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ISOC moved news feed to Wordpress
ISOC-Bulgaria started a blog in 2008, where all news regarding the organization will be published. We decided to move to Wordpress, and the address of the blog is:
http://isocbg.wordpress.com/. Please, do visit us there!


ISOC responds to letter published in the USA
Bulgarian group blames government, society for its own lack of experience.
Uninet, an organization founded by several private companies, have sent a letter to ICANN, made public via
Milton Mueler's blog.
In the letter, signed by a Mr. Iliya Bazlyankov, there are claims (siting RSF) that the Bulgarian government is oppressive, has stopped web sites, and is a danger for the freedom of the Internet. As ISOC-Bulgaria has actively participated in the policy-making and protection of that very same Internet freedom since 1999, we feel the need to response promptly to such accusations:
1. There are no proofs that the government has stopped any web site (except certain web sites, which have been turned down by the content providers, upon proper request by the police, where illegal stuff has been published, namely child pornography).
2. We are not aware of any proofs that "top Bulgarian ISP, the first Bulgarian WiMax provider and the biggest ISP in the capital" are supporting Uninet activities. While it is true, that at their web site, there is a list of companies "supporting their candidacy in front of ICANN", we don't know what exactly is hidden behind this "support", and therefore we can not comment on that.
3. We see in their rules strange statements, including, but not limited to:
  • - using letters from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, which do not exist in the Bulgarian one (see point 2.2.2 in the pdf file; original here, copy at our site)
  • - there is an assumption that Uninet will be the approved registry for .bg Cyrillic IDN by ICANN (see points 2.4.2 and 2.6. from the rules, as well as
  • - they register domains in the first level .bg, .info, and .name in Cyrillic, regardless of the fact that such TLD exist in other languages and with Cyrillic scripts.
    4. Their letter makes the allusion that ICANN is not communicating openly the issues related to the IDN ccTLD, something which is astonishing, having in mind that Uninet has dated their October 23, but on October 2nd, on the ICANN web site there's a letter from the President and CEO Dr. Twomey to the governments, regarding the IDN ccTLDs.

    Final words
    Creating a well run registry in Bulgaria for the Cyrillic IDN is a major task, which should not be based on false information. The current government is well known for supporting policies that are Internet-friendly, and especially friendly to the DNS and the IP address policies. ICANN is quite a public organization, which publishes all the materials about the IDN ccTLD policy development processes on their web site. Letters like the one of Mr. Bazlyankov do not represent the views of the Internet users, but of several companies, who have started their private business in registering domain names in Cyrillic TLD, which has never been approved by ICANN, and including not only ccTLD, but gTLD like .name, and .info. While we understand the business model "if there are enough naive customers, there will be enough sellers to sell them what they want", we can not stay quiet on that issue, and need to warn the users about the potential threats they face. The fact that Uninet decided not to collect money for renewing the registration for 2009 of the "domains" they've registered last year, is a clear sign, that they are aware of the potential threats facing them if they continue with such a business model. Our opinion is that such a model should have not started at all, in the first place.

  • ###

    News from 2006 - 2008
    Many events took place in Bulgaria, where ISOC-Bulgaria was part of them. In the summer an
    IT-delegation came for an open session of the President's IT Advisory Committee. Later that year the ICANN Board had a retreat in Sofia, during which ICANN's President and CEO Paul Twomey met with foreign minister Kalfin (member of ISOC). Creative Commons "father" Larry Lessig had three lectures in Bulgaria, organized by ISOC.bg and with the support from the UNDP. World-wide famous blogger Joichi Ito met with the Bulgarian foreign minister as well, and as a result the minister started his own blog.
    ISOC-Bulgaria took part in the preparation of the OneWebDay (Sept. 22) in Bulgaria (and continued doing so in 2007 and 2008).
    ISOC-Bulgaria also had a statement in relations with the municipal elections in 2007.
    Later in 2007 ISOC-Bulgaria sent a letter to the minister of state administration against the proposed deal with Microsoft, which would have been one of the most corrupt deals in the history of the country.
    After the lack of adequate response from the minister (he published an open letter to ISOC.bg President and Chairman of the Board, and a 2-page article in a newspaper justifying the high prices the government was to pay), ISOC.bg sent a letter to the chief prosecutor of the country with request for a formal investigation of the case. In June 2008 the prosecution office came with a conclusioin that there is enough evidence to start collect facts and evidence to file a case.
    Again in June 2008, ISOC.bg sent a letter to the broader community asking what the Internet Governance Forum should be doing.
    In July 2008 ISOC.bg together with Bluelink was awarded a grant by ISOC.org. Under a new Bulgarian regulation, mobile operators and Internet providers in the country are required to retain data of digital messages. In response, a project launched by ISOC's Bulgaria Chapter, titled "Data Retention and Digital Rights Protection in Bulgaria," aims to stimulate public debate on the controversial issues associated with Regulation 40.
    In September 2008 ISOC.bg is co-organizing a large ccTLD registries and registrars from Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and CIS conference in Sofia (Sept. 8-10).


    10 years Internet Society in Bulgaria

Members of ISOC Veni Markovski, Plamen Vatchkov, Sergei Stanishev, Dimitar Ganchev and Anelia Delcheva Sofia, January 06, 2006
    ISOC Bulgaria celebrated its 10th year anniversary at the Matti Hall of the National Palace of Culture.
    At the picture, A Moment From the Cocktail Party. Members of ISOC (left to right): ISOC-Bulgaria President and Chairman of the Board
    Veni Markovski; Plamen Vatchkov - chairman of the State Agency for ITC; Sergei Stanishev - Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria; Dimitar Ganchev - member of ISOC.bg Board; Anelia Delcheva, ISOC member.

    More than 250 guests, among them many members of ISOC attended the cocktail party. Among them were the Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev (member of ISOC since 2001), the chairman of the governmental ITC agency Plamen Vatchkov (member since 1999), the future (elected on Jan. 19) Chief Prosecutor of Bulgaria Boris Velchev (on the picture below), M.D. Emil Raynov - deputy-minister of health, members of Parliament Ivan Ivanov and Luben Dilov Jr., heads of other governmental agencies, as well as chief of cabinets of different ministers.
    Office of the President was represented by chief of staff Krasimir Stoyanov, and also chief of legal council Boris Velchev, secretary for non-governmental organizations Andrey Bundjulov, Emil Iliev, and others.
    The United Nations were represented by Mr. Neil Buhne - head of the UNDP office in Sofia.
    Among the guests were also the CEOs of the leading Internet companies - like Nikolai Gorchilov, Nikolai Badinski, Theodore Zahov, and others.
    The Bulgarian music industry leaders were headed by Ms. Stanislava Armutlieva, CEO of VirginRecords.
    Ms. Nina Selvelieva, Pepa Vitanova, Velislava Dareva, Kalin Manolov, Vassil Chobanov were among many journalists to come to greet the hosts.
    IT business was also present with George Sharkov - head of the Basscom - Bulgarian software association; Tihomir Tsolov of Sunny Commputers, Konstantin Stoilov of Hewlett-Packard Bulgaria, Dragomir Tsankov of Comtel, Vladislav Hristozov and Vassil Hristovich of Apis, Simeon Angelov of Omnitel, and many others.
    Free and Open Source Software movement and business gurus were also there, among them Yovko Lambrev of IBM, Stoyan Mishinev of OpenIntegra, and others.
    The Balkan Acceession Fund C.V. was represented by Thomas M. Higins - managing partner. The Academy of Science was there through Dr. Velizar Shalamanov - one of the top cybersecurity experts in Bulgaria, former deputy-defence minister.
    Also present were the people involved in the development of the IT strategy of Bulgaria - Hristo Traykov, Nikolai Gerassimov and Roumen Trifonov of the Coordination Center for ITC to the Council of Ministers, Krassimir Benevski of the UNDP, who were in the company of ISOC-Bulgaria coordinators Ms. Dessi Pefeva and Ms. Julia Velkova.
    Supreme Court Judges, prosecutors, investigators and law enforcement officers were all over the place, communicating with other members of ISOC. The first Bulgarian e-notary George Dimitrov was spoted exchanging arguments with Ilia Bojinov.
    Many other guests and members of ISOC enjoyed the great catering of Mati and the wines from ISOC-Bulgaria's favourite cellars.
    Prime Minister 
talks to future Chief Prosecutor Velchev and Supreme Court judge Belaselkov Prime Minister Stanishev (left) talks to future Chief Prosecutor Velchev (right) and Supreme Court judge Belaselkov (middle) about the IT policy of Bulgaria and how to combat cyber crime.

    For more pictures, visit this web page (in Bulgarian).


    Bulgaria played a positive role during the WSIS

    Sofia, November 21, 2005
    In two interviews in the
    portal.bg and Capital weekly, Mr. Markus Kummer, Executive Coordinator of the WGIG, among other questions, said:

    Question: What was Bulgaria's role during the first WSIS?
    Answer: Bulgaria played a very constructive role, focusing on the issues and trying to find concrete solutions in line with the technical realities regarding the functioning of the Internet. This role was possible thanks to the expertise of the Bulgarian delegate, Mr Veni Markowski, who apart from his various function inside Bulgaria is also a member of the ICANN Board of Directors and has a vast international experience..

    Q. Does that mean that countries in transition can actually make a difference in such international fora?
    A: They can make a difference, like any country, if they are well prepared and have delegates who know the issues and who are able to make their voice heard (see also answer to the question above). In addition, countries in transition in many cases were able to take advantage from their situation. They often "leapfrogged" some stages and put in place a system or legal framework that is not hostage of the past and therefore among the most advanced. Bulgaria is a good example in this regard, with a very "Internet friendly" policy.

    Q. Do you see any future involvement of Bulgaria, and countries like Bulgaria, in the Internet Governance Forum?
    A: The Internet Governance Forum will be open to all countries and all stakeholders. It will be devoted to exchanging information and sharing best practices. Bulgaria therefore would be able to explain its own Internet policy and many countries would be interested in learning from the Bulgarian experience. Bulgaria would be able to help shape the debate on all the issues under discussion.


    Government established IT and Communications Agency

    Sofia, Sept. 15th, 2005
    The Bulgarian government decided today that a new body to manage the telecommunications and Information Technologies (IT) will be established. The State Agency for IT & Communications is a body directly responsible to the Council of Ministers.
    Plamen Vachkov, a long-time IT-specialist, was appointed as first chairman of the Agency.
    Until this decision, the communications were part of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Bulgarian Socialist Party, leading partner in the 3-party coalition of the Bulgarian government, has established e-government and development of IT among top priorities in the elections campaign.
    Chairman Plamen Vachkov is an electrical engineer by profession, doctor of technical sciences and senior scientific assistant.
    He has a specialization of microprocessors in France, of management in the USA, and of quality management - in Japan. Since 1993 Vachkov has been a member of the academic council of International University, and since 2003 - of the Balkans Academy of Sciences and Culture. Mr. Vachkov's career started in the 1970s when Bulgaria was considered as the "Silicon Valley" of the Soviet block. Bulgaria was famous for producing 8- and 16-bits computers, many of the newly technologies were first created in the country, too.
    Plamen Vachkov is a member of the Internet Society (www.isoc.org, www.isoc.bg) since March 1, 1999.
    The new Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev is also a long-time member of the Internet Society, as well as a number of cabinet members, members of the Parliament and the President of the Republic.
    The Agency's department of Information Society has already started work on several projects in cyber-security and internet governance.


    New Bulgarian Prime Minister is member of ISOC

    Sofia, August 16th, 2005
    The new Bulgarian Prime Minister - Mr. Sergey Stanishev - is a member of ISOC since April 22nd, 2001. The ISOC-Bulgaria Board wishes him good luck in his new job, and we also wish to see the Bulgarian government fulfil their ideas on developing IT as a leading industry in Bulgaria.
    On picture, chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria Board Mr. Veni Markovski, with Mr. Stanishev (middle) and another Board member, Dimitar Ganchev.


    News from ISOC from June till December 2005

    Internet Society – Bulgaria is partner in the 6th Framework program funded project tOSSad (Towards Open Source Software Adoption and Dissemination).
    The tOSSad project aims at improving the outcomes of the F/OSS communities throughout Europe through supporting the coordination and networking of these communities by means of state-of-the-art studies, national program initiations, usability cases, curriculum development and implementation of collaborative information portal and web based groupware.
    The project started in February 2005 and will last for two years. Within the project, Internet Society Bulgaria actively participates in three of the six in total workpackages:
    WP1 – F/OSS study
    WP2 – F/OSS in national programs
    WP3 – Usability of F/OSS
    In the period between August and October 2005, ISOC Bulgaria's representatives took actively part in a number of project technical meetings, two project workshops and one steering committee meeting. ISOC Bulgaria is leading the WP1 subtask for gathering profiles of ICT companies and organizations that provide F/OSS solutions. ISOC Bulgaria also significantly helped in the development of the online F/OSS usability study held under WP3 in the beginning of September. A deliverable with the analysis of the study was produced by the consortium partners and will be published soon on the tOSSad project web page.
    The two project workshops in which ISOC Bulgaria participated were held in Merida, the capital of Extremadura, Spain within the Second World Open Source Conference. The first one was under WP2 to account the successful cases and good practises of application of free software in the International Context. The second one was under WP1 and aimed to share the knowledge and interchange experiences about free software, where the representatives of the Public Administration can interact with them and with the project partners, about their own experiences with Free Software. This workshop was focused on the problem of the migration within the administration.
    More news and information can be found on the tOSSad web site – http://www.tossad.org
    All public deliverables, as well as other content produced under the project is disseminated under Creative Commons Attribution license.
    ISOC Bulgaria is partner in the FlossWorld project, also funded under 6th Framework Program. FLOSSWorld primarily aims to strengthen Europe’s leadership in international research in FLOSS and open standards, and to exploit research and policy complementarities to improve international cooperation, by building a global constituency of policy-makers and researchers. The project is coordinated by the University of Maastricht.
    ISOC Bulgaria is going to coordinate the studies performed in the South-East European Region. More information on the the project activities will be available soon. For project details and official presentations, visit http://www.flossworld.org
    The major part of the materials currently available on the website are under Creative Commons license.
    In the end of May, ISOC-Bulgaria participated and exchanged experience in the international conference “E-management: problems and perspectives of its application” in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. ISOC-Bilgaria presented the Bulgarian experience related to the implementation of free and open source software, as well as, e-government solutions based on FOSS in Public Administrations at municipal level. Presentation was on “UNDP projects supporting e-Government initiatives at local (municipal) level through Free and Open Source Software in South-Eastern Europe. Bulgarian experience. Free and Open Source Software in Public Administrations in the Balkans region.” The presentation was valuable in terms of the plans of the Kazakhstan Government to start the development and implementation of a National Secure Operating System based on Linux.
    At the end of September, the Chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria, Mr. Veni Markovski participated at the PrepCom-3 at the WSIS-II in Geneva. Mr. Markovski announced the newly-formed Bulgarian Agency, dedicated to IT and Communications. One of the Agencys' priorities, is further involvement in the WSIS and the post-WSIS environment. In his remarkable statement, Mr. Markovski urged the WSIS PrepCom to find the intelligent solution, not be lured to use any of the obvious ones. He proposed that solution also to include civil society and businesses to be actively and really involved in the work of the WSIS. His dedicated efforts and work has been acknowledged highly at the WSIS PrepCom in Tunisia, where his presence and participation in the WGIG took a balancing balancing role for the decision of a democratic governance of the web.
    On 12-13 September ISOC-Bulgaria participated at the international e-government forum on building local projects through public private partnerships in Romania. The conference was organized by the USAID-funded Romanian Infor mation Technology Initiative Project (RITI dot-Gov), in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies. Julia Velkova, technical coordinator in Internet Society - Bulgaria, presented the Bulgarian experience in Improving Citizen Participation at Local level. Her presentation was in the panel "Citizen Participation and information" (you can download her presentation from this address: http://ro-gateway.ro:8080/node/280201/comfile/download/workshop_c_-_cit izen_participation_and_information/Julia%20Velkova%20-%20Citizen_partici pation_ISOCBG.ppt . Experts from East and South-East European region shared best practices and experience about e-Government in their countries. There were representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Macedonia, Turkey, Belarus, Serbia, Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia.
    In November, ISOC-Bulgaria with cooperation of UN Poverty Reduction Trust Fund NY started a new initiative, Enhancing service delivery, social protection and livelihood support for the poor through ICT. The main goal of the project is to develop a tool for Integrated Approach to employment/SME support, social service delivery and training through ICT. In accordance with the project goal, ISOC-Bulgaria organized a meeting with the main steakholders in the Pilot Municipality of Vratza - authorities, representatives from the Labour Bureau, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Representatives from UNDP Bulgaria and the Policy Adviser from ICT for Poverty reduction & MDG in NY, Ms. Radhika Lal. ISOC-Bulgaria has been awarded with grant from isoc.org for this project. The funding will be used to enlarge the scope of the project and to provide qualification trainings on ICT usage for social groups in disadvantaged status, such as orphans from social schools, single mothers, roma, etc.
    On October 7th, ISOC-Bulgaria participated at the "Open Access for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development" Open Day during the ACP council meeting. The Conference was organized by the BlueLink Information Network www.bluelink.net and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). ISOC-Bulgaria was a presenter at the "Open Content" Pannel, and participated in discussion with APC members on the Creative Commons licensing model worldwide and in Bulgaria. The presentation was on the development of Creative Commons Bulgaria Project which was led by ISOC-Bulgaria. ISOC-Bulgaria was also a co-organizer of the OpenArt Conference, Part of the Annual Open Fest in Bulgaria, which took place on 28-29 of October.
    On 15th of October,ISOC-Bulgaria presented the concept for E-municipality and available solutions, including the ones provided by ISOC-Bulgaria under the FOSS Project. The presentation was in the Bulgarian City of Lovech, in front of a wide group of Bulgarian Municipal Officials. Among the attendees was the Mayor of the city of Lovech, the Deputy-Governor of Gabrovo district, as well as a high number of municipal advisors from all over the country. The presentation by ISOC-Bulgaria provoked big interest and discussions, opening opportunities to start creating more e-municipalities in Bulgaria.
    ISOC-Bulgaria was invited and currently participates in the Jury committee of the Kazakhstan Internet Awards 2005 (Best web site awards). The competition is the only one in the country and is considered the most prestigious among the organizations and citizens working in the field of ICT. Among the organizers are representatives from the Kazakhstan Internet Federation www.kif.kz, the "Information Initiative" fund. Index internet agency, etc. The chairman of the Jury is the well known designer, Mr. Artemiy Lebedev from Russia http://www.artlebedev.com/. The results from the competition will be announced in mid November. More information can be found at www.award.kz (russian only).
    ISOC-Bulgaria launched a portal for Internet Govenance. See more at www.isoc.bg/ig


    News from May 2005

    ISOC-Bulgaria prepared a report on the current status of the Computer Emergency response Teams (CERT) in the region of South-Eastern Europe. The 9-page report was highly evaluated by the Washington-based Internews.

    ISOC-Bulgaria took part in a research survey for the European Institute of Public Administration. It was a part of a research project for the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, part of DG Research Centres of the European Commission. The study focuses on eGovernment research currently being carried out in Europe as well as research priorities for the future. This research will be placed into its European policy context, and into the wider global picture.

    ISOC-Bulgaria has made a presentation at the organized by the Center for innovation and technological transfer-Global, Bulgarian-Bavarian Commission and the “Hans Zaidel” Foundation, Seminar “Munich Municipality experience in the implementation of open source for e-services”. Julia Velkova presented the experience of ISOC-Bulgaria with the municipality of Kardjali in the implementation of the free/open source software under the FOSS Project.

    ISOC-Bulgaria has sent a letter to the US Trade Representative about serious errors in their recent Special 301 Report (published end of April, 2005). In the letter, ISOC-Bulgaria defends the Bulgarian government for its attempts to solve the problems with the illegal usage of software, music and films. In the 5-page letter, also sent to the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA and to the Bulgarian minister of culture, ISOC-Bulgaria protests against the use of fake data in the report. Allegedly these data were provided by the Business Software Alliance through their Bulgarian representative. The letter comes as part of the continuous efforts of the Bulgarian Internet Society to ensure that all software companies are treated equally and fairly by the government, instead of special, complimentary relations.

    ISOC-Bulgaria participated and supported the development of the Bulgarian Portal for Open Culture – www.open-culture.net This portal is going to collect woks and content licensed under the Creative Commons Licenses. ISOC-Bulgaria also contributed in the Catalog section with the whole content of the information portal www.portal.bg

    On 16th and 17th of May, the world famous IPR professor Lawrence Lessig was in Sofia The professor's visit was organized at the invitation of the Bulgarian office of the United Nations Development Program and ISOC-Bulgaria. On 16th of May, professor Lessig had the following lectures in Sofia: „Relations between freedom, copyrights, intellectual property“ at the New Bulgarian University; „Free culture/free software“ at Red House Centre for Culture and Debate; Official launch of Creative Commons Bulgaria and the portal Open Culture at the Technical University of Sofia. During his visit, prof. Lessig met the UNDP Resident Representative in Bulgaria, H.E. Neil Buhne, as well as representatives from the UNDP local offices from the neighbor countries. During the second day of his visit Larry Lessig had meeting with political officials, and legal experts from the Bulgarian Center for Law of the Information and Telecommunication Technologies, journalists. The visit and lectures of Prof. Lessig has received wide media coverage in the leading daily newspapers and specialized IT press.

    ISOC-Bulgaria participated at the “European IST Project Brokerage Event for IST sector” in Sinaia, Romania. The meeting aimed to build an international partnership between potential project ideas, as well as to facilitate the matchmaking process between the presented project ideas. http://www.arc.online.bg/artShow.php?id=5663&bc=2&nt=1

    ISOC-Bulgaria has been invited to participate and exchange experience in the international conference “E-management: problems and perspectives of its application”. in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. ISOC Bulgaria presented the Bulgarian experience related to the implementation of free and open source software, as well as, e-government solutions based on FOSS in Public Administrations at municipal level. Presentation was on “UNDP projects supporting e-Government initiatives at local (municipal) level through Free and Open Source Software in South-Eastern Europe. Bulgarian experience. Free and Open Source Software in Public Administrations in the Balkans region.” The presentation was valuable in terms of the plans of the Kazakhstan Government to start the development and implementation of a National Secure Operating System based on Linux.


    News from January 2005 to May 2005

    ISOC-Bulgaria has updated the website of the Bulgarian Big Brother Awards and took the initiative for the content management and further updates. There were created new sections on the website and an automatic form for the nominations. ISOC-Bulgaria awaits replies from the invited persons whose are going to form the jury. http://bg.bigbrotherawards.org/

    Internet Society – Bulgaria sent request for accreditation for participation at the PrepCom-2 of the Tunis Phase(17-25 February 2005) WSIS conference in Geneva. http://www.itu.int/wsis/preparatory2/pc2/index.html

    ISOC-Bulgaria sent the translated Bulgarian version of the Creative Commons (CC) License to the Creative Commons Corporation for approval. ISOC-Bulgaria is awaiting for the official approval to continue its planned activities on launching the CC.

    As a result from the Steering committee meeting of the project “Support to e-government initiatives based on the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) at the local (municipality) level in the South-eastern Europe”, ISOC-Bulgaria prepared a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the interested parties in the development and implementation of the e-Governance in Bulgaria – Internet Society Bulgaria and the Coordination Center for Information, Communication and Management Technologies (CCICMT). The aim of the MoU parties is to contribute in initiatives for the development of the Information society, implementation of the Bulgarian e-Government Strategy and to implement free/open source applications at municipal level. The MoU idea was accepted as a good one by the chairman of the CCICMT during the SC meeting.

    ISOC-Bulgaria received a gratitude letter from the Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Nikola Firchev, in order to express his recognition for the strong civil position of ISOC-Bulgaria and its signals sent to alert the prosecution for illegal monopoly actions of Microsoft Bulgaria.

    At the end of December, 2004, the Chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria Mr. Veni Markovski sent two separated alerts – one to the Competition Protection Commission and second to the Customers and Trade Protection Commission about the changes in the support conditions for the serial port digital signature readers, offered by the authorized dealers “Information services” PLC and “Bankservice”. The signals are covering serious violation of the “Competition Protection Act”. http://portal.bg/news.php?cat=main&read=20042812001

    ISOC-Bulgaria prepared and distributed a press-release to the media about the starting of Bulgarian Big Brother Awards Nomination period. Civil society was invited to nominate the institution, company or public personality, who most of all violated the Human rights, or provided illegal surveillance, wiretapping, etc. As a result of this appeal, there were collected 14 Nominations until Jan.21.

    ISOC-Bulgaria initiated and conducted a meeting with Ms. Albena Panainte and Mr. Eugene Brott from ABA-CEELI Criminal Law Reform Program about launching an initiative for elaboration of recommendation for proper conduct in Internet, targeting the children and underage. The other issue was the idea of organizing a workshop on Cybersafety and to invite Parry Aftab from wiredsafety.org

    ISOC-Bulgaria initiated the preliminary activities for organization of ccTLD Workshop for the South eastern region. The main goal is to get together the ccTLD Administrators from South East Europe and to provide them the opportunity to exchange experience and successfully working models, as well as to be informed on the cutting-age technologies, used in the field of domain administration, to strengthen working relations and build tradition of best practices exchange. The preliminary document for the meeting has been prepared by ISOC-Bulgaria.

    On Jan, 11th the city of Vratsa joined the FOSS Project, implemented by ISOC-Bulgaria. The Municipality of Vratsa partly migrated to Free/open source software. The next activity there will be to perform a training for the employees.

    Letters of interest to participate in the FOSS project were received from the Municipalities of Dryanovo and Belovo.

    ISOC-Bulgaria distributed pre-election program, concerning the development of the Information society to key Bulgarian political parties, among them the socialist-democratic party, the Movement for Freedom and Rights.

    ISOC-Bulgaria was invited to comment the standpoint of International Chamber of Commerce about the SPAM and the other unsolicited messages, and to propose specific actions for SPAM prevention.

    As a result from the signals to CPC and CTPC, sent by ISOC-Bulgaria, the newspapers Novinar and Sega Daily posted articles about the problem.

    The Institute of Public Administration and European Integration (IPAEI) launched under the initiative of ISOC-Bulgaria a training for the State administration on Linux basics, called “Introduction to LINUX OS”

    ISOC-Bulgaria's coordinator Dessi Pefeva was interviewd by the newspaper “Business news”. The commented topics were about the reason of the high – vulnerability of the small businesses and how they can avoid risks and improve their computer safety without investing a lot of money. ISOC-Bulgaria were asked about its activities in the field.

    On Jan, 20th the Municipality of Belovo also joined the FOSS Project. The experts from ISOC-Bulgaria installed free/open source software on 19 computers at the municipality. Trainings are planned for the first week of February. ISOC-Bulgaria cooperated in this activity with 2 experts from a similar project in Georgia, implemented under the auspices and funded by OSI Georgia. The experts presented and participated in the process of migration in order to obtain valuable experience and to achieve best practices.

    ISOC-Bulgaria's coordinator Ms. Julia Velkova was interviewed by “Computers” newspaper about the FOSS initiative, the lessons learned, accumulated experience, the process of migration, etc. The FOSS project becomes more popular and receives public awareness. The article is published in the issue 3, 2005.

    ISOC-Bulgaria circulated a platform for the development of the Information Society in Bulgaria to the main political forces - DPS, ODS, and BSP.

    ISOC-Bulgaria started the preliminary activities about an initiative to organize a training in the Estonian e-Government Academy for one representative of each political force. ISOC-Bulgaria sent invitations and negotiations with the interested parties are in progress.

    On Jan, 26th an article regarding the statement, made by the Minister of the State Administration in Bulgaria, Mr. Kalchev was published in the most popular online German Magazine Heise.de. The article is pointing that The Bulgarian government does not want to extend their existing contract for the time being over software licenses of Microsoft, published in “Trud” newspaper. This is a result of the multitude alerts and signals made by ISOC-Bulgaria on the case.

    The Chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria was invited by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to announce officially the report called “Bulgaria 2010? (The Economic Challenges). The statements made by Veni Markovski was quoted widely by minister of economy and vice-premier Lidia Shuleva, the chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Association Bozhidar Danev, etc.

    On Jan. 30th ISOC-Bulgaria was invited to BG e-Forum Plovdiv 2005, organized by the regional center of the Bulgarian Socialistic Party and Bulgarian Socialistic Youth. The event was faced to the e-governance, software liberty, information society. Veni Markovski spoke about the role of the ruling circles in the development of the information society, the importance of liberate software. He was interviewed by the local newspapers and journalists. Dessi Pefeva presented the FOSS project and pointed its progress. She made parallel on the existing systems and the potential savings possible with the migrations to free/open source software.

    On Feb. 3rd. ISOC-Bulgaria participated at the official ceremony of the 1st National inquiry “Political Person of the Year”, organized by News.bg.

    ISOC-Bulgaria held a meeting with experts from Open Society Institute – Assistance Foundation in Azerbaijan. They are starting similar project in Azerbaijan and asked about our experience in implementing FOSS Project. On February 4th the experts took part in the training of employees in Kardjali, who will be responsible to work with the documents, received by the website for e-services.

    On the 8th of February, the mayor of the Bulgarian Municipality of Kardjali, Mr. Hasan Azis, officially launched an e-services web site – http://kardjali.foss.bg The web site is developed by the consultants of ISOC-Bulgaria, and it is completely on the basis of free and open source software, and the municipality will not have to pay for licenses or additional software to use it. The main goal of the web site is to improve and strengthen the communication between the municipality of Kardjali and the citizens, providing the possibility of electronic communication channels. The first services offered electronically are for submission of letters, complaints, requests and for issue of Template 30.

    ISOC-Bulgaria finished filling the tool for the Bulgarian content in the website of Creative Commons. It is going to be alive on March,1st. The official launch of the Creative Commons is planned for May, 16th, when Larry Lessig is invited to speak about. ISOC-Bulgaria is organizing the event. Meanwhile, Katitza Pereda from Peru contacted ISOC-Bulgaria to gain some knowledge on the process of this initiative. ISOC-Bulgaria shall grant its best practices and experience to help the popularization of Creative Commons.

    ISOC-Bulgaria was reached by Brad deGraf from the USAID, contacted ISOC-Bulgaria to ask for assistance in the implementation of a initiative for “Digital Animation Capacity-building in Developing Countries”. ISOC-Bulgaria connected some studios in Sofia with the initiative. A meeting in Sofia is planned for the end of March and ISOC-Bulgaria will provide coordination and assistance for it.

    On 17th February, Julia Velkova from ISOC-Bulgaria made a presentation at the Presidency about Free and open source software in the administration. The presentation aimed to introduce what FOSS is, to show the opportunities available through the usage of free/open software and to present the Bulgarian progress in the field. The presentation was accompanied with offer for migration to FOSS and relevant training.

    On 18th February was held an Organization Committee meeting for determining some issues, concerning the received nomination for the “Big Brother Awards” and to determine a date for the official ceremony. It was decided to be organized a press conference, in order to inform the medias about the forthcoming event, to explain the necessity of rising the sensitiveness of the civil society about their personal data and their rights to protect this data. The press conference was set for the 28th February in Sofia Press.

    A Memorandum of Understanding, covering aspects as cooperation in the fields of e-Governance development, support to e-Government initiatives based on free and open source software, joint programs and projects, cooperation in regional organizations relating to e-Governance, organizations of and participation in conferences, symposiums, courses, workshops, exhibitions and other joint meetings, etc. The MoU was send to the following organizations: “Free Software Association”, “Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry” and “Economy Initiative Union”

    On 17th February Julia Velkova visited the municipality of Razlog to examine the model of one-stop shop implemented in Razlog which is an example of Model Municipality. The achievments of the municipality could be used as a best practices model in FOSS Project.

    On 28th February Dessi Pefeva was invited to the National radio “Hristo Botev” program to comment the topic “Internet frauds”. There were considered specific threads regarding enticing business offers, received by email, and some useful information how to protect our data.

    On 28th of February was held a press conference about the idea and goals of Big Brother Awards Bulgaria. During the conference Dessi Pefeva presented the website, created and maintained by Internet Society Bulgaria – the place, where can be found complete information about the awards, the process and guidelines for nomination. She also presented the most fascinating nominations received.

    On 28th February European's IDABC programme launched information about the achievements of ISOC-Bulgaria in the field of FOSS Project. The information was published both as a case study and as a news. The editor, Ms. Maeva Zebrovski stated that it was a pleasure to work with motivated people.

    On 28th February in the Municipality of Vratsa ISOC-Bulgaria's team provided training on the usage of OpenOffice.org suite for 14 municipal employees. There was also provided a training for one system administrator and one employee from the documentary department on how to operate with the e-Services city website, developed by ISOC-Bulgaria. City authorities are planning to benefit from the website, as its functionality was introduced to the Deputy Mayor of Vratsa.

    On March, 1st. An MoU between ISOC-Bulgaria and Free Software Association was signed. The two organizations will work together to organize the visits of Prof. Larry Lessig in May.

    The Chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria, Veni Markovski received by the email a Letter of Recognition from the office of the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Nikolay Vassilev. He expresses his gratitude to Veni Markovski for the support and media coverage concerning the initiative for computerization of the schools in Bulgaria.

    ISOC-Bulgaria is going to contribute to the annual Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) survey of the privacy laws and privacy-related developments in more than 60 countries in the world. The survey is entitled "Privacy and Human Rights" (PHR) and ISOC-Bulgaria officially will organize the updates for the year passed in the survey, by the interested and involved in the field organizations.

    On March, 3th to 5th Julia Velkova and Veni Markovski from ISOC-Bulgaria participated in the TOSSAD project (Towards Open Source Software Adoption and Dissemination which is funded under the EU 6th Framework Program) first meeting in Istanbul. The goal of the meeting was a presentation of the each partners' planned activities under the TOSSAD Project, as well as get-acquainted, coordination and management activities.

    On March, 5th, Computerworld Bulgaria newspaper issued an article about the launch of the website for e-Services, granted free to the Municipality of Kardjali by ISOC-Bulgaria.

    On March, 8th ISOC-Bulgaria and Bluelink Portal team agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for future partnership and collaboration.

    ISOC-Bulgaria is nominated for the prestige “Development Gateway Award” for its efforts in popularization and making affordable and accessible the usage of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve people's lives in developing countries. Implemented by ISOC-Bulgaria FOSS Project is the nominee, as an innovative initiative in the field.

    On March, 15th ISOC-Bulgaria is going to participate with presentation on a seminar, organized by the Ministry of Education, under the project for computerization of the schools, according the initiative “Training for teachers”. The presentation is going to be about “Free/open source software – opportunities, benefits, solutions” and aims to point at the future perspectives, both for the institution and for the students, related to the knowledge and usage of FOSS.

    On 17th and 18th of March Dessi Pefeva is going to represent Bulgaria and the Project Lead ISOC-Bulgaria, who is implementing and developing the Creative Commons License translation and localization in Bulgaria, at the 1st European Creative Commons Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Accordingly prepared Creative Commons Bulgaria Overview is going to be included in the Country report.


    News from 2004 (summary)

    2004 was very successful for Internet Society – Bulgaria.
    The crucial event for the expansion of the activities of the chapter was the joining of three more persons who formed the core staff of ISOC-Bulgaria.

    In 2004, more than 80 persons applied for membership to the Internet Society and became members through the Bulgarian chapter.

    The major project, started in 2004 is the UNDP funded project, named “Support to e-government initiatives based on the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) at the local (municipality) level in the South-eastern Europe”. The general aims of this project is to bridge the digital divide, to promote affordable software solutions both for the citizens and authorities and to ensure wider access to Internet and services, granted by the local administrations. This will result in strengthening people’s participation in local affairs, support democracy, generate savings in local budgets, and provide employment opportunities for local IT sector through Free and Open Source Software. The project also envisages development of e-Government tools and applications based on free/open source software, migration to free software solutions and organization of trainings for the municipal employees. The project is part of the UNDP Global Program “Capacity Development Through Knowledge Sharing and Networking: Free/Open Source Software for Developing Countries”.
    “Internet Society – Bulgaria” was selected to be the implementing organization, because of its strong positions and its work in the public policy arena, esp. in protection of civil society's interests and support initiatives with public benefits. Information about the project can be found at http://www.foss.bg .

    During the whole year, ISOC-Bulgaria President and Chair of the Board Mr. Veni Markovski was interviewed in tens of interviews, and was quoted widely by the press, on-line editions, radio and television stations worldwide. He also published a number of articles, related to the development of the Information Society in Bulgaria, the overall Internet usage, development of the ICT, but also issues related to Internet Governance, cyber-security and others. ISOC-Bulgaria has been invited to make a lot of presentations in the biggest cities of Bulgaria. Many publications were published at www.portal.bg.

    ISOC-Bulgaria continued to be an active participant in the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), which is defining and promoting legal and regulatory reforms that will foster Internet development, establishing working groups with Internet industry, government, non-profits, etc. Since the beginning it's been a project, aimed at ensuring free and democratic development of the Internet, as well as freedom of speech and access to information through the Internet.

    Internet Society - Bulgaria applied and was granted with funds to translate and localize the Creative Commons licenses for Bulgaria. ISOC-Bulgaria also started the development of the Creative Commons community of authors in Bulgaria.

    ISOC Bulgaria participated in the work of EDRI as a member of this respected initiative. ISOC Bulgaria was part of the organization around the Bulgarian edition of the international Big Brother Awards.

    ISOC Bulgaria is also an active and regular participant in the open consultations at WGIG and WSIS, and it also helps the Bulgarian government with expertise.


    Bulgaria to Enhance e-Governance Initiatives by Launching Free and Open Source Software Project
    June 8, 2004

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Internet Society of Bulgaria (ISOC-Bulgaria) have launched a project to help municipal governments in Southeastern Europe use the Internet to better respond to citizens’ needs. This is the first e-government project in the region to use Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) applications to enhance government transparency and people’s access to municipal services. Initially launched in Bulgaria, the project will soon expand to include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.

    Under this project, which will last 18 months in its first phase, several Balkan cities will benefit from the creation of e-municipalities. In the city of Kurdjali, which serves as a pilot, the local Mayor Hasan Azis has requested the support of UNDP and ISOC–Bulgaria to help enhance citizens’ access to services and information resources and reduce the cost of the access tools that are required to be part of the global networked economy. The pilot will be replicated in Southeastern European countries.

    “We see the implementation of this project as a continuation of the work we do in Kurdjali with the non-governmental sector – the municipality has developed a fund to the city budget for co-financing of common projects”, says Mr. Azis, Mayor of Kurdjali. “In the last 6 months we have managed to upgrade our existing computer network and have changed fully about 40% of old computers with new ones. They will fit precisely with the project, and we hope to see results relatively fast.”

    Kurdjali is one of the 28 regional cities in Bulgaria. Located in the south of the country, and close to the border with Turkey and Greece, it has around 69,000 citizens, a mixture of Bulgarian and ethnic Turks. Its economic and social situation has been in recess since the changes towards market economy in 1989. But recent activities show the city is poised to develop as a leading IT center in the southeastern part of Bulgaria.

    “Bulgarian municipalities are going through many rapid changes, as they become increasingly responsive to citizen's needs. To do this they need to use Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to both improve services as well as to foster citizen participation,” says Neil Buhne, Resident Representative of UNDP Bulgaria. “I believe that this project will develop a model to use free and open source software (FOSS) that could be replicated in similar Bulgarian municipalities and give them a greater choice for the future,” added Mr. Buhne.

    By starting this program, UNDP hopes to show local and national governments that the involvement of citizens in the Information Society is critical for strengthening democratic governance. “By widening choice, enhancing competition and increasing the affordability of ICT access tools, larger social inclusion and citizen participation can be secured, ” said Raul Zambrano, ICT for Development Policy Advisor, UNDP New York.

    The UNDP project also aims at building local public-private-partnerships (PPP), where local communities and the private sector join efforts to support software development and capacity building.

    “We are extremely proud that Bulgaria has been chosen as the project pilot center, and we are certain that FOSS will be well accepted at all levels of the government in the region. This project wouldn't have been possible without the support by Mr. Yunal Tasim, Member of Parliament from Kurdjali,” says Veni Markovski, Chairman of ISOC-Bulgaria.

    Until now, the Bulgarian government has used FOSS for servers — for large mail and database programs — but not for desktop applications. The project will now change this. Using openly published source codes, FOSS will bring new opportunities to complement the use of commercial desktop applications. Since open source solutions are available for free or at little cost, local governments will be able to minimize the cost of buying and maintaining software.

    The project is part of a larger UNDP Global Programme focused on developing national capacities by establishing a series of regional centers using FOSS.

    UNDP (www.undp.org) is one of the pioneers in supporting ICT for Development (ICTD) initiatives and programmes since 1992. It has developed global, regional and national ICTD programmes at work such as the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SNDP, www.sdnp.undp.org), the Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP, www.apdip.net) and others. UNDP is a trusted and neutral partner to developing countries, facilitating dialogue across sectors and development actors. Capacity development is one if UNDP key goals and areas of support. Around the world, UNDP helped set up of over 40 national Internet and email nodes running on FOSS, and supported the FOSS training of over 500 technical and networking specialists, as well as the creation of national LUGs (Linux Users Groups) in over 15 countries. Partnerships with private sector to distribute FOSS packages and basic training have been particularly noteworthy.

    ISOC–Bulgaria (www.isoc.bg) has been promoting the free and open development of the Internet in Bulgaria since 1995. Among its main achievements are the availability of Internet access without licensing or registration fees; the establishment of an all-nation event promoting Internet usage, called the Internet Fiesta (2000, 2001), as well as a number of initiatives using FOSS in the governmental and non-governmental sectors. ISOC-Bulgaria supported the creation of the draft Law on using FOSS in the state administration.


    Bulgarian edition of Big Brother Awards

    ISOC-Bulgaria initated and works on the development of the Bulgarian edition of the international Big Brother Awards. See more at the official web site: bg.bigbrotherawards.org


    Yet Another Bulgarian President joins ISOC
    Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov is member of the Internet Society. He's the second Bulgarian President in a row to join the organisation. Mr. Parvanov joined ISOC in May 2001, while he was head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. His relations with ISOC date as back as 1997, when ISOC-Bulgaria supported the socialist party during difficult time period.
    Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov became the first Head of State to join the Internet Society, an international organization, based in Reston, Virginia. He was invited to join the organization by Mr. Don Heath - president and CEO of ISOC. Mr. Stoyanov has sent a letter confirming his membership. You can see the original letter (in Bulgarian) here.


    1 December 2000
    WASHINGTON, DC -- The Internet Society (ISOC) is pleased to announce that it has been officially recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in operational relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).See the whole press release.


    NGO Statement on Draft COE Crime Convention

    Dear Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer and COE Committee of Experts on Cyber Crime,

    We write to you on behalf of a wide range of civil society organizations from around the world to object to the proposed Convention on Cyber-Crime. We believe that the draft treaty is contrary to well established norms for the protection of the individual, that it improperly extends the police authority of national governments, that it will undermine the development of network security techniques, and that it will reduce government accountability in future law enforcement conduct. more


    The Bulgarian President joins the Internet Society
    Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov is member of the Internet Society. He's the second Bulgarian President in a row to join the organisation. Mr. Parvanov joined ISOC in May 2001, while he was head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. His relations with ISOC date as back as 1997, when ISOC-Bulgaria supported the socialist party during difficult time period.
    The Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov (on picture left) became the first acting Head of State to joing the Internet Society, an international organization, based in Reston, VirginiHe was invited to join the organization by Mr. Don Heath - president and CEO of ISOC. Mr. Stoyanov has sent a letter confirming his membership. You can see the original letter (in Bulgarian) here


    Internet Fiesta 2001
    The Internet Fiesta 2001 will take place March 1 - 4, 2001 all over Bulgaria. Everyone is invited to participate! Until today companies like IBM, HP, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, BOL.BG, m3 Communications, etc. have declared interest in participating at this unique venture in Bulgaria. More information can be found at the official site of the fiesta at www.isoc.bg/fiesta


    ISOC-Bulgaria reaches out-of-court agreement with government!
    The Bulgarian Internet Society sued the Bulgarian government against the proposed licensing of the Internet Service Providers in 1999.
    After a big battle, justice was done - Internet will be free in Bulgaria.

    See more, much more at the official site at www.isoc.bg/kpd