Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’

Russia and China Withdraw Bid For Internet Control

December 10th, 2012 12:50 admin View Comments


judgecorp writes “Russia, China and other nations have withdrawn proposals to take control over the Internet within their borders. The proposals, handed to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) on Friday, caused widespread dismay and protest. The WCIT event in Dubai, run by the UN agency ITU, is working on new International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) which are due for their first revision since the emergence of the mass Internet. The line-up of nations wanting to formalize their power to restrict the Internet included Russia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt. Their proposal has been withdrawn without explanation, an ITU spokesperson confirmed.”

Source: Russia and China Withdraw Bid For Internet Control

ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection

December 4th, 2012 12:19 admin View Comments


dsinc sends this quote from Techdirt about the International Telecommunications Union’s ongoing conference in Dubai that will have an effect on the internet everywhere: “One of the concerns is that decisions taken there may make the Internet less a medium that can be used to enhance personal freedom than a tool for state surveillance and oppression. The new Y.2770 standard is entitled ‘Requirements for deep packet inspection in Next Generation Networks’, and seeks to define an international standard for deep packet inspection (DPI). As the Center for Democracy & Technology points out, it is thoroughgoing in its desire to specify technologies that can be used to spy on people. One of the big issues surrounding WCIT and the ITU has been the lack of transparency — or even understanding what real transparency might be. So it will comes as no surprise that the new DPI standard was negotiated behind closed doors, with no drafts being made available.”

Source: ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection

Internet Freedom Won’t Be Controlled, Says UN Telcom Chief

December 3rd, 2012 12:45 admin View Comments


wiredmikey writes “The head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, told an audience at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai on Monday that Internet freedom will not be curbed or controlled. ‘Nothing can stop the freedom of expression in the world today, and nothing in this conference will be about it,’ he said. Such claims are ‘completely (unfounded),’ Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, told AFP. ‘We must continue to work together and find a consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure,’ UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said. Google has been vocal in warning of serious repercussions, saying that ‘Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even cut off Internet access,’ noted Google’s Vint Cerf in a blog post.”

Source: Internet Freedom Won’t Be Controlled, Says UN Telcom Chief

US Offers New Plans 1 Month Before UN Meeting To Regulate Web

November 1st, 2012 11:41 admin View Comments

The Internet

Velcroman1 writes “Slashdotters have been reading for months about the upcoming ITU conference next month in Dubai, which will propose new regulations and restrictions for the Internet that critics say could censor free speech, levy tariffs on e-commerce, and even force companies to clean up their ‘e-waste’ and make gadgets that are better for the environment. Concerns about the closed-door event have sparked a Wikileaks-style info-leaking site, and led the State Department on Wednesday to file a series of new proposals or tranches seeking to ensure ‘competition and commercial agreements — and not regulation’ as the meeting’s main message. Terry Kramer, the chief U.S. envoy to the conference, says the United States is against sanctions. ‘[Doing nothing] would not be a terrible outcome at all,’ Kramer said recently.”

Source: US Offers New Plans 1 Month Before UN Meeting To Regulate Web

Showdown Set On Bid To Give UN Control of Internet

October 29th, 2012 10:17 admin View Comments


wiredmikey writes “When delegates gather in Dubai in December for an obscure UN agency meeting, the mother of all cyber diplomatic battles is expected, with an intense debate over proposals to rewrite global telecom rules to effectively give the United Nations control over the Internet. Russia, China and other countries back a move to place the Internet under the authority of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN agency that sets technical standards for global phone calls. While US officials have said placing the Internet under UN control would undermine the freewheeling nature of cyberspace, some have said there is a perception that the US owns and manages the Internet. The head of the ITU, Hamadoun Toure, claims his agency has ‘the depth of experience that comes from being the world’s longest established intergovernmental organization.’ But Harold Feld of the US-based non-government group Public Knowledge said any new rules could have devastating consequences. Some are concerned over a proposal by European telecom operators seeking to shift the cost of communication from the receiving party to the sender. This could mean huge costs for US Internet giants like Facebook and Google.”

Source: Showdown Set On Bid To Give UN Control of Internet

Following Huawei Report, US Rejects UN Telecom Proposals

October 10th, 2012 10:09 admin View Comments


jjp9999 writes “The Epoch Times reports that on Monday, the same day the Intelligence Committee released its report cautioning against Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE, the U.S. said it will reject major changes to telecom at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference in Dubai this December. The UN conference will be the first of its kind since 1988, and its members are pressing the U.S. to hand control of governing the Internet over to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Huawei and ZTE are both members of the ITU. Terry Kramer, the U.S. special envoy to the conference, said the US opposes proposals from some of the ‘nondemocratic nations’ that include tracking and monitoring content and user information, which ‘makes it very easy for nations to monitor traffic.’”

Source: Following Huawei Report, US Rejects UN Telecom Proposals

The Most Important Meeting You’ve Never Heard of

October 2nd, 2012 10:47 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “In December the nations of the world will gather in Dubai for the UN-convened World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT – pronounced ‘wicket’). The topic of the meeting is nothing less than the regulation of the Internet. Under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union the governments of the world will review the international treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR). The last review of the ITR was in 1988 when the Internet was just aborning. The remarkable and reshaping growth of the Internet provides the excuse for the new review. What’s really afoot, however, is an effort by some nations to rebalance the Internet in their favor by reinstituting telecom regulatory concepts from the last century.” At least it’s being held in a hotbed of unfettered online communication.

Source: The Most Important Meeting You’ve Never Heard of

Chinese Firms Claims It Can Build World’s Tallest Tower in 90 Days

June 19th, 2012 06:10 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Even since the current world’s tallest builing — the Burj Khalifa in Dubai — was completed, there has been a constant battle to build the world’s next tallest building. The current record holder stands tall at 828 meters and took five years to build, but a Chinese company called Broad Sustainable Building aims to smash that record by building the 838 meter Sky City tower, in Changsa, China in a mere 90 days. BSB plans to use prefab building techniques to construct the tower in record time.”

Source: Chinese Firms Claims It Can Build World’s Tallest Tower in 90 Days

How Mobile is Being Used in the Middle East

April 30th, 2012 04:35 admin View Comments

Outside the United States and Western Europe and parts of Asia, mobile advertisers are just beginning to find their legs. Smartphone sales are popping internationally, and that is beginning to create entire new industries and market segments to be sliced and diced for analysis. In particular, mobile usage is rising dramatically in the Middle East. How are people using their smartphones in the cradle of civilization?

In the United States, advertisers have been using data to digest consumer behavior for decades. With the rise of mobile, an entirely new platform that advertising could be sent to had to be investigated, and the data junkies have gone to work in various places. In the Middle East, an ad company called Plus7 (owned by Clique Media) surveyed several thousand people across seven countries in the region to determine how they are using their mobile devices to access news and information.

The survey included six countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt. The six GCC countries included the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Many regions in these countries are extremely affluent, with wealth generated from oil production; these regions are ripe for mobile growth and the subsequent advertising that comes with it.

Some key takeaways from Plus7’s survey:

  • The top uses of mobile in the Middle East were for access to news, information, social networks and email. 
  • More than half of respondents across the entire survey access mobile websites or apps once daily.
  • The United Arab Emirates leads with the most app downloads, with more than 50% of respondents having more than 10 apps. About 49% of UAE respondents have no paid apps, with 27% having between one and five paid apps. 
  • More than half of respondents preferred to use cash on delivery as opposed to mobile phones tied to credit cards to make purchases. 

In the largest and richest country in the region, Saudi Arabia, 47% of survey respondents had a mobile data plan. 53% of male respondents had a data plan, against 39% of women. Unlike the U.S., where mobile usage tends to spike in younger demographics, it was the older segments in Saudi Arabia that seem to be using mobile most, with 56% of 36- to 50-year-olds and 52% of respondents who were 51 or older having data plans. 

In Saudi Arabia, 42% of respondents used mobile browsers for news and information, followed by 29% for applications. Fifty-three percent of respondents accessed mobile sites or apps “many times a day,” with usage again spiking in the eldest two age demographics. News and information was the primary use among respondents in Saudi Arabia, with 46% of men saying that was their most frequent destination. Women used social networking the most in Saudi Arabia, at 38% (against 34% for news). Sixty percent of respondents had downloaded more than 10 applications, with 65% of 25- to 35-year-olds leading the way.

Saudi Arabia Mobile Usage

We focus on Saudi Arabia because it is the bellwether for the region, as well as the country with the most survey respondents (1,692). Egypt had the next-largest group of respondents at 1,570 (see chart above).

More Egyptians have mobile data packages than Saudis, according to the survey. Fifty-seven percent of respondents had a data package, with plans spiking in the 25-35 years of age (60%) and 36-50 years of age (63%) demographics. Thirty-two percent of Egyptian respondents use applications against 45% who use mobile browsers, with 61% accessing either multiple times a day. News and information was by far the leading usage segment at 57%, followed by social networks (43%) and search (42%).

In the United Arab Emirates, the financial center of the Middle East and home to one of the richest cities in the world in Dubai, 56% of respondents had data packages. Access to the packages is broad: All age demographics from 19 years old and up were above 50%, with the 51+ segment leading the way at 64%. About 47% of respondents access apps or mobile websites multiple times a day, with news and information (45%), email (44%) and social networking (39%) leading the way. 

Mobile Purchases in the United Arab Emirates

The depth of data decreases with the other countries in the survey because of fewer respondents. The trend of older users having the most data plans is reversed in Oman, with 56% of the 19-24 age bracket against just 34% in the 36-50 segment. Fifty-five percent of respondents in Kuwait have a data package, also skewed towards the 19-24 demographic (78%) and heavily male (61%). Fewer people in Qatar have data packages (49%) with the 36- to 50-year-old demographic the highest at 59%. Bahrain’s data is likely irrelevant given the sample size (just 65 responses), but 57% of those did not have a data package, with 68% of women (out of 25 responses) owning one. 

For those who do not have data packages, pre-paid mobile plans are the most likely method of accessing mobile websites and apps from a device. Pre-paid is not the norm in the United States and Western Europe, but much of the rest of the world’s mobile use centers around pre-paid plans. The ability to have a data package and a carrier contract is seen as a sign of market penetration and financial strength in a region. 

Data Packages in Egypt

In the U.S., we see surveys and data analysis like this all the time. Mobile marketing and advertising firms such as Apkudo and Millennial Media issue monthly reports about user trends and consumer behavior. As smartphone use grows in the Middle East, we will likely see much more rich behavioral data come from the region as mobile advertisers and analytics services mature.

It is important to note that the sample size for this survey was small, and respondents were found through advertising on mobile websites, applications and other means. 

Lead image courtesy of Wikipedia. All other charts and images from Plus7 survey.

Source: How Mobile is Being Used in the Middle East

What Louis C.K. Teaches Us About the Power of the Web For DIY Content Distribution

December 14th, 2011 12:30 admin View Comments

louis-ck-150.jpgComedian Louis C.K. was tired of seeing his fans pay marked-up prices to enjoy his work. The bloated costs of show tickets and add-on fees for myriad middlemen had become “f—ing brutal” for consumers, C.K. told Rolling Stone recently. Thankfully, we’re no longer trapped in the 20th century with its top-heavy, restricted, one-way model of content distribution. So C.K. took to the Web.

His experiment, as he called it, was to see if he could self-release one of his stand-up comedy specials on the Internet without paying for others to produce, edit and distribute the material, all of which drive up the cost paid by fans. It was a somewhat bold gamble, even if the model had been tested successfully by a few big name bands and musicians. Would it work for stand-up comedy?

For C.K., it did. He made the video available on his website last weekend as a DRM-free download for only five dollars. As he reported last night, sales of his “Live at the Beacon Theater” special sold 110,000 downloads within the first 48 hours, netting the comedian a profit of over $200,000.

This was no YouTube amateur hour, either. Between producing the video and building out the PayPal-powered e-commerce site needed to sell it, expenses for the project were just over $200,000, some of which was offset by ticket sales. To help keep costs down, C.K. directed and edited the video himself. Much of the promotion of the project happened online too, including a Q&A with fans on Reddit.

As C.K. notes, he could have had a third party company produce and sell the material to fans. They would do most of the heavy lifting, but would also pass significant costs onto consumers and come with restrictions on viewing the content.

“This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai,” wrote C.K. “I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.”

A Win For the Web, Despite Piracy Risks

By making the video freely available, C.K. runs the obvious risk of having it uploaded to Bit Torrent and otherwise shared freely among people online. And there’s no doubt many will do that. Yet his experiment shows that with an established enough brand, artists can produce and distribute their work by themselves, without the need for middlemen and extraneous costs.

It doesn’t hurt that Louis C.K. is already a famous comedian who has had plenty of material produced and sold via the traditional approach, from stand-up specials to his ongoing television series. The DIY method may not work for up-and-coming artists at this point, but with developments like these, the Web is proving itself to be increasingly powerful for distributing and promoting one’s work. Despite the conventional wisdom, as C.K.’s experiment has demonstrated, it’s even possible to get paid.

Source: What Louis C.K. Teaches Us About the Power of the Web For DIY Content Distribution