Information and communication technologies (ICTs) Current Affairs - 2019

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17 May: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day observed

On 17 May, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) was celebrated throughout the world. The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of WTISD.

About WTISD

  • Background: The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was first observed on 17 May since 1969. The day marks the establishment of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and also the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865 in Paris. Since 1969 it is being celebrated every year.
  • Objective: It seeks to help raise awareness about possibilities which can be brought to societies and economies with the use of Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT). It also promotes awareness about using ICT to explore ways to bridge digital divide.

About WTISD 2019

  • This year’s theme was: ‘Bridging the standardization gap’.
  • 2019 theme will allow International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Members and other stakeholders to focus on opportunities:
  1. To promote implementation of international standards in developing countries.
  2. To Increase participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process.
  3. To empower local experts in standardization process at national, regional and international levels.

About ITU

  • ITU was established in 1865 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Function: It is the specialized agency of United Nations (UN) for issues concerning information and communication technologies (ICTs). The fundamental pillar of ITU’s mission is setting standards. ITU standards also help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • It is a member of United Nations Development Group (UNDP).
  • Members: 193 countries and about 800 sector members including academic institutions and private sector entities has membership of ITU.
  • India: Since 1869 India is an active member of ITU. It became a regular member of ITU Council in 1952. In November 2018, India was reelected as a ITU Council’s Member for another 4-year term beginning 2019 to 2022.

India ranked 23rd in second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI)

India has been ranked 23rd out of 165 nations in the second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) that measures the commitment of nations across the world to cyber security. The Index has been released by the UN telecommunications agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Salient Highlights

India has been listed in the “maturing category” of the index with a score of 0.683. Around 77 countries have been placed in the maturing category as they have developed complex commitments to cyber security and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives.

Singapore has topped the index with a score of 0.925. Singapore is followed by United States (2nd), Malaysia (3rd), Oman (4th), Estonia (5th), Mauritius (6th), Australia (7th), Georgia (8th), France (9th), Canada (10th) and Russia (11th). China has been placed at 34th.

Equatorial Guinea is the worst performer among all nations with a score of zero.

ITU has ranked the countries based on the countries’ legal, technical and organisational institutions, educational and research capabilities, as well as their cooperation in information-sharing networks. The index also figured the improvement and strengthening of the five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda, namely, legal, technical, organisational, capacity building and international cooperation.

The report has observed that only about half of all countries have a cybersecurity strategy or in the process of developing one and has urged the other countries to have a national policy to protect against cybercrime.

ITU has advocated for the adoption of a national security strategy. As per the report, 50% of the nations do not have any such strategy. As per the ITU, the malicious attacks have increased in recent years. The latest example of cyber attacks is those carried out as recently as 27 June 2017.

ITU

ITU is the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). ITU has 193 countries as its members and also 800 private-sector entities and academic institutions. ITU is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

ITU is responsible for allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits. It also develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies to seamlessly interconnect. It also strives to improve access to ICTs among the underserved communities worldwide.