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing service of Amazon.com, has
sparked a boom in powerful and flexible computing over the Internet. Now
the same technology is entering the corporate mainstream, through
open-source cloud computing.
In the past few years, companies and organizations like Open Nebula; the Open Stack alliance; Cloud.com, which is part of Citrix; and Eucalyptus have been offering various forms of the kind of software that works inside A.W.S.
idea of these free versions is to create smaller versions of the cloud,
so people can do more with the computers in their own homes,
institutions and businesses. If the company is big enough to have lots
of partners, employees, and strong engineering talent, its open source
cloud could amount to a supercomputer with lots of different
capabilities, on the cheap.
Euractiv -Threats to cyber security and privacy are real and must be
addressed by industry as cloud computing pushes technology into a
hyper-connected phase, senior telecommunications executives warned at
the Mobile World Congress.
In a session on cloud computing at the
Barcelona conference on Tuesday (28 February) senior executives said the
cloud was unleashing a new phase of technological development that
would usher a ‘hyper-connected world’ and the so-called Internet of
The Internet of Things describes a future in which every object and
the minute details of people’s lives are tracked, enabling huge
efficiencies of organisation and energy.
The Register - G-Cloud bigwig Chris Chant has confirmed the second wave of Cloud
Store services will go live in April and that public sector customers
will finally be able to rate suppliers, helping to shore up the flaky
The Cloud Store has come in for a fair share of criticism – as well as applause
– after its speedy roll-out, with some claiming the online catalogue
was released to market too early as none of the services had been tested
or certified prior to launch.
This is a dramatic shift from
previous government supplier frameworks which included a laborious
multi-stage tender process before bidding companies were approved.
Chant, director of the G-Cloud, said the framework was designed to
make it easy for public sector organisations to buy commodity services
through a low-cost procurement model that did not require suppliers to
meet government security checks.
"We are encouraging an 'accredit once, use everywhere' approach - that
means that the first customer of a service steers their supplier through
accreditation and then the rest of government can adopt the service
without needing to carry out further checks."
The Guardian - The government must be pleased with the early reactions to the launch of CloudStore. While there may be a few grumbles about specific suppliers not being on the procurement
framework for cloud services, most of the comments have been positive
and emphasised its potential for the public sector to save money.
it leaves open a question of who is going to use it and what kind of
take-up there is going to be over the next few months. Public
authorities have still been running formal procurements for
infrastructure or software-as-a-service, and it may be that while many
agree it's a great idea, far fewer will be in a hurry to make use of
While it has been a central government
initiative, there is a view that there is more potential for use in
local government. Phil Pavitt, chief information officer at HM Revenue
& Customs (HMRC), says his department was party to its design, but
is in no hurry to rush in with business.
The Register - A US software industry report has warned that certain countries are
threatening the future of cloud computing with regulations and policies
that stifle the fluffy atmosphere.
The Business Software Alliance published a Global Cloud Computing Scorecard,
which noted that countries including India, China and Brazil would need
"significant legal and regulatory reforms" before they could join a
But the group also pointed out that rules and regulations on the
cards for regions such as the European Union could undermine how well
countries there are doing so far.
The BSA, which counts Microsoft and other tech giants among its
members, said that Brazil finished at the bottom of the 24 countries
assessed because of its policies on free trade, security, data privacy
India was sixth last in the study, with Indonesia, China, Thailand
and Vietnam filling out the bottom six. Most of the countries at the
bottom of the scorecard were the ones where the technology sector was
expected to grow dramatically in the next few years.
ZDNet - The government has launched its G-Cloud application procurement
site, CloudStore, giving small businesses across the UK a chance to
compete with large IT companies for public-sector contracts.
CloudStore opened on Sunday, with services from 257 companies offered to public-sector organisations in a browsable, GCHQ-vetted catalogue of cloud services, ranging from rentable infrastructure, applications and platforms to consultancy.
"It's a complete break with the past," David McLeman, the managing
director of UK cloud and security vendor Ancoris, told ZDNet UK on
Monday. "Historically you had a cartel of large suppliers running
massive government IT projects, and that dominated government IT. I
think the new initiative will help the public sector."
ITPRO - The government has taken the wraps off CloudStore, the G-Cloud apps store that it announced earlier this month, and made 1,700 apps available to public bodies.
For the first time, organisations will have a choice of apps to be
delivered on demand, a move that is expected to bring greater cost
savings across the public sector.
Among the 257 companies whose software will be available on CloudStore are major cloud
vendors such as Microsoft and Google, major IT suppliers such as HP and
IBM, service providers such as BT, C&W and Virgin Media, specialist
cloud operators like Virtustream, open source companies including Red
Hat and some British providers such as Memset and Logica.
A full list of providers is available from the G-Cloud website.
Euractiv - European institutions and governments should throw their weight behind
joint procurement of computing services to encourage the use of cloud
computing, says Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
In an interview with EurActiv, which
has also seen other documents spelling out Kroes’ strategy for cloud,
the Commission vice president signalled she intends to enlist the EU’s
collective spending power to drive a bargain with cloud computing
Cloud computing enables vast amounts of data to be stored efficiently
on off-site servers, enabling corporate computer systems to operate
This month, Kroes launched a European Cloud Partnership to promote
links between public authorities and industry to overcome problems faced
by government institutions and the private sector in using the new
The Register - Clock ticking for suppliers to join the framework
The opportunity for suppliers to join the government's £60m G-Cloud
framework is drawing to a close, according to Mark O'Neill, proposition
director for innovation and delivery at the Government Digital Service
"We plan to launch the first tranche of the G-Cloud catalogue in March," O'Neill told the Cloud Expo event in London.
The G-Cloud procurement process was extended
last year to give more suppliers the opportunity to participate. At the
end of December 2011 there had been in excess of 500 expressions of
interest in joining the framework from suppliers offering more than
1,600 cloud services.
"The billions which we spend on IT is fundamentally changing because
too much goes on systems that are unacceptable," said O'Neill. "Cloud
can disaggregate systems and to do things differently and dramatically
The Register - The G-Cloud will usher in an era of public ICT contracts that are
measured in months, rather than years, according to Liam Maxwell, the
Cabinet Office's director of ICT futures.
The G-Cloud could see government procurement move away from its
traditional model, whereby contracts are signed for periods of several
years and then extended.
"I don't think we'll be seeing many contracts in the cloud services
are that are beyond 12 months," he told the Cloud Expo conference in
"That's a massive step change," he added.
In the future, Maxwell predicts that core services will be purchased in the same way as common office supplies are today.
ZDNet - The European Commission is to put €10m towards forming a group of European governments to jointly purchase cloud products.
The European Cloud Partnership,
made up of governments and industry, will define common standards for
cloud procurement, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a speech on Thursday.
"The partnership will... look at standards; it will look at security; it
will look at ensuring competition, not lock-in," said Kroes. Joint
procurement of cloud services by European public bodies and "pooling of
resources" is the eventual aim of the partnership, she said.
Governments will ask providers for prototypes, and then move to product procurement.
The European Cloud Partnership is part of the Commission's overall cloud computing strategy, which will be presented later this year.
Bloomberg - EU Seeks Joint National Cloud-Computing Purchases for Growth
Information Management - Cloud Partnership Targets European Standards, Procurements
ZDNet - IBM has officially launched a beta version of its cloud-based
IBM Docs document-editing tool, with a final version expected to go up
against Google and Microsoft's services later this year.
Docs and Office
365, IBM's service lets people to edit and share text, presentation
and spreadsheet documents. Unlike them, it has a feature to assign
specific sections of a document to
key staff for editing, the company said in its announcement on Tuesday.
"We have approached IBM Docs with the idea that a document is a
container of different sections, and so we have made
it a flexible item that can integrate more collaborative elements,"
IBM product manager Jeanette Barlow said.
Business Insider - A long list of tech giants want to make it easier to steal one another's cloud computing customers. They are creating a technology standard that lets enterprises easily move their applications from one cloud to another.
The group includes 3M, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, IBM, Red Hat, SAP, Software AG, and others.
Market Watch - The OASIS international consortium has launched a new open standards
initiative to enhance the portability of cloud applications and
services. The OASIS Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud
Applications (TOSCA) Technical Committee will advance an
interoperability standard that will make it easier to deploy cloud
applications without vendor lock-in, while maintaining application
requirements for security, governance, and compliance.
DigitalTVEurope - UK ISPs that market internet access services should offer
unrestricted access to the web, according to Diane Coyle, vice chairman
of the BBC Trust, which oversees the governance of the UK public
Her comments are in response to last week’s publication of an Ofcom
paper intended to open up a discussion on how the communications
regulator might address traffic management concerns and what stance it
should take on any potential anti-competitive discrimination amongst
ISPs. “If the wrong approach is taken to net neutrality, the results
would be bad for consumers,” said Coyle.
The BBC finds itself at the centre of the debate on net neutrality due to the popularity of its online platform iPlayer.
“Internet service providers (ISPs) feel they are being unfairly blamed
by consumers for a sub-standard internet experience due to network
congestion or poor coverage. They need to pay to upgrade to the speeds
that consumers expect, so they are considering asking the content
companies, whose services – like the BBC’s iPlayer – drive web traffic,
to pay for a faster service for their content,” said Coyle. She said
that the burden of upgrading fibre and 4G networks to deliver faster
internet access need not fall entirely on ISPs. Content providers, for
example, are investing in technology to reduce the bandwidth required to
ZDNet - ISPs must be clearer with broadband customers about how they
restrict traffic, Ofcom has said, warning it may force them to do so if
they do not improve.
In addition, customers should be told exactly what average speed they
should expect to get when they sign a contract, the telecoms regulator
said as it released a statement on net neutrality on Thursday.
"In general, [traffic management] is beneficial, and is used for example to protect
safety-critical traffic such as calls to the emergency services. But it
can cause concern, if for example it is used by ISPs to target
competing services, in a manner which is not visible to consumers," the regulator said in a statement.
Fixed and mobile broadband providers typically have traffic management
policies in place, but not all of their customers may be aware of them.
Traffic management is typically used to ease congestion at busy times on
the network: for instance, video services may be prioritised over mail
at times of day when more people are watching, and peer-to-peer (P2P)
traffic is often allowed less bandwidth at certain times.
ZDNet - Oracle is making a push as a cloud provider, two years after
its chief executive, Larry Ellison, dismissed the concept as mere
"Cloud computing is not only the future of computing, it is the
present and the entire past of computing... All it is is a computer
attached to a network," Ellison said in a speech in 2009. "Our industry is so bizarre. They change a term and think they've invented a technology."
But as more businesses have adopted the cloud, Oracle has warmed to
the approach. It has developed private cloud hardware systems — Exalogic and Exadata — based on Sun technology, and Ellison launched Oracle Cloud Services at Oracle OpenWorld in October, saying, "We need a cloud."
Tyler Jewell, head of strategy for Oracle Cloud Services, talked to ZDNet UK about the company's nascent cloud
and how it hopes to attract small businesses that, in the past, have
been too "intimidated" by Oracle to use its products. In particular, he
described how Oracle expects its services to end up as cheap to run as
those based on open-source technology, such as OpenStack.
PCW - Net neutrality should be enshrined in European Union law, says the European Parliament.
On Thursday the Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the
European Commission to do more to guarantee an open Internet and net
neutrality. Parliamentarians want to see E.U. telecom rules properly and
consistently enforced and want internet traffic management practices to
be monitored closely in order to "preserve the open and neutral
character of Internet."
In April, the European Commission was criticized for not going far
enough in its report on net neutrality. Digital Agenda Commissioner
Neelie Kroes stopped short of advocating legislation to ensure an open
Internet, instead adopting a wait-and-see approach.
There is no set definition of "net neutrality" in the European
Union, although the recent Telecoms Package requires that "open and
neutral Internet principles are respected in practice." But, as
evidenced by Thursday's vote, most members of the European Parliament
(MEPs) do not believe this goes far enough.
"Net neutrality and open Internet -- a core principle on which the
internet was founded -- is increasingly coming under threat, both in
E.U. member states and beyond. The Greens are calling on the European
Commission to enshrine net neutrality and the rights of internet users
in European legislation, and on Commissioner Kroes to end her ambiguous
stance on this vital issue," said Green MEP Philippe Lamberts.
Sydney Morning Herald - Open standards will make moving cloud providers easier.
The cloud industry is poised to enter a new era of
transparency and competition courtesy of the open source movement and
the help of large players such as RackSpace, Dell and Citrix.
After some jostling over which standard is best, the
OpenStack foundation has recently emerged as the pre-eminent open source
cloud, which freely provides the code for the major products that sit
on top of the physical layer: compute, storage and image service.
TechWorld - The US communiations regulator, the FCC, wants to set rules that
protect consumers from having their web traffic unfairly throttled, and
prevent Internet providers from unreasonably blocking or limiting
access to websites. The rules are good for small and medium-sized
business, if not for the large telecommunications companies that want
them repealed. Net neutrality for an open Internet is always better for
both consumers and small business.
President Obama threatened to veto a bill this week that overturns
rules stating that Internet providers cannot limit lawful network
traffic. On Thursday, the Senate voted the same bill down. Under the new
FCC rules put into force last December, mobile broadband providers
can't block applications that compete with their services. The
administration's position on the rules and the bill introduced to
overturn them is clearly stated here.
The Guardian - Foreign secretary, in challenge to China and Russia, tells cyber summit
global treaties to police web would be counter-productive.
The UK has issued a direct challenge to China and Russia over regulation of the internet, with William Hague insisting that cyberspace must not be "stifled by government control or censorship".
In a strongly worded opening address to an international conference hosted in London,
the foreign secretary told delegates that the internet "must remain
open and not become ghettoised" – rebuffing the notion that new
international treaties were needed to police online activity.
would be more fatal or self-defeating than the heavy hand of state
control on the internet, which only thrives because of the talent of
individuals and of industry within an open market for ideas and
innovation," he said.
WSJ - The European Commission told the European Union's 27 member states to
step up efforts to transfer cultural works into digital formats to
preserve them for the future, as film stock, old books and vinyl records
risk disappearing with the passage of time.
"Europe has probably the world's greatest cultural heritage," said
Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda. "It cannot afford
to miss the opportunities offered by digitization and hence face
The Guardian - Beginning today, the historical archives of the peer-reviewed journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, are permanently free to online access from anywhere in the world, according to an announcement by The Royal Society.
The Royal Society, established in 1660, began publishing the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society -- world's first scientific journal -- in March 1665. In 1886, it was divided into two journals, Philosophical Transactions A (mathematics, physics and engineering) and Philosophical Transactions B
(biological sciences), both of which are published to this day. Its
historical archives are defined as all scientific papers published 70
years or longer ago. These historical archives include more than 60,000 scientific papers.
The Guardian - A G Cloud Delivery Board is to take the lead role in implementing the
government's programme for cloud computing, while a G Cloud Authority
will oversee the longer term take-up and assurance of commodity
The plan is outlined in the Government Cloud Strategy,
one of the sub-documents of its broader ICT strategy, newly published
by the Cabinet Office. It outlines a number of policies devised to
support the goverment's plan to set up a G Cloud to provide services to
public authorities and for half of Whitehall's new ICT spending to be in
cloud services by 2015.
The delivery board will govern the
programme, with responsibilities that include establishing and testing
the standard service metrics for commodity services to be obtained
through the G Cloud. These will cover performance, quality and price and
be published in a comparable form. It will also set the timetable for
delivering the Government Apps store - a collection of cloud based
services - and data centre consolidation.
The Guardian - Socitm has come out against the government's plan to create a Public
Data Corporation, claiming that it will do more for existing
institutions than the public's right to data.
organisation for public service IT professionals has made the criticism
in its response to the government's consultation on open data, which
It said the plan for a Public Data
Corporation appears to be driven by the interests of institutions such
as HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey and the Meteorological Office and
potential private investors, all of which have an interest in
controlling and charging for public data. When announcing the plan,
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the corporation would make
public data freely available and charge when appropriate, and that it
could attract investment.
eGov monitor - Cloud computing would be a key pillar in the government’s aim
to implement its ICT strategy and receive 50% of Whitehall spending in
ICT over the next four years, according to the Strategic Implementation
Plan (SIP) published by the cabinet office.
The Government Cloud Authority is expected to unveil its strategy to
achieve the 50% spending objective laid out in the SIP. A new group,
Cloud Services Group, has been set up in Whitehall to engage with
suppliers on implementing cloud computing.
The SIP details out the plans to achieve the objectives laid out in
the government’s ICT strategy in March this year. The ICT strategy is
expected to deliver £1.4 Billion in savings over the course of this
parliament while making public services “digital by default”.
The Guardian - The government is planning the first round of procurements under the G
Cloud framework, but there are doubts about public authorities being
ready to take part.
It appeared to fall off the radar for a while, but the plan for the G
Cloud has gone back to the top of the government's IT agenda.
intention to create a formal framework for the public sector procure
cloud computing services was first floated in the Journey to Digital
Government paper in April 2009, remained prominent for a while but then
slipped into the background, with the Cabinet Office saying little
about its progress. A few organisations in local government have taken
the leap into cloud services, but speculation grew that the central plan
was being shelved.
This was quelled last week, when the
department confirmed that it is close to launching a procurement for a
short term framework – to last no longer than nine months – for services
likely to cover infrastructure, platforms, software and cloud support
services. It is very much a 'toe in the water' exercise, with the
Cabinet Office aiming set up a longer term framework next year. The
question is how many suppliers and public sector customers are ready to
test the potential of the G Cloud?
ZDNet - People could end up setting up personal cloud storage to control
the information found online about themselves, world wide web inventor
Sir Tim Berners-Lee has suggested.
Companies are increasingly using publicly available data harvested from sites such as Facebook and Twitter
to populate databases with customer and client information. This could
backfire both for social-networking sites and businesses, Berners-Lee
said on Thursday.
"They have alienated some customers, clearly, already," Berners-Lee told ZDNet UK at the RSA Conference in London. "We are in the early stages of understanding how people can control their data."
The Register - New EU laws on net neutrality may be necessary to stop internet
service providers (ISPs) from infringing individuals' data protection
and privacy rights, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has
The traffic inspection required to operate systems that breach net
neutrality principles and prioritise some content over other content
could violate privacy and data protection rights, he said.
Peter Hustinx said that EU telecoms regulators should monitor whether
ISPs are complying with EU data protection and privacy laws when
managing communications across their networks. Net neutrality is the
principle that an ISP will deliver all content requested by a customer
equally, not allowing content producers which pay it to have
preferential access to its subscribers.
Eurativ - The EU's data security watchdog has warned of “serious
implications” for privacy and data protection if a disproportionate
approach is taken to ensure net neutrality like filtering network
traffic on a grand scale.
Though net neutrality means that
traffic should not be tampered with, experts admit that guranteeing the
same level of service for users involves some traffic management which
privacy watchdogs warn could become invasive.
In an opinion issued last Friday (7 October), the European Data
Protection Supervisor (EDPS) warns against “certain inspection
techniques used by ISPs [internet service providers] which may be highly
privacy-intrusive, especially when they reveal the content of
individuals’ internet communications, including emails sent or received,
websites visited and files downloaded.”
“It is therefore crucial that compliance with data protection rules be closely monitored,” concludes the EDPS.
WSJ - Although the debate on net neutrality is frequently heated it is also
often ill-informed and can seem obscure which is why, perhaps, the
arguments have often been restricted to a “techy” minority.
A new U.K. report, The open internet—a platform for growth (P.D.F.),
seeks to throw a little light on the issue. It should, however, be
noted from the outset that the organizations that commissioned the work,
the BBC Blinkbox, Channel 4 television, Skype and Yahoo have all
benefited from net neutrality. Nevertheless the points raised are ones
that do need to be answered by supporters of Internet traffic
discrimination. In the executive summary, the report, produced by Plum
Consulting, outlines what it sees as the principles governing the open
The Guardian - Being small has its advantages, and can encourage an organisation to be
brave. The Isle of Man Government has taken a leap that others are still
regarding with caution by moving its entire public service
infrastructure to a hybrid cloud service, shifting more than 1,000
applications into the new environment.
BBC Internet Blog - As part of the ongoing debate about traffic management (or 'net
neutrality' as it is sometimes referred to), I have been leading the
BBC's discussions with Government and regulators about the subject.
The BBC strongly believes that the open internet needs to be safeguarded to ensure consumers can access all the internet content and services of their choice.
We're not opposed to premium internet services if consumers want to pay
extra, but it's critical that no matter how many fast lanes there are,
the 'best efforts' open internet should itself provide a very good, and
consistently and fairly delivered, service.
Along with some other internet content and service providers, we commissioned a study which has now been published.
The report considers some of the telcos' main arguments for
introducing more traffic management - including that their costs are
ballooning due to traffic growth; that content providers 'free ride' on
networks; and that introducing charges for content providers is
necessary to help investment in superfast broadband.
ZDNet - Europe's digital agenda chief has criticised the Netherlands for
legislating to protect net neutrality, saying it is too early for
lawmakers to take sides on the issue.
In a speech on Monday, Neelie Kroes said Dutch moves to enshrine
net neutrality in law could stop ISPs there from offering customers a
limited version of internet access at a lower price than that charged
for the "full" internet.
In June, Dutch
MPs approved laws that force ISPs to provide a minimum quality of
service for customers' connections, while forbidding the ISPs from
blocking or degrading any type of traffic except where it is necessary
to keep the network running safely. These rules comply with the
so-called net-neutrality principle, in that they make sure that ISPs
allow the delivery of all internet services on equal terms.
ComputerWorldUK - Digital civil liberties groups in Europe have launched an online platform asking citizens to "name and shame" telecommunications companies that impose internet access restrictions.
The aim is to gather information about internet providers that are
"violating online freedom" according to advocacy group La Quadrature du
Net. Large telecom providers want to "control what you do online," the organization claims.
"They want to block and throttle some of your communications, and
charge you to use certain online services, content and applications."
These so-called net neutrality violations will be reported to the European Commission and national authorities.
The Register - Belgium could be the second European country after the Netherlands to
adopt net neutrality for both fixed and mobile networks. Three political
parties have joined forces to launch a proposed law (in Dutch), which they hope will be approved early next year.
CNet - The White House's Office of Management and Budget has signed off on
the Federal Communications Commission's Net neutrality rules, which
means the rules could go into effect in two to three months'
time--barring legal challenges.
The OMB signed off on Friday, Reuters reports.
The next step will be publication in the Federal Register, which
usually takes anywhere from one to three weeks. The rules would then
kick in 60 days later.
ZDNet - >Cloud computing plays an integral role in the new digital age but
trust and security needs to be consistently instilled for people to be
comfortable in such an environment, noted a senior European Commission
Neelie Kroes, vice president of digital agenda at the EC, said there
are tangible benefits to having both public and private sectors across
Europe embrace cloud computing, of which the primary one is "great cost
savings". Small and midsize businesses
(SMBs) are among the beneficiaries, she added during the Digital Agenda
Panel held Wednesday as part of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce 2011.
That said, she noted that there needs to be trust and security in the system
for the technology to flourish and add value to stakeholders. And
because European countries are mostly democracies, the process "takes
time" and will need to overcome cultural barriers, she added.
Computer Weekly - IT departments and suppliers have a long way to go before they understand each other on cloud computing.
That was the conclusion when IT practitioners and suppliers met at London law firm DLA Piper to discuss the barriers to cloud.
In the words of Mark O'Conor, partner at London law firm, suppliers and buyers are like a tentative couple out on a first date.
feels like we are at odds," he says. "Each side is looking to the other
and both sides are waiting for each other to take a step forward."
computing - which offers IT departments the potential to buy in IT
services as a commodity when they need them - has become one of the
hottest, most hyped and perhaps most confusing topics in IT.
SMH - The Netherlands' largest telecommunications company announced big price
hikes for mobile Internet customers on Tuesday, less than a month after
Parliament approved one of the world's strongest "net neutrality" laws.
ComputerWorld - Members of the European Parliament have demanded
to know what lawmakers intend to do about the conflict between the
European Union's Data Protection Directive and the U.S. Patriot Act.
The issue has been raised following Microsoft's admission last week that it may have to hand over European customers' data on a new cloud
service to U.S. authorities. The company may also be compelled by the
Patriot Act to keep details of any such data transfer secret. This is
directly contrary to the European directive, which states that
organizations must inform users when they disclose personal information.
the Commission consider that the U.S. Patriot Act thus effectively
overrules the E.U. Directive on Data Protection? What will the
Commission do to remedy this situation, and ensure that E.U. data
protection rules can be effectively enforced and that third country
legislation does not take precedence over E.U. legislation?" asked
Sophia In't Veld, a member of the Parliament's civil liberties
InformationWeek - Leaders from 34 countries, including notable technology
pioneers, have released principles aimed at maintaining the Internet as a
forum for open communication and expression.
Global government and business IT leaders from 34
countries have put their heads together to come up with a set of
policies to maintain the Internet as a forum for open communication and
The policies are similar to ones the Obama administration developed in May
to steer the country's own cyberspace-related activities so as to
foster a more open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace
through global cooperation. They also are in line with the
administration's overall goal to promote government transparency and
accountability through the use of the Internet.
A group of public- and private-sector IT
leaders--including Internet pioneers Tim Berners-Lee and Vint
Cerf--convened last month and developed 14 key policies aimed at
ensuring the Internet can continue to foster technological and economic
innovation while "concomitantly meeting certain public policy
objectives, including the protection of privacy, security, children
online, and intellectual property," according to a communique, which is available online.
ZDNet - A group of British cloud companies have joined forces to pitch
their products to small businesses, promising local responsiveness and
end-to-end service-level agreements.
The UK Cloud Alliance (UKCA), launched on Tuesday, is led by
Reading-based cloud-hosting provider Star and includes IT consultancy
Glasshouse Technologies, backup specialist Redstor and others. All the
members are UK based and plan to sell cloud services, with
infrastructure provided by Star.
"I don't think it is our place to go up against major vendors'
alliances. What we definitely are not is an alliance of vendors and we
have no aspirations to be," said Martino Corbelli, the UK Cloud
Alliance's community officer and marketing director for Star. "The
purpose of [it] is to source UK services to support medium-sized UK
V3 - The UK has no need for net neutrality legislation as the broadband
market is competitive enough to ensure that consumers have access to
multiple companies offering different services, according to the chief executive of Virgin Media.
Neil Berkett said at the annual Intellect Conference on Tuesday that
the US had been forced to protect net neutrality "to the nth degree"
because of the lack of competition, but that the UK market gives
consumers far more choice in broadband suppliers.
"Because of [local loop unbundling] you have a dynamic marketplace and
multiple levels of competition, whereas in the US there is rarely an
overbuilt market. It's usually just AT&T and a cable operator and
that's about it," he said.
Computing - The Netherlands is on the verge of becoming the first EU member state
to pass legislation that will ensure net neutrality. From everyone I
have spoken to on the matter, it seems clear that the Senate will rubber
stamp an earlier vote by the Dutch parliament to approve the
These moves follow numerous negative stories in the Dutch media
focusing on the country’s incumbent telco provider’s use of deep packet
inspection techniques to prioritise certain applications. These stories
fuelled an already vociferous campaign by political figures and
lobbyists to enshrine the concept of net neutrality in Dutch law.
Nevertheless, this is still a very brave move.
When, as seems highly likely, the regulation gets approval from the
Senate, it will no doubt spur supporters of net neutrality in this
country to demand that the UK follow suit. However, I believe we should
bide our time. There is no rush.
SearchCloudComputing - In part one of this look at cloud application migration, we discussed how cloud providers, through the
selection of hypervisors and networking, affect the capability to migrate applications. In part
two, we will talk about how appropriate architectures for cloud applications and open standards can
reduce the difficulty in migrating applications across cloud environments.
A good deal of time and money in the IT industry has been spent on trying to make applications
portable. Not surprising, the goal around migrating applications among clouds is to somehow make
applications more cloud-portable. This can be done in at least three ways:
eWeek - Microsoft's Office 365 faces challenges from Google Apps, and from
businesses perhaps not used to the concept of cloud productivity.
365 release intensifies its competition with Google. The question now
is whether the Office 365 platform, as the cloud-based extension of
Microsoft’s long-running Office franchise, actively threatens Google’s
work in the cloud-productivity arena.
Microsoft would certainly like that to be the case. During its June
28 launch event in New York City, CEO Steve Ballmer claimed Office 365
will give SMBs (small to midsize businesses) an “edge” in competing,
without the burden of complex on-premises systems. Perhaps not
coincidentally, SMBs also represent a significant audience for Google
The Guardian - The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe
to enshrine the concept of network neutrality into national law by
banning its mobile telephone operators from blocking or charging
consumers extra for using internet-based communications services.
The Guardian - Chris Pope, director of transformation at Merton council told the
Guardian's SmartGov Live event in London that he was "nervous" about
adopting cloud computing and being infrastructure free.
Because I do not trust the supply market yet," he said. "The number of
instances of organisations taking their IT services back in-house,
because the service they have got from their supplier has not been up to
standard, are too frequent at the moment and there is too much risk at
this stage … to be completely infrastructure free."
says Pope, is whether application providers would be willing to deliver
services that will sit within a limited cloud.
TMCnet - Responding to an ever-increasing practice by telecommunications companies of charging their customers for services like Skype (News - Alert) and WhatsApp, the Netherlands is set to enact net neutrality laws forcing carriers to guarantee access to all web content and applications equally.
On the heels of last week’s near unanimous vote by the Dutch
Parliament in support of the new law, the Dutch House of Representatives
was expected to overwhelmingly vote in favor of the law in a vote
The Netherlands would become the first European country to enact net neutrality into law.
The Standards Blog - Andy Updegrove - Cloud
computing is all the rage today, with everyone from the U.S. Federal
government to Apple herding us into a brave new world of remotely hosted
data and services. There are, of course, many advantages to the cloud
concept. But as usual, this new IT architecture has some inherent and
serious risks that cloud proponents hope potential customers will not
nothing new about that, of course - except for the stakes. Innovation
usually outruns caution and comprehensive consideration of concerns like
safety and unintended consequences. But if we want to put all of our
computing resources and data into one bucket, we had better make damn
sure that it's got a pretty strong bottom.
Here's a nightmare scenario of what could happen otherwise. And it's not pretty.
Reuters - The U.S. communications
regulator has been oddly slow in unleashing new powers to
police the Internet, six months after finalizing the
The delay has kept the rules in a glass box, both
preventing the Federal Communications Commission from cracking
down on unwarranted blocking of Internet content and keeping
legal challenges at bay.
The rules, adopted last December, give the FCC power to
ensure consumer access to huge movie files and other content
while allowing ISPs like Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and
Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) to manage their networks to prevent
It is the latest twist in the so-called net neutrality
debate, which pitted content providers who wanted protection
against the blocking or degrading of their services against
Internet service providers that wanted to "control the
FT - A delegation of internet and media industry chiefs, including Google
chairman Eric Schmidt and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, will
address world leaders at the G8 summit on Thursday, after two days of
debate about regulation and innovation in Paris.
Google - European Public Policy Blog - European foreign ministers endure a grueling schedule. Next Monday afternoon, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal
are taking time out from a crucial European Foreign Ministers’s summit
in Brussels to issue a call for Europe to wake up to the dangers facing
The Register - Internet service providers (ISPs) should not alter online traffic to
serve faster access to content produced by companies that have helped to
pay for better connectivity, draft principles into the governance of
internet freedoms say.
European internet users are entitled to access to the whole internet
in all but exceptional circumstances, the body behind EU human rights
law has said. The Council of Europe has backed net neutrality as a
The Register - The European Commission has opened a consultation on cloud computing ahead of the creation of a Europe-wide strategy. Neelie Kroes, Digital Agenda Commissioner, said she wanted to hear from cloud developers as well as users.
Of particular interest is feedback on cross-border data protection and
liability, standards and interoperability, uptake of cloud services –
especially by smaller companies – and ways to promote research and
ZDNet - The European Commission has ordered an in-depth examination of
the net-neutrality situation in Europe, ahead of possible legislation on
On Tuesday, the Commission said the fact-finding exercise — to be carried out across the EU by the regulatory group Berec — will log known cases where service providers are blocking and throttling internet traffic.
It will look at areas such as VoIP, barriers to changing operator, and
failure to provide transparency and sufficient quality of service.
"I will be looking particularly closely for any instances of
unannounced blocking or throttling of certain types of traffic, and any
misleading advertising of broadband speeds," digital agenda commissioner
Neelie Kroes said in a speech.
BBC - The inventor of the web has said that governments must act to preserve the principle of net neutrality. Sir Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC that legislation may be needed if self-regulation failed.
He has been asked by the UK government to negotiate an
agreement on an open internet between service providers and content
firms like the BBC and Skype.
Sir Tim would prefer self-regulation by the internet industry, but progress has been slow. "If it fails the government has to be absolutely ready to legislate," he said.
NYT - The European Commission
is planning to investigate whether European mobile operators are
managing wireless Internet traffic to discriminate against competitors
or consumers who use data-intensive services.
Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s
telecommunications commissioner, on Tuesday will ask an advisory panel
of national regulators to examine whether mobile operators are upholding
the principle of network neutrality, which calls for all data traffic to be treated equally.
In a 10-page summary of remarks she intends to present in Brussels,
which was obtained by the International Herald Tribune, Ms. Kroes said
she was so far unconvinced that a serious problem existed or that new
legal consumer safeguards were needed.
Computer Weekly - The government won cautious praise for its approach to net
neutrality, otherwise known as the open internet, at a public all-party
parliamentary committee debate on Tuesday. The meeting was a sequel to communications minister Ed Vaizey's round table meeting with industry representatives on 16 March.
Vaizey pledged support for an internet environment in which users
were able to access all legal content, there was no discrimination
against rival content providers, and ISPs' traffic management policies
were clear and transparent.
ComputerWorld - During his keynote speech at RSA Conference 2011, Microsoft's corporate VP for trustworthy computing Scott Charney called for a more cooperative approach to securing computer endpoints. The proposal is a natural maturation of Microsoft's (my full-time employer) End-to-End Trust initiative to make the internet significantly safer as a whole. It closely follows the plans I have been recommending for years; I have even written a whitepaper on the subject.
The most important point of this argument is that we could,
today, make the internet a much safer place to compute. All the
open-standard protocols required to significantly decrease malicious
attackers and malware already exist. What is missing is the leadership
and involvement from the politicians, organisations, and tech experts
necessary to turn the vision into a reality.
The Inquirer - Sir Tim Berners-Lee has lent his support to net neutrality, agreeing to
help establish principles and guidelines for the open Internet.
He is working with the UK government and the work will be guided by
three net neutrality principles. They are, full access to legal content
for all users, no discrimination against content providers on the basis
of commercial rivalry, and clarity and transparency regarding traffic management policies.
PCPro - British ISPs could start charging customers depending on which device or which type of data they're using, according to a networks expert.
The warning comes as UK ISPs are set to meet with politicians and
regulators today to discuss net neutrality and traffic management
issues, after agreeing to publish a voluntary code of conduct.
Computing - Several ISPs
and mobile operators have signed up to a voluntary code of practice to
provide comparable information about how they manage their web traffic. The move is an attempt to fend off an enforced regulatory framework by communications watchdog Ofcom.
ZDNet - BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, O2, Vodafone and 3 have all
promised to be clear to their customers about how they manage their
The major fixed and mobile internet service providers (ISPs) said on Monday that they have signed up to a voluntary code of practice formulated by them and the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), an industry body. The code
(PDF) obliges the companies to tell their customers what traffic
management takes place, why it takes place and what effect it has on the
customer's broadband experience.
The Guardian - Here's a tale of two societies. The South Korean communications commission is planning to boost broadband speeds in that country
tenfold by the end of 2012. That means Koreans will get one gigabit per
second (Gbps) connections by next year, which is 200 times as fast as
the 5Mbps ADSL connection which is common in the UK. Meanwhile, back in
the middle ages (aka Whitehall next Wednesday), a ministerial summit on
"net neutrality" convened by the culture secretary Ed Vaizey will hear
how Britain's internet
service providers (ISPs) plan to throttle still further the measly
internet access they provide to the citizens of the UK in order to boost
their bottom lines and reduce competition.
ZDNet - Major ISPs are set to come clean about their traffic management policies, according to a broadband public-private body.
The forum for the ISP industry and government, Broadband Stakeholder
Group, met on Monday with BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky and others to
discuss the issue of net neutrality, which calls for providers to treat
all traffic alike.
guardian government computing - Last week Oliver Morley, chief executive at the National Archives, said that there were plans to "make alterations" to its Open Government Licence (OGL), which is aimed at making it easier for people to use re-use government data. He said talks on how it could be improved were taking place.
The Epoch Times - Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda said: "I am pleased that increasing numbers of EU citizens can now use online public services for major things like looking for a job, filing tax declarations or registering new companies. Member States who make basic public services fully available online can make life easier for their citizens and businesses, while reducing their own costs."
Federal Times - Since taking office, the Obama administration has pushed the federal government to improve efficiency in its information technology systems and provide citizens with greater transparency through technology. Federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra continues to promote virtualization and consolidation of data centers and operations, and ultimately shifting government IT to a cloud-computing business model. This has led agencies to identify projects and IT operations that can benefit from moving to the cloud.
Europa - In order to tackle low levels of consumer and business confidence in online transactions, the European Commission is asking citizens and other interested parties how electronic signatures and electronic identification (eID) and authentication can help the development of the European Digital Single Market.
Information Week - One year after the federal Open Government Directive was released, the list of accomplishments is long: Detailed plans are in place, new Web sites have been launched, and more than 300,000 data sets have been released to the public. But how much of what's been done to establish a more transparent government--one that encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors as well as participation from citizens--is having a real impact? And what work remains to be done?
(CNN) -- When President Obama announced his vision for a national wireless initiative last week, he emphasized how widespread high-speed wireless broadband would boost the economy and increase opportunities for individual Americans.
This may be true -- but only if users of wireless broadband networks enjoy equitable access to what's available online. Unfortunately, new regulations passed in December by the Federal Communications Commission exempt U.S. wireless carriers from key network neutrality requirements.
Former Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin yesterday said he still believes the FCC had the legal authority to enforce network neutrality rules and that he would have appealed a court decision last year that ruled otherwise.
Speaking after his keynote question-and-answer session at last week's ITExpo conference in Miami, Martin said that the FCC's 2008 order telling Comcast to stop throttling peer-to-peer protocols was on solid legal footing.
EXPERTS: FCC's net neutrality decision sets up court battle
ZDNet - The net neutrality debate has been hijacked by an argument
about consumer and intellectual property rights. As usual, the needs of
business users have largely been sidelined, says Nick White.
The recent BT launch of Content Connect,
allowing ISPs to charge content providers, has sparked allegations of a
two-tier internet and reignited the heated debate over so-called
Even though the issue of net neutrality has been simmering for some time, it is often misunderstood.
The Washington Post - When the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission earlier this
month revealed he had circulated among his fellow commissioners a draft
proposal to ensure continued Internet openness, the criticism started
Next-generation Internet companies such as Netflix and Skype said Julius Genachowski's net neutrality proposal was weak;
public interest groups complained that it would be challenged in the
courts because it did not adequately establish the commission's
authority over the Internet; entrepreneurs said its provisions would stifle innovation; and the trade association representing broadband service providers reiterated its position that there isn't a problem that requires regulation in the first place.
The dissonance has been a boon for K Street and its echoes are unlikely to fade anytime soon.
Over the past three years, more than 150 organizations hired at least
118 outside lobbying groups to influence the outcome of the vote
currently scheduled for the commission's open meeting on Tuesday, Dec.
21, a Capital Business analysis of congressional lobbying records shows.
and a fair competitive playing field should be enshrined as the
guiding principle governing Internet transmissions
We strongly believe that for the Internet to
continue to flourish as an open, innovative and collaborative
infrastructure, and to deliver on the promise of huge productivity
gains through Internet-based applications, constant vigilance for
anti-competitive practices and an ongoing debate regarding the
technical standards that underlie the Internet are needed. While
information obligations on ISPs towards consumers are welcomed as a
first step towards ensuring transparency in the marketplace, more is
needed to ensure that consumers benefit, and that markets continue to
operate openly. Governments should keep the following design
principles in mind “including end-to-end connectivity, openness,
neutrality and transparency” when developing legislation.
While Cloud Computing has clearly gained greater attention over even
the last 12 months even its critics who dismissed it as yet another
marketing hype have been forced to change their position, and adopt a
more inclusive strategy. Yet because of the huge market interest there
are many dangers, both in its understanding, in planning for its
implementation, and in potential response by legislators and market