Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weak laws expose kids to 'pervasive' Internet sex abuse


Agence France-Presse

BANGKOK--New technology is outpacing law enforcement's ability to stop Internet child pornographers who have created an illegal business worth billions of dollars, an international children's watchdog said Friday.
The report issued by the Bangkok-based ECPAT International called for tougher national laws and coordinated industry action to protect children from abuse through new technologies.

Such abuse "is pervasive, causes deep and lasting physical and psychological damage to the child victims, and is outstripping the resources of law enforcement agencies," said the group, which conducted the study as part of a larger UN report on violence against children.

The group's executive director Carmen Madrinan said the report highlights "the ease with which people who are intent on harming children move between the physical and virtual worlds in order to exploit a child."

Cyber-violence against children documented in the study includes child pornography and "live" online abuse of children for paying customers.

Other abuses included stalking and bullying children online, and using the Internet to network for child sex tourism and trafficking, it said.

Most child pornography is traded online for free, but it has also generated an underground business worth billions of dollars that circulates millions of images of child abuse, the report said.

Most of the free websites with child pornography have been traced to Russia and former Soviet states, the United States, Spain, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, it added.

Half of the images of child abuse sold online are generated from the United States, and another quarter come from Russia, it said.

The two countries are also the leading hosts of commercial child pornography websites, followed by Spain and Sweden, it said.

An Interpol database contains more than 10,000 images of child victims, but fewer than 350 of them have been found, the report warned.

ECPAT, which stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, called for tougher laws that would require Internet service providers to monitor for sexual images of children.

It also urged technology companies to provide pre-installed safety software on all PCs and mobile phones, and called for a global education campaign about the risks of online child abuse.


Smart set to invest in 3G to enhance revenues
By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, The Philippine Star

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), through its wholly owned subsidiary Smart Communications, will invest in the third generation of mobile communications technology or 3G as means of enhancing revenues in the near future.

PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno disclosed that Smart has also filed its application with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for 3G frequency bands, although it was learned that Smart has yet to submit the necessary requirements to be eligible for such frequencies.

NTC is making available five 3G frequency bands and if there are more than five qualified applicants, the frequencies will be granted to the highest bidder. Right now, only Globe Telecom has submitted all the required documents, unlike Smart and Digitel which have only furnished the NTC a letter of intent to avail of the 3G frequencies.

Four companies namely Next Mobile, AZ Communications of businessman Antonio Cojuangco, Multi-Media Communications, and CURE reportedly in tandem with ISM Communications of former trade minister Roberto Ongpin, are applying for 3G licenses and only those which are granted such license will be eligible to bid for or be allocated 3G frequencies.

PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said 3G is inevitable and is something which PLDT will have to embrace.

Nazareno, also president and CEO of Smart, for his part explained that the group is looking at all kinds of usage-enhancing services to encourage more usage of mobile phone services.

"Growing revenues will definitely be a challenge next year. 3G when it comes will enhance revenue and will be geared towards the higher-end market," he pointed out.

Aside from 3G, which will be an upgrade of the existing second-generation or GSM (global system for mobile communications) system being used by the mobile phone service operators, PLDT is also investing in wireless broadband technology which it hopes will generate revenues next year.

Last June, Smart launched its Wifi (wireless fidelity) service which as of end-September had 9,000 subscribers and is targeting the rural areas. "Together with Meridian’s 3,500 subscribers, we now have 12,500 wireless broadband subscribers and we are scaling up operations to meet increasing demand. We now are having 200 installations a day, closing in on DSL," Nazareno said. Smart earlier acquired Meridian Telekom as part of its strategy to enter the wireless broadband arena.

PLDT’s retail DSL (digital subscriber line) broadband now has 76,000 subscribers and is projecting to hit 100,000 by year-end. The Vibe dial-up Internet service has 370,000 subscribers.

Pangilinan likewise pointed out that the company will continue to build its next generation network (NGN) and invest in other new technologies in order to better position PLDT to develop new revenue streams while achieving greater efficiencies.

PLDT is transforming its network from purely copper-wire based or its legacy architecture to one that has an IP (Internet Protocol) core which can deliver both voice and data. Bulk of PLDT fixed line’s capital expenditure is for the upgrading of existing facilities to NGN

Friday, November 11, 2005

Disposable web-based e-mail service hopes to dodge spam

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva, INQ7.net

A new web-based e-mail service launched by GreenSloth.com offers free, disposable e-mail that expires four hours after use. The catch is that people may be able to view your e-mail since it does not require a password.

To create a temporary web-based e-mail, users have to visit http://www.greensloth.com/, create an address -- e.g. erwin.oliva@greensloth.com -- and hit the check button. This will bring you to your virtual mailbox. You can now start using this address, albeit for a short time.

"GreenSloth.com is a new type of free web based e-mail mainly used to avoid spammers from putting your real e-mail address on their mailing lists when you sign up for forums or other offers online.

Greensloth.com http://Greensloth.com is what you would call a 'throw away' or 'disposable' email service. You can use the email address then forget about it, and you never have to sign up to use our free service," reads the web-based service's frequently-asked-questions section.

To check your email, you just type in the e-mail address you used into a box on the main page and hit the "Checkmail" button. Since this service requires no password, anyone can read your mailbox.

This service is also riddled with online advertisements

Finding teachers who teach through technology

There was time when teachers only had chalk and the blackboard as their tools to share knowledge to students. For visual aids, cartolina and Manila paper were the usual choices.

Then came the acetate, which made teaching more exciting as it displayed the lessons on the classroom wall using an overhead projector. Not long after, acetate slides that were magnified by a rotating projector proliferated in schools.

Despite the arrival of these new tools, it seemed something was still lacking. For one, it made more teaching more expensive, further depleting the already meager salaries of teachers. Secondly, it did not allow a healthy environment of information sharing as it was only the teacher who made all the talking.

The coming of the information age — the Internet and, yes, Microsoft PowerPoint — was expected to change all that. Or, at least, a new hope was ushered in anticipating a technology-aided teaching era.

But that hope has remained just as that — still a hope. The main culprit, of course, is access to technology. Majority of schools are still on the other side of the great digital divide.

But surprisingly, and amazingly, a few of Filipino teachers has transformed this mere hope into something that is now making a difference in their professional careers and, consequently, in the lives of their students.

The recent Microsoft 2nd Innovative Teachers Leadership Awards searched far and wide for these teachers, raking through the entire archipelago to find the mentors who made that breakthrough through technology.

Just like in 2004 when the program first started, this year’s search produced a remarkable trove of innovators who, despite logistical limitations, applied the aid of technology in enhancing the learning process.

At the Manolo M. Lopez Development Center in Antipolo City where the final judging was held, the board of judges composed of seasoned educators tackled one the hardest tasks they have ever handled: Choosing the most tech-savvy teachers who genuinely had the passion for teaching from those who merely applied technology in their teaching methods.

There were some who said they were traumatized for the strict selection process they went through, while some blamed themselves outright for joining the contest.

These statements, of course, were uttered in jest.

After the smoke of the battle cleared, those who shined the most among 25 finalists were proclaimed as winners. They were Ma. Cecilia T. Correa of Manila Science High School; Christie Anne Dagamac of Ipil National High School (Ormoc); Cecilia Mag-isa Estoque of Agusan National High School; Francisco S. Garcia of Manila Science High School; and Evelyn R. Manahan of Iligan City East High School.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Microsoft makes fresh move to Web, challenging Google, Yahoo

NEW YORK--Microsoft is making a fresh move to bring more services to the Internet in a bid to fend off challenges from rivals like Google and Yahoo that could chip away at the customer base of the world's biggest software firm.

Microsoft recently unveiled a strategy for Web services based on its flagship Windows and Office products.

The company will offer "Office Live" to help small and midsize businesses use and maintain the suite of software used for applications such as e-mail, scheduling, spreadsheets and word processing.

"This is a big change for everybody," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in announcing the move. "It is employing every part of the [software] ecosystem."

Analysts are divided on the new approach by Microsoft, which will initially support the services through advertising but may eventually go to subscription models.

Carmi Levy of the research firm Info-Tech said Microsoft's announcement means "the end of shrink-wrapped software in a box and the start of the Internet-based services era. It marks a turning point in the industry."

Levy added that Microsoft "could not afford to sit by and do nothing while Google and Yahoo established themselves in that market [as leaders] in Web services and advertising."

Analysts said Microsoft needed to offer a Web version of its Office software -- including word processing and spreadsheets -- to counter a move by Google and Sun Microsystems on the open-source rival called OpenOffice developed by Sun. Although Microsoft's Windows operating system is used on more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers, the company has to fear efforts to circumvent Windows by going directly to the Internet.

This system would allow customers to use word processors or other applications on the Internet and store documents on a secure website instead of on a PC drive.

Jason Maynard, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said: "With this event, it's apparent that Microsoft understands the reality of the Web as a platform [for] user-centric computing and advertising-based business models." Maynard added: "While much work needs to be done, we were impressed with the thoughtfulness and broadness of the offering. This event marks the real start of the 'on-demand' battles."

The move revived an attempt made several years ago by Microsoft to expand its Internet services in a program known as .NET, or "Hailstorm," that floundered amid privacy concerns about its authentication process, called Passport. Joe Wilcox at Jupiter Research was more skeptical about the latest Microsoft strategy.

"Advertisers looking to extend their brands might think twice about being associated with products that could create disgruntled customers," Wilcox said. He noted that consumers "may not be as forgiving" about glitches in the services.

"In the offline world, there are huge expectations about services like water, electricity and telephony working right," he said. "People get mad when the lights go out. If the online services don't deliver, switching brand affiliation would be as easy as switching services, and there are plenty of places offering the kind of stuff Microsoft plans for Live."