U.S. Commerce Secretary Releases Report Finding Progress on Digital Inclusion
More Americans than ever have Internet access and own computers, according to a government report released 16 October 2000 by U.S. Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. The report found that progress is being made toward the Administration's goal of making certain every American has access to the information-age tools necessary to take part in the digital economy. President Clinton stated in response to the release that he was "especially pleased that many low-income, rural, and minority households are beginning to get connected at rates faster than the national average." The report, Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion, produced by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and its Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), found that virtually every group has participated in the sharp upward trend of Americans to connect their homes to the Internet. The report can be accessed by visiting the U.S. Commerce Department Web site, the NTIA Web site, or the ESA Web site.
Britain Takes Lead in Online Business
(BBC News, 10 October 2000) - Britain has been holding its own in the world of e-commerce, according to a new government report. A study of the nation's online activity showed that 27 percent of the UK's businesses were now using the Internet. The figures showed that the UK leads the world in using the Internet for transactions between customers, companies, and their suppliers. Scotland outpaces England with 29 percent of businesses trading online. The government was expected to welcome the report, which was in contrast to allegations that the UK has been falling behind its neighbors.
Singapore Government to Offer Four 3G Licenses
(Newsbytes, 23 Oct 2000) - Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will hold an auction that will decide the award of a total of four third- generation (3G) mobile telecom licenses. The three existing Singapore mobile network operators -- SingTel, M1 and StarHub -- are expected to take up three of the licenses. The IDA says that the availability of four licenses guarantees there will be at least one new entrant into the market. The IDA has decided on the auction method, which is similar to recent allocations in Europe. It chose this approach over the so-called beauty contest method, wherein the government makes selections based on predetermined criteria. The bidders will be vying for radio frequency spectrum they can use to roll out 3G services in Singapore. The auction is expected to begin in February 2001. More Information.
E-Commerce in Uruguay Rises but Needs Momentum
(NUA Internet Surveys) - According to a new study from Uruguayan Internet expert Dr. Stephen Moston, the number of Uruguayan companies engaged in e-commerce has risen by 250 percent since 1998 with 27 percent of businesses with a Web site now offering consumers a method of buying online, up from 8 percent two years ago. However, many issues, such as online security, still need to be addressed. Three major problems were identified by the study: A small selection of goods and services available online; lack of competitive pricing; and inadequate ordering systems due to a lack of security. The study, Uruguayan Businesses and the Internet 2000, surveyed leading businesses and analyzed the top 100 Web sites. More information.
Web Is 'Not Quite As Dull' as the Dome
(BBC News, 6 October 2000) - The Internet has gone from revolution in the making to over- promoted fad to just boring, says a new UK survey. A report carried out for Internet service provider MSN has found that people are being turned off by what they see as Internet hype. A fifth of those questioned said they were sick of hearing exaggerated claims about the way the Internet would change their lives, and were bored by tales of the get-rich-quick lifestyles of young dot.com millionaires. Although respondents thought the Net was boring, the survey revealed that it was not the dullest thing imaginable. That accolade was reserved for the Millennium Dome in southeast London. More information.
New Poll Finds Americans Concerned About Security of Government Computers
Will U.S. government fiddling with information security burn public confidence in electronic commerce and the Internet economy? A new public opinion poll of 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide released by The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), called Keeping the Faith: Government Information Security in the Internet Age, finds that Americans have serious doubts about their government's ability to maintain computer security. As a result of the security lapses at Los Alamos, 63 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to provide personal data to the government, and the possible misuse of government-held data worries an overwhelming 81 percent. Americans are also concerned about the privacy of personal information collected by their government, believing, in general, that businesses do a better job of protecting data. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they would not feel safe using a secure digital signature to sign a legal document. ITAA President Harris N. Miller said that "business and government must work together to solve the security problems of federal computers, so that the overall environment of e-government and e-commerce is a safe place for consumers." An Executive Summary of the results is available at http://www.itaa.org. For more information.
Two ICANN Critics Elected to Its Board
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has seen five of its 19 directors directly elected in its first worldwide online election, including two of its most vociferous critics. U.S. computer engineer Karl Auerbach and German student and hacking advocate Andy Mueller-Maguhn both vowed to fight for the voice of individual people against what they see as excessive corporate control over the Internet. Formed in October 1998, ICANN is a nonprofit, private-sector corporation responsible for coordinating key Internet functions, such as the allocation of IP address space, the management of the root server system, and protocol number assignment. The three other candidates elected are Ghanaian Nii Quaynor for Africa; Japan's Masanobu Katoh for the Asia-Pacific region; and Brazilian Ivan Moura Campos for Latin America. An immediate task facing the newly elected members will be to approve and assign new suffixes for top-level Internet domain names to supplement the .coms .govs and .orgs, which date back to the 1980s. More information.
Online Buying Patterns Vary Globally
(Newsbytes, 24 October 2000) - A recent study concludes that consumers in some countries are more willing to buy certain products online than their U.S. counterparts. The independent report, sponsored by eTranslate and carried out by IDC was published 24 October 2000. The study translates Web-based questions into users' local languages, allowing the U.S.-based researchers access to a wider variety of non-English speaking Web-users' buying habits. The report will analyze international markets for financial services, computer hardware and software, and media industries. For more information.
African-Americans and the Internet
Online African-Americans are proportionally more likely than online whites to have searched for information about major life issues, such as researching new jobs and finding places to live. According to a new study released 22 October 2000 by the Pew Internet Project, titled African-Americans and the Internet, they are also more likely to seek entertainment online through music, video and audio clips, and instant messaging. They also are more likely to search for religious or spiritual information. More than three and a half million African-American adults have gone online for the first time in the past year. That has nearly doubled the size of the black online population from what it was a year ago. Women have driven the growth of the black Internet population and they outnumber African-American men with Internet access. More info, including a summary of findings and the text of the main report.
Crime In Cyperspace: First Draft Of International Convention Released
For Public Discussion