8 June 2016

An outline of this weeks ICT news is included below, unlike last week there are no larger themes across the global regions, with different issues taking prominence in Europe, the United States of America and Asia.

In IT news from Europe the focus this week has been on net neutrality as the EU’s combined telecoms regulator BEREC has published a series of draft to introduce strong net neutrality rules that will require the equal treatment of all data passing over EU airways.

On the issue of cyber privacy, the EU and USA have announced an agreement on data protection that will see greater cooperation between the two regions in an effort to curb crime and terrorism. The agreement will extend the right to privacy to personal data crossing the Atlantic.

The EU has also reached an agreement with Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft to monitor and restrict the spread of hate speech online by increasing the speed with which they respond to the notifications from users.

In the United States there has been an increased focus on Cyber security based upon government response to the SWIFT messaging hack that has affected banks in Asia. This response has led to an inquiry into wether the Federal Reserve has also been the subject of a similar hack. Elsewhere in government the Department of Defense have started a programme to monitor the threat to cyber security from within the US government and Congress have started an inquiry into the reorganization of the Department of Homeland’s cyber response mechansims.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and industry and civil rights groups have begun a legal challenge this week against the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the hope of overturning a recent decision to extend the categories available to US metadata surveillance. The new powers would allow the FBI to access personal digital information on all US residents, including the time and location of internet access without a requirement for judicial approval.

Also this week the US and Indian governments reached an agreement to increase their cyber cooperation, following Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the White House. The full treaty is expected to be signed within the next few months and would see India take a greater role in global internet governance.

Whilst the SWIFT messaging scandal continues to attract headlines in Asia, and around the world, there are a series of important new issues emerging.

Amongst these is the announcement by Indian regulator TRAI in conjunction with their consultation on net neutrality that the organization will not recognize the use of intranet services to provide discounted services as compatible with net neutrality. This decision will greatly affect how telecoms companies offer services such as film, tv and online books to their users.

Also of note this week is the decision by the Singapore government to ban public sector employees from accessing the internet. The decision has been taken in an attempt to prevent government leaks via email, but many have argued that instead the government and public services will be set back to a time before the internet.

Finally in Asia there is a growing demand for IT professionals as computers and the internet more broadly continue to penetrate the populations of ASEAN countries.

Elsewhere in the world there is news that almost 1.5 billion computers world wide are affected by a Microsoft software flaw that leaves them susceptible to exploitation by hackers. There are also calls from university students across the world for universities to improve their digital strategies as students are increasingly frustrated by outdated and inadequate administration systems. Canada have also announced the creation of a new centre to focus on Data privacy and protection.

Amongst the headline stories emerging from international organisations this week are the announcement from NATO that cyber threats will be placed on an equal war footing as traditional areas of the military such as air and naval aggression. Also of note is the agreement between the ITU and Kenya on the hosting of the 2016 Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium set for September.