The Digital Agenda Scoreboard gives essential data and in-depth analysis of progress so far with the implementation of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE). The Scoreboard is the first to be published by the European Commission showing the performance of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets after the first year of existence of the DAE. The DAE includes 101 specific actions (78 for the Commission, of which 31 were legal proposals, and 23 for Member States) which will together boost investment in, and use of, digital technologies. They are grouped under 7 headings, each representing a key area of Europe's digital economy. Overall, progress is good: 11 actions have been completed (two ahead of schedule), 6 actions due to be delivered last year are delayed, and the other 84 are largely on track.
A Scoreboard has been published by the European Commission showing the performance of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe after the first year of its existence. In line with its commitment to an open data strategy the European Commission has made its data sets and statistics in the Scoreboard publicly available online enabling anyone to carry out their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.
This report underlines the need to ensure that citizens and businesses are easily able to access an open and neutral internet. It follows a Commission commitment, at the time of adoption of the EU telecom reform package, to report to the Parliament and Council and reflects comments made during a public consultation, which attracted over 300 responses, and wide discussions with interested parties including a summit organised with the European Parliament.
The Commission will be vigilant that new EU telecoms rules on transparency, quality of service and the ability to switch operator, which entered into force on 25 May 2011, are applied in a way that ensures that these open and neutral internet principles are respected in practice. For example, the Commission will pay close attention to the existence of generalised restrictions of lawful services and applications and to EU citizens' and businesses' broadband connections being as fast as indicated by Internet Service Providers' advertising.
Other rules directly relevant to net neutrality that have also been in force as part of new EU telecoms rules include requirements concerning:
transparency (e.g. any restrictions limiting access to services or applications, connection speeds)
quality of service (regulators can set minimum quality levels) and
the ability to switch operator (within one working day).
Broadband is today’s transformational technology. By revolutionizing access to content and changing the delivery paradigms for a whole host of public and private sector services, it is becoming essential basic infrastructure for every country’s future development. Yet for the moment, access to high-speed Internet is very much a rich-world privilege. To truly harness the power of information and communication technologies to create tomorrow’s Knowledge Societies and meet the Millennium Development Goals, new approaches to driving broadband roll-out across economic barriers are urgently needed. This report looks at what broadband can bring, the state of deployment around the world, and innovative models that can help bring high-speed connectivity to the world’s poorest communities.
The OpenNet Initiative is pleased to share a report authored by Helmi Noman on the rise of the Syrian Electronic Army, a group of pro-government computer hackers that are actively targeting political opposition and Western websites:
Since the beginning of the popular uprisings and protests in the Middle East and North Africa, events in the region have been characterized by increased contestation in cyberspace among regime sympathizers, governments, and opposition movements. One component of this contestation is the tendency among governments and networks of citizens supportive of the state to use offensive computer network attacks. Such tactics are supplements to legal, regulatory, and other controls, and technical forms of Internet censorship.
For example, a group known as the Iranian Cyber Army has defaced Twitter and Iranian opposition websites. Also, Tunisian political activists and Yemeni oppositional websites have both accused their government security organizations of launching attacks on their sites in an attempt to silence their message and deny access to their content.
In this report, we document the activities of the Syrian Electronic Army, which appears to be a case of an open and organized pro-government computer attack group that is actively targeting political opposition and Western websites. Our aim is to assess to what extent we can find evidence of Syrian government assistance for the attack groups, and what the significance of the attacks themselves are for civil society and cyberspace contestation.
Noman is a Senior Researcher at the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs (University of Toronto), and a Research Affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University. The report, originally posted on the InfoWar Monitor site, is titled "The Emergence of Open and Organized Pro-Government Cyber Attacks in the Middle East: The Case of the Syrian Electronic Army."