Sunday, April 29, 2012

荷里活死咗都冇人知?


筆者過去一星期在瑞士日內瓦參加全球互聯網協會的創會 20周年大會,在這幾天內見到很多新知舊友,當中不少都是來自世界各地參與互聯網發展的老戰友,這種機會實在特別令人珍惜。

這次會議的主題講者之一的維基基金會創辦人 Jimmy Wales,算是互聯網協會的好朋友,他的演說也一向生動有趣, 2006年香港主辦中文維基年會時筆者已經有幸與他認識;這次他發言的題目是估計互聯網的未來,他只總結了兩點,第一點是海量連繫( Mass Connectivity),其實絕不會令任何人意外,但第二點預測就有趣多了。

處理版權問題要民主

Wales說:「荷里活死咗都冇人知。( No one will notice when Hollywood dies)」當然, Wales把維基的經驗,套於電影、電視、音樂等傳統內容行業上,估計大型的協作式群體,將在數年內出現於電影製作和「講故事」的創作活動上,令荷里活終於明白,他們的敵人和問題原來真的不是盜版者,是他們自己的墨守成規,一成不變,終於自取滅亡,死也無人覺得可惜。

Wales的預言大概有點「煽情」,不過相信這是有意的,就像他自己說,其實他對電影、音樂行業面對的困難非常同情,所以才「講得咁白」。大家今天也許仍然認為,電影產業與被 Wales打敗了的大英百科全書並不一樣, Wales的預言屬嘩眾取寵,就讓未來歷史作見證吧。

的確,在互聯網進入四十不惑之年,有什麼不可能發生,我們對版權的概念,最好把眼光放遠一些。世界知識產權組織總監 Francis Gurry在演講中指出,版權行業首要把內容更易在網上向用戶傳送,更應學習如何以民主程序處理知識產權和互聯網之間的拉力。注意是民主程序,香港政府最近處理版權條例修訂的手法,就不民主更不尊重程序(例如竟然敢建議先立法、後諮詢),是自招麻煩。

2012年4月28日 刋載於《蘋果日報》

Jimmy Wales keynote: http://livestre.am/1FB0Y
Francis Curry keynote: http://livestre.am/1IaD2

政府業界攜手牽頭 IPv6蓄勢待發


*保持在地區以至全球的競爭優勢,本港各界,從政府到小市民,大企業到中小企,都應該立即了解相關的技術,並就網絡的順利過渡作好準備。

*「啟動IPv6 計畫」旨在協助公眾及中小企更加了解IPv4地址耗盡的情況,並提升他們對IPv6之認識。

現時每個桌上及流動網絡裝置都是透過一個獨一無二的IP地址,以存取網絡上的資訊。目前互聯網主要使用IPv4互聯網規約作為IP地址編制。然而,智能裝置的普及與流動上網的覆蓋增長,均使互聯網的使用量與日俱增。由於IPv4僅能提供有限數量的互聯網地址,根據號碼資源組織於2011年2月指出,全球最後一批IPv4地址已經被分配。換而言之,IPv4地址已經正式耗盡。

為確保互聯網暢順運行,電子工程師於是推出另一個IP地址編制-互聯網規約第六版本(IPv6)。它提供比IPv4多出數以萬億倍的互聯網地址數量。然而,要順利過渡到IPv6,其中最大的挑戰,在於新的IPv6並不兼容舊的IPv4,這表示若要以IPv6作雙向的互聯網通訊,無論是發送及接收的裝置,都需要全面升級或更換成支援IPv6的設備。這過渡的過程中,需要政府、商業機構以至家居用戶的全面配合。

至於推動IPv6前必須準備好的互聯網基礎建設,香港亦已準備就緒。香港特區政府亦帶頭全面應用IPv6,於2008年通過更新政府主幹網絡裝置,使政府機構及部門的系統可以使用IPv6互連。至2009年12月,超過200個政府網站均已支援IPv6。大型商業機構亦主動帶領商界全面步入IPv6互聯網環境。以數碼港為例,其早於2005年已在其園區內架設IPv6設施,並透過合辦訓練課程及免費講座、邀請多家國際科技巨頭分享他們實施IPv6的寶貴經驗,成功引起社會及業界對實施IPv6的關注。此外,數碼港亦於2011年開始為數間園區以外的機構提供6RD技術測試,為這些機構現存的IPv4基建提供IPv6連線。

政府及本地專業機構已積極推動香港的互聯網邁進新時代,為促進IPv6於香港各階層的全面普及,香港互聯網協會於2011年10月 ,在政府資訊科技總監辦公室的贊助,及多個合作伙伴機構和支持機構的支持下,正式推出「啟動IPv6 計畫」,並於2012年3月15日正式啟用主題網站www.ipv6now.hk。這計劃旨在協助公眾及中小企更加了解IPv4地址耗盡的情況,並提升他們對IPv6之認識。各方全面配合,勢將香港帶到全新的互聯網時代。

莫乃光
香港互聯網協會創會主席兼「啟動IPv6計劃」主管

刊於 Capital Weekly 四月號


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Game-changers and the Internet of 2032


If we look 20 years forward, what do we see?  What are the game-changers? 

These are the questions posed for this panel.  They are not easy to answer, but they are easy in the sense that you wouldn't know it if I were totally wrong, because it will take 20 years to prove that I am wrong and by then I hope you will not remember what I have said.

But really, when I look at these questions, the first thing I ask myself was, is the development of the Internet so predictable?  I tend to think not.  But maybe the game-changers or the key trends are easier to spot, although sometimes we may not know in advance where they may lead us.

To begin, I see conflicts.  Conflicts between the governments and those in society with power, from political powers to economical or social or cultural power, with those common, average people who uses the Internet and especially the younger generation who are not only growing up with the Internet but literally born with the Internet.   The struggle for control of the Internet between them – as a set of technological tools, as an environment, as a lifestyle -- will intensify greatly. 

It is obvious that governments around the world, and increasingly we are not only talking about the authoritative totalitarian regimes in the world, but more and more western democracies, trying to legalize the control they want to impose for the Internet, starting with surveillance in the greatest measures. 

Privacy and security is one of the key battlegrounds, but copyright is another.  As we speak now here in Geneva, back home in Hong Kong where I came from, netizens especially youngsters and artists are organizing themselves in unprecedented ways to oppose government legislative attempt to strengthen copyright enforcement in the digital world, all dressed in the goodness of 'protecting the creative environment' but without providing exemption for re-creation or parody or satirical treatment on copyrighted works.  Such opposition was unexpected in scale and scope by our government, to say the least.

And I'll use Hong Kong as an example for this coming conflict between the wish for more control by the authorities and powerful businesses on the one hand, and the urge for more freedom by Internet users all over the world on the other. Hong Kong is in a particularly unique crossroad situation because even as a part of the People's Republic of China, we have an advanced, affordable, almost ubiquitous environment for the Internet and telecommunications usage, where our access to content is as free as anywhere else on earth, without any filtering.  Yet right across our border the situation would be totally different, with the most widespread, technologically and operationally advanced and functional Great Firewall in the world for content filtering.  Other governments do have so much to learn from China, and many have openly said so. 

So for us in Hong Kong, not one moment passed that we don't look over our shoulders to watch what may be coming, when and where the next clampdown may arrive.  We know the free flow of information is our biggest current asset, and now almost suddenly our young Internet users have learned to use the net as a tool to defend their rights, much in the same ways as the young people have been doing in Egypt and other places.

But if we look once again at the situation across the border from Hong Kong into the Mainland China, here's where the real contradiction lies.  You may think that is a land still isolated with this powerful, efficient and effective Great Firewall.  Yes and no.  The reality is that people there – the biggest population of Internet users in the world in any country – have more freedom and access to more information than they ever had before.  Most do not get arrested for speaking out their minds, and I am not saying that of course to defend the rulers.  If anything, the Chinese Internet users still have a choice to circumvent the firewall if they want to, and they are making changes to their society using the Internet in ways unseen before. 

Just as people are more alike one another than they're not all across the world, governments are alike too when it comes to the will to control, especially on things that they worry to be out of their control. 

So, in Hong Kong and in the Mainland China, I think we are having a front row seat to witness these game-changers in the next twenty years – the greatest technologies to control the Internet and the people on it, and the greatest will from the people to stop these interference, using yet many of the same technologies to circumvent and counter. 

These will be where the greatest innovation may take place, and I am not talking just about security software or circumvention tools.  They can also be the next generation of social media platforms that will allow people to share and get organized more easily or on a different level. 

So with these game-changers, where will we be in 2032?  My greatest hope will be that the Internet of tomorrow will withstand governmental interference and continue to be governed, as well as function and operate relatively free from governmental and inter- and intra-governmental control, and that the Internet users – those who are very young today who will be the leaders in twenty years' time – will develop into truly responsible next-generation leaders of the Internet.  But that’s only my hope, and I am not sure if I can call that a prediction yet, because I still harbor an opposite worry, that the governments of the world may become more successful in exerting their influence.

And I will close with one example.  While we all marvel at the convenience and benefits of Twitter as a micro-blogging, the Twitter copycats in China, called Weibo, have "innovated" way beyond Twitter has in terms of functionalities, user-friendliness and integration with mobile, cameras and other equipment.  Yes, the government has also established a very closely monitored control mechanism on its user-generated content.  Yet, users and dissidents share information relatively freely – I guess using that same 11 minute rule that our copyright friends talk about the time it takes for a TV program to be pirated onto the net, for that same 11 or so minutes before the content will be removed by the censors – to create social changes. 

If that is possible behind the Great Firewall, I think we have reasons to be more optimistic about 2032 than we have to be pessimistic. 



Presentation at Closing Roundtable of Global INET 2012: “Game-changers: Where will they take us by 2032?”

「網絡廿三條 2.0」最細一節是魔鬼


筆者現在身在瑞士日內瓦,正在參加全球互聯網協會的二十周年大會 Global INET 2012,不過,有時真的是所謂「行開一陣都唔得」,這幾天香港反對「網絡廿三...

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

議員勿忘立法責任


這星期消息傳來,政府啟動《淫褻及不雅物品管制條例》檢討的第二階段諮詢,三年半前最具爭議的強制要求互聯網服務供應商作過濾的建議,無聲無息地消失了,這對網絡自由影響深遠的建議被撤回,對網民和互聯網供應商,無疑是好消息,筆者形容,這是第一代「網絡23 條」被「回收」。

不過,今天互聯網群體正面對第二代「網絡23條」的威脅,並且這威脅可能在現任立法會期內成為事實!這就是《2011年版權(修訂)條例草案》內對二次創作,包括對所謂「惡搞」的改圖、改歌、改片等行為的管制。

修訂版權法例本為理順版權在數碼世界新環境的處理,追上世界版權法律演進,包括為互聯網供應商提供安全港,本早該推行,但港府始終不肯為二次創作包括政治諷 刺等提供法定豁免,如明確列作公平處理的豁免範圍;雖然這在歐美很多國家都很普遍,港府仍然「企硬」,只招人懷疑其意圖,是否如網民所慮,讓政府可跳過版 權人主動檢控二次創作人甚至網上分享者。

網民誓反網絡23條

2008年我們反對第一代「網絡23條」時,公聽會只有數位網友出席,但今時唔同當日,網民已熟悉如何組織反對第二代「網絡23條」,包括不少facebook群組的分享和網上聯署,參與人數眾多,誓要阻止「惡法」通過。版權條例修訂是有需要的,但當局對二次創作的錯誤態度,卻把網民和業界在無必要下放在對立面,是政府陷網民和業者於不義。

更可笑的,是本周中代表資訊科技界的議員在會見候任特首梁振英後說,知道網民說擔心梁上任後會扼殺網上言論自由,故他「代表」網民向梁提問,而梁肯定地說必會保障網上自由。

問題是,這是香港,不是大陸,我們要的是法律保障的法治,不是領導人一句話便算的人治!議員為什麼不提動議或修訂案?這才是當議員的份內事!問題不在梁,問題在議員不重視自身立法的責任,所以,他別亂扮代表,他絕無資格代表網民

2012年4月21日 刋載於《蘋果日報》

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One person, one e-vote

On March 23 and 24, over 220,000 Hong Kong citizens shone a ray of hope on the darkness of an ugly Chief Executive election—a “small-circle election” mired in mud-slinging locally, and accusations of interference from Beijing.

The unofficial poll was made possible by a scheme called the “3.23 Civil Referendum,” organized by the Public Opinion Program (POP) of the University of Hong Kong and open to all adult Hong Kong permanent residents. The implementation was imperfect—Internet problems and long lines at polling stations extended polling until the 24th. But many persistedand cast their “ballot” on the Chief Executive candidates.

(now TV News picture)

The unexpectedly high turnout, and a result of 54.6% of those polled casting a blank ballot (one woman on Hong Kong’s English-language television news said she did so as she felt Hong Kong people had no say in the choice of candidates) sent a clear message. The people of Hong Kong want a one-person, one-vote direct election for the HKSAR’s Chief Executive, and they are unsatisfied with the present “small-circle election.”

The 2012 Chief Executive election season also saw advancement in e-voting experimentation by our civil society, with the Pan-Democrats’ CE Election Primary on January 8, then the 3.23 Civil Referendum. Conducting actual e-voting helped us accumulate valuable experience in terms of technology, operations and emergency response.

Verifying identity

The most important aspect in any voting exercise is the is- sue of ensuring a voter’s unique identity and preventing anyone from voting more than once. In the Pan-Democrats’ primary, a voter needed to physically visit a street polling booth and show his or her permanent resident Hong Kong ID card for registration. Identities were kept in a database to check against any duplicate entries. E-voting in this case allowed the organizers to eliminate paper ballots, reducing the time for vote-counting to literally zero.

Robert Chung, director of POP, wanted to take it one step farther—participants could physically visit a polling station but could also vote online or via smartphone apps (both iOS and Android). Each participant’s identity was verified by requiring him or her to send an SMS message from a unique phone number, a factor designed to dissuade duplicate voters.

When I visited Chung several months ago and shared the technical and operational experience we gained from the Pan-Democrats’ primary, we both acknowledged that this method of identification and authentication was imperfect. But no one could have predicted the strong turnout from the community—85,154 voted on the Web site, 71,183 via the smartphone apps and 66,005 at the polling stations. With such a large turnout, any at- tempt to manipulate the result would have been greatly reduced.

Glitches in the process

Unfortunately, technical problems made the Web site unusable in the early morning of the voting period, turning away many online and smartphone voters. Two factors combined on the technical problems. First, as more and more people voted, the system had to check against a growing database of ID card/ phone numbers, slowing down the database servers. System loading overwhelmed the available resources. Secondly, as reported in Apple Daily, Chung’s system was target of organized attacks.


I got in contact with Chung and his office on the morning of March 23, when the hacking attempts were reported in the media, and went to his office to volunteer technical assistance with experts from our IT Voice team. Five of us stayed in their office until past midnight on the 23rd. Our main tasks: tuning the database and Web servers, re-adjusting the key parameters of the firewall, checking the system log since the e-voting started, searching for and preserving evidence of attacks.

After Chung reported the attacks to the police on the 24th, two local youngsters were swiftly arrested, but we hope that the police’s investigations will continue, as there might be others who initiated more serious attacks from outside of Hong Kong.

The efforts of Chung and his team to create this innovative platform should be commended for their contribution to e-voting technology development, political expression and civil participation. Most of all, the referendum allowed the people to voice their opinions where our constitutional system now fails to do so. We look forward to working with Chung’s team and other local developers to take it one step further.

Printed in Computerworld Hong Kong, April 2012 issue

政府回收第一代「網絡廿三條」

政府突然《淫褻及不雅物品管制條例》檢討進入第二階段公眾諮詢(諮詢文件:註一),負責的商務及經濟發展局局長蘇錦樑並指,因為諮詢內容複雜,諮詢期需要較長,延至下屆政...



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Saturday, April 14, 2012

關選舉網站阻監察

根據報章報道,梁振英當選特首後,選舉網站在 4月 4日就已經「收爐」,如市民登入 cyleung2012.com,頁面只會顯示「根據選舉指引,此選舉網站必須在 2012年 4月 4日後停止使用。多謝支持梁振英」。


除了網站之外,報導指出,他在選舉時開設的騰訊微博,留言亦於當選當日三月廿五日下午後停止了,不過最少沒有刪除。同樣地,他Facebook網頁(www.facebook.com/cyleung2012)也在當選日後,時光停頓了。

梁振英的競選辦所指是甚麼選舉指引?筆者未聽過。其實,各特首選舉候選人的競選辦至今仍在運作中,選舉開支申報都尚未提交。不過,別只說梁,如果大家想找唐英年的選舉網站( wearetomorrow.hk),就會連一個告示都看不到,只會得到「瀏覽器無法連線」訊息。

唯有何俊仁的選舉網站( albertho4hk.org)仍然存在,如果梁振英所說的相關選舉指引是真的,就不知道何是否犯了甚麼指引,除非這指引只適用於勝出者?

梁振英應學奧巴馬

其實,我們 IT Voice 2012二十人選舉委員在我們於去年 12月舉辦的選舉論壇中,詢問過三位當時的「參選人」,會否在選舉過後保留選舉網站,作為其提出政綱和承諾的正式紀錄,但當時建制參選人都沒正面回答,結果現在真的刪了,令人失望。

我們提出這要求的原因,是過往特首選舉和大部份其他選舉(例如立法會)的候選人,都會把選舉網站自行刪除。

其實令市民要監察他們在選舉時作出的政綱承諾和其他個人資料,甚至當時對傳聞或攻擊的澄清,公眾都不能輕易找到,對市民監察尤其是成功當選者,非常不便,令人懷疑其目的是否根本就是想阻礙監察。

的確,如果市民今天在梁振英上任前想與他溝通,或參考他的選舉承諾,可以怎樣做?將來 7月 1日後他的特首網頁,性質亦和作為候選人時不同,所以美國總統奧巴馬的個人網站( barackobama.com),由上次選舉至今競選連任,一直運作。如果梁振英打算爭取 2017年連任,應考慮學習奧巴馬。

2012年4月14日 刋載於《蘋果日報》

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

功能組別種票可「隻眼開隻眼閉」?

每年的五月十六日,都是香港選舉法例下的選民登記限期(除了在區議會選舉年,這日期會推遲兩個月至七月十六日),即在同年舉行的選舉,選民登記都必須要在這天前完成,換句...

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

競猜新 IT局長

候任特首梁振英將會重置資訊科技局和新設文化局,未來三司十四局的人選成為城中熱話,雖然梁「當選」只有不足兩周時間,離開 7月 1日上任還有差不多三個月,不過媒體行家似已經等得有點不耐煩。

筆者在資訊科技界的朋友,近來都難免參加這沒有獎金獎品的「估局長」遊戲。梁振英的核心支持者中,似乎比較缺乏與資訊及通訊科技甚至廣播業界的人士,而在業界找具有行業知識的人才並不難,但如果要同時對公共政策和政府行政有經驗的,選擇就少了;再加上「入閣」的政治考慮,找人也許就更困難。

應建立旋轉門制度

所以,業界朋友與筆者雖然都不大希望再次「空降」政務官或行外人當資訊科技局長,但業內的大機構高層,又怎能輕易放棄高薪進入「官門」?曾經在政府任職而又已經進入商界的業界領袖極少,還有另一個「尋人」方向就是學界了。筆者在此無謂亂猜,亦不會點名,以免影響任何人的「機會」吧。

筆者和業界朋友討論,為甚麼香港業界找具能力和資歷加入政府統領行業政策,這麼困難?在其他國家、地區如新加坡和台灣等,為什麼好像比較「容易」?首先,香港政府缺乏產業政策,以前沒有,新候任特首也未能說得清楚,未來局長沒有既定方向繼承,其責任就更大了。

其實在香港政府負責資訊科技的專業體系裏,亦不乏領導人才,但在過去多年他們面對政府暫停聘請初級新入職公務員(近兩年才從新開始有限聘用),令合約員工人數大增,導致人才流失和斷層等現象,更加上職系之首的資訊科技總監近年只會從外聘任,實在扼殺了不少政府內的專業人才的機會,浪費了不少人才。筆者在閒談中提出,為甚麼香港不能在政府專業職系中的管理層,建立旋轉門制度,讓資訊科技等專業的公務員能和政府相關公營企業甚至私人業界的專業人員以一兩年短期轉換工作單位,互相吸取經驗。

這樣的做法雖屬長線投資,但對行業發展應該非常有利,未來特首要請局長也會容易多了。如果是對的事,現在開始也總不算太遲。

2012年4月7日 刋載於《蘋果日報》

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

科技產業發展由 what至 how

當中聯辦宣傳文體部部長郝鐵川不撰寫干預學術自由或批評及要求禁止選舉前的民意調查等的文章時,和不打電話給傳媒老闆時,還有一些沒有那麼「惹火」的作品,反而吸引筆者的...

請各位移師筆者信博閱讀全文,並請回應討論!感謝!

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