Cloud Engineer Regs social networking

The impact of digital technologies on the mind – House of Lords style

Over my toast this morning I was flicking through last week’s Hansard, as you do. Yaaawn I hear you say. Come now say I. Buried deep in this mountain of sleep inducing text can be found valuable nuggets of information worthy of dissemination to the wider audience. I am here to serve.

On 5th December the House of Lords held a short debate, introduced by Baroness Greenfield, on the impact of digital technologies on the mind. Beginning with the factoid that a recent survey in the USA found that over half of teenagers aged 13 to 17 spend more than 30 hours a week, outside school, using computers and other web-connected devices the Baroness asked three questions:

broadband Business internet Regs

Rural Broadband: Mixed Messages for Outlying Communities #digitalbritain #ge2010

In an action (not so packed) Parliamentary session yesterday the Government dropped it’s plans for the 50 pence tax on phone lines. So that’s the money that was going to be used to fund rural broadband access gone then.

On the other hand they also dropped plans to hike tax on cider – so that rural dwellers can continue to drink themselves into oblivion over the fact that they can’t get broadband!  There is a perverse logic in there somewhere.

Business internet security

UK cybercrime defences are good says House of Lords but Estonia’s are rubbish

Doesn’t quite match does it? The House of Lords telling us that the UK has strong defences against cybercrime. It is quite possible that your average crusted baronet has no idea what cybercrime is.

I’m being a bit unfair here in the interest of humour.

This week the House of Lords European Union Committee published its report into protecting Europe against large-scale cyber attacks. The report looked into the resilience of Europe’s and the UK’s internet infrastructure which is deemed part of critical national infrastructure.

The report argued that there is a wide variation between Member States on this issue, with the UK having “sophisticated and well-developed defences to guard against attacked and disruption”.

Estonia however, and for example, which as a nation is heavily dependent on the internet, is knackered (my word not their Lordships) if subjected to even a minor cyber attack.

The Committee made a number of findings including: the public sector should take the initiative on how cyber-security could be developed on a global basis; EU and NATO should work closer together, and the Government should encourage this to happen; and the European Commission should propose establishing national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS).

More here

Business piracy

Peer 2 Peer Piracy – good lord no!

Had a meeting with BIS this morning as the final opportunity to influence the forthcoming Digital Britain bill. Nothing was said really that hasn’t already been published somewhere. We will know the precise content in a couple of weeks.

There is an awful lot of detail that will have to be worked out and with only around 5 months or so until the notional date of the General Election there is, apart from the increasingly vociferous opposition from the ISP industry,  a concern that the time available is not enough to properly consider the bill.

Notwithstanding all that ISPs will have to start working very hard to make sure that all MPs fully understand the issues being debated/proposed here.

This includes Members of the House of Lords which of course introduces a whole new set of issues. What will their Lordships think of a Bill with a major tenet being Peer to Peer Piracy? It is just not the done thing old chap. The Upper House works on a strong basis of trust 🙂 . Seriously though the bill will have to go through the Lords and their Lordships are likely to be closely examining the privacy / consumer rights aspects of the legislation

Notwithstanding that bit of fun I thought it worth adding a few educational points to the debate at this late stage.

Firstly serious P2P illegal downloaders will just move to on to private encrypted networks/Newsgroups that hide your underlying network address and so make it hard to track you down. These do charge which might make it unattractive for Music Pirates wanting freebies. These sites are also unfortunately apparently often attract child pornographers and other lowlife.

If you don’t know anything about them check out the links below:

wikipedia NewsRazor UseNeXT

There is also a continued stream of information suggesting that those that do indulge in Music Piracy also spend more money than those that don’t. Check out the latest market research here.

Business security

House of Lords inquiry into cyber security

Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union is conducting an inquiry into EU policy on protecting Europe from large scale cyber-attacks.

That opening sentence is, in my mind, a great example of beaurocracy in action. I will say however that actually this is a good subject for their venerable Lordships to be considering.

The European Union is very much concerened about “Protecting Europe from large scale cyber-attacks and disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience” and in March 09 issued a 400 page Communication on this subject. I’m not about to read the 400 pages but an international approach to cyber security makes sense.

In fact we really need a global approach to many interent related issues: child abuse, fraud, online copyright to name but a few.  The House of Lords inquiry is in the “Call for Evidence” phase which lasts until 13th November.

The original doc is here >  Cyberattacks call for evidence 16 10 09.

Business voip

2009 ITSPA Awards – get yer entries in

The first Annual ITSPA Awards bash last year was a huge success, not least because Timico won the Best Unified Communications provider award!  The event was held in the House of Lords Members Dining Room and had a fantastic turnout. We ended up in a few bars around Westminster and succeeded in not losing the trophy.

This year we are doing the same again and hopefully will have another great turnout.  If you are reading this and are in the VoIP business you should think about entering. There are categories for both Service Providers and equipment/solution vendors, details of which can be found here. This year’s entrants are also going to be subject to expert testing by Epitiro.

The winners will be announced in the House of Commons Strangers Dining Room where the ITSPA Awards will take place on 10th December 2009. I look forward to seeing you there. Come and tap me on the shoulder to say hello.