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Steelie Neelie secures MEPs' support for 'net neutrality' – in principle Apr 07, 2014

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.

The 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 network pipes.

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.

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European Parliament votes to end roaming charges, expand consumer rights and make it easier to create better telecoms. Apr 07, 2014

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.”

Nearly all 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."

"Beyond the 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.

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Open letter to Members of the European Parliament Apr 02, 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.

Regarding 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.

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Who Says European Net Neutrality Politics is Boring? Apr 02, 2014

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 fierce competitors.

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.

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JOINT ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY, CONSUMER PROTECTION AND CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR S&D, ALDE, GREENS, GUE/NGL OPEN INTERNET AMENDMENTS Apr 02, 2014

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.

Read more...

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EU 20-somethings want to end roaming and have unrestricted internet access Apr 01, 2014

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.

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Trusted Cloud Europe: have your say! Mar 24, 2014

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.

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European net neutrality law clears committee hurdle Mar 20, 2014

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 neutrality.

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.

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Data Protection, NSA Votes Won; Net Neutrality Next Mar 18, 2014

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:

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Towards further Globalisation of the Internet Mar 18, 2014

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 functions.


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.

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Tim Berners-Lee Calls For 'Online Magna Carta' To Protect Net Neutrality On 25th Anniversary Mar 13, 2014

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 week.

"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."

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Tim Berners-Lee calls for an online bill of rights Mar 12, 2014

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 all".

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Netflix vs net neutrality: Another ISP offers to prioritise traffic in return for cash Mar 12, 2014

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 broadcast TV.

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EU Internet survey finds widespread blocking, fueling net neutrality issue Mar 04, 2014

NetworkWorld - A European Commission survey of 28,000 Internet users found that a quarter reported content blocking, the Commission revealed Thursday.

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 Internet.

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Europe Telecoms Rules Crucial to Break Down Barriers, Kroes Says Feb 25, 2014

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 economic crisis.

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Urgent: Please Help Save Net Neutrality in the EU Feb 24, 2014

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:

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FCC chairman vows net neutrality rewrite – with Prez Obama's blessing Feb 20, 2014

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.

Tom Wheeler hopes his freshly proposed regulations will prevent internet providers from unfairly throttling traffic based on applications and websites being used.

 

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.

"In 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.

"I 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."

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Analysing the maturation of standards in European cloud computing Feb 19, 2014

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 chaotic.”

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 “highly challenging.”

ETSI believes cloud standardisation will mature in the next 18 months.

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EC calls for end to 'economic madness' fuelled by roaming fees Feb 18, 2014

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 companies either.

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Good news! Europe's highest court decides not to ruin the Internet Feb 14, 2014

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:

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Taking G-Cloud forward Feb 14, 2014

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.

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Europe calls time on US stewardship of the internet Feb 14, 2014

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 IPv6.

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 addresses worldwide.

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".

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Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web Feb 07, 2014

Wired - "It's important to have the geek community as a whole think about its responsibility and what it can do" Sir Tim Berners-Le.

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 all.

Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine's March 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 FoxJake 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.

 

 
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Long-Shot Net-Neutrality Bill Introduced Feb 06, 2014

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.

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EU Committee Votes for ‘Telecoms Single Market’ and Net Neutrality Jan 28, 2014

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.

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Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules Jan 16, 2014

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:

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A timely call for a secure yet open cloud Jan 15, 2014

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 solutions."

It 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 (NSA).

The OFE Declaration acknowledges the obvious—that uptake of cloud computing is dependent upon trust—but in equal measure cautions against a counter-productive over-reaction.

The Declaration begins:

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Net neutrality threatened by court Jan 15, 2014

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.

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Patent trolls target their next victim: Cloud computing Jan 14, 2014

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.

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New FCC headman brandishes net neutrality carrot and stick Jan 10, 2014

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 the internet.

"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 ways'."

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European Cloud Computing Strategy to create 2.5 million new jobs Jan 08, 2014

Computer Weekly - In September 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe. 

The European 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 digital agenda.  

It has three key actions:

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AT&T Sponsored Data Plan: Aiming to Kill Net Neutrality Jan 08, 2014

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.

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Finally, the business-driven cloud arrives Dec 20, 2013

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.

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AllSeen's Internet of Things: All-Seeing Too? Dec 16, 2013

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.

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Open Access: Looking Back, Looking Forwards Dec 06, 2013

ComputerWorldUK - Glyn Moody - A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a conference celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Berlin declaration on open access. More formally, the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" is one of three seminal formulations of the open access idea: the other two are the Bethesda Statement (2003) and the original Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002).

I entitled my talk "Half a Revolution"; the slides are embedded below, and can also be freely downloaded.

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Windsor saving £1m a year through Cloud Nov 29, 2013

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 Cloud.

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 in London.

He said the council is on track to become the first council in the UK to move completely to the Cloud.

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‘Cloud for Europe’ launches amidst calls for single European cloud market Nov 20, 2013

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.

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Net neutrality plans breach privacy rights, warns watchdog Nov 20, 2013

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".

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A cloud safe from the NSA's prying eyes: Europe begins work on its EU-wide system Nov 18, 2013

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."

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Are governments ready for the cloud? Nov 13, 2013

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 public administration?

Cloud guidelines for Austrian government
Digital Austria, 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:

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Help: EU Net Neutrality Consultation Closes Today Nov 06, 2013

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 elina.kaartinen@europarl.europa.eu and/or peter.traung@europarl.europa.eu. Here's what I've written:

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Gartner Sees Cloud Security Services Surge Nov 05, 2013

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 application firewalls.

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European Commission expert group begins work on cloud contract terms Nov 01, 2013

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 services.

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.

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What does the Commission mean by secure Cloud computing services in Europe? Oct 17, 2013

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 individual users.

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Open access to scientific knowledge has reached its tipping point Oct 08, 2013

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 years.

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."

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British government opposes EU ban on roaming charges Oct 01, 2013

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?

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Study: Net neutrality policies vary in EU countries Sep 17, 2013

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.

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Can Red Hat make the leap to be a cloud player? Sep 17, 2013

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 cloud mechanics”.

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?

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European Union plans to end mobile phone roaming charges Sep 13, 2013

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.

The 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".

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Digital rights activist: EU's proposed net neutrality law 'as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane' Sep 11, 2013

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.

 The 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."

However, 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 dedicated capacity."

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.

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IBM: Closed clouds are dead meat Sep 10, 2013

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.

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European Commission sticks to roaming charge cuts Aug 30, 2013

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 regulatory package.

"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.

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How Network Neutrality Promotes Innovation Aug 30, 2013

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 network neutrality.

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:

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Europe pushes own digital ‘cloud’ in wake of US spying scandal Aug 29, 2013

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.

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Digital Agenda: Tech CEOs and leaders kickstart new EU cloud computing board Aug 28, 2013

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."

Under the 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.

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Why open hybrid clouds are the future Aug 08, 2013
Information Week

- 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 cloud.

 

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 hybrid cloud.
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What Exactly Does The EU Plan To Do On Net Neutrality? Aug 01, 2013

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:
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Who benefits from Kroes' proposed new E.U. telecom regs? Jul 24, 2013

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 telecommunications industry.

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.

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EU Kills Net Neutrality, Threatens Online Openness Jul 22, 2013

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:

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Neelie Kroes backs the open internet and net neutrality Jul 19, 2013

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.

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Cloud lock-in: Google comes back at App Engine criticisms Jul 17, 2013

ZDNet - Google says it's not company strategy to tie customers into its App Engine development platform but admits that with the cloud some degree of lock-in is inevitable.

Google has hit back at accusations of lock-in over its App Engine cloud development platform.

In a lengthy Google+ post entitled Lock in, what lock in?, Google engineering director Peter Magnusson last week said where lock-in is occurring, it's mostly unavoidable and not deliberate — and that Google is doing its best to minimise it.

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US public sector shuns public clouds Jul 16, 2013

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 public clouds.

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.

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10 steps to avoid cloud vendor lock-in Jul 12, 2013

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:

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EU calls for "European cloud" over data spying Jul 05, 2013

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 scale".

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Cloud guide launches to help firms avoid vendor lock-in Jul 05, 2013

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 architects.

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EU's patchwork regulation stifles AT&T Jul 04, 2013

TotalTelecom - U.S. telco hits out at European fragmentation; Ofcom backs harmonised approach to net neutrality rules.

AT&T 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.

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Cloud computing: Businesses still don't know what they're getting into Jun 26, 2013

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 cloud services.

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.

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Oracle, Microsoft forge cloud-computing deal Jun 25, 2013

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 rival Microsoft.  

Under 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.  

‘‘We’re 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 services.  

Traditionally, Oracle’s software has been installed on individual business computers and those customers paid a fee to use the product and have Oracle maintain it.

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Steelie Neelie: One cloud contract model to rule them all Jun 25, 2013

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.

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Get ready now: Your office will be in the cloud within a decade Jun 17, 2013

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 packages.

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.

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The EU must safeguard net neutrality Jun 11, 2013

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.

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What's the Net Net on Neelie Kroes's EU Net Neutrality? Jun 10, 2013

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:

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Brussels to table net neutrality rules in July Jun 07, 2013

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 internet."

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Huddle: Consumer cloud services causing 'security time-bomb' for enterprises Jun 04, 2013

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. customer base.

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EU commissioner tells parliamentarians that delivering net neutrality will garner votes May 31, 2013

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 net neutrality.

 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 the subject.

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.

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Oracle to open cloud data centre dedicated to G-Cloud May 15, 2013

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.

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Deutsche Telekom offers payment scheme to OTT providers May 03, 2013

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 this.

The move would mark the end of net neutrality – the equal treatment of all offerings from the open Internet – on Deutsche Telekom's broadband networks.

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German government warns Telekom on net neutrality Apr 25, 2013

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.

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European digital rights groups demand net neutrality protection Apr 19, 2013

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."

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Oz regulator “welcomes” debate on limiting net neutrality Apr 16, 2013

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 neutrality.

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:

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France could join the small club of countries that require net neutrality Mar 14, 2013

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.

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Will all government services take a cloud first approach? Mar 08, 2013

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.

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G-Cloud to push cloud first strategy Mar 07, 2013

CloudPro - The UK Government is set to introduce a ‘cloud first’ policy across all departments, forcing them to take on public cloud services wherever possible.

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 to endorse.”

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.

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Don't let the cloud get hijacked online! Mar 01, 2013

Cloud Industry Forum - Applications for the proposed internet gTLD of .CLOUD are illogical and fundamentally flawed, warns those representing the Cloud industry

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”

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G-Cloud celebrates one year anniversary Feb 21, 2013

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.

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Cloud revenue will go on expanding – slowly Feb 13, 2013

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.

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NISO Launches New Initiative to Develop Standard for Open Access Metadata and Indicators Feb 08, 2013

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.

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Will Neelie Kroes Defend or Destroy EU Net Neutrality? Jan 22, 2013

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 avant-garde.

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.

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Toxic Cloud Computing, and How Open Source Can Help Jan 18, 2013

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:

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Net neutrality? Let the market decide, says Europe's digital chief Jan 18, 2013

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':

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UK urged to air its views on EU cloud strategy Jan 18, 2013

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 cloud”.

However, the Government’s deputy CIO Liam Maxwell has been hostile to the EU's plans.

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Fighting for Open Access Jan 15, 2013

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
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Ordinary people must have a say in deciding the future of the web Dec 14, 2012

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

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Is it all over for UK.gov's G-Cloud 3.0? A footnote in history awaits Dec 05, 2012

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.

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Cloud decisions are no longer in the IT department's hands - the suits have taken over Dec 04, 2012

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."

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Digital Agenda: Tech CEOs and leaders kickstart new EU cloud computing board Nov 20, 2012

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."

Under the 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.

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IT's new battlegrounds in the cloud revolution Nov 19, 2012

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. 

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Cannibal cloud: How spending on the cloud is eating into IT budgets Nov 07, 2012

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.

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UK defence ministry deploys its first cloud app Nov 06, 2012

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 considerations.

"Obviously [the cloud] is not something that we're going to be ahead of the curve on," she said.

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European net neutrality discussions close Oct 17, 2012

The InquirerEUROPEAN 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.

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Last Chance: Consultation on Net Neutrality in EU Oct 17, 2012

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.

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Gartner has its head in the clouds - and its numbers are WRONG Oct 09, 2012

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.

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Government IT chief hits out at EU cloud strategy Oct 02, 2012

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.

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Europe lays out grand plan for hassle-free cloud Sep 28, 2012

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.

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The Next Attack on Net Neutrality Sep 21, 2012

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:

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No need for UN to take over internet, says EU digital chief Kroes Aug 28, 2012

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 power.

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Exploring Anti-Net Neutrality Arguments Aug 07, 2012

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.

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Cloud failures highlight the need for open standards and better planning Jul 31, 2012

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 resilience.

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.

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UK Net Neutrality Under (Coded) Attack Jul 27, 2012

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 yesterday:

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:

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Net neutrality comes to the UK - sort of Jul 26, 2012

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."

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Time to Fight for Net Neutrality in the EU Jul 25, 2012

ComputerWorldUKGlyn 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):

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Google launches partner program for Cloud Platform Jul 25, 2012

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 offerings.

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.

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Digital Agenda: Commission opens public consultation on preservation of the open internet (net neutrality) Jul 23, 2012

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.

These questions 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:

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Open Access: Not All That is Gold Glisters Jul 19, 2012

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:

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Neelie Kroes: Europe needs to embrace a cloud strategy, avoid national fortresses Jun 27, 2012

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.

“Modern science depends on a huge amount of data: the cloud offers a fast and flexible way to store, process and share it,” Kroes explained.

“Even 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.”

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FCC boss applauds moves to block UN internet control Jun 22, 2012

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.

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Open access is the future of academic publishing, says Finch report Jun 20, 2012

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.

Prof 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."

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Open source cloud leads pack Jun 18, 2012

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.

RightScale, 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 cloud strategies.

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.

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Cloud services and a changing workplace Jun 13, 2012

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.

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."

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European ISPs Lobby ITU Against Net Neutrality Jun 12, 2012

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.

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Vice-President Kroes to propose action on consumer choice and "net neutrality" May 30, 2012

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.

But 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.

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Study: Patriot Act doesn't give feds special access to cloud data May 23, 2012

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.

The 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."

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Governmental access to data in the cloud May 23, 2012

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 access”.

 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 Cloud services.

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UK government may miss cloud computing targets May 18, 2012

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.

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Dutch net neutrality to become reality after Senate approves law May 10, 2012

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.

The 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.

There 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.

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Key questions in the UK’s shift to open-access research May 04, 2012

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’).

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Sizzling open vs. proprietary debate heats up the cloud Apr 19, 2012

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.

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Why Open Source Is the Key to Cloud Innovation Apr 16, 2012

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 flips completely."

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.

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Whitehall needs to dump 'unacceptable IT' – outbound G-Cloud chief Apr 13, 2012

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 buy IT.

“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 suffer.

“We have done the #unacceptable and thought we were doing a great job,” he said.

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Europe has to take centre stage for cloud benefits Apr 02, 2012

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 Agenda.

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.

Kroes said 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.

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Euro watchdog: Telcos ARE strangling VoIP and P2P traffic Mar 19, 2012

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.

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Open-Source A.W.S.: Creating a Thousand Clouds Mar 12, 2012

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.

The 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.

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Google's Schmidt: Don't Let the United Nations Rule the Internet Mar 12, 2012

Forbes - Google‘s Eric Schmidt is warning against a United Nations proposal to give regulation of the Internet to International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The proposal, believed supported by China and Russia, would deal traditional Internet regulators, such as ICANN, out and replace them with the ITU, a UN agency. ZDNet tells us that Schmidt warned against an ITU takeover:

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Industry accepts responsibility for security fears over cloud Mar 02, 2012

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 Things.

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.

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Cloud Store: Next wave of services due by April Feb 29, 2012

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 accreditation process.

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."

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CloudStore: who's going to use it? Feb 28, 2012

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.

But 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 CloudStore.

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.

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Planet-wide cloud dream burst by nations' laws - BSA Feb 23, 2012

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 global cloud.

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 and cybercrime.

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.

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G-Cloud app store gives small businesses a lift Feb 22, 2012

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."

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Government CloudStore open for business Feb 20, 2012

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.

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Kroes: Cloud can deliver digital growth Feb 16, 2012

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 providers.

Cloud computing enables vast amounts of data to be stored efficiently on off-site servers, enabling corporate computer systems to operate more smoothly.

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 technology.

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UK.gov 'pay as you go' IT services cloud to float in March Jan 31, 2012

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 (GDS).

"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 cheaper."

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Maxwell: Under G-Cloud, gov will buy IT 'like stationery' Jan 30, 2012

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 London.

"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.

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Commission pledges €10m to cloud partnership Jan 27, 2012

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.

More commentary:

Bloomberg - EU Seeks Joint National Cloud-Computing Purchases for Growth

Information Management - Cloud Partnership Targets European Standards, Procurements

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IBM readies answer to Google Docs and Office 365 Jan 19, 2012

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.

Like Google 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.

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Tech Giants Join Forces To Fight Amazon's Cloud Jan 18, 2012

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.

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OASIS Forms TOSCA Technical Committee to Advance Open Standard for Cloud Portability Jan 17, 2012

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.

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BBC Trust says open internet is crucial Nov 30, 2011

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 broadcaster.

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 view videos.

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Ofcom: ISPs must reveal more about traffic throttling Nov 25, 2011

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.

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Oracle: Our cloud to be cheap as open source Nov 21, 2011

ZDNet - Oracle is making a push as a cloud provider, two years after its chief executive, Larry Ellison, dismissed the concept as mere marketing hype.

"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.

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Net Neutrality Should Be Enshrined in EU Law Says Parliament Nov 18, 2011

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.

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Clouds open up, benefit clients Nov 17, 2011

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.

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Net neutrality is good for business Nov 15, 2011

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.

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Governments must not censor internet, says William Hague Nov 02, 2011

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.

"Nothing 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.

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EU Calls for Digitization of Cultural Heritage Oct 31, 2011

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 cultural decline."

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Royal Society makes historical journal archives open access Oct 31, 2011

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.

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Government sets up G Cloud board Oct 28, 2011

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 services.

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.

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Socitm slams plan for Public Data Corporation Oct 28, 2011

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.

The organisation for public service IT professionals has made the criticism in its response to the government's consultation on open data, which closes today.

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.

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Coalition Government Unveils Roadmap To Implement Its Cloud Intensive ICT Strategy Oct 24, 2011

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”. 

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Is the public sector ready for the G Cloud? Oct 18, 2011

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.

The 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?

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Berners-Lee: Personal clouds could offset privacy risks Oct 18, 2011

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."

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Busting net neutrality may amount to spying, says EU Oct 14, 2011

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 said.

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.

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ePrivacy watchdog raises concerns over 'net neutrality' Oct 11, 2011

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.

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Net Neutrality Worth €155 Billion in Europe Oct 10, 2011

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 Internet.

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Isle of Man leaps to the cloud Oct 07, 2011

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.

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Net Neutrality: the Plum report on the Open Internet Oct 06, 2011

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.

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Kroes attacks Dutch net-neutrality rules Oct 04, 2011

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.

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Groups to monitor EU telcos restricting online access Sep 28, 2011

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.

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Belgians aim to be third neutral-net nation Sep 14, 2011

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.

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Net neutrality rules move closer to implementation Sep 13, 2011

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.

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Kroes: Trust, security needed for wider cloud adoption Sep 02, 2011

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 (EC) official.

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.

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Cloud computing and the public sector: What IT managers need from suppliers Aug 31, 2011

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.

"It 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."

Cloud 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.

 

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Dutch telecom hikes rates after net neutrality law Jul 20, 2011

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.

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EU upset by Microsoft warning on U.S. access to EU cloud Jul 07, 2011

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.

"Does 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 committee.

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Global Tech Leaders Promote Open Internet Jul 07, 2011

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 expression.

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.

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Virgin chief executive claims UK has no need for net neutrality laws Jul 06, 2011

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.

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Why the UK shouldn’t go Dutch on net neutrality Jul 05, 2011

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 regulation.

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.

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Resolving cloud application migration issues Jun 30, 2011

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:

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Microsoft's Office 365 Faces Challenges, Google in Cloud Battle Jun 29, 2011

eWeek - Microsoft's Office 365 faces challenges from Google Apps, and from businesses perhaps not used to the concept of cloud productivity.

Microsoft’s Office 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 Apps.   

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Net neutrality enshrined in Dutch law Jun 23, 2011

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.

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Cloud not ready for public sector market Jun 16, 2011

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.

"Why? 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."

Another issue, says Pope, is whether application providers would be willing to deliver services that will sit within a limited cloud.

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Net Neutrality Set to Become Law in the Netherlands Jun 15, 2011

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 today.

The Netherlands would become the first European country to enact net neutrality into law.

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Avoiding a Cloud Computing Armageddon Jun 13, 2011

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 dwell on.

There's 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.

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US FCC's slow pace on Internet rules puzzles some Jun 13, 2011

Reuters - The U.S. communications regulator has been oddly slow in unleashing new powers to police the Internet, six months after finalizing the controversial rules.

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 congestion.

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 pipeline."

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Internet chiefs set to address G8 summit May 27, 2011

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.

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Internet freedom: how should Europe battle online censorship? May 20, 2011

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 Internet freedom.

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Council of Europe wants to maintain net neutrality May 18, 2011

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 fundamental principle.

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Brussels opens ears on cloud computing May 17, 2011

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 innovation.
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Net neutrality to get close scrutiny in Europe Apr 21, 2011

ZDNet - The European Commission has ordered an in-depth examination of the net-neutrality situation in Europe, ahead of possible legislation on the issue.

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.

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Web creator's net neutrality fear Apr 20, 2011

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.

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E.U. to Review Mobile Operators' Policies on Web Access Apr 19, 2011

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.

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Vaizey wins cautious praise on net neutrality Apr 01, 2011

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.

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10 building blocks for securing the internet Mar 23, 2011

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.

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee lends support for net neutrality Mar 18, 2011

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.

 
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British ISPs could "charge per device" Mar 17, 2011

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.

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Is a traffic management code of practice another step away from net neutrality? Mar 16, 2011

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.

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ISPs to be honest about traffic management policies Mar 16, 2011

ZDNet - BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, O2, Vodafone and 3 have all promised to be clear to their customers about how they manage their broadband traffic.

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.

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Why it's time to get off the fence about net neutrality Mar 14, 2011

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.

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ISPs prepare net-neutrality code of conduct Mar 10, 2011

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.

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National Archives launches file scanning software Mar 09, 2011

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.

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Ireland ranked first in Europe for e-Government Feb 23, 2011

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."

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Cloud computing offers agencies efficiency, security Feb 22, 2011

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.

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Commission launches public consultation on eSignatures and eIdentification Feb 21, 2011

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.

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10 Steps To Open Government Feb 21, 2011

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?

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Obama wireless initiative silent on net neutrality Feb 15, 2011
(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.

 

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Net Neutrality Still Priority for Ex-FCC Chief Feb 07, 2011

PCWORLD -

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

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Net neutrality ignores business users Jan 11, 2011

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 network neutrality.

Even though the issue of net neutrality has been simmering for some time, it is often misunderstood.

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No one's neutral about net neutrality Dec 21, 2010

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 rolling in.

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.

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open ACcess ARCHIVE

 

Non-discrimination 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.

OFE Special News Item - OpenForum Europe Response to the Public Consultation on Cloud Computing Sep 02, 2011

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 influencers.

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