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Tata firm catches ‘Reliance spy’ February 15, 2007

Posted by telecompak in Crime, Security, The Law.
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VSNL has caught the PA to MD passing on sensitive corporate information to arch rival Reliance Communications. He sold out for Rs40,000/-

This is an Indian story, not Pakistani, but its here since its interesting.


Bitfrost, the OLPC security system February 15, 2007

Posted by telecompak in Education, OLPC, Security.
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Since there is a remote chance of the ‘Gorement’ buying into the OLPC project we present some reading on its security system. The author is Ivan Krstić.

The architecture-level non-technical specification for Bitfrost, the security platform on the One Laptop per Child machines.
A request for comments is here (the Wiki was overloaded and unreachable when I had a look)
Slashdot discussion
Wired article
LWN article

Techdirt has a comment about backdoors.

People, lets remember that this is all Alpha stage stuff. The security design is just a design. The first Laptops have left the factory, but they are just the prototypes. Next (Beta) stage is 2500 pieces going out for field testing. This is a major project and it is not going to happen overnight.

Foreign ISPs investing $150 million to start operation February 14, 2007

Posted by telecompak in Broadband, Infrastructure, ISP.
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After Multinet and Dancom (both with Malaysian investors, though Dancom has been sold to Orascom after a fiasco to do with a mismanaged WLL bid), looks like there are some more investors are coming into the ISP sector. The more the merrier for the consumer.

I presume that media used will be wireless or cable. PTCL copper is not worth the hassle.

Business Recorder

KARACHI (February 13 2007): Three Middle Eastern and Far Eastern Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are taking position to launch their operations in Pakistan with an aggregate investment of $150 million. Sources said that two of the companies would be launching their full-fledge operations while on of the companies would be acquiring an existing ISP.

The intending companies have already applied for the licenses and hopefully, the licenses would be awarded by the end of these years. Each of the ISPs would be investing $50 million to kick off their service in Pakistan, which is expected to be started within two years.

Sources further informed that these intending ISPs are already preparing the feasibility reports and assessing the market. Invent of these service providers would generate direct employment for at least 5,000 people.

It was also learnt that all these three ISPs would start their operations simultaneously at 90 destinations throughout the country. The country is quite underdeveloped as far as Internet penetration is concerned.

According to the latest data available the Internet penetration stands at 8.0 percent with around 15 million Internet users. However, the current penetration would be doubled within next four to five years, as some 12 million users would be added during this period.

Presently, around two dozen ISPs are operating in the country with 128Kbps bandwidth benchmark, which is quite thin as compared to the developed countries even India is far ahead in this technology.

However, according to sources, these new ISPs planning to operate at 512Kbps bandwidth would spark the competition between the service providers and resultantly 512Kbps bandwidth would be set as the benchmark.

The Middle Eastern and Far Eastern ISPs would be providing DSL, Hybrid Fibre Coil (HFC) and wireless broadband excess to suit the requirements of all quarters of the society.

Sources informed that these firms were preparing feasibility reports and assessing their target market to avoid the consequences faced by the existing ISPs, which could not register big success stories, as they lacked proper study and knowledge of the target markets and user requirements.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2007

PTA Act Final with amendments (2006) February 12, 2007

Posted by telecompak in Regulators, The Law.
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The new, amended Act is here. No it doesn’t say when it was amended, it was just changed in 2006 sometime.

So whats changed? Some stuff about Crypto (using crypto is now legal, wow! Now when you browse a secure web page you are [probably] not breaking the law) , Rights of Way and the Universal Service Fund.

Nicholas Negroponte on OLPC February 9, 2007

Posted by telecompak in Education, Human Resources, IT.
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Posted on Thu, Feb. 08, 2007
By Dean Takahashi
Mercury News

Nicholas Negroponte took some time recently for an e-mail interview with Mercury News Columnist Dean Takahashi about his low-cost laptop project.

Q How long ago did you think of the One Laptop Per Child idea?

A This work dates back to my MIT colleague Seymour Papert’s early thinking (Logo in 1968 and “teaching children thinking” in April 1970). He and I worked in developing nations with Apple IIs in 1982 in Pakistan, Senegal and Colombia.

In the 1990s, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab did a great deal of work in remote regions of the developing world, bringing access through viral telecommunications and what is today called WiMax and WiFi (wireless high-speed Internet). The decision to do One Laptop Per Child was made in 2004 after careful study and realization that it can be done.

Q What sort of skepticism have you faced?

A The foremost was “great idea, but they cannot do it,” where “they” could mean either us as academics or anybody (namely, it is not possible). That vanished as skepticism when Taiwan’s Quanta agreed to do it with us. Quanta makes almost 40 percent of all the world’s laptops.

The next skepticism has been about the ability of children to learn how to use the laptop without training all the teachers of the world to teach them. Give me a break. The kids will teach the teachers, and the trick is to create enough adult self-confidence to allow that to happen unfettered. No. That does not unto itself create “education,” but it is a damn good start.

Q You’ve had some disagreements with Microsoft and Intel during the course of this project. Can you describe the nature of the disagreement and your position?

A They are very different. Microsoft has a real problem with open source — a problem with which I sympathize. Nonetheless, we are working with them. They have laptops and are determined to put Windows on it. We are helping them do so. It would be nuts for One Laptop Per Child to advocate being “open” and then being closed to Microsoft.

Intel, by contrast, is just being silly. I went to them first (note: Intel founder Bob Noyce funded me to start the MIT Media Lab in 1979). They dismissed the idea. Advanced Micro Devices by contrast leapt at it. AMD CEO Hector Ruiz has been an excellent partner, deeply committed and genuinely devoted to issues of the developing world. After Intel Chairman Craig Barrett called One Laptop Per Child a “gadget,” Intel developed their own gadget and talks of “competing with One Laptop Per Child.” Huh? We welcome them and do not compete with anybody.

One Laptop Per Child is a non-profit humanitarian project partnered with the United Nations and development banks.

For Intel to be criticizing One Laptop Per Child is a bit like Johnson & Johnson picking on the Red Cross because they use Ace bandages.

Q Why has cost been such a problem for the high-volume computer industry? Why can’t they get to the $100 price point?

A It is all about margins, not costs. In an industry where the natural tendency of costs is to go down 50 percent every 18 months, the response is to add features. Witness cell phones. The truth is that there is little corporate self-interest in very low price points.

Q How much of your time is this taking?

A Every waking hour and every moment of thought. I know. Get a life, Nicholas.

Q Is this a cause or a market opportunity? If it’s a market opportunity, how do you make a pitch to companies that this is in their own self-interest to get involved?

A It is a cause, without a shadow of a doubt. Many companies see this as a market, too, but that is not One Laptop Per Child’s purpose.