5 Months After the Hurricanes, the World Must Do More to Reconnect the Caribbean

2017 was one of the most active hurricane seasons in the Caribbean on record. Five months after the major storms Irma and Marie devastated parts of the Caribbean, there are still far too many people without access to the Internet and everything it offers. In our view, this is unacceptable. Today we published a snapshot of the current situation from the region in a new document, Report from the Field: Post-Hurricane Connectivity in the Caribbean.

The international response to this natural disaster has been mixed at best, and while several entities reached out to the region, a number of challenges impeded smooth and rapid assistance, such as lack of coordination. In some instances, the response from authorities has been either slow or insufficient, or both. The current reality that parts of the Caribbean are still without Internet connectivity this long after the hurricanes wrought their damage is a clear indication that the world’s response to this disaster has fallen short. The robustness of the telecommunications’ infrastructures in certain countries, which form the basis for Internet services, can also be questioned.

The world has the resources to do more.

We ask governments, businesses, educational institutions, NGOs and others, both in the region and around the world, to join together with renewed determination and commitment to reconnect the Caribbean – and to build a more resilient infrastructure that will help the region recover more quickly from the next round of hurricanes.

We believe that the reaction from governments should not be limited by political differences or formal barriers. People’s lives, pains and opportunities demand immediate action and all actors must work together to ensure that the response in future cases is timely and appropriate. It is simply unacceptable that so many people are still without both Internet access and electricity. It’s time to refocus and reaffirm our collective commitment to the Caribbean region.

The Internet Society will lead by example by doing the following:

  1. Partnering with entities that are looking how to enhance telecommunications and internet infrastructure resiliency. As part of this the Internet Society has been accepted as a member of the Commission for Caribbean Network Resilience charted by the CTU. Based on my telecom and Internet policy expertise, I will be joining as our representative.
  2. Partnering with Caribbean organizations focused on telecom infrastructure. In particular we look forward to working with CANTO’s Natural Disaster Committee.
  3. Developing a Disaster Relief Fund as part of our Beyond The Net funding program. This new program will enable Internet Society Chapters in affected regions after a natural disaster to apply for funds for projects that restore Internet connectivity. We will be announcing more information during the weeks ahead.
  4. Engaging our community in this effort. We will ask our Chapters, Organizational Members and individual members to join with us to make this a reality.

I will be attending the CANTO Annual General Meeting next week (4-6 February 2018) in Trinidad & Tobago where I look forward to discussing these ideas with many attendees.

At the Internet Society, we believe that the economic, social, education and communication opportunities made possible by the Internet are critical to our society today. We believe that Internet outages, either by natural disasters or government shutdowns, harm the people in the region and connectivity must be restored as soon as possible. Beyond that, Internet infrastructure must be made as resilient as possible to stand up as much as possible to these kinds of events.

We look forward to working with our members and partners to bring about a reconnected and more resilient Caribbean region. We are planning several activities over the next few months and will be posting updates and more information to this page:

https://www.internetsociety.org/reconnect-the-caribbean/

Please do share our new report and do all you can to help #ReconnectTheCaribbean.


Image credit:  © Commonwealth Secretariat on Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0

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Internet Society

The State of the Net Today – Why we must Act now for its Future

At the Internet Society, we are worried about the state of the Internet today. This global “network of networks” is now a critical part of our daily lives. We use it to communicate and connect with our families, friends, co-workers and customers. It is the engine that powers the global economy. It is our source of entertainment, of education, and of information. The Internet brings so many opportunities to all.

But… those opportunities are now under attack from several threats:

  • Lack of trust – We now find ourselves asking key questions: how can we trust that the information we see online is accurate? How do we know we are communicating with the correct people?
  • Security of the core of the Internet – The core infrastructure that creates the network of networks is now under constant attacks. Botnets, DDoS attacks, routing attacks – the public core of the Internet needs protection.
  • The explosion of connected devices – We are connecting almost everything to the Internet, and this “Internet of Things (IoT)” is being largely connected with little concern for security.
  • The growing divide between the connected and unconnected – Over 40% of the world’s people are not connected to the Internet, and they are being left behind as the opportunities advance.

We must secure the Internet and raise the level of trust in the system if we are to make the same opportunities available to all. As Kathy Brown wrote in her Chatham House editorial last month, we need new tools and new models to solve these issues. And as we outlined in our “Paths to our Digital Future” global report, we must ensure that humanity is at the center of tomorrow’s Internet.

Earlier today in Washington, DC, I was privileged to speak at an outstanding meeting of people – the State of the Net 2018 event. The event’s agenda is a strong one and while obviously focused on the USA, the topics discussed are of global impact, now and far into the future. Discussing the complex issue of Internet Governance, I highlighted the need for governments and other stakeholders to go a step further in their commitment to the inclusive, multistakeholder model of governance and to begin implementing policies based on this thinking in their home countries. It’s time to bring this vision of governance to life and to demonstrate its clear value as a model for the future Internet.

We believe that the Internet of the future must be built on the values just like this that have defined its past. It must be an Internet that is open, globally-connected, secure and trustworthy. It needs everyone at the table. Expanding the inclusive model of governance to more places around the world is a central pillar in achieving this kind of Internet but there are many other ways to work towards this goal and while we can expect setbacks along the way, we at the Internet Society want to do more and work harder to influence the outcome.

The Internet holds enormous potential to empower, inform and bring unparalleled opportunity to people around the world. This is the vision of the Internet – an Internet for everyone – that guides our work, but whether it ultimately delivers on this promise in the future or not, is up to us. All of us, together.

I ask you to please read the links I’ve shared here, to watch and share the videos coming out of the SOTN event today, and most importantly … to ACT to shape the Internet of tomorrow.


Editor’s note: Sally’s panel session at the State of the Net 2018 event
can be viewed online:


Image credit: Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Internet Society

BICS: In the IoT, machines must be able to roam freely

BICS: In the IoT, machines must be permitted to roam freely

Internet of Business speaks to Mikael Schachne of BICS about the company’s approach to helping customers equip smart machines and devices with international IoT connectivity.

International communications enabler BICS has long been in the business of helping mobile operators to provide roaming services to subscribers, so that those subscribers can take their smartphones, tablets or laptops wherever they need to go and always be sure of having access to mobile data connectivity in order to get work done, catch up on social media or check out their onward travel details.

So it makes perfect sense that providing worldwide mobile connectivity for the smart, connected devices and machines that make up the IoT represents a logical evolution for the company. “A device with a SIM may not be a phone or a tablet, but it still needs to be always-on, and connected to mobile networks to receive and send data, wherever it is in the world,” says Mikael Schachne, vice president of mobility solutions at BICS.

In other words, companies embarking on IoT implementations and adding connectivity to ‘things’ need to become more like the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), in the sense that they must provision and then manage vast armies of SIMs, with a high degree of granularity. Those SIMs might be embedded in cars, in the case of an automotive company; in fitness trackers, in the case of a manufacturer of consumer wearables; or in high-value parcels or cargo containers, in the case of a logistics company.

“The difference is that companies like these don’t have the same experience or insight into the complexity of roaming between different mobile networks worldwide as a mobile operator, so a somewhat different approach is needed,” explains Schachne.

Read more: ROI beats security as biggest challenge for IoT device makers

IoT without borders

With that in mind, BICS has developed a global IoT platform for this new kind of customer that incorporates lifecycle management for connected-device SIMs, from manufacturing and distribution to set-up, deployment and real-time management.

“In the world of the IoT, these companies might be managing thousands of devices, if not millions, and they will need end-to-end automation to do that,” says Schachne. “They may need to troubleshoot any problems with connectivity. And they will need to integrate connectivity data with back-end systems. The goal here is to make it easier for them to do all these things.”

Most importantly, perhaps, the platform supports the need of such companies to generate return on investment and new revenue streams from connected services and business models, he explains – a trend typically referred to as the ‘monetization’ of IoT.

This means that BICS’ IoT platform must enable them to bill for services associated with the connectivity of their products. Again, this needs to be handled in much the same way as a mobile operator handles billing for potentially millions of subscribers. In the case of a connected car, drivers might pay subscriptions to the automaker for the provision of navigation and entertainment services. Or an insurance company might pay it for access to usage and driving reports associated with the vehicles it covers.

Says Schachne: “The IoT opportunity is huge for all kinds of companies across all sectors, and mobile networks can provide them with the connectivity they need, because they are widely available and reliable.”

But in order to set machines and devices free and realize the full potential of the IoT, he says, they also need confidence that, when it comes to international IoT connectivity, they’re still in complete control.


Our Internet of Manufacturing event is coming to Munich on 6-8 February 2018. Attendees will get the chance to learn more about how connected technologies open up new paths to increased productivity and profitability for industrial companies. 

The post BICS: In the IoT, machines must be able to roam freely appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

BICS: In the IoT, machines must be permitted to roam freely

BICS: In the IoT, machines must be permitted to roam freely

Internet of Business speaks to Mikael Schachne of BICS about the company’s approach to helping customers equip smart machines and devices with international IoT connectivity.

International communications enabler BICS has long been in the business of helping mobile operators to provide roaming services to subscribers, so that those subscribers can take their smartphones, tablets or laptops wherever they need to go and always be sure of having access to mobile data connectivity in order to get work done, catch up on social media or check out their onward travel details.

So it makes perfect sense that providing worldwide mobile connectivity for the smart, connected devices and machines that make up the IoT represents a logical evolution for the company. “A device with a SIM may not be a phone or a tablet, but it still needs to be always-on, and connected to mobile networks to receive and send data, wherever it is in the world,” says Mikael Schachne, vice president of mobility solutions at BICS.

In other words, companies embarking on IoT implementations and adding connectivity to ‘things’ need to become more like the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), in the sense that they must provision and then manage vast armies of SIMs, with a high degree of granularity. Those SIMs might be embedded in cars, in the case of an automotive company; in fitness trackers, in the case of a manufacturer of consumer wearables; or in high-value parcels or cargo containers, in the case of a logistics company.

“The difference is that companies like these don’t have the same experience or insight into the complexity of roaming between different mobile networks worldwide as a mobile operator, so a somewhat different approach is needed,” explains Schachne.

Read more: ROI beats security as biggest challenge for IoT device makers

IoT without borders

With that in mind, BICS has developed a global IoT platform for this new kind of customer that incorporates lifecycle management for connected-device SIMs, from manufacturing and distribution to set-up, deployment and real-time management.

“In the world of the IoT, these companies might be managing thousands of devices, if not millions, and they will need end-to-end automation to do that,” says Schachne. “They may need to troubleshoot any problems with connectivity. And they will need to integrate connectivity data with back-end systems. The goal here is to make it easier for them to do all these things.”

Most importantly, perhaps, the platform supports the need of such companies to generate return on investment and new revenue streams from connected services and business models, he explains – a trend typically referred to as the ‘monetization’ of IoT.

This means that BICS’ IoT platform must enable them to bill for services associated with the connectivity of their products. Again, this needs to be handled in much the same way as a mobile operator handles billing for potentially millions of subscribers. In the case of a connected car, drivers might pay subscriptions to the automaker for the provision of navigation and entertainment services. Or an insurance company might pay it for access to usage and driving reports associated with the vehicles it covers.

Says Schachne: “The IoT opportunity is huge for all kinds of companies across all sectors, and mobile networks can provide them with the connectivity they need, because they are widely available and reliable.”

But in order to set machines and devices free and realize the full potential of the IoT, he says, they also need confidence that, when it comes to international IoT connectivity, they’re still in complete control.


Our Internet of Manufacturing event is coming to Munich on 6-8 February 2018. Attendees will get the chance to learn more about how connected technologies open up new paths to increased productivity and profitability for industrial companies. 

The post BICS: In the IoT, machines must be permitted to roam freely appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

Effective IoT security must begin at the drawing board

Thomas Fischer, global security advocate at Digital Guardian, assesses the role security will play in the IoT and argues that manufacturers must return to the drawing board to find a sustainable, long-term solution.

For a while now, the issue of IoT security has been a growing problem that few want to face up to. The technology industry is renowned for its fast pace and the advantages of being first to market can often be significant, so it’s no surprise to see new IoT products being released at a furious rate. Unfortunately, this rush to market can often result in products and devices that are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

For manufacturers, the IoT is a particularly difficult nut to crack. In addition to time pressures, the demand for user friendliness – combined with highly stringent cost controls – means that, even if the will is there, finding a fast, cost-efficient security solution can be a challenge.

One major problem is that many IoT devices still use extremely cheap processing units akin to something that would have been used several decades ago, only on a much smaller scale. These kinds of processors lack both the memory capacity and input mechanisms required to conduct the regular security updates and patches that would normally take place on PCs and mobile phones.

With the lifespan of some IoT devices now expected to exceed ten years, the security issue this presents is a growing cause for alarm. The threat landscape is a highly dynamic environment and devices that can’t be patched are vulnerable not only to the threats that are out there today but also to all threats that emerge after the device has gone to market.

A new approach to IoT security is needed

Fortunately, organisations are starting to take note. The IoT Security Foundation is driving the creation of new standards and enlisting companies to work together to improve the overall security of IoT devices from the ground up. Elsewhere, the GSM Association (GSMA) has recently produced a set of major guidelines around IoT security best practice.

But in order for businesses to make meaningful security improvements, changes must take place at the design phase, not as an afterthought prior to launch. Security must also be considered from a variety of different angles including software, hardware and the network if it is to be effective.

1) Secure software: Building new devices on a foundation of robust and secure software is critical. Best practice encompasses a variety design considerations including:

Proper and secure authentication for each individual device, so organisations can quickly confirm that any individual device is the one it claims to be
The use of secure coding practices, focusing on QA and vulnerability identification as part of the development lifecycle in order to streamline security and mitigate risks
Industry standard encryption of all data flowing between the IoT device and backend servers, meaning that even if the data is intercepted, it is meaningless without the correct encryption key
Making provision for the deployment of new firmware on the device over time. Moving to more advanced and versatile processing units will allow device software to be […]

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